September 28, 2023

Untapped, Farrell square off in Silverbulletday

Farrell captured the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 26, 2016 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Seven sophomore fillies have been entered to go a mile and 70 yards on Saturday in the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, and Untapped has been installed as the 9-5 favorite.

The Steve Asmussen trainee dropped her initial start at Churchill Downs last September 16 but rebounded to break her maiden at Keeneland by 6 1/4 lengths a month later. She closed out her juvenile campaign with a 3 1/4-length score against allowance/optional claiming rivals on December 23 at Fair Grounds and keeps regular rider Florent Geroux in the saddle for this first stakes try.

It’s a bit surprising that Farrell, a romping six-length winner of the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill on November 26, was made the 2-1 second choice behind Untapped. In addition to the Golden Rod, the Wayne Catalano-trained daughter of Malibu Moon also finished third in the Rags to Riches Stakes in late October.

The dark bay miss also took two tries to break her maiden, getting the job done October 1 under the Twin Spires. Channing Hill has been aboard for all of Farrell’s starts thus far and retains the mount in this spot.

Trainer Brendan Walsh is eager for Wicked Lick to prove herself in the Silverbulletday off a runner-up effort on December 23 over track and distance. That was only the second dirt try for the Maclean’s Music filly, who broke her maiden on Churchill’s turf in September.

“I think she’s done well and thought she ran well last time,” Walsh said. “I am not sure she would have won, but I thought she’d be closer if she didn’t get into trouble. If she moves up two or three lengths, it puts us right there.

“I really like that she galloped out great last time, so the further she goes, the better she’s going to get,” Walsh continued. “She’s one who gives everything every time, so hopefully she gets a clear run. We’ll hope for a clean smooth run and I’m sure she’ll give a good account of herself.”

Gris Gris, fourth in the Golden Rod and third in the Trapeze Stakes in her past two, is the only other runner in the Silverbulletday with prior stakes experience. The Bernie Flint charge took her first start against maiden claimers at Churchill and added an allowance/optional claiming score over that same track on October 30.

Like Wicked Lick, Summertime Sky made her racing debut on the turf, breaking her maiden last out at Fair Grounds going 5 1/2 furlongs on New Year’s Eve. Geroux was aboard for that effort and will be replaced by Robby Albarado as the Mark Casse pupil takes on black-type foes here.

Seeking Bull and Harkness Bull complete the field for the Silverbulletday. The former earned her first win against maiden claimers on New Year’s Day in an off-turf Fair Grounds contest while the latter will be getting first-time Lasix while seeking her initial victory in this spot.