Button Down shows signs of things to come in Cardinal
The 2-1 favorite in a field of 11 fillies and mares, Button Down made a five-wide rally into contention around the far turn, seized control in upper stretch and held on to win the nine-furlong grass test by 1 1/2 lengths under Paco Lopez.
Contested on wet, tiring ground labeled yielding, Button Down finished up in 1:56.19 and paid $6.80 to win.
Longshots rounded out the superfecta, with Indiana-bred Lady Fog Horn, at 20-1, finishing 3 1/4 lengths ahead of 23-1 German import Lacy for the place. Street of Gold, who started at 36-1, finished fourth. Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the race was multiple graded stakes winner Kiss Moon, who came home last.
Originally campaigned by breeder Juddmonte Farms, Button Down was winless in her first 10 starts, all in England.
"I really didn't know how good she might be but almost from the moment we started breezing her she was a filly that I was very surprised was still a maiden," Carroll said. "When she came to me last year in Florida, I was really surprised she was still a maiden."
Sixth in her U.S. debut in a Keeneland allowance in April for new owner Greenwood Lodge Farm, the Oasis Dream filly turned things around on the move to Woodbine for the summer, where she broke her maiden on Polytrack and beat allowance company on the turf. Moving into stakes company for her next start, she wound up second in the $102,000 Flaming Page, and then was second by a half-length in the Canadian (G2). Most recently, she was fifth by two lengths to the top Irish filly Curvy in the E.P. Taylor (G1).
Given how close she got to fillies like Strut the Course in the Canadian and Curvy in the E.P. Taylor, good things should be expected from Button Down in 2016.
"The plan is to keep on racing her next year," Carroll said. "What I asked them to do was give her a little bit of a holiday; they have a farm in [Paris] Kentucky so we'll turn her out for five to six weeks and let her get her head down. She ran in Europe, she flew over and she ran all season so I would like to see her freshen up and we'll look at a real strong campaign next year."
(Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)