Complexion of Falls City depends on status of Frivolous
Frivolous is the defending titlist in the Falls City, but owner G. Watts Humphrey and trainer Vicki Oliver are strongly considering giving their mare a shot in Friday's $500,000 Clark H. (G1) against males. The higher purse and grade are factors in favor of the Clark, and Frivolous' fondness for the Churchill strip could negate any disadvantages she might otherwise have facing that quality field.
If connections opt for the Falls City, Frivolous figures to be a solid favorite. A 19-1 upset winner over Don't Tell Sophia in last year's race, Frivolous pulled off another stunner in the Fleur de Lis H. (G2) in June, winning over Sheer Drama at odds of 32-1. That order of finish was reversed in the Delaware H. (G1), but Frivolous came back to take the $100,000 Locust Grove over a mile at Churchill in September.
Fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Spinster (G1) and Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland in her past two starts, Frivolous would become the first repeat winner of the Falls City since Screen Prospect in 1990-91 if she opts for this one and prevails.
The three-year-old Birdatthewire should be more fit following a fifth-place effort in the one-mile Chilukki (G2) earlier this month. Winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) in March, the Dale Romans charge went to the sidelines after running fifth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and looked like a short horse when failing to fire as the 7-5 favorite in her comeback.
Call Pat, a last-to-first winner of the Groupie Doll (G3) at Ellis Park over the summer, might find the return to Kentucky agreeable after running below her best in the Beldame (G1) and Turnback the Alarm H. (G3) at Belmont, although she has only won once in six previous starts under the Twin Spires.
Several Falls City entrants are looking for a career breakthrough after placing in other graded stakes. Among these are Montana Native, who debuts for new trainer Ben Colebrook; Ahh Chocolate, recently third in the Chilukki; and No Fault of Mine, last year's Golden Rod (G2) runner-up who was second in a November 5 Churchill allowance won by the Grade 1-place Chide.
The supporting feature on the Thanksgiving Day card is the $100,000 River City H. (G3) for older horses at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Heart to Heart will seek to steal another local grass stakes on the front end following romps in the 2014 editions of the Jefferson Cup (G3) and Commonwealth Turf (G3). His lone win this term came in the Oceanport (G3) at Monmouth in August.
Also expected to attract significant play are Messi, victorious in the Knickerbocker (G3) at Belmont last month, and Are You Kidding Me, whose stakes wins at Woodbine this year include the Nijinsky (G2) on grass and the Eclipse (G2) and Autumn (G2) on Polytrack.
(Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)