Curalina, Lady Shipman look to rebound from recent losses
A multiple Grade 1 winner at three, Curalina turned in a tremendous effort taking the La Troienne (G1) at Churchill Downs by 7 1/2 lengths in her season debut, but was a tiring fourth as the favorite in the Ogden Phipps (G1) last month.
"She's doing well and seems like she's in great form coming in, so we're excited," trainer Todd Pletcher said.
A close second choice will be Carrumba, a late-developing daughter of Bernardini who missed by a head to Forever Unbridled in last November's Comely (G3) in her stakes debut. Thus far, it's been her only loss in three starts around two turns. This season, the Phipps Stable homebred has won the Top Flight H. (G3) and placed behind Cavorting in the Ruffian (G2) and Ogden Phipps.
"We're looking forward to running around two turns," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "She's been doing well since her last race so we'll see what happens. I'd like to see a speed horse in there where we could duck right in behind, but if we're on the lead, that's fine, too."
Lady Shipman will have more bodies to deal with in the six-furlong Royal North. The turf sprint sensation was last seen running fifth in the Highlander (G2) over the same course and distance against males. Lady Shipman has won 10 of her last 15 and narrowly missed in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland last fall.
Other leading contenders include Cactus Kris, a multiple graded stakes winner on Woodbine's Polytrack and an upset second in the $100,000 Giant's Causeway on turf at Keeneland earlier this year, and the Mark Casse-trained Mississippi Delta, who captured the C$100,000 Alywow going 6 1/2 furlongs on the Woodbine turf last season.