Fleur de Lis offers Distaff berth
Nine fillies and mares will contest the $200,000 Fleur de Lis H. (G2) at Churchill Downs Saturday evening. One of five graded stakes races on the Down After Dark card, the 1 1/8-mile event serves as a “Win & You’re In” event for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Here’s a preview of the field:
#1 FUHRIOUSLY KISSED – Grade-1 placed daughter of Langfuhr has hit the board in a pair of graded races since being claimed and gets the rail today. Chestnut mare has never beaten this kind but has good form and will be running on late after saving early ground. C. J. McMahon will be in the stirrups.
#2 MOPOTISM – Grade-2 queen has faced serious competition since last season and makes a second run off the layoff. Doug O’Neill pupil has some class to her and could get a fine voyage from a stalking position to the top of the lane. Uncle Mo filly will have regular pilot Gutierrez in the controls.
#3 BLUE PRIZE – Ignacio Correas charge likes the Churchill Downs strip as evidenced by her runaway tally in the Falls City (G2) last fall. Group-1 heroine has won or placed in all but one outing and must be viewed as a most obvious win contender. Joe Ortiz coming to ride is a positive.
#4 STREAMLINE – Long shot is a Grade-2 victress and exits a pair of tries at the Grade-1 level. Dark bay mare will need big improvement off of her last, though, to contend.
#5 SONG OF SPRING – Recent Grade-3 starlet has never been better with four consecutive big outings in 2018. Neil Howard trainee will make one run from off the pace and benefits if the tempo is fast and contested. She’s my choice to punch her Distaff ticket.
#6 AWESTRUCK – Tapit filly has come off the layoff with a pair of powerful allowance scores and looms large in the affair. Rusty Arnold trainee had a perfect prep in an allowance stroll on this course in advance of today. Picking up Irad Ortiz is never a bad thing, either.
#7 VALADORNA – Mark Casse pupil is a must use with class and consistency, coming off a win in the Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland. Four-year-old by Curlin is tactical with a nice turn of foot, and Brian Hernandez opts to stay instead of sticking with the horse to her inside.
#8 APOLOGYNOTACCEPTED – Speedy sort brings plenty of speed and held for second to the superb Unbridled Forever in this affair in 2017. Seven-year-old exits a sharp runner-up effort at Keeneland for Brandon Walsh and retains Julien Leparoux.
#9 FARRELL – Wayne Catalano charge draws widest but owns ample gate speed to carve out a logical trip. Malibu Moon filly was a huge second in the La Troienne (G1) most recently in a fine field. Three-time local winner will have Channing Hill in the silks.
The Fleur De Lis looks especially wide-open to me and I will take a shot at a price.
The pace of the race is interesting with most of the speed to the outside. Apologynotaccepted and Farrell will leave early and cold be side-by-side on the lead into the first turn. Blue Prize, Awestruck and Valadorna won’t be far back in the next flight.
With an expected healthy pace expected, closing types like Song of Spring, Mopotism and Fuhriously Kissed will be rolling into contention inside the final furlong.
$10 Win-Place-Show: #5 SONG OF SPRING = $30
$1 Exacta Box: 2,3,5,7 = $12
50-cent Trifecta: 3,5 with 2,3,5,7 with all = $21