Sheer Drama seeks fourth Grade 1 in La Troienne on Oaks undercard

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

May 3rd, 2016

Fresh off defeating two Breeders' Cup winners in last month's Madison (G1), Sheer Drama now looks to halt a two-race losing skid at Churchill Downs when she heads a field of seven in Friday's La Troienne (G1), a 1 1/16-mile test for fillies and mares that tops five stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.

An 8-1 chance when she captured the April 9 Madison at Keeneland over Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) winner Stopchargingmaria and Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) upsetter Wavell Avenue going seven furlongs, Sheer Drama is the likely favorite to go one place better than last year's La Troienne and Fleur de Lis H. (G2), where she finished second to Molly Morgan and Frivolous, respectively.

Sheer Drama improved off those efforts to win the Delaware H. (G1) and Personal Ensign (G1) last summer, but wound up fourth in the BC Distaff after a wide trip from post 13.

Curalina, one of last season's top sophomore fillies, makes her season debut here. Winner of the Acorn (G1) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), the latter thru disqualification, Curalina was last seen in the BC Distaff finishing third, a length in front of Sheer Drama.

Looking for her first Grade 1 tally is Penwith, who took the Royal Delta (G2) by three lengths in February prior to a fading fourth in the Santa Margarita H. (G1) in California. Also in the lineup is Brooklynsway, the 25-1 upset winner of the Doubledogdare (G3) two weeks ago.

The $400,000 Alysheba (G2) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles features a rematch between Eagle and Noble Bird, one-two in the Ben Ali (G3) at Keeneland April 16. The Alysheba is a prelude to next month's Stephen Foster H. (G1) at nine furlongs, which Noble Bird won by a neck last year.

Also among the field of 10 are multiple Grade 2 winners Departing and Midnight Storm, and recent Santana Mile hero Cat Burglar.

The $200,000 Eight Belles (G3), for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, features Bill Mott's Golden Rod (G2) winner Carina Mia. The daughter of Malibu Moon's season got off to a belated start after a quarantine was placed on her Payson Park training quarters in March, and a subsequent fourth in the Ashland (G1) thwarted her attempt to make the field for the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Adding Lasix for the first time, Carina Maria is the likely favorite over Frizette (G1) winner Nickname, runner-up in the Martha Washington, Honeybee (G3), and Beaumont (G3) this term; the multiple stakes-winning Stageplay, who ran second to Carina Mia in the Golden Rod; and three-time stakes vixen Marquee Miss.

Canadian Horse of the Year Catch a Glimpse looks to remain undefeated on the grass in the $150,000 Edgewood (G3) at 1 1/16 miles. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) heroine has already captured the Herecomesthebride (G3) and Appalachian (G3) this year.

The sophomore has not scared away the competition, though. Among the dozen she faces are Grade 3 queen Harmonize, who captured her season debut at Gulfstream; Ava's Kitten and Outsider Art, both of whom placed in the Appalachian; and Adore, a solid third in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in her stakes bow.

Power Alert will defend his title in the $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3) against a salty group of five-furlong specialists. Rebounding from a loss as the favorite in Keeneland's Shakertown (G3) to win the Turf Sprint last season in course-record time, the Australian-bred looks to replicate that feat following a sub-par effort in the April 9 renewal of the Shakertown.

The Wesley Ward-trained Hootenanny, who captured the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) as well as a stakes at Royal Ascot that season, shortens up following a runner-up effort at Woodbine and is the potential favorite. San Simeon (G3) victor Guns Loaded, Something Extra and Summation Time are other leading contenders.

(Coady Photography)