Untapable, Ahh Chocolate face off in Fleur de Lis

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Jen Caldwell

June 15th, 2016

Only six fillies and mares were entered for Saturday night’s $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs, but included in that sextet are Untapable and Ahh Chocolate.

Untapable gained fame in 2014 when taking both the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), more than enough to be honored as that year’s champion three-year-old filly.

The Steve Asmussen trainee had a good year in 2015, but only managed to find the winner’s circle once. That one win was no throw out, though, as it came in the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1).

Untapable placed in all five of her other 2015 starts, including the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1), Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) and Spinster Stakes (G1). She just missed by a neck in that latter event to close out her four-year-old campaign, and kicked off 2016 with another neck second, this time in the Azeri Stakes (G2).

Untapble ran fourth while trying to defend her title in the Apple Blossom last out, suffering her first unplaced finish since crossing under the wire in fifth against the boys in the 2014 Haskell Invitational (G1). The Tapit mare has been piloted by Florent Geroux thus far this year and keeps the talented reinsman in the saddle for the Fleur de Lis.

Ahh Chocolate goes in the 1 1/8-mile contest for trainer Neil Howard and regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. The four-year-old filly has been doing some traveling this year, opening her season with a third in the Esplanade Stakes at Fair Grounds, filling that same spot in Keeneland’s Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) and capturing the Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) at Pimlico in her most recent outing.

Despite her wandering hooves, the daughter of Candy Ride is no stranger to Churchill. Ahh Chocolate boasts a 2-1-0 mark from three starts under the Twin Spires, including a win in the Falls City Handicap (G2) in late November over track and distance. She’s been working up a storm recently at Churchill to ready for the Fleur de Lis, most recently posting a half-mile move in :49.40 on Tuesday.

Ahh Chocolate will see a familiar face in the Fleur de Lis when Brooklynsway lines up in the far outside post. The duo met in the Esplanade, with Brooklynsway finishing three lengths behind her rival in fourth. Next out, the Giant Gizmo filly got the best of Ahh Chocolate by winning the Doubledogdare on April 22.

Brooklynsway was a one-paced fifth two back in the La Troienne (G1) at Churchill, but rebounded a bit on May 28 with a closing third in the Arlington Matron (G3) in Chicago. She’ll try to find the winner’s circle in the Fleur de Lis with jockey Julien Leparoux in the irons for the first time.

Completing the field are Engaginglee, a well-beaten second in the La Troienne before running fifth in the in the Allaire DuPont Distaff in her past pair; Grade 3-placed Big Book; and Paid Up Subscriber.

Untapable photo courtesy of Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography
Ahh Chocolate photo courtesy of Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos