Fleur de Lis Has Solid Field Set

Fleur de Lis Has Solid Field Set
Photo: Coady Photography/Jeff Coady
Apple Blossom winner Ermine is one of two Grade I winners in the Fleur de Lis.
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The Stephen Foster (gr. I) is the highlight of the card Saturday at Churchill Downs but the Fleur de Lis (gr. II) has drawn an excellent field as well.

A solid field of eight fillies and mares, headed by grade I winners Asi Siempre and Ermine, will contest the $300,000 race going nine furlongs on dirt.

Asi Siempre, by El Prado, is the 122 highweight and one of two 5-year-olds in the field, the other being Indian Vale. The other runners are all 4-year-olds.

Garrett Gomez will ride Asi Siempre, who is owned by Martin Schwartz and trained by Patrick Biancone. The winner of last year's Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland has been out twice this year, winning the Doubledogdare (gr. III) at Keeneland before missing by a head to the front-running Fiery Pursuit in the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) over a sloppy Churchill surface on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. It should also be noted she ran second in the 2006 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).

Ermine, a daughter of Exchange Rate, has not been out since winning the grade I Apple Blossom in early April. Prior to that, the Ronny Werner-trained filly finished second in two grade I races at Santa Anita.

Owned by Oxbox Racing, Ermine, like Asi Siempre, races from off the pace and should benefit from the amount of speed in the field. She drew the outside post and will be ridden by Robby Albarado.

One of the front-runners in top form right now is Rolling Sea, who will be saddle by Steve Asmussen and have the saddle services of Shaun Bridgmohan for the first time. She has won four of her last five including her most recent outing, the Allaire duPont Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Pimlico.

Rolling Sea, by Sefapiano, is owned by Ro Parra's Millennium Farms.

Kettleoneup, by Victory Gallop, finished third to Rolling Sea last out and prior to that won the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III). Owned by Tom Crouch and trained by Michael Tomlinson, she will be ridden again by Calvin Borel.

It would not be a graded stakes without a runner trained by Todd Pletcher and he will send out Indian Vale, who won the Next Move Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct before running fourth in the Louisville Breeders' Cup, her first time on a sloppy track. John Velazquez will be in from New York to ride the A.P. Indy filly owned by Eugene Melnyk.

In post order, with weight and jockey assignment:
Rolling Sea, 118, Bridgmohan
Leah's Secret, 116, Guidry
Kettleoneup, 117, Borel
Asi Siempre, 122, Gomez
Baghdaria, 116, Bejarano
Indian Vale, 119, Velazquez
Fiery Pursuit, 117, Prado
Ermine, 119, Albarado

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