Lukas Balks With Azeri Over Falls City Weights
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas says he's undecided about whether to run Azeri in the $300,000-added Falls City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Thanksgiving Day due to concern over weight assignments.
Lukas doesn't necessarily disagree with Azeri's 126 pound impost for the 1 1/8-mile Falls City, but he and Michael Paulson, who manages the filly's career for the Allen Paulson Living Trust, are concerned about the amount of weight she is conceding to other fillies and mares in the race.
Mayo On the Side, who defeated Azeri in the seven-furlong Humana Distaff (gr. I) on Kentucky Derby Day, and Churchill Downs Distaff (gr. II) winner Halory Leigh are next among the 14 Falls City nominees with assigned weights of 116 pounds. Other likely starters include Indy Groove (114), Shadow Cast (113), and Red Cell (108).
Lukas said the final decision on whether Azeri would run in the
Falls City would be Paulson's.
"It always is," he said. "It has been all summer."
Should Paulson decide to pass on the Falls City with Azeri, Lukas would run Susan's Angel in the race. The 3-year-old daughter of Cape Town won the Turfway Park Breeders' Cup (gr. III) and was third to Halory Leigh in the Churchill Downs Distaff. She was assigned 114 pounds for the race.
Azeri has had one breeze since her fifth-place finish against males in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) won by Ghostzapper at Lone Star Park. But Lukas said Azeri is fit and ready if Paulson decides to enter her in the Falls City.
"I let her breeze a little through the stretch this morning, but it wouldn't show up on the work tab," he said. "She doesn't need much. That last race was a very good one." If she does not run on Thursday, Lukas said that Azeri would ship back to California. She would not race again until next year.For more information on the great Azeri, please check out the new book from Eclipse Press, Women of the Year
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