The British-bred mare Katdogawn has faced many of the most talented turf fillies and mares from the U.S. and around the world throughout her career and the quality of the company she has kept has helped make her the 8-5 morning line favorite for Saturday's 24th running of the $150,000-added Locust Grove Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf at Churchill Downs.
The 5-year-old daughter of Bahhare will carry high weight of 121 pounds in a field of seven fillies and mares that also includes Saud bin Khaled's Delta Princess, winner of the Early Times Mint Julep (gr. IIIT), and Andrena Van Doren's homebred Shaconage, the 2004 winner of the Locust Grove and runner-up in Mint Julep.
The 1 1/8-mile grass race is the featured ninth event on a 10-race Saturday card that opens the next to last weekend of Churchill Downs' 53-day spring meet, which continues through July 10. Post time for Saturday's first race is 1:15 p.m. (EDT).
The Wally Dollase-trained Katdogawn is coming off a victory over yielding turf in the WinStar Distaff (gr. IIIT) at Lone Star Park, but her most impressive race of the year may have been a runner-up finish to Megahertz in the Santa Ana (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita. She finished 10th to Ouija Board in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) last fall at Lone Star, but ran second to Light Jig in Santa Anita's Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) prior to that outing. She has a career record of 7-7-5 in 28 races with earnings of $760,325.
"Katdogawn is small in stature, but she has a big heart," said Dollase. "She's got a wonderful mind, but her heart is her biggest asset. She's first, second or third just about every time."
Dollase has named Pat Day to ride Katdogawn. That trainer/jockey team recently won the $300,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. IIT) with Two Trail Sioux.
The Bill Mott-trained Delta Princess looms as a major rival for Katdogawn. She overcame a modest pace as she rallied from last in a field of seven to win the Early Times Mint Julep by a length. Robby Albarado will ride the 6-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy
, who has won 10 of 25 races and is listed as the close 2-1 second choice in handicapper Mike Battaglia's morning line.
Shaconage has failed to win in nine races since last year's Locust Grove win, but also ran a strong third to Miss Terrible in the CompUSA Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) on Kentucky Derby Day. Mike Smith will ride the 3-1 third choice in the morning line.
Field for the Locust Grove, in post position order, with weight, jockey, and morning-line odds:
1--Delta Princess, 119, Brice Blanc, 2-1
2--Pad the Wallet, 114, Corey Lanerie, 15-1
3.--Baxter Hall, 112, Eddie Martin, Jr.,12-1
4.--Marwood, 116, John McKee, 10-1
5.--Katdogawn, 121, Pat Day, 8-5
6--Shaconage, 116, Mike Smith, 5-2
7--Cape Town Lass, 114, James Graham, 12-1
Morning Line Odds by Mike Battaglia