High Heels Tackles Older Foes in Gardenia Handicap

The 3-year-old High Heels, winner of the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park in April, tries her luck against older fillies and mares for the first time in the $150,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at Ellis Park Saturday.

The Gary Hartlage trained daughter of E Dubai   was well beaten in her last two starts -- the Regret (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill Downs turf and the Delaware Oaks (gr. II) back on dirt -- when she was fifth, more than nine lengths behind Moon Catcher. Prior to those efforts she ran third to Rags to Riches and Octave in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The Anita Ebert homebred captured the Fantasy by nearly seven lengths over Cotton Blossom and Cash Included, both since retired.

A winner of three of 13 races lifetime with earnings of $337,551, High Heels is 4-1 on the morning line for the one-mile Gardenia. She must break from the far outside in an evenly matched field of 12. She'll be guided by regular rider Joe Johnson.

The Gardenia, the only graded stakes race of the Ellis Park summer meet, is one of four added-money events on the Saturday card. The others are worth $50,000 apiece.

Brownie Points, winner of the Iowa Distaff two starts back for trainer Donnie Von Hemel, is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The Josephine Abercrombie homebred daughter of Forest Wildcat returns to the main track after a sixth-place finish most recently in the 1 3/16-mile Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Arlington Park turf July 21. The 4-year-old Brownie Points has seven wins in 18 career starts and has banked $535,109.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas drops grade II winner Fiery Pursuit into what he probably hoped was a slightly softer spot in the Gardenia after three successive dull efforts. Given a seven-week break, the Overbrook Farm's 4-year-old Carson City filly is seeking her first victory since capturing the Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) by a head over Asi Siempre on a sloppy Churchill Downs strip on May 4.

Leah's Secret, up the track to Brownie Points in the Iowa Distaff as the 3-5 choice, has every right to bounce back in the Gardenia for trainer Helen Pitts. The 4-year-old daughter of Tiger Ridge was five wide on the final turn of the that race. She has since finished second in her comeback race, an optional claiming allowance event on the Arlington Park Polytrack July 27, and returns to a more favorable distance Saturday. Leah's Secret won the seven-furlong Raven Run (gr. II) at Keeneland last October but hasn't been to the winner's circle since taking  Laurel's Ann Arundel a month after that.

The eight furlongs certainly favors the 5-year-old Steve Asmussen trainee, Eyes On Eddy, who is four-for-five at the distance. The Stonestreet Stable's daughter of Touch Gold   ran fifth in her most recent start, the 1 1/8-mile Locust Grove Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill Downs turf July 8. With eight lifetime wins and earnings of $534,109, she fits in this field.

$150,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III, Race 11, 5:31 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Mia's Reflection (FL), Thomas L. Pompell, 113, 15/1
2. Pleasant Hill (KY), Larry Melancon, 111, 20/1
3. Eyes On Eddy (KY), Corey J. Lanerie, 115, 8/1
4. Molly's Pride (KY), Danush Sukie, 111, 20/1
5. My Chickadee (KY), Victor Lebron, 112, 20/1
6. Fiery Pursuit (KY), Brian J. Hernandez, Jr., 117, 5/1
7. Maggie Slew (IN), Miguel Mena, 114, 10/1
8. Brownie Points (KY), Luis S. Quinonez, 118, 3/1
9. Leah's Secret (FL), Jamie Theriot, 117, 9/2
10. Stop a Train (IL), Willie Martinez, 115, 10/1
11. Superb Ravi (KY), Orlando Mojica, 113, 20/1
12. High Heels (KY), Joe M. Johnson, 114, 4/1

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