Frank Calabrese’s homebred Dreaming of Anna, winner of the March 15 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) in her last start, will be the one to beat when nine older fillies and mares heads postward in the $150,000-added Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT).
The one-mile turf event is race seven on the May 3rd 12-race card, which is highlighted by the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby. Dreaming of Anna is the 124-pound highweight in a field that includes grade II winners Sharp Susan and Ventura. The 4-year-old Rahyfilly, winner of the 2006 Eclipse Award for outstanding 2-year-old filly, has won five of her last six starts. This year, she wired the Hillsborough by 6 ¾ lengths following a narrow score in the Feb. 16 Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT). She had not raced since finishing second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland.
“She’s a very nice filly and we’re more than happy to have this kind of filly in our barn,” said trainer Wayne Catalano. “This is why we do what we do every morning, to have this kind in our hands. I went into her last race really, really liking the filly. She was training so well after coming back off the layoff, she’s gotten bigger and stronger and she’s carrying her speed a lot further. I’d definitely say she’s at the top of her game; I haven’t looked at the field yet but I’d say they’re probably more worried about me than I am about them.”
The filly who could prove to be a menace to the frontrunning Dreaming of Anna just got her first graded stakes score at Keeneland this spring, but she also holds an impressive record over turf – in Europe as well as the U.S. Juddmonte Farms’ Ventura, a daughter of Chester House whose first eight starts came in Great Britain, came to the U.S. following a Nov. 28 score in the Hyde Stakes over polytrack at Kempton Park. Making her first start of trainer Bobby Frankel at Santa Anita March 6, she was the handy two-length winner of a 6 ½-furlong allowance event after closing from fourth. She improved on that effort with a score in the April 9 Madison Stakes (gr. II), also on Polytrack, closing from 10th to win by a length.
“She seems like a nice filly,” Frankel said. “The race is full of quality, you’ve got Dreaming of Anna and Sharp Susan, so she’ll definitely have to step up to match them. She’s got a nice turn of foot, but whether it’s good enough to run down Dreaming of Anna is another question. We’ll have to wait and see.”
As Frankel mentioned, IEAH Stables’ Sharp Susan is also entered in the Distaff Turf. The Touch Gold filly comes off a half-length turf allowance win at Keeneland April 6, her first start back off a layup for trainer Bill Mott following a seventh-place finish in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. She has not won since taking the Lake Placid Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Aug. 17.
$150,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. III, race 7, approximate post 3:03 p.m.), one mile for older fillies and mares, turf
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey Name
1. You Go West Girl, 118, Julien Leparoux
2. Sharp Susan, 122, Kent Desormeaux
3. Danzon, 118, John Velazquez
4. Lady Carlock, 118, Robby Albarado
5. New Edition, 118, Shaun Bridgmohan
6. V. I. P. Princess, 118, John McKee
7. Bayou's Lassie, 118, Edgar Prado
8. Ventura, 118, Garrett Gomez
9. Dreaming of Anna, 124, Cornelio Velasquez