Glen Hill Farm's Marketing Mix has been made the 5-2 morning line favorite for her 2013 debut in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (presented by Longines) (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs. It won't be an easy spot.
The one-mile turf race is one of several stakes on the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) undercard with deep rosters.
The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro will face nine other older fillies and mares on the Matt Winn Turf Course including 3-1 second choice Daisy Devine and 4-1 co-third choices Hungry Island and Stephanie's Kitten. Hungry Island won last year's Distaff Turf Mile.
Last year Marketing Mix won four of seven starts, including the Rodeo Drive (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park, and ran second in a pair of other grade I races that were the toughest races of the year for her division: the Beverly D. Stakes and the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Her lone off-the-board effort came in a fourth-place finish in this race last year over a "good" course.
"We gave her some down time after the Breeders' Cup and she was on the farm for two and a half months and she's been great since she's come back to me," said trainer Tom Proctor. "She's won here but didn't run well in this race last year. It was the only bad race of her career but it was wet and everything. We'd beat Hungry Island here the previous year and in the race before this one last year. They're both quality fillies."
With the possibility of rain in the forecast for Derby Day, Proctor may call an audible and scratch his runner.
"If it would rain and we'd get a deluge, I wouldn't run her. But the forecast is looking better every day. I don't handicap weather or idiots," he said with a laugh.
At 3, Marketing Mix won the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) over the local course. In all she has a slate of 8-4-1 from 16 starts and has earned more than $1.6 million. Garrett Gomez has the mount.
James Miller's front-running Daisy Devine faded to finish fifth in this race a year ago. The daughter of Kafwain —Devil's Dispute, by Devil's Bag makes her fourth start of the year here, having won and run second in a pair of minor stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and then finishing well for second to Centre Court in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IT) at 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland. Post three should get her out and near the front as is her wont.
Emory Hamilton's Hungry Island roared past an allowance field, that included rival Karlovy Vary, in an April 7 allowance race at Keeneland in her 2013 bow for trainer Shug McGaughey. McGaughey will also be sending out Point of Entry in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. I) and morning-line favorite Orb in the Kentucky Derby.
Hungry Island, a homebred 5-year-old mare by More Than Ready --Flying Passage, by A.P. Indy, was third behind Marketing Mix in the Mrs. Revere back in the fall of 2011. Hungry Island has six wins from 17 starts and has earned $545,686.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Stephanie's Kitten makes her seasonal bow in the Distaff Turf Mile. The homebred daughter of Kitten's Joy hasn't started since an off-the-board effort in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland last October. She's perfect in two starts at Churchill Downs including her score in the Breeders' Cup Filly Turf (gr. IIT) under the Twin Spires in 2011. She landed the Edgewood Stakes on the turf at Churchill Downs during Derby weekend last year.
"My filly is doing well and we're happy to get her back in action," said trainer Wayne Catalano. "It's the first start of the year for her. I'm happy with the way she's coming into the race. Hopefully she'll be good enough and we can run in some big races this year, maybe the Beverly D. (gr. I) or something like that."
He's also concerned about the weather.
"She's won on a good turf course here, we just have to hope it doesn't get worse than that," he said. "We probably won't scratch."
Brittlyn Stable's Class Included is cross-entered in the May 3 La Troienne Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Trainer Dale Romans will make a decision later.
I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to run," Romans said. "That's a nice filly we have. I was really happy with her last race (a second in a one-mile turf race at Keeneland April 19). I haven't looked at it long enough to see which way we're going. It's a good field, but she'll be competitive in either place she runs."
Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (presented by Longines), (gr. IIT, Race 8 approx. post 2:59 p.m. EDT), fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, one mile, turf
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, ML
1, Drama Drama, F. Torres, V. Oliver, 30-1
2, Channel Lady, R. Bejarano, T. Pletcher, 12-1
3, Daisy Devine, J. Graham, A. McKeever, 3-1
4, Frontside, L. Goncalves, E. Caramori, 30-1
5, Hungry Island, J. Castellano, S. McGaughey, 4-1
6, Stephanie's Kitten, J. Leparoux, W. Catalano, 4-1
7, Karlovy Vary, C. Lanerie, R. Arnold, 12-1
8, Marketing Mix, G. Gomez, T. Proctor, 5-2
9, Class Included, R. Albarado, D. Romans, 30-1
10, Stopshoppingmaria, J. Velazquez, T. Pletcher, 10-1