Nelson McMakin's Pleuven, a French-bred gelding who was a close second in the Opening Verse Stakes May 21 in his Churchill Downs debut, stepped up big time with a victory in the $200,000 Wise Dan Stakes (gr. IIT) at the Kentucky track June 18.
After hitting the board but missing out on victory in her last 10 graded stakes tries, Watsdachances broke through in the $150,000 Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) May 16 at Pimlico Race Course.
Hot Cha Cha used a ground-saving trip under James Graham and outdueled three rivals along the hedge in the final furlong to win the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) by three-quarters of a length June 5 at Churchill.
Hot Cha Cha found room along the inside turning for home and pulled away in the stretch under James Graham for an 8-1 upset in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) Oct. 17 at Keeneland.
Nelson McMakin's homebred Hot Cha Cha angled four-wide for her stretch run and caught 2-1 favorite Romacaca inside the sixteenth pole to post a 1 1/4-length victory under James Graham in the $200,000 Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) Sept. 7 on the Arlington Park turf course.
Hot Cha Cha, a 9-1 outsider making her stakes debut, seized the lead from favored Fitz Just Right leaving the eighth pole and drew away to a romping six-length win in the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) at Turfway Park March 21.
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