The Kentucky Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds has been the exclusive property of trainer Steve Asmussen for the past five years. Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Merkel will attempt to run the string to six May 1, when he faces seven foes in the $150,000, five-furlong race. A son of Forest Wildcat, Merkel will break from the rail under Shaun Bridgmohan. Asmussen scored in this race with Posse (2002), Cuvee (2003), Lunarpal (2004), Datrick (2006), and Rated Fiesty (2007), with all but Cuvee being owned by Heiligbrodt.
Walter New's homebred Flying Circle launched a furious rally in the stretch to finish a half-length in front, and then survived an inquiry by stewards to win the $111,100 Mariah's Storm Stakes, a five-furlong event for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up, on the turf Nov. 18 at Churchill Downs.
Flying Circle turned the tables on Smitty's Sunshine in the $250,000 Distaff Turf Sprint Championship at Calder Race Course on Saturday, rallying from sixth in the stretch under jockey Manny Aguilar to win by three-quarters of a length over Unbridled Sidney.
Leading sprinter Unbridled Sidney bids for a repeat in the $250,000 Distaff Turf Sprint Championship at Calder Race Course on Saturday.
The filly Rated Fiesty easily defeated males, scoring a front-running 4 1/2-length victory over Yogi'ssplashofgold in the $183,150 Kentucky Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 2-year-olds on Thursday at sloppy Churchill Downs.
Get Ready Bertie stamped herself as another filly of Oaks quality with an impressive two-length tally in Saturday's $100,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Fair Grounds Race Course.
Smitty's Sunshine, with Robby Albarado aboard, pulled clear following a three-way duel for the early lead and then held off a late charge by Beautiful Bets for a three-quarter length victory in Sunday's $116,400 Pent Up Kiss Stakes for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs.
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