Juvenile fillies looking for a free ride to the Breeders' Cup will line up Sept. 7 in the $150,000 Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs, one of four stakes on opening day of the Louisville racetrack's inaugural 12-day September meet.
The Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" event could pave the way to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) for one of eight runners entered in the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas, which has been moved from the fall meet to September and lengthened from a one-turn mile to send contenders around two turns.
Stonestreet Stables' Elena Strikes is the lone runner with graded-stakes experience in the field, but has not raced for trainer Todd Pletcher since a third in the July 19 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) going six furlongs at Saratoga Race Course. Prior to that, the Smart Strike filly broke her maiden by 2 3/4 lengths with a three-wide bid in a five-furlong maiden special weight event at Monmouth Park. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez rides from post 2.
Trainer Kelly Breen sends another with a Monmouth score, Stonetastic, from the outside post under New Jersey ace Joe Bravo. Stoneway Farm's daughter of Mizzen Mast was 12 lengths clear of her rivals when favored in an Aug. 10 maiden special weight in her only start thus far.
Untapable, Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Tapit filly who is a half-sister to grade I-winning turf horse Paddy O'Prado, already has a win on the Churchill dirt for trainer Steve Asmussen. The bay runner went wire-to-wire June 20 sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs to get the job done.
Rosie Napravnik was aboard that day and has a return call from the rail; Untapable was pointing toward the Aug. 11 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at Saraotga but was scratched after a bout with colic.
A couple of horses with wins at Ellis Park are entered: Joseph Sutton's Milam, and Landaluce Educe Stables' Rosalind. The former, a daughter of Street Sense trained by Eddie Kenneally, rolled on the front end by 3 3/4 lengths in a six-furlong sprint Aug. 4. The latter, by Broken Vow , closed steadily going a mile on the turf to win by 2 1/2 on Aug. 2 for trainer Ken McPeek.
Harlan's Special, a Harlan's Holiday filly trained by Gary Hartlage for Ten Grand Stable, was second to Rosalind in the Ellis Park race Aug. 2. She seeks her maiden win with a runner-up finish to Untapable her debut.
Nevada Deputy, by Pollard's Vision , tries dirt again for Asmussen after a third in the 7 1/2-furlong Donnie Wilhite Memorial Stakes at Louisiana Downs. She was a winner at the same distance on the turf at Lone Star Park July 6, and ran fourth in her only dirt try, her June 29 debut sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Lone Star for H V Farms.
$150,000 Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II, Race 6 approximate post time 8:30 p.m. EDT), 2YO fillies, 1 1/16 miles (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Untapable (KY), R. Napravnik, S M Asmussen
2. Elena Strikes (KY), J.R. Velazquez, T A Pletcher
3. Milam (KY), B.J. Hernandez, Jr., E Kenneally
4. Rosalind (KY), V. Lebron, 118, K G McPeek
5. Harlan's Special (KY), J.M. Johnson, G G Hartlage
6. Nevada Deputy (KY), R. Santana, Jr., S M Asmussen
7. Redheaded Witch (KY), C.J. Lanerie, K W Marshall
8. Stonetastic (KY), J. Bravo, K J Breen
All runners carry 118 pounds