Brushed by a Star (left) and Joyful Victory finished 1-2 in the Chilukki Stakes.

Brushed by a Star (left) and Joyful Victory finished 1-2 in the Chilukki Stakes.

Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs

Inaugural Houston Ladies Classic Has Style

Joyful Victory, Brushed by a Star head $400,000 race at Sam Houston Jan. 26.

The inaugural running of the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic—the richest race run at Sam Houston Race Park since it opened in 1994—will feature round three for rivals Joyful Victory and Brushed by a Star.

Those two lead six entrants for the 1 1/16-mile event, race nine on a night racing card with an approximate post time of 9:45 p.m. CST. The Ladies Classic anchors a four-stakes card that also features the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) topped by King David and Willcox Inn.

Joyful Victory was third in the Nov. 22 Falls City Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs to close out a 2012 campaign in which she never finished off the board for trainer Larry Jones and Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms. The 5-year-old Tapit  runner took the Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, was third in the Azeri (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park, and finished second in the Gardenia (gr. II) at Ellis Park, the Zenyatta (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, and the Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) back at Churchill.
Brushed by a Star won the Chilukki for Team Forster, after which she was sold for $400,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November sale to new owner Unlimited Equine (Tom Berry). Trainer Eddie Kenneally sent the 5-year-old daughter of Eddington to a runner-up finish to a half sister to Shackleford , Afleeting Lady, in the Falls City. Earlier in 2012, Grant Forster saddled Brushed by a Star to victory in the Iowa Distaff Stakes at Prairie Meadows and the Molly Pitcher Stakes (gr. II) at Monmouth Park.
Joyful Victory breaks from post 1 under jockey Rosie Napravnik and 115 pounds, while Brushed by a Star carries 121 from the post 2 under Corey Lanerie.
Another runner of note in the field is Gillian S. Campbell, R Group Management, and Greenwood Lodge Farm's Summer Applause, winner of the 2012 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds. The Harlan's Holiday filly has not raced for trainer Bret Calhoun since a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Carrying the 124-pound high weight in the Ladies Classic is She's All In, seven-length winner of the Oct. 19 Oklahoma Classics Distaff Stakes going a mile and 70 yards last time out. The 6-year-old daughter of Include  was second in the Azeri in the spring of 2012 and won the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne in her next start. Her Oklahoma Classics Distaff win came on the heels of a solid allowance score at Remington Park.
Kinsman Stable's lightly-raced but undefeated allowance winner Sisterly Love was supplemented to the race for $10,000 when entries were taken Jan. 23. Rod Edgmon and Lila McKinnis' allowance winner Lookinforchange completes the field.
$400,000 Houston Ladies Classic (Race 9, approximate post 9:45 p.m. CST), fillies & mares 4YOS & Up, 1 1/16 miles (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Joyful Victory (ON), R. Napravnik, 115, J L Jones
2. Brushed by a Star (KY), C.J. Lanerie, 121, E Kenneally
3. Summer Applause (KY), M. Mena, 115, W B Calhoun
4. Sisterly Love (KY), L. Saez, 115, M E Casse
5. She's All In (OK), L.S. Quinonez, 124, D K Von Hemel
6. Lookinforchange (KY), R.R. Singh, 115, T G Williams