Contested Favored to Ring Belles

Baffert-trained filly early 2-1 favorite for May 4 Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III).

Jill Baffert’s Contested, with a sharp win at Santa Anita Park last month and a sharp work over the Churchill Downs surface April 28, was made the 2-1 favorite for the May 4 Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III).

The Eight Belles, which honors the memory of the filly that broke down after running second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will be run at seven furlongs. Eight 3-year-old fillies passed the entry box.

Contested broke her maiden in her second attempt Oct. 2 at Santa Anita, going six furlongs in 1:08.95. She didn’t surface again until April 15 when she dusted an entry-level allowance cast by 5 3/4 lengths, getting 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.58. Contested is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, the husband of the owner.

Contested was a $110,000 Keeneland September sale purchase. Bred in Kentucky by Cherry Valley Farm, she is a daughter of Ghostzapper —Gold Vault, by Arch.

On April 28 Contested got her first recorded work over the Churchill Downs surface, getting five furlongs in 1:01, the sixth fastest of 53 at the trip on the day.

The Klein family’s Good Deed, fresh off a victory April 6 in the Prima Donna Stakes at Oaklawn Park, is the 3-1 second choice in the Eight Belles. The homebred is by Broken Vow  out of the grade III-winning Mt. Livermore mare Hidden Assets. She is a half sister to $503,829 earner Country Day (by Speightstown ) and the multiple stakes winning Due Date (El Prado)

She also comes into the race off a crisp work, getting five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 April 27, the second fastest of 36 on the day.

A four-time winner from six starts, Good Deed has earned $131,600. She is trained by Steve Margolis.

Gainesway Stable’s homebred Small Kitchen has been pegged at 7-2 on the morning line. The daughter of Corinthian out of Banshee Girl, by Deputy Minister, broke her maiden first time out going six furlongs at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Feb. 2, then won an allowance/optional claimer March 4 at the same trip. Stretched out for the 1 1/16-mile Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), she tired and finished fourth behind Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contenders Believe You Can and Summer Applause.

Trainer Dale Romans has a pair for the Eight Belles in Xunlei (6-1) and My Due Process (8-1).

Gold Mark Farm’s Xunlei, a $90,000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. August yearling, won the seven-furlong Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies Stakes April 7 at Tampa Bay Downs. The Florida-bred D'Wildcat filly was bred by Rustlewood Farm and has a 3-1-2 slate from seven starts, all coming in sprints.

Priscilla Vaccarezza’s My Due Process won the $122,718 Monmouth Park NATC Futurity last September at Monmouth and captured an allowance/optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park April 7 after running in a pair of stakes to start her 2012 campaign. The daughter of Henny Hughes was a $30,000 OBS sale 2-year-old.

$100,000 Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 2:08 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 7 Furlongs
Post, Horse, Jockey, Wgt., Trainer, ML
1, Always Here Too, L. Goncalves, 118, T Amoss, 10-1
2, Small Kitchen, R. Napravnik, 118, M Maker, 7-2
3, Good Deed, C. Lanerie, 118, S. Margolis, 3-1
4, Xunlei, R. Albarado, 118, D. Romans, 6-1
5, Volcat, J. Leparoux, 18, K. McPeek, 12-1
6, Livi Makenzie, G. Kuntzweiler, 118, R. Moquett, 15-1
7, Contested, M. Garcia, 118, B. Baffert, 2-1
8, My Due Process, J. Castellano, 118, D. Romans, 8-1