Ravi's Song, second to well-regarded Deluxe in the Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) over the Churchill Downs turf earlier this month, switches to the main track for the Thanksgiving Day feature, the $175,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. III), on Nov. 24.
Mrs. Yoshio Fujita's 5-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song brings three consecutive runner-up finishes in grade III turf events into the 1 1/8-mile Falls City, which attracted a field of 10 fillies and mares. It is the 11th race on the Churchill program with a probable post of 4:24 p.m. EST.
Ravi’s Song has done most of her racing on dirt, however. She has raced six times on Churchill's main track and has a record of 2-1-1 with earnings of $93,683. The gray/roan mare weakened to fourth in last year's Falls City, finishing nearly six lengths behind the victorious Dundalk Dust.
Trainer Carl Bowman switched Ravi's Song to turf for the first time in the Mint Julep (gr. IIIT) at Churchill in June. She finished second, losing by a neck to My Baby Baby. A runner-up finish in the Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Monmouth Park lawn in July was followed by the Cardinal.
“I think she’s going to run well,” Bowman said. “She’s a three-time stakes winner on the dirt, so she’ll have no problem with the surface. I think she’ll show she can switch back and forth (between turf and dirt).”
Ravi's Song sports a career mark of 6-5-1 in 16 starts with earnings of $351,070. With Corey Lanerie to ride, they will break from the far outside post. The gray was assigned 117 pounds, four fewer than the top-weighted Arena Elvira and Super Espresso.
Arena Elvira carries a three-race win streak into the Falls City for trainer Bill Mott, including a 6 3/4-length romp over four rivals in her latest, the Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct Nov. 4. Carolyn Wilson owns the 4-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper out of the million-dollar earner Two Item Limit (Twining). She breaks from the rail with Junior Alvarado aboard.
Arena Elvira was cross-entered in Aqueduct's $150,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. II) Nov. 25.
Bobby Flay's Super Espresso was overmatched in her last, the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I), finishing seventh at 32-1, and should find this spot much more to her liking. The Todd Pletcher-trained 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro is looking for her first victory since taking the Allaire du Pont Distaff Stakes (gr. III) at Pimlico May 21. She has lost five in a row.
Juanita, winner of the Indiana Oaks (gr. II) at Hoosier Park in her last start Oct. 1, is one of two 3-year-olds in the field. Trained by Mike Maker for William and Graydon Patterson, the Mineshaft miss has won thee of four starts since being claimed for $25,000 from Michael Trombetta at Gulfstream Park in March.
Alex Campbell Jr.'s grade III winner It's Tea Time leads the field in earnings with $433,552. But the 4-year-old Dynaformer filly is working on a nine-race losing streak for trainer Rusty Arnold since splashing home by 7 1/4 lengths in Saratoga's off-the-turf Lake Placid Stakes (gr. III) in August 2010.
$175,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. III, Race 11, 4:24 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Arena Elvira (KY), J Alvarado, 121, W I Mott
2. It's Tea Time (KY), M R Cruz, 116, G R Arnold, II
3. Riviera Chic (KY), J L Castanon, 115, M J Maker
4. Spring Party (KY), B Creed, 114, E R Reed
5. Juanita (KY), E S Prado, 116, M J Maker
6. Brushed by a Star (KY), B J Hernandez Jr., 111, G T Forster
7. Secret File (KY), J R Leparoux, 115, C Lopresti
8. Super Espresso (KY), J Castellano, 121, T A Pletcher
9. Afleeting Lady (KY), K J Desormeaux, 114, D L Romans
10. Ravi's Song (KY), C J Lanerie, 117, C Bowman