Trainer Dale Romans unleashed a true “Star of Tomorrow” in the 2008 Pocahontas (gr. III) when Sara Louise romped to victory by 3 3/4 lengths over Rachel Alexandra. On Nov. 1, Romans hopes history repeats itself when he saddles Jerry Romans’ Sassy Image in the $100,000 event for 2-year-old fillies. A full field of 13 was drawn.
The one-mile Pocahontas, along with the Iroquois (gr. III) for juvenile males, is the co-feature of Churchill Downs’ fall meet “Stars of Tomorrow” card on opening day. The 21-day fall meeting will run through Nov. 28.
“This time last year, Sara Louise was starting to move forward and I hope Sassy Image does the same,” Romans said.
Sassy Image has some big hoofprints to fill as. Sara Louise ran second behind Rachel Alexandra in last year’s Golden Rod (gr. II) and this year has won the Victory Ride (gr. III) at Saratoga and was second behind champion Indian Blessing in the Gallant Bloom (gr. II) at Belmont. Next week, she will be competing in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita for Godolphin Racing and trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
Sara Louise went into last year’s Pocahontas off a maiden score. Sassy Image, a maiden winner at Churchill in June, finished eighth in her most recent start in the Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) on Keeneland’s Polytrack Oct. 9 after enduring a wide trip. Prior to that, she was runner-up in the Aug. 19 Adirondack (gr. II) and fourth in the Sept. 6 Spinaway (gr. I), both at Saratoga.
“She likes this track and she has been training well,” Romans said of Sassy Image, who worked a bullet half-mile of :47.80 in her first work back after the Alcibiades.
A daughter of Broken Vow—Ideal Image, by Hennessy, Sassy Image was bred in Kentucky by J C Davis Farm. Romans has assigned Robby Albarado to ride.
Carrying top weight of 123 pounds will be Westrock Stables’ Decelerator, winner of the Debutante (gr. III) in June at Churchill. But the daughter of Dehere has been well-beaten in her last three starts, all in graded action. Last out, she was seventh in the Alcibiades. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will also saddle Westrock's Tidal Pool, will give the mount to Rajiv Maragh.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Vertical Vision will face her stiffest test yet after winning a pair of stakes at Prairie Meadows, which were sandwiched around a sixth-place finish in Woodbine’s Ontario Debutante in August. The Oklahoma-bred filly broke her maiden by nearly seven lengths at Lone Star Park this summer. Shaun Bridgmohan will ride for Steve Asmussen, Churchill’s perennial leading trainer.
Summerplace Farm’s Running Bride will also be tested in her first try against open company. The Indiana-bred is undefeated in three starts at Hoosier Park for Eddie Kenneally, including a 7 1/2-length romp in the Oct. 10 Miss Indiana Stakes. The daughter of Cherokee Run is based at Churchill and has two sharp works since her latest win. Julien Leparoux will ride.
$100,000 Pocahontas (gr. III, Race 8, 4:05 p.m.), 2YO Fillies, 1 Mile (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Biorra (KY), I Ocampo, 117, M L Rouck
2. All Due Respect (FL), B J Hernandez Jr., 117, R W Werner
3. Sassy Image (KY), R Albarado, 117, D L Romans
4. Tiz Miz Sue (KY), J L Castanon, 117, S Hobby
5. Happy Week (KY), E S Prado, 117, T A Pletcher
6. Running Bride (IN), J R Leparoux, 121, E Kenneally
7. Jody Slew (KY), L R Goncalves, 119, L Lay
8. Decelerator (KY), R Maragh, 123, D W Lukas
9. Snap Happy (KY), C H Borel, 119, D Stewart
10. Vertical Vision (OK), S Bridgmohan, 121, S M Asmussen
11. Vivid Colors (KY), K J Desormeaux, 117, K G McPeek
12. All About Anna (KY), C J Lanerie, 121, E Kenneally
13. Tidal Pool (KY), J Theriot, 119, D W Lukas