Millennium Farms’ Copper State, a bridesmaid in four consecutive stakes efforts, will finally try to get over the hump Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs when she takes on 10 rivals in the $150,000 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II), a one-mile main track test for fillies and mares.
Among those Copper State will have to conquer are graded stakes winners Swift Temper, Leah’s Secret and Super Freaky, as well as Zayat Stables’ Baroness Thatcher, who was a head away from scoring the grade I Humana Distaff earlier this season.
Copper State is winless in five starts this season, but has finished in the money in every one. The 4-year-old daughter of Jump Startbegan her string of runner-up finishes April 26 at Hawthorne in the Illinois-bred restricted Peach of It Handicap, then was second to Unbridled Belle in the Obeah Handicap (gr. III) at Delaware Park, missed by 1 1/4 lengths to Ginger Punch in the Go for Wand (gr. I) July 26 at Saratoga, and most recently was a distant second in the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 6.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Copper State is 4-6-6 from 20 lifetime starts, her only stakes win coming as a juvenile in an Illinois-bred event at Hawthorne in 2006. She will cut back to a mile for the first time this season and should receive a stalking trip from jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.
Asmussen will also saddle Padua Stables’ Amazing Speed, a multiple winner of minor stakes at Calder Race Course and a runner-up last time out in the Central Iowa Stakes at Prairie Meadows Sept. 6. Jamie Theriot drew the mount on Amazing Speed, who will break from the outside post.
Mark Stanley’s Swift Temper is the only Chilukki starter entering off a graded stakes victory. The 4-year-old Giant's Causeway filly led most of the way in romping to a 4 1/2-length score in the one-mile Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at Ellis Park Aug. 16. It was her first win since February of 2007, a span that included 11 consecutive defeats. Tenth in last year’s Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), Swift Temper is trained by Dale Romans. Kent Desormeaux will get the call.
WinStar Farm’s Leah’s Secret earned her graded stakes victory three starts ago in the Chicago Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park when she came from off the pace and got up by three quarters of a length on the Polytrack. Since then, the daughter of Tiger Ridge was fourth to Intangaroo in the Ballerina (gr. I) at Saratoga and fourth, but beaten more than 21 lengths, in the Beldame Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 27 at Belmont. Rene Douglas will ride for Todd Pletcher.
Castleton Lyons’ Super Freaky is winless in her last 11 starts, her most recent trip to the winner’s circle coming April 7, 2007 in the Providencia Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Santa Anita turf.
Baroness Thatcher, trained by Bill Mott, enters the race off a wire-to-wire score in allowance company at Keeneland going 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack. The 4-year-old Johannesburg filly has just one win in seven starts this season.
$150,000 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 4:37 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Dirt) PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Initforthekandy (KY), 118, John McKee
2. Striking Tomisue (KY), 118, Corey J. Lanerie
3. Copper State (IL), 118, Shaun Bridgmohan
4. Unforgotten (FL), 118, Miguel Mena
5. Swift Temper (KY), 118, Kent J. Desormeaux
6. Tiz to Dream (KY), 116, Calvin H. Borel
7. Marquee Delivery (KY), 118, Jesus Lopez Castanon
8. Baroness Thatcher (KY), 118, Robby Albarado
9. Super Freaky (FL), 118, Julien R. Leparoux
10. Leah's Secret (FL), 118, Rene R. Douglas
11. Amazing Speed (KY), 118, Jamie Theriot