Azeri winner Hystericalady is the one to beat in the Fleur de Lis.

Azeri winner Hystericalady is the one to beat in the Fleur de Lis.

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Fleur de Lis: Hystericalady One to Beat

The Distorted Humor mare seeks a fifth graded stakes win June 14 at Churchill Downs

Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) runner-up Hystericalady seeks her fifth graded stakes victory and will likely be an odds-on choice to do so, as she faces five challengers in the $300,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) June 14 at Churchill Downs.

The 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis is the first of six graded stakes worth a total of $2,025,000 on the Churchill program. The dirt event is for fillies and mares. Hystericalady will carry 121 pounds, five-10 more than the rest of her rivals.

Owned by Rancho San Miguel, George Todaro, and Jerry Hollendorfer, Hystericalady was a hard-luck loser in the May 3 Humana Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill when she led into the stretch before being passed by Baroness Thatcher and eventual winner Intangaroo in the last jump. The daughter of Distorted Humor  lost by a head in the seven-furlong test.

The last time Hystericalady tried nine furlongs was in the Breeders’ Cup, as she battled Ginger Punch down the stretch only to lose by a neck over a sloppy surface at Monmouth Park. She has raced three times since then – finishing fourth in the Feb. 2 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I), which was her 5-year-old debut; easily besting the competition with a 3 1/2-length victory in the March 9 Azeri Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn; and then narrowing losing the Humana Distaff.

Trained by Hollendorfer, Hystericalady is 8-3-2 from 18 starts and has earned $1,310,978. Bred in Kentucky by Abbott Properties, she is out of the North Air mare Sacramentada. Garrett Gomez will ride her for the first time.

Hystericalady completed her Fleur de Lis preparations June 7 with a five-furlong work in 1:00.40 over the Tapeta synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields in Northern California.

On paper, it seems Hystericalady’s chief competition will be Jeff Singer’s Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry, if she goes. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee enters off a wire-to-wire score in the May 17 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) going a mile at Belmont, but was also cross-entered in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont the same day. The 4-year-old daughter of Pure Prize has won twice in her last four starts and four times in eight tries overall, but she must prove herself at nine furlongs. In her only two-turn effort, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry was eased in the stretch while finishing last March 29 in the Next Move Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct. Mike Luzzi will get the call.

Also to consider is J. Paul Reddam and Rockin BB Ranch’s Peach Flambe. The 5-year-old Flying Chevron mare won at nine furlongs April 19 in the Cicada, a restricted stakes at Gulfstream Park. Most recently, the Florida-bred was fourth, beaten four lengths in the May 17 Allaire DuPont Distaff (gr. II) at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard. Robby Albarado rides for Mark Henning.

Aspiring, Initforthekandy, and Kathleens Reel round out the field.

$300,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II, Race 6, 3:46 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Aspiring (KY), 111, Julien Leparoux
2. Peach Flambe (FL), 116, Robby Albarado
3. Initforthekandy (KY), 113, John McKee
4. Kathleens Reel (KY), 114, Calvin Borel
5. Hystericalady (KY), 121, Garrett Gomez
6. Cowgirls Don't Cry (KY), 115, Mike Luzzi