Lilly Carson Joins Crowded Juvenile Fillies Field

(Edited Churchill Downs report)
The crowded list of contenders for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) picked up another member on Monday when trainer Ralph Nicks pre-entered James Spence's homebred Lilly Carson in the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies.

The daughter of Carson City finished third behind Sutra in the $400,000 Frizette (gr. I) on Oct. 14. She had scored a comfortable win in a Saratoga maiden race in her only outing prior to that race.

Nicks said that Lilly Carson has done well since her run in the Frizette, and that progress and the wide-open nature of the likely overflow field for the Juvenile Fillies convinced him that the filly deserved a shot.

"She ran well and now she's Grade I-placed," said Nicks. "I know it wasn't the toughest Grade I, by any means. But, on the other hand, she had just broken her maiden going 5 ½-furlongs and stretched out to the mile. She kind of ran off like she was going 5 ½, but still didn't let them by her until late. She showed a lot of courage. She's a good filly. I don't know about the distance, but nobody knows until they try it."

Cornelio Velasquez will ride Lilly Carson in the Juvenile Fillies, which will mark the first Breeders' Cup race for Nicks since the longtime assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott went out on his own.

"It's exciting," said Nicks. "But you want to be realistic and hope for the best outcome, also."

Nicks said that Carson Lilly would likely work in preparation for the Juvenile Fillies toward the end of the week

The deadline for pre-entries was Monday, with the complete list to be released at 10 a.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. The list and accompanying articles about the pre-entries will be posted at at 10 a.m.