Rich in Spirit On Favored Turf in Locust Grove

(from Churchill Downs report)
Glen Hill Farm's homebred Rich in Spirit, runner-up in the recent Early Times Mint Julep (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs and a winner of nearly $400,000 on the turf, takes on seven rivals in $150,000-added Locust Grove Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill turf Saturday.

The Locust Grove, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares, is the featured event on an 11-race program Saturday that kicks off the final weekend of the 2006 spring meet at Churchill Downs, which concludes its 57-day run on Sunday.

Rich in Spirit, a 4-year-old daughter of Repriced, has done some of her best running on the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs. The Tom Proctor trainee has never finished worse than second in four starts on the Churchill grass, which includes a win in last year's Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT).

Proctor hopes for an honest pace in the Locust Grove to set up a late run by Rich in Spirit, who is 6-5 on the morning line.

"I'd really like to see her lay back a little more," he said. "She can lay up close, but I don't think it's her best gig."

Mark Guidry will ride Rich in Spirit, who has drawn the outside post and will be the starting high weight at 118 pounds.

Other major contenders for the Locust Grove include Pin Oak Stable's Sweet Science (4-1 in the morning line) and Vinery Stable's More Than Promised (9-2).

The Maryland-based Sweet Science finished second to Louve Royale in the 1 ½-mile Top Corsage overnight handicap on May 28. She has been first or second in nine of 13 turf starts for trainer Graham Motion and will be ridden by Robby Albarado.

More Than Promised, a 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready  trained by Scott Blasi, won the Pago Hop Handicap at the Fair Grounds at Harrah's Louisiana Downs. She finished a troubled third to Mirabilis in the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) on Kentucky Derby Day, but ran a disappointing fifth in the Early Times Mint Julep.

$150,000 Locust Grove Handicap (gr. IIIT), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse (weight), Jockey, ML odds
1. Cape Hope (114), John McKee, 15-1
2. Anegada (114), Brice Blanc, 15-1
3. Sweet Science (116), Robby Albarado, 4-1
4. Pyrana (113), Julien Leparoux, 5-1
5. Story's Image (100), Randall Toups, 99-1
6. More Than Promised (115), Corey Lanerie, 9-2
7. Dynamist (112), Larry Melancon, 6-1
8. Rich in Spirit (118), Mark Guidry, 6-5