A rare meeting of three Breeders' Cup champions, including a rematch of the last two winners of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) headlines what promises to be one of the most memorable renewals in the long history of Churchill Downs' $250,000-added Falls City Handicap (gr. III).
The Falls City will provide a rematch of Roger Devenport's 2001 Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine and The Thoroughbred Corp's Spain, the 2000 Distaff winner and runner-up in this year's renewal at Belmont Park. They will be joined in the field of seven older fillies and mares in the 1 1/8-miles Falls City by Carl Pollard's Caressing, the winner of the 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and the nation's reigning 2-year-old filly champion.
The Dallas Stewart-trained Unbridled Elaine has compiled a record of 6-2-0 in 10 starts and has career earnings of $1,743,390. She missed the first half of the year while recovering from surgery, but a win in the Falls City could cap a late season bid for an Eclipse Award that includes wins in the Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) and Iowa Oaks and a runner-up finish to Macho Uno in a run against males in the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III).
Spain, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, had a clear lead in the homestretch in this year's running of the Distaff, only to be passed in the final yards by Unbridled Elaine. The daughter of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch ran in last year's Falls City, where she lost by a nose to Bordelaise.
Pat Day will ride Unbridled Elaine, who will carry 121 pounds as the 9-5 morning line favorite. Spain, who will carry highweight of 122, will be ridden by regular jockey Victor Espinoza and is listed as the 3-1 second choice in the morning line.
Caressing, trained by David Vance, finished fourth in the recent Churchill Downs Distaff (gr. II). She is listed as the longest shot in the Falls City field at 12-1.
The field for the Falls City includes: De Bertie (Jorge Chavez, 115, 5-1); Unbridled Elaine (Pat Day, 121, 9-5); Spain ( Victor Espinoza, 122, 3-1); Miss Linda (Richard Migliore, 119, 5-1); Caressing (Robby Albarado, 113,12-1); Printemps (Chris McCarron, 112, 4-1); and Forest Secrets (Craig Perret, 113, 10-1).