Button Down

Button Down

Michael Burns

Cardinal: Button Down Favored Over Kiss Moon

Canadian invader takes on 120-pound highweight Nov. 21 at Churchill Downs.

Carl F. Pollard's Kiss Moon and Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Emotional Kitten, winners of graded stakes races on the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs, face a fleet of invaders led by Canada's Button Down in the $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 21 at the Louisville track.

Greenwood Lodge Farm's Button Down rallied late to finish a half-length behind Strut the Course over yielding turf in the 1 1/8-mile Canadian Stakes (gr. IIT) at Woodbine Sept 13, and Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has installed the daughter of Oasis Dream as the 7-2 morning line favorite over a field of 12 rivals.

Button Down won the only two races of her career after moving to North America and the barn of trainer Josie Carroll in allowance and maiden victories at Woodbine. She was a closer runner-up in her stakes debut in the 1 1/2-mile Flaming Page over the Woobine turf course in June, an effort that preceded to strong run in the Canadian Stakes. Carroll's filly finished fifth of 12, beaten only two lengths, over the same course in the 1 1/4-mile E.P. Taylor (Can-IT) won by Curvy.

The 4-year-old has a career record of 2-6-0 from 13 races with earnings of $130,709. She was assigned 118 pounds and will break from post 11 under jockey Paco Lopez, who won last week's $200,000 Mrs. Revere (gr. IIT) at Churchill aboard Isabella Sings.

The Dave Vance-trained Kiss Moon, a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Malibu Moon , counts the June 6 Mint Julep (gr. IIIT) at Churchill and the Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs as her only victories among five starts in 2015. Kiss Moon enters the Cardinal off a disappointing ninth-place run in the First Lady (gr. IT) over soft turf at Keeneland that dropped her career record to 6-1-13 in 17 races, with earnings of $531,829 over three racing seasons.

Vance expressed a touch of frustration with getting his runner to the races at the beginning of her 4-year-old campaign due to the weather conditions at Oaklawn Park, where he is based during the winter months.

"This year we could never get her into a good rhythm," he said. "We had to run her in a grade I (Churchill Distaff Turf Mile) first time out against the eventual winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile (Tepin). This summer we tried her at Mountaineer and that grass didn't suit her."

Julien Leparoux will ride Kiss Moon, the 120-pound starting highweight, from post 12. Kiss Moon is the 5-1 second choice in Battaglia's morning line odds for the Cardinal.  

Emotional Kitten, a 5-year-old Kitten's Joy  mare bred in Pennsylvania by her owners, won the 2013 running of the Mrs. Revere at 3, but her only win in 13 subsequent races came in a Keeneland allowance race in October of last year. The career slate for the Wesley Ward trainee stands at 5-5-5 in 27 races with earnings of $556,111.  

Emotional Kitten, a 15-1 risk in the Cardinal morning line, will start from post nine under jockey Mario Pino.

Car Colston Hall Stud's Wiener Valkyrie is one of a trio of 3-year-old fillies in the field and was entered in last week's Mrs. Revere, the final North American stakes race on turf for her gender and age group, but did not draw in from the roster of also-eligible fillies in that overflow field. The daughter of Sharmardal was impressive in a hard-charging runner-up finish to Stellar Path at odds of 66-1 in her lone stateside effort in the Athenia (gr. IIIT) Oct. 17 at Belmont Park.

Shaun Bridgmohan will ride Weiner Valkyrie, who was installed as the 5-1 co-second choice for the Cardinal off that strong U.S debut. She drew post three for trainer Ed Walker.

The Motion-trained duo of Flaxman Holdings Ltd.'s Faufiler and Gestuef Fahrhof's Lacy loom as significant factors in the Cardinal at morning line odds of 5-1 and 6-1. Both are 4-year-old fillies making their first starts for Motion.

Entries: Cardinal H. (G3T)

Churchill Downs, Saturday, November 21, 2015, Race 10

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 5:15 PM (local)
11America Mon Amie (IL)Channing Hill111Anthony J. Granitz30/1
22Faufiler (IRE)Stephane Pasquier115H. Graham Motion6/1
33Wiener Valkyrie (GB)Shaun Bridgmohan115Ed Walker5/1
44Invading Humor (NY)Ricardo Santana, Jr.116Bruce N. Levine15/1
55Lady Fog Horn (IN)Albin Jimenez112Anthony J. Granitz20/1
66Sistas Stroll (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDrayden Van Dyke115Thomas F. Proctor8/1
77Bitty Kitty (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey J. Lanerie117Brendan P. Walsh12/1
88Lacy (GER)Joseph Rocco, Jr.115H. Graham Motion8/1
99Emotional Kitten (PA)Mario G. Pino117Wesley A. Ward12/1
1010Street of Gold (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateChris Landeros114Eric R. Reed20/1
1111Button Down (GB)Keeneland Sales GraduatePaco Lopez118Josie Carroll7/2
1212Kiss Moon (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJulien R. Leparoux120David R. Vance5/1
1313Annulment (KY)Jon Kenton Court116Victoria H. Oliver15/1