Off the board in last month’s Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), Ailalea and Age of Humor both look to rebound in the $100,000 Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) May 29 at Churchill Downs.
The one-mile Dogwood drew a field of eight 3-year-old fillies. The race shares top billing with the $100,000 Aristides, a grade III stakes earlier on the card for older horses going six furlongs on the main track.
Though she has not hit the board in three starts this season, Starlight Partners’ Ailalea was assigned top weight of 123 pounds, four to six more than her rivals. Winner of the Tempted Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct last November in her season finale, the daughter of Pulpit began this year with sixth-place finishes in the Forward Gal (gr. II) at Gulfstream in January and the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) in March. She pressed the pace for six furlongs in the April 30 Kentucky Oaks, but tired to finish fifth under John Velazquez.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Ailalea has remained at Churchill to train for the Dogwood, working twice since the Oaks. Bred in Kentucky by BryLynn Farm and out of the Woodman mare Wood Sprite, she has earned $120,251 from seven starts. Calvin Borel picks up the mount for the first time.
Bluegrass Equine Center, Sky Chai Racing, and Twin Creeks Farm’s Age of Humor was never a factor when finishing 12th in the Kentucky Oaks for trainer Mike Maker. That was the only time the Distorted Humor filly had been out of the money in six starts. She entered the Oaks off a win in the Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct, a distant third-place finish in the Silverbulletday (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, and a tough-luck neck defeat in the Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) on the Turfway Park Polytrack.
Age of Humor will also change riders for the Dogwood, with Francisco Torres replacing Rajiv Maragh. They will break from post 2.
Runner-up to Age of Humor in the Busanda was Fuzzy Britches, who came back to win the Dearly Precious Stakes in February for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. In March, the Pollard's Vision filly was fourth in the grade III Cicada Stakes, and on the Kentucky Oaks undercard she was beaten a nose in an optional claimer as the 8-5 choice. Corey Lanerie will ride.
Desk Farms’ Helen Belen ran off to a resounding 14 3/4-length score in the Valdale Stakes at Turfway Park in February, but has since finished sixth in the Bourbonette Oaks and a distant third in the Indiana Downs Distaff May 5. Sal Gonzalez Jr. rides for Bill Denzik Jr.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Vertical Vision seeks her first victory of the season. Also by Pollard’s Vision, she is winless in three starts in 2010, but missed by neck in the Instant Racing Stakes at Oaklawn Park April 10. Steve Asmussen has assigned Shaun Bridgmohan to ride.
$100,000 Dogwood Stakes (gr. III, Race 10, 5:29 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, One Mile (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Tap Tap Tapping (KY), F Lenclud, 117, D R Vance
2. Age of Humor (KY), F C Torres, 117, M J Maker
3. Fuzzy Britches (KY), C J Lanerie, 119, R E Dutrow Jr.
4. Ailalea (KY), C H Borel, 123, T A Pletcher
5. Helen Belen (KY), S Gonzalez Jr., 119, W J Denzik Jr.
6. Vertical Vision (OK), S Bridgmohan, 119, S M Asmussen
7. Visavis (KY), J Theriot, 117, S Margolis
8. Bell's Shoes (KY), J K Court, 117, W H Fires