The $150,000 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II), which attracted a well-matched field of 12 fillies and mares, promises to help get the Breeders' Cup World Championships program off to a good betting start at Churchill Downs Nov. 6.
Always a Princess, wire-to-wire winner of the Indiana Oaks (gr. II) in her most recent start Oct. 2, headlines the field in the one-mile main track test that tops the undercard for the second day of the two-day Breeders' Cup festival.
The Chilukki is the third race on an 11-race card that includes eight Breeders' Cup events. Post time for the Chilukki is 1:15 p.m. EDT.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Always a Princess is one of five graded stakes winners in the field. Malibu Prayer won last year's Chilukki and was nominated to the race again this year, but will instead run a day earlier in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I).
Always A Princess is unbeaten in two starts as a 3-year-old after showing much promise at 2 with a runner-up finish in the Oak Leaf (gr. I) over the synthetic Pro-Ride track at Oak Tree at Santa Anita. She followed that effort with a fifth-place run behind She Be Wild in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) over the same track. She returned to competition 10 months later with an allowance victory over older rivals at Del Mar in early September and then shipped to Hoosier Park to score her first stakes victory in the Indiana Oaks.
Martin Garcia, who was aboard for the Indiana Oaks win, has the call on Always a Princess, a solid 5-2 favorite. Arnold Zetcher’s daughter of Leroidesanimaux will break from post 3 and carry top weight of 119 pounds.
Three of the other top contenders are also shipping from Southern California.
The Doug O’Neill-trained Emmy Darling, last of five behind Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) favorite Zenyatta in the Ladies Secret (gr. I) at Oak Tree at Hollywood Park, looks to rebound with her fourth win of 2010. Rafael Bejarano will ride the 4-year-old daughter of Graeme Hall, 5-1 second choice in the race.
John Sadler entered a pair. Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Third Dawn makes just her third start of the year and her first since finishing third in the Milady Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park in May. The 4-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa was a stakes winner last year and missed by just a nose to Stardom Bound in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) at odds of 35-1 last spring.
Calvin Borel will ride Third Dawn, who is the 6-1 co-third choice in the Chilukki along with stablemate Alpha Kitten. Jerry and Ann Moss's homebred 4-year-old Tale of the Cat filly is winless in five starts this year but has been knocking on the door with three seconds and a third. Winner of the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride last year, this will be her debut on dirt. Joel Rosario has the mount on Alpha Kitten, who drew the far outside post.
Just inside her is Double Espresso, coming off a six-furlong stakes win at Remington Park for owner Gold Mark Farm and trainer Tom Amoss. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro is 8-1 on the morning line.
Grade III winner First Passage is one of two shipping from Florida for trainer Marty Wolfson. She is coming off a fifth-place finish in Saratoga's Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 28. The 4-year-old Giant's Causeway miss won a stakes at Calder in June for owner Andrew Rosen and gains the services of jockey Garrett Gomez. They break from the rail.
Wolfson also entered Farnsworth Stables' Bronx City Girl, second last time in the Charles Town Oaks.
$150,000 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II, Race 3, 1:15 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. First Passage (KY), 118, G Gomez, M D Wolfson, 6/1
2. Bronx City Girl (KY), J R Leparoux, 115, M D Wolfson, 12/1
3. Always a Princess (KY), M Garcia, 119, B Baffert, 5/2
4. Direct Line (KY), T Farina, 118, V H Oliver, 30/1
5. Emmy Darling (FL), R Bejarano, 118, D F O'Neill, 5/1
6. Taste's Sis (KY), L J Sterling Jr., 118, V Lund, 30/1
7. Be Fair (FL), R Maragh, 118, D W Lukas, 20/1
8. Distinctive Dixie (KY), R Albarado, 118, W A Dollase, 15/1
9. Third Dawn (KY), C H Borel, 118, J W Sadler, 6/1
10. Devil by Design (KY), K J Desormeaux, 118, W I Mott, 10/1
11. Double Espresso (KY), L R Goncalves, 118, T M Amoss, 8/1
12. Alpha Kitten (KY), J Rosario, 118, J W Sadler, 6/1