Emollient Back at Keeneland in Doubledogdare
Juddmonte Farms' Emollient, 2-for-2 at Keeneland after notching double grade I wins at the Lexington oval, finds a softer spot in the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) Friday, April 18.
The 4-year-old Empire Maker filly earned her two grade I victories at Keeneland in the Central Bank Ashland (gr. I) last spring and the Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) in the fall, taking the American Oaks (gr. I) at Hollywood Park in between. Only three fillies—Take Charge Lady (2002), Optimistic Gal (1976), and Doubledogdare herself (1956) had accomplished that double.
After her Juddmonte Spinster victory for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Emollient left Keeneland to run a good fourth in the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). She made her season debut March 16 in the Santa Ana Stakes (gr. IIT) going 1 1/8 miles on the Santa Anita Park lawn, finishing fourth after pressing the pace.
Cutting back to 1 1/16 miles and returning to the Polytrack, Emollient carries top weight of 123 pounds against 10 other older fillies and mares in the Doubledogdare, which goes as the ninth on Friday's 10-race program with a post time of 5:13 p.m. EDT. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the return call from post 10. All others carry 118 pounds.
Trained by Mark Casse, Sisterly Love was named Canada's champion older female in 2013. Stewart Elliott, who rode the 6-year-old daughter of Bellamy Road to a wire-to-wire victory in an allowance going the Doubledogdare distance April 4, has the mount. Sisterly Love, winner of the 2013 Ontario Matron Stakes (Can-III) and fourth in the Spinster last year, will break from post position seven as a supplemental entry.
Casse also has John Oxley's 2012 Prince of Wales Stakes winner Dixie Strike, who ran fifth in the season's Ashland and then won the Selene Stakes (Can-III). The 5-year-old Dixie Union mare comes off a fifth in the March 15 Azeri Stakes (gr. II) on the dirt at Oaklawn Park, where she ran second in the Bayakoa Stakes a month earlier.
Trained by Reade Baker, Solid Appeal picked up a 2013 Sovereign Award as Canada's champion turf female. Winner of the Nassau (Can-IIT) and Dance Smartly (Can-IIT) last year, the 5-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal will make her first start since finishing third in the Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs in November. Robby Albarado has the mount on Solid Appeal; they break from the nine hole.
Seeking victory in this race for a second year in a row is Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Sisterhood. The Wesley Ward-trained Kitten's Joy filly missed the 2013 Doubledogdare by a neck to Ice Cream Silence, and was second in the Arlington Matron Stakes (gr. IIIT) immediately after. She makes the first start of her 5-year-old season, having gone to the shelf after a ninth in the South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park Dec. 15.
Andrew Stone's 5-year-old Strathnaver also makes her season debut. The Graham Motion-trained Oasis Dream mare was third in the Dec. 7 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) last time out. Last spring she won the Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Keeneland lawn; although she broke her maiden on the synthetic surface at Lingfield in 2011, this is her North American Polytrack debut.
$100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III, race 9, approximate post time 5:13 p.m. EDT), 1 1/16 miles (all weather track)
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