(Xigera / Photos by Coady Photography)
From the Churchill Downs Media Team:
XIGERA TAKES ON THANKSGIVING CHALLENGE IN 108TH RUNNING OF G3, $400,000 FALLS CITY
Rigney Racing’s Grade II winner Xigera will attempt to close out her successful 3-year-old season with a victory when she faces eight older fillies and mares that entered the 108th running of the $400,000 Falls City (G3), the centerpiece on a fantastic Thanksgiving Day program at Churchill Downs.
Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Falls City was carded as Race 11 of 12 with a post time of 4:22 p.m. (all times Eastern). The storied race shares the spotlight with the $300,000 Cardinal (GIII), which will be run as Race 10 at 3:53 p.m. First post is 11:30 a.m.
Xigera – pronounced ‘kee-jera’ – will be in search of her sixth career victory in Thursday’s Falls City. Trained by Phil Bauer, the daughter of Nyquist began her career on turf. After breaking her maiden on the grass in late August of her 2-year-old season, Bauer opted to run Xigera on dirt in the Alcibiades (GI) where she crossed the wire fourth but was elevated to third after bumping with Raging Sea in deep stretch. Xigera closed her 2-year-old campaign with a disappointing 14th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI).
Following that race, Xigera didn’t make her return until June but she fired fresh off her layoff and defeated 10 rivals by 3 ½ lengths at Churchill Downs in a first-level allowance event on turf. One month later, Xigera defeated seven fillies in the Tepin Stakes at one mile over the Ellis Park turf course. Following her sixth-place finish over the listed “soft” turf in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (GIII), Bauer returned Xigera to dirt in the Seneca Overnight Stakes where she easily defeated six rivals by 6 ¼ lengths. One month later, Xigera won her first graded stakes event in the Mother Goose (GII) at Aqueduct. Jockey Julien Leparouxwill be in the irons for the Falls City from post No. 8.
Another accomplished filly that entered the Falls City is Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ Grade III winner Hidden Connection. Trained by Bret Calhoun, Hidden Connection was originally entered in Saturday’s one-mile Chilukki Stakes (GIII) but will opt for the Falls City around two turns. In her last start, Hidden Connection finished a game second behind Search Results in the Locust Grove (GIII). Jockey Flavien Prat has the call and will break from post 8.
Here is the complete field for the Falls City from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Hidden Connection (Prat, Calhoun); Skratch Kat (Francisco Arrieta, Bauer); Shezz Koldazice (Luis Saez, Mike Maker); Misty Veil (Martin Chuan, Mike Maker); Jag Warrior (Brian Hernandez Jr., Dale Romans);Distinctlypossible (Tyler Gaffalione, Chad Brown); Music Street (Ricardo Santana Jr., Whit Beckman); Xigera (Leparoux, Bauer); and Bellamore (Martin Garcia, Carlos Santamaria).
Racing on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs has been a Louisville tradition since 1969 where more than 7,000 turkey dinners are served with all the trimmings, making it the largest number anywhere in the region.
Fans can watch and wager on the Falls City and every race from Churchill Downs on www.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Incorporated.
(Set Piece and Juncture / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
JUNCTURE (GB) ATTEMPTS FIRST GRADED STAKES SCORE IN GRADE III, $300,000 CARDINAL:
Juddmonte’s four-time winner Juncture (GB) will attempt to win her first graded stakes contest when she faces six rivals in the 48th running of the $300,000 Cardinal (Grade III) on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs.
The Cardinal, scheduled to be run at 1 1/8 miles on turf, was slated as Race 10 with a post time of 3:53 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post on Thanksgiving Day will be 11:30 a.m. The 12-race program also will feature the $400,000 Falls City (GIII) in Race 11.
Juncture (GB), a 4-year-old filly trained by Brad Cox, placed twice in Group III races while based in Ireland with trainer Ger Lyons. Cox took over training of Juncture earlier this year and her resumé includes a victory in the Ouija Board Distaff at Lone Star Park and a recent third-place finish in the Rodeo Drive (GII) at Santa Anita. Jockey Flavien Prat will have the mount from post No. 6.
The competitive Cardinal field also includes Gentry Farm’s stakes placed Lovely Princess and CHP Racing’s Keeneland allowance winner Saffron Moon.
Here’s the field for the Cardinal from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Joyful Applause (Orlando Mojica, Helen Pitts); Star Fortress (IRE) (Luis Saez, Cherie DeVaux); Lovely Princess (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Walkathon (Julien Leparoux, Ian Wilkes); Take a Stand (Fernando De La Cruz, Vicki Oliver); Juncture (Prat, Cox); and Saffron Moon (Tyler Gaffalione, Chad Brown).
(She Can’t Sing / Photo by Coady Photography)
SHE CAN’T SING CARRIES LOTHENBACH STABLE COLORS IN SATURDAY’S CHILUKKI STAKES
Saturday’s $300,000 Chilukki Stakes (Grade III) will be an emotional day for trainer Chris Blockas his defending race champion, She Can’t Sing, will make her final career start for her late owner/breeder,Bob Lothenbach, who passed away this week.
“It’s a major blow to all of us who were close to Bob,” trainer Chris Block said Thursday morning on ‘At the Races with Steve Byk’. “He was a very, very loyal client of mine. I think I trained for him for nearly 25 years. Most of my success with Bob was from his homebreds. He just let us do our job. He never entered in with a question where he would ask what we were doing. He left us alone to do our job. After a race – win, lose or draw – it was the same Bob Lothenbach. He’d just say ‘Buckle up and let’s do better the next time.’”
She Can’t Sing was part of Lothenbach’s breeding program. The 6-year-old daughter of Bernardini is out of the Distorted Humor mare Distorted Music. Trainer Neil Pessin, also a longtime client of Lothenbach, trained Distorted Music for the late owner.
“She’s been a little off form this year on the turf but really likes the dirt surface at Churchill,” Block said. “Hopefully she can go out a winner.”
Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. will carry the Lothenbach colors aboard She Can’t Sing from post No. 5.
Here is the complete field for the Chilukki from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Nostalgic (Florent Geroux, Bill Mott, 9-2); Raindrops on Roses (Joe Talamo, Pat Huffman, 30-1);Hidden Connection (Tyler Gaffalione, Bret Calhoun, 5-2); Oeuvre (Jareth Loveberry, Block, 5-1); She Can’t Sing (Hernandez, Block, 8-1); Braganza (Declan Cannon, Eddie Kenneally, 12-1); Falconet (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher, 4-1); Be Like Water (Martin Garcia, Vicki Oliver, 20-1); and Hot and Sultry (Ricardo Santana Jr., Norm Casse, 7-2).
The one-mile Chilukki will take place as Race 10 of 11 with a post time of 5:35 p.m. First post is 1 p.m.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Racing resumed Thursday for a nine-race card that began at 1 p.m. There was a $126,215 carryover in the 20-cent Derby City 6 Jackpot that spanned Races 4-9. … On Saturday, Norton Healthcare will hold their second Athlete Wellness and Performance educational meeting with jockeys and their families. The meeting will be held starting at 11:30 a.m. in the Churchill Downs Backside Recreation Center. … For more information about the Churchill Downs Fall Meet, visit www.churchilldowns.com.