Churchill Downs’ Stakes: Through the Eyes & Lens of Holly M. Smith

(What a pretty view. Sally’s Curlin after winning the G3 Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Editor’s Note:

All of the attention of the Thoroughbred world was centered on the Breeders’ Cup on both Friday and Saturday. And, rightfully so. It is, after all, the Championships of racing.

But there were a few Stakes races contested over the grounds of Churchill Downs on both Friday and Saturday, too.

The biggest of which, at least in our eyes and minds, was the G3 Chilukki Stakes on Saturday. As the sun was setting over the horizon, there was still a cloud of dust being kicked up by a striking daughter of Curlin known as Sally’s Curlin.

She is owned, in part, by our partner in the Louisville Thoroughbred Society — Mike Schnell, and his lovely bride, Laura.

In a furious stretch run, Sally’s Curlin and rider Corey Lanerie kicked right on by nearing the finish line to win in an emotional, and fun run.

Here’s a look at the weekend Stakes at Churchill Downs. Through the eyes and lens of our very own Holly M. Smith:

(Sally’s Curlin was as pretty as the sunset on Saturday night, after winning the G3 Chilukki Stakes / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Recruiting Ready was certainly ready and up to the task in the Bet on Sunshine Stakes on Saturday evening / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Mia Mischief, who loves Churchill Downs, was right at home once again on Friday at Churchill Downs / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(And, one more look at our very own Miss Jacqueline. She was not in a Stakes race this week. But in our hearts it was, as she broke her maiden on debut on Thursday / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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