Four Other Stakes Races Carded at Churchill Downs Saturday Night

From the Media Team at Churchill Downs:

(Farrell wins the G2 Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs last November / Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography & Churchill Downs)

G2 Fleur de Lis Handicap:

Coffeepot Stables multiple graded stakes winner Farrell leads a field of nine fillies and mares as the 119-pound high weight for Saturday’s 43rd running of the $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap presented by Budweiser at Churchill Downs.For the fourth year in a row, the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” stakes event, which means the winner will be guaranteed a berth in the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.

The Fleur de Lis – which means “Flower of the Lily” and honors the French symbol that is incorporated into the city of Louisville’s Flag – will be run as Race 7 at 9:09 p.m. (all times Eastern). It will be televised live on NBCSN from 8:30-10 p.m.

Trained by Wayne Catalano, Farrell (15-7-1-2—$916,377) nearly missed winning her first Grade I in the La Troienne on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs after tiring in the late stages to finish second behind Salty.

“We were so close in the La Troienne,” Catalano said. “I think the Fleur de Lis is a good spot for her. Obviously with the Breeders’ Cup here at Churchill Downs, in our backyard, if we win we’re guaranteed a spot in the race.”

The Kentucky-bred daughter of Malibu Moon completed her stellar 3-year-old campaign with a one-length victory in the Chilukki (GII) at Churchill Downs but had a bumpy start to her 2018 campaign at Oaklawn Park where she was eased and finished sixth in the Feb. 17 Bayakoa (GIII), third in the March 17 Azeri (GII) and seventh in the April 13 Apple Blossom (GI) prior to her runner-up effort in the La Troienne.

Farrell drew the outside Post 9 and will be ridden by Catalano’s son in law Channing Hill.

Chief among Farrell’s challengers are the 1-2 finishers in the May 18 DuPont Distaff (GIII) at Pimlico – Stoneway Farm’s Song of Spring and Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize (ARG), respectively.

Song of Spring (15-4-2-3—$228,643) rallied from 15 lengths off the early pace in the DuPont Distaff to nail Blue Prize (13-4-7-1—$486,193) at the wire at odds of 9-1 for locally-based trainer Neil Howard.

Song of Spring drew Post 5 will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. while Blue Prize drew Post 3 with Jose Ortiz in the saddle.

Also in the Fleur de Lis field is Reddam Racing’s La Cañada (GII) winner Mopotism for trainer Doug O’Neill. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly, who is based in California, will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez and break from Post 2.

The Fleur de Lis field from the rail out: Fuhriously Kissed (ridden by C.J. McMahon, trained by Tony Quartarolo, 115 pounds); Mopotism (Gutierrez, O’Neill, 118); Blue Prize (ARG) (Jose Ortiz, Ignacio Correas IV, 118); Streamline (Chris Landeros, Brian Williamson, 116); Song of Spring (Santana, Howard, 118); Awestruck (Irad Ortiz Jr., Rusty Arnold II, 115); Valadorna (Brian Hernandez Jr., Mark Casse, 118); Apologynotaccepted (Julien Leparoux, Brendan Walsh, 117); and Farrell (Hill, Catalano, 119).

(Winner’s circle photo of former trainer Buff Bradley and the connections of Divisidero, after that one won the G1 Woodford Reserve on 2017 Derby Day / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)

G2 Wise Dan Stakes:

Live Oak Plantation’s 2017 Eclipse Award Champion Turf Male World Approval will face off against Gunpowder Farms’ two-time Turf Classic (Grade I) winner Divisidero in Saturday’s 29th running of the $200,000 Wise Dan (GII) at 1 1/16 miles over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course.World Approval (26-12-2-4—$3,060,363) dominated the older turf division in 2017 with victories in the Fourstardave Handicap (GI) at Saratoga, Woodbine Mile (GI) and, ultimately, the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) at Del Mar.

“It looks like a good spot for him,” trainer Mark Casse said. “He’s doing well and I’m looking forward to being there Saturday for the race.”

World Approval was originally targeting the May 19 Dixie Stakes (GII) at Pimlico but was scratched due to “soft” conditions of the turf course. The 6-year-old son of Northern Afleet began his 2018 season with a half-length victory in the Tampa Bay (GIII) prior to a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Frank Kilroe Mile (GI).

Divisidero (17-5-3-3—$1,177,950) was transferred at the end of his 2017 campaign from trainer Buff Bradley to Kelly Rubley and based at Fair Hill in Maryland. The 6-year-old horse by Kitten’s Joy is making his second start of 2018 following a runner-up finish behind Money Multiplier in the Monmouth Stakes (GII) on May 26.

The gray will break from post 1 under Jevian Toledo.

The Wise Dan field from the rail out: Divisidero (ridden by Toledo, trained by Rubley, 121 pounds); Shining Copper (Irad Ortiz Jr., Mike Maker, 123); Inspector Lynley (Jose Ortiz, Shug McGaughey III, 121); World Approval (Velazquez, Casse, 126); Mr. Misunderstood(Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 121); Mr Cub (Chris Landeros, Ian Wilkes, 121); Flatlined (Corey Lanerie, Scooter Dickey, 121); and Parlor (Brian Hernandez Jr., Eddie Kenneally, 121).

The Wise Dan will go as Race 6 at 8:30 p.m.

The race formerly known as the Firecracker was renamed in 2016 to honor Mort Fink’s two-time Horse of the Year who completed a spectacular racing career with a perfect four-race season in 2014. The Charlie LoPresti-trained gelding by Wiseman’s Ferry compiled a remarkable lifetime record of 23-2-0 in 31 races with earnings of $7,552,920 from 2010-14.

(HOF trainer Bob Baffert may be talking about his 3YO colt Ax Man After Saturday Night’s G2 Matt Winn Stakes / Photo by Gene McLean)

G3 Matt Winn Stakes:

Hal and Patti Earnhardt III’s impressive Sir Barton Stakes winner Ax Man will attempt to land his first graded stakes triumph as he faces six rivals in Saturday’s 21st edition of the $100,000 Matt Winn (Grade III), a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, Ax Man cruised to an impressive 6 ¾-length win in the May 19 Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico in his last start. The 3-year-old son of Misremembered has only one blemish in his four-race career when he finished fourth in the Feb. 10 San Vicente (GII) at Santa Anita.

“He’s a fun horse to have since he’s by Misremembered, who Bob (Baffert) owned himself,” assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said. “It’s also special that he’s a homebred for our longtime owner Hal Earnhardt who’s been with us for many years. He ran incredible in the Sir Barton. It looks like he’s going to be a nice 3-year-old to have this summer.”

Baffert is currently tied with Steve Asmussen for the most wins in the Matt Winn with four victories.

Ax Man (4-3-0-0—$138,000) will be ridden by Mike Smith and break from Post 7.

Among Ax Man’s rivals are Calumet Farm’s Funny Duck, who rallied to a 4 ¾-length victory at odds of 39-1 in the Pat Day Mile (GIII) on Kentucky Derby Day for trainer Rusty Arnold II; Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton’s multiple stakes placed Combatantfor Asmussen; and Tom Conway’s improving allowance winner King Zachary for Churchill Downs’ all-time leading trainer Dale Romans.

The Matt Winn field from the rail out: Navy Armed Guard (ridden by Alex Canchari, trained by Joan Scott, 118 pounds); Home Base (Joe Rocco Jr., Mike Tomlinson, 118); Funny Duck (Brian Hernandez Jr., Arnold, 120); King Zachary (Robby Albarado, Romans, 118); Combatant (Ricardo Santana Jr., Asmussen, 118); Tiz Mischief (Corey Lanerie, Romans, 118); and Ax Man (Smith, Baffert, 120).

The Matt Winn, which goes as Race 5 Saturday with a post time of approximately 7:57 p.m. (all times Eastern), was named in honor of the famed Churchill Downs president that served as the driving force in the development of the Downs and his beloved Kentucky Derby.

(Trainer J. Larry Jones trains Stave, who will be running in the G3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs this Saturday night / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

G3 Regret Stakes:

Hinkle Farms recent allowance winner Stave will attempt to win her first graded stakes race as she breaks from the outside post 13 in Saturday’s 49th running of the $100,000 Regret Stakes presented by Cintas (GIII) at Churchill Downs.The Regret, for 3-year-old fillies run at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course, is carded as Race 9 at approximately 10:11 p.m.

Stave (4-2-0-0—$81,960), who will be searching for her third win in a row, broke her maiden impressively by 6 ¾ lengths at Keeneland for trainer Larry Jones prior to defeating a field of 10 in a first-level allowance on May 19 at Churchill Downs.

“We trained (Stave’s) mom (Buy the Barrel) for the Hinkels,” Jones’ assistant Corey Yorksaid. “The Hinkles are great people to train for and it’s rewarding to have her offspring show some potential as well.”

Stave will once again be ridden by Gabriel Saez.

Among Stave’s rivals in the Regret is Three Diamonds Farm’s Bourbonette Oaks (GIII) winner Go Noni Go (10-3-1-1—$163,606) for trainer Mike Maker. The Get Stormy filly most recently finished fifth in the Selene Stakes (GIII) at Woodbine over the synthetic surface but will return to the turf where she has two victories.

Go Noni Go will be ridden by Mike Smith and break from Post 12.

The Regret field from the rail out: Heavenly Love (ridden by Julien Leparoux, trained by Mark Casse); Consolida (GB) (John Velazquez, Paddy Gallagher); She’s Pretty Lucky (Corey Lanerie, Eddie Kenneally); Finess Bere (FR) (Ricardo Santana Jr., Bob Baffert); Lemon Princess (Alex Canchari, Joan Scott); Cash Out (Adam Beschizza, Rusty Arnold II); Go Google Yourself (Brian Hernandez Jr., Paul McGee); Beyond Blame (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Secret Message (Irad Ortiz Jr., Graham Motion); Kabella (Shaun Bridgmohan, Dan Peitz); Romantic Moment (Jose Ortiz, Shug McGaughey III); Go Noni Go (Smith, Maker); and Stave (Saez, Jones, ).

All fillies will carry 118 pounds.

I was going straight as an arrow to stay in my path,” Smith said. “But when (Momomoy Girl) chose to come over and take it from me, I choose the outer route. There probably would not have been a DQ if (Geroux) would have stayed straight at that point, but he came out again and we wound up in the eight or nine path. I never got a straight run and we got beat only a neck. You got to do what you got to do.”

Mike Smith, Rider of Midnight Bisou

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