(Youalmosthadme / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:


Saturday’s 55th running of the $300,000 Pocahontas (Grade III) features an ultra-competitive group of nine 2-year-old fillies including Boarshorts Stables’ Ellis Park Debutante heroine Hot Beach and Qatar Racing, Swinbank Stables, Steve Adkisson and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ Kentucky Juvenile winner Youalmosthadme.

          Run at one mile, the Pocahontas Stakes is the first race on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks and will award qualifying points to the top five finishers on a 10-5-3-2-1 scale toward the 150th running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 3, 2024.

          The Pocahontas Stakes will go as Race 7 of 11 with a post time of 3:50 p.m. Saturday’s stakes bonanza will also feature the $300,000 Iroquois Stakes (GIII), $400,000 Locust Grove (GIII), $300,000 Open Mind (Listed) and $300,000 Louisville Thoroughbred Society. First post is 12:45 p.m.

          Hot Beach broke her maiden by two lengths in the Ellis Park Debutante under jockey Declan Cannon. The Brian Lynch-trained daughter of Omaha Beach defeated fellow Pocahontas rivals Riperton and Youalmosthadme one month ago in the seven-furlong race. Jockey Flavien Prat will pick up the mount on Hot Beach in the Pocahontas from post No. 9.

          Chief among Hot Beach’s rivals in the Pocahontas is Youalmosthadme, who returns to Churchill Downs where she demolished her rivals in the Kentucky Juvenile by 8 ¾ lengths. Trained by Brad Cox, Youalmosthadme stumbled badly at the start of the Ellis Park Debutante but recovered to finish third as the heavy 4-5 favorite. Tyler Gaffalione, who was in the saddle for the Kentucky Juvenile, will have the call in the Pocahontas from post 7.

          Another intriguing filly that entered the Pocahontas is MJM Racing’s V V’s Dream, who finished second to future Grade I winner Brightwork in the Debutante Stakes at Ellis Park. Trained by Kenny McPeek, V V’s Dream has been on the sidelines since her runner-up effort 10 weeks ago. Prior to the Debutante Stakes, V V’s Dream convincingly won her debut at Churchill Downs by 6 ¼ lengths. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. will be aboard from post 6.

          McPeek is not a stranger to winning the Pocahontas. The veteran conditioner previously won the race with Fun and Feisty (2022), Daddys Lil Darling (2016) and Dothraki Queen (2015).

          Here is the complete field for the Pocahontas from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Empire Island (Ricardo Santana Jr., Norm Casse); Peignoir (Luan Machado, Rodolphe Brisset); Riperton (Cristian Torres, Paulo Lobo); Raining Sugar (James Graham, Riley Mott); Regal Rumor (Mickaelle Michel, Wayne Catalano); V V’s Dream (Hernandez, McPeek); Youalmosthadme (Gaffalione, Cox);Courbe (Rafael Bejarano, Todd Pletcher); and Hot Beach (Prat, Lynch).

          The Pocahontas Stakes is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Dirt Dozen” series where the top three finishers will be awarded partial entry fees toward the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) held on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.

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