Open Mind Stakes Preview: Divine Queen Returns “Home”

(Divine Queen winning at Churchill Downs / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

Groupie Doll Stakes runner-up Divine Queen will cut back in distance to six furlongs as she takes on seven other fillies and mares in Saturday’s $125,000 Open Mind (Listed) at Churchill Downs.

The Open Mind will kick off Saturday’s late 50-cent Pick 5 in Race 7 with a post time of 3:48 p.m.

Owned by Carl Hurst and WilliamBuffBradley, Divine Queen (16-5-2-0—$247,089) is no stranger to success beneath the Twin Spires. Last year, the daughter of Divine Park scored a 51-1 upset score in the $100,000 Dogwood Stakes during the September Meet. Trained by Bradley, Divine Queen has recorded three of her five-career victories at Churchill Downs.

Calvin Borel has the mount on Divine Queen from the rail.

Among Divine Queen’s opponents in the Open Mind is Naveed Chowhan’s six-time winning filly America’s Tale, who is slated to return from a four-month layoff. America’s Tale (18-6-3-1—$405,853) recorded her first graded stakes triumph in the $200,000 Inside Information (Grade II) on March 16 at Gulfstream Park.

Jose Ortiz will ride the Bernie Flint-trained Gio Ponti filly out of post position No. 7.

Right Time Racing and Madaket StablesMeadow Dance will be in search of her first stakes victory in Saturday’s Open Mind following back-to-back allowance wins. Trained by Brad Cox, Meadow Dance is also nominated for next Saturday’s $300,000 Charles Town Oaks (GIII).

Shaun Bridgmohan was named on Meadow Dance who drew post 3.

The Open Mind field from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Divine Queen (Borel, Bradley); Upset Brewing (Gabriel Saez, Bradley); Meadow Dance (Bridgmohan, Cox); Honey Bunny (Florent Geroux, John Ortiz); Headland (Tyler Baze, Steve Hobby); Awestruck (Irad Ortiz Jr., Rusty Arnold II); America’s Tale (Jose Ortiz, Flint); and Ascot Day(Declan Cannon, Danny Peitz).

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

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