FiftyshadesofhayAnother week…another showdown, such is the life in the world of Thoroughbred horse racing.
Last weekend, folks were treated to some outstanding competition at Belmont Park when stakes races galore (10 in total) were wrapped around the culminating race (Belmont Stakes) in the Triple Crown series. The sport of kings features even more great match ups this weekend when the older horses take center stage at Churchill Downs.
The Fleur de Lis is very intriguing as a seriously good hometown gal takes on one of the hottest fillies in the nation. Fresh off a win in the LaTroienne at Churchill Downs on Oaks day, On Fire Baby will look to defend the home dirt when the well-traveled Fiftyshadesofhay comes calling. Having already raced at nine different tracks in five states, the four-year old Fiftyshadesofhay won the Ruffian Stakes at Belmont Park in her last start. There are four other entrants in the race, but these two will be the most likely to collect their share of the $200,000 purse for this mile and an eighth race. Speaking as a male chauvinist, the names of these two fabulous females alone provides excitement and a punchline or two.
The three-year old season is far from complete and the Matt Winn Stakes is proof positive. If we recall, the three-year old horse of the year in 2013 (Will Take Charge) earned his keep after the Triple Crown. With promising runners like Tapiture, Almost Famous, Rise Up, and Conquest Titan entering the starting gates, this mile and a sixteenth race on the Churchill dirt could easily horseapult one of these runners into summer prominence in the division with California Chrome on sabbatical.
The centerpiece of the night racing beneath the twin spires is the Stephen Foster Handicap. Talk about a showdown, this is like hanging a hambone and opening the kennel…the big dogs are running! Defending three-year old champ Will Take Charge is there, 2014 Pimlico Special winner Revolutionary is gunning, 2013 Illinois Derby victor Departing is starting, 2014 Alysheba winner Moonshine Mullin wants a drink, million dollar winner Prayer for Relief is saying a Hail Mary, and 2013 Preakness show horse Mylute will also be looking to cash in. In all nine runners will be competing for the $500,000 purse.
Post time for the first race is set for 6pm eastern.