The Rags to Riches Stakes was inaugurated in at Churchill Downs 2013. The most accomplished filly to have exited the Rags to Riches was Tepin. The youngster placed third. Tepin later found her calling on the lawn and was last year’s Champion Turf Mare.
This year seven juvenile fillies will contest the 2016 Rags to Riches Stakes. My Sweet Stella was scratch from of the one mile contest.
Trainer Wayne Catalano captured the 2014 edition of the Rags to Riches with West Coast Belle. This year, his hopes lie in recent maiden winner FARRELL (Malibu Moon – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song). The dark brown daughter of Malibu Moon captured her maiden victory at 6 ½ furlongs over Churchill’s wet-fast track. After pressing a moderate pace, Farrell opened up under a hand ride by jockey Channing Hill. She ran away from the field by five lengths in 1:17.39. 24.65 6.66
Pedigree Notes: Farrell is a half sister to three stakes winners and a stakes placed runner. Carpe Diem, winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and second in the BC Juvenile. Carpe Diem won the Blue Grass Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby as a three-year-old; J. B.’S Thunder also captured the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland; Doncaster Rover is a multiple stakes winner in England. And Semper Fortis, second in the Los Alamitos Derby (G2). The classy Farrell should enjoy a fast track the extra distance of the Rages to Riches.
CHINA GROVE (City Zip – Gatorette, by Distorted Humor) is the most experienced filly in the race with six starts under her girth. After winning her debut and placing in the Astoria Stakes, the Ben Colebrook trainee went off form, in her next three starts. In her last start, China Grove placed second to Lovely Bernadette after racing from off of the pace. China Grove appears one paced and simply outlasted a group of fillies that were going nowhere fast. 25.68, 6.73
Pedigree Notes: China Grove has a miler’s pedigree. She owns the only blacktype in her immediate family, but her dam is a half-sister to the stakes winning turf miler Sooonerette. The second dam Gigis Skyflyer won a sprint stakes.
LOVELY BERNADETTE (Wilburn – Inlovewithlove, by Bernstein) tracked the pace in her last two starts and cleared the field each time. She’s hit the board in all three starts. The James DiVito trainee has very high knee action and was drifting down the lane. The fillies behind her were staggering, and it wasn’t an impressive race.
Pedigree Notes: Lovely Bernadette is bred to be a sprinter/miler. Her first crop sire Wilburn was a miler who captured the Indiana Derby (G2). He has 39% 2YO winners from 113 starters. Lovely Bernadette is a first foal. Her dam was a claiming level mare who was ITM in 5 of 21 starts, mainly as a dirt sprinter, but she also won one of four starts on the lawn. There’s no blacktype in the first two generations of her distaff line.
SAILOR’S VALENTINE (Mizzen Mast – Sortilege, by Tale of the Cat) won her debut with authority, traveling 7F in 1:23.74 at Keeneland. The second place finisher won next time out. Sailor’s Valentine had a strong post race work of 4F in 47.4 breezing with a stablemate. She followed up with an easy pre-race maintenance move, giving indications that she can move forward off of her debut. 25.43 13.22
Pedigree Notes: Sailor’s Valentine is a second foal. Her half sister is a sprinter/miler on dirt. Their dam is a half sister to a stakes placed sprinter. Dam’s half sister bore three stakes placed runners. The third dam Coup De Fusil set a new track record of 1:59.80 in the 1 ¼ mile Delaware Handicap (G1) and was one of the leading competitors of her generation. Sailor’s Valentine may handle middle distances (9F) as she matures.
MALUKU (Street Cry (IRE) – Javanese, by Medaglia d’Oro) gets her first opportunity to run on a fast track in the Rags to Riches Stakes. In her previous start, Maluku raced wide most of the way. She looked like a winner in the stretch, but surprisingly, the winner, who had an easy rail trip, came back in the shadow of the wire to nip Maluku by a head. The Michael Stidham charge was previously racing well on turf. Maluku receives Lasix for the first time. 12.01 12.69
Pedigree Notes: Maluku is a second foal. Her dam is an unraced half-sister to the multiple graded stakes winning sprinter/miler Drill, who captured the Del Mar Futurity (G1)as a two-year-old and the San Vicente (G2) and Lazaro Barrera Memorial (G3) the following year. Maluku has the pedigree and conformation to handle middle to classic distances.
HOLIDAY’S ANGEL (Harlan’s Holiday – Senorita Corredora, by El Corredor) finished third in her sprint debut. She won her maiden by 5 ¼ lengths a month ago over a wet-fast track at Churchill after stretching out to a mile. 12.29 13.34
Pedigree: Holiday’s Angel is the first foal out of an unraced mare. Her dam’s half-sister bore Kentucky Juvenile (G3) winner Lou Brissie. Holiday’s Angel has the pedigree to handle 8.5F, and possibly 9F when she matures.
NAUGHTY LITTLE NUN (Songandaprayer – A Little Evil, by Deputy Minister) was off of the board in her first two starts once over mud and the other on turf. Third time on a fast track was what she was praying for. The Bernie Flint trainee took the lead at the start of the 1 mile 70 yard race and never looked back, flying home by 7 ¾ lengths. Her speed figures have improved in each start.
Pedigree Notes: Naughty Little Nun has plenty of speed and class in her pedigree. She’s a half sister to Bad Hombre, who placed in the 1 1/8 mile Curlin Stakes. Their dam A Little Evil is a half sister to 1997 HOY & Champion 2YO Favorite Trick. A A Little Evil’s half sisters bore stakes winning milers Fury Kapcori (Precisionist S. G3); Tizfiz (San Gorgonio H. G2 9F); Favorite Tale (Smile S. G2 6F). Naughty Little Nun may be distance challenged beyond 1 1/16 miles.
FARRELL looked good in her last and came back with a pre-race bullet. SAILOR’S VALENTINE exited a strong race and can move forward. MALUKU really stepped it up in her last start. She was wide the entire way and fought down the stretch. One thing I didn’t like to see is that the tenacious winner Heir Apparent (entered in Race 2) didn’t let Maluku by at any point on the gallop out & Maluku looks like she’s still figuring things out. Still, she received the highest late pace speed figure in this race and will improve with racing.
#7 FARRELL (6-1)
#4 SAILOR’S VALENTINE (3-1)
#2 MALUKU (10-1)