Owner William Stiritz and trainer Scott Becker won the Prairie Bayou Stakes here last Saturday with Proceed Bee and return Monday with St. Louis City. The filly makes her second career start after winning a maiden special at Hawthorne Dec. 8 at the Gowell distance. She pushed a hot pace in that dirt race before winning by five lengths in 1:10.83. The Gowell will be her Polytrack debut. Ben Creed has been named to ride. St. Louis City breaks from post three.
Racing on or near the lead, Fiscal Fitness won at first asking on a sloppy Churchill track in November and followed with a near miss in her second start, an optional allowance at Turfway. She worked four furlongs in :47.60 at Turfway last Saturday, but drawing post 11 for the Gowell does her speed no favors. John McKee rides for trainer Bill Connelly.
Fiscal Fitness was beaten in that optional allowance by Southern Bling, who closed late to get the neck win. Southern Bling has won closer to the pace as well and got a better draw in post five. In five starts she has never missed the board, and both of her wins have come at Turfway. She also trains on an all-weather surface. Roberto Morales rides for trainer Bill Denzik Jr.
Flashy Lassie dove in the deep end for her second career start, winning the Grade 3 Debutante Stakes at Churchill in June. After a runner-up finish next out in August, trainer Garry Simms gave her two months off and then sent her into Grade 1 competition in the Alcibiades at Keeneland, where she finished next to last. Three weeks later she tried the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill but again finished well back. The Gowell will be her first start since that race Oct. 30, and while she may need the race after another two-month layoff, the step back in competition will be a plus. Leandro Gonçalves comes in to ride, another plus.
Dixie Jackpot won her last two races by a combined 20 1/2 lengths. Both came at Mountaineer, however, so while her speed is known, her response to an all-weather surface is not. Alejandro Contreras rides for trainer Todd Freeman.
The Gowell field from the rail out: Nava (jockey Godofredo Laurente); Piskacha (Juan Enriquez); St. Louis City; Dixie Jackpot; Southern Bling; Best of Times (Perry Ouzts); Lotta Lovin (Victor Lebron); Flashy Lassie; Dancninthelillies (Luis Martinez Jr.); A. P. Diva; Fiscal Fitness; and Fortune Diva (Rafael Mojica Jr.). Original Kitten waits as an also-eligible.
Turfway is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and then races every day from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Post time is 1:10 p.m. each day except Sat., Dec. 31, when races and the New Year’s Eve Track Bash begin at 5:30 p.m.