Sassy Image completed her juvenile campaign with impressive victories in the Pocahantas Stakes (G3) and Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs to rank among the leaders of the crop and a strong potential Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Sassy Image faces seven rival fillies and mares in Friday’s test with Rose Family Stable’s 4-year-old Florida homebred Joanie’s Catch among the most accomplished as a winner of nearly $550,000. Regular jockey Javier Santiago retains the mount on the daughter of First Tour for co-owner, breeder and trainer Barry Rose.
Joanie’s Catch comes back just 13 days after finishing a game second, beaten a length, in the Stage Door Betty Handicap (G3) at Calder Race Course on New Year’s Day after making 17 starts last year. She made four starts over the Gulfstream track in Graded stakes during the meet early last year and placed in all four.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out a contender in Wertheimer and Frere’s 4-year-old filly Happy Week with John Velazquez in the saddle after winning three of her last four starts. The Kentucky homebred chestnut by Distorted Humor won allowance races at Saratoga and Keeneland, finished a close-up third in the Dream Supreme Stakes at Churchill Downs in early November and won a Churchill allowance last out on Nov. 24.
Completing the field for Friday’s race are Ben McElroy and Edward Easton’s Omega Cat, Paco Lopez; Charles Dimino’s Catch a Thief, Rajiv Maragh; Edward A. Cox, Jr.’s Banker’s Buy, Jose Lezcano; Farnsworth Stable’s Jehan, Javier Casstellano; and Melnyk Racing Stable’s Jasmine Gardens, Julien Leparoux.