The five stakes, four of them graded, begin at 1:26 p.m. (all times Eastern) and lead up to the 137th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks. First post time Friday is 10:30 a.m. with the Oaks at 5:45 p.m.
Garrett Gomez will be aboard Blind Luck, who will break from post position seven under a 119-pound impost.
Owned by Peter Vegso and Gary Seidler, Unrivaled Belle upset 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in last year’s La Troienne. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the all-time win leader among Churchill Downs trainers, Unrivaled Belle is unbeaten at Churchill Downs. Kent Desormeaux will ride the daughter of Unbridled’s Song, who will carry top weight of 123 pounds and break from post position eight.
The La Troienne will go as the afternoon’s sixth race with a 1:26 p.m. post time.
The field for the La Troienne, from the rail out, is as follows: Quiet Giant (Ramon Dominguez, 117 pounds), Miss Luann (Rajiv Maragh, 117), Seeking the Title (Julien Leparoux, 117), All Due Respect (Javier Castellano, 117), Stage Magic (Calvin Borel, 117), Ravi’s Song (Corey Lanerie, 117), Blind Luck (Gomez, 119), Unrivaled Belle (Desormeaux, 123) and Absinthe Minded (Robby Albarado, 117).
The Virginia H. Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak, winner of the 2010 Clark Handicap via disqualification, enters the eighth running of the $300,000-added Alysheba Presented by Besilu Stables off a third-place run behind Alysheba rival Mission Impazible in the New Orleans Handicap (GII) at Fair Grounds on March 26. The Chris Block trainee opened 2011 with a victory in Gulfstream’s Donn Handicap (GI) on Feb. 5.
The Alysheba, a prep for the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) to be run June 18, will go as the afternoon’s ninth race with a 3:52 p.m. post time. The Alysheba, won last year by Arson Squad, is run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
The field of 11 includes three other multiple graded stakes victors topped by West Point Thoroughbreds’ Awesome Gem, winner of the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup last year and two other graded stakes. Along with his New Orleans victory, Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Mission Impazible won last year’s Louisiana Derby (GII) and finished ninth to Super Saver in the Kentucky Derby (GI). Also in the field is Godolphin’s Regal Ransom is a Grade II winner in the U.S. and a Group II winner in Dubai.
The field for the Alysheba, from the rail out, is as follows: Wise Dan (Julien Leparoux, 117 pounds), Caracortado (Joe Talamo, 119), Icabad Crane (Rajiv Maragh, 117), Equestrio (Jose Lezcano, 117), Giant Oak (Shaun Bridgmohan, 123), Mission Impazible (Garrett Gomez, 123), First Dude (Martin Garcia, 117), Jardim (BRZ) (Jon Court, 117), Awesome Gem (Robby Albarado, 117), Demarcation (Rosie Napravnik, 119), Regal Ransom (Alan Garcia, 117).
The other Grade II race on the card is the 20th running of the $200,000-added American Turf Presented by Ram for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course. The American Turf will go as the afternoon’s 10th race with a 4:44 p.m. post time.
Topping the field of 14 are the 1-2 finishers from the Grade III Transylvania at Keeneland on April 8: Stuart Janney III’s Air Support and Millennium Farms’ Great Mills.
Trained by Shug McGaughey, Air Support won the Pilgrim (GIII) last fall at Belmont Park prior to finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GII) at Churchill Downs to close out his 2010 campaign. Rajiv Maragh, who has ridden Air Support in his past four starts, will ride and breaks from post position 13.
Great Mills, trained by Steve Asmussen, won the Grindstone at Fair Grounds on March 12 prior to losing by a nose in the Transylvania. Julien Leparoux has the mount Friday on Great Mills, who will break from post position two.
The field for the American Turf, from the inside out, is as follows: Close Ally (Robby Albarado, 117 pounds), Great Mills (Leparoux, 117), Banned (Garrett Gomez, 117), Memen (IRE) (Kent Desormeaux, 117), Kippers n’ Eggs (Edgar Prado, 117), Smarter Than Ever (Jamie Theriot, 117), Man of Strife (Rosie Napravnik, 119), Jakesam (Rafael Bejarano, 117), Cozy Kitten (Jeffrey Sanchez, 117), Swagger Jack (James Graham, 117), Tag V Eye (John Velazquez, 117), Private Prize (Alan Garcia, 117), Air Support (Maragh, 121) and Surrey Star (IRE) (Joe Talamo, 121).
Hardacre Farm’s Pomeroys Pistol, winner of the Forward Gal (GII) in January at Gulfstream Park, heads a field of 10 3-year-old fillies in the 56th running of the $100,000-added Eight Belles Presented by ACS, a Xerox Company at seven furlongs on the main track.
The Eight Belles will go as the eighth race with a 3:02 p.m. post time.
Trained by Amy Tarrant, Pomeroys Pistol enters the Eight Belles off a third-place finish to R Heat Lightning in the Davona Dale (GII) on Feb. 26. Rajiv Maragh has the mount on Pomeroys Pistol, who will break from post position three under high weight of 120 pounds.
Also in the field is Robert and Lawana Low’s Arienza, who will break from the rail under Ramon Dominguez. Trained by Danny Peitz, Arienza is a daughter of Giant’s Causeway out of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri who enters the Eight Belles off a runner-up effort in Oaklawn Park’s Fantasy (GII) to Joyful Victory, the morning line favorite for the Kentucky Oaks. It was the first loss in three races for Arienza.
The field for the Eight Belles, from the rail out, is as follows: Arienza (Dominguez, 116 pounds), Home Sweet Aspen (Joel Rosario, 116), Pomeroys Pistol (Maragh, 120), Holiday Flare (John Velazquez, 116), Mysterious Chimes (Jon Court, 116), Formal Plan (Calvin Borel, 116), Honey Chile (Jose Lezcano, 116, Victoria’s Wildcat (Kent Desormeaux, 118), Angelica Zapata (Marcelino Pedroza, 116), Dr. Diamonds Prize (Edgar Prado, 116).
The first of two Kentucky Oaks Day turf stakes races comes in the seventh race at 2:06 p.m. with the 27th running of the $100,000-added Edgewood Presented by Kentucky National Insurance for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Topping the field of 10 are the 2-3 finishers from the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs in February: Glen Hill Farm’s Holidaysatthefarm and Landaluce Educe Stables’ Niji’s Grand Girl.
Trained by Tom Proctor, Holidaysatthefarm has compiled an 8-2-2-2 record on the turf and will be ridden Friday by Garrett Gomez. Holidaysatthefarm will break from post position 10.
Niji’s Grand Girl, who finished a length behind Holidaysatthefarm in the Tampa race, is trained by Ken McPeek and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux. Niji’s Grand Girl will break from post position seven.
The field for the Edgewood, from the inside out, is as follows: Gaya (James Graham), Diva Ash (Kent Desormeaux), Subpoena (Jose Lezcano), Bonita Star (GB) (Joe Talamo), My Phi Temper (Corey Lanerie), Smart Sting (Javier Castellano), Niji’s Grand Girl (Leparoux), Sassy’s Dream (Alan Garcia), My Redbyrd (John Velazquez) and Holidaysatthefarm (Gomez). All starters will carry 117 pounds.