Ever a Derby Winner With Better Credentials Than Nyquist?Read this article
14 Fillies Set for $80,000 Rags to Riches at Churchill
With a full field of 14 juvenile fillies set to contest the $80,000 Rags to Riches Stakes on November 1 at Churchill, the opening day feature is the best betting race on the card.
Stageplay is the 3/1 favorite in the one-mile tilt on the main track after recording an impressive debut victory October 10 at Keeneland. The Steve Asmussen-trained filly is a daughter of 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year Curlin, and is bred to improve racing at longer distances. The only drawback might be the wide post position, as Ricardo Santana will be aboard breaking from the 13-hole. Traditionally, however, wide posts have not hindered the performance of horses negotiating the one-turn mile trip at Churchill.
Dream Dance exits graded stakes tries
Dream Dance 6/1, will break from the inside and while receiving some much-needed class relief. The Neil Howard trainee finished fifth in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades last out and second in the Grade 2 Pocahontas September 12 at Churchill. Dream Dance, a daughter of 2006 Preakness and Belmont champion Afleet Alex, has one win from five starts – a maiden victory at Ellis Park August 16.
Little Cherie goes for top connections
Little Cherie (8/1), also exits the Alcibiades, where she finished eighth over a sloppy track October 2 at Keeneland. Trained by Mike Maker, Little Cherie has two wins from four starts and figures to take plenty of wagering interest with Julien Leparoux aboard. The Rags to Riches is named for the Belmont-winning filly trained by Todd Pletcher in 2007.
For all the negative buzz about Nyquist's average speed figures and vulnerability, the newly crowned and much-deserving 2016 Kentucky Derby winner might just have the most impeccable credentials of any Derby winner in the illustrious history of the race - and certainly in the modern era.
On Friday at Churchill Downs, the field has been set for the 142nd running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks. The Grade 1 event, carded at a mile and an eighth, has drawn a full field of fourteen three-year-old fillies with one listed as an also-eligible.
With the final round of Kentucky Derby preps in the books, it seems improbable, but arguable that the March 12 Tampa Derby was the most useful and review-worthy of the 24 official point-bearing races in 2016.