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Churchill Downs Preview & FREE Picks | Falls City Stakes 2023: Xigera Goes For 6th Career Win
Xigera (Sue Kawczynski/Eclipse Sportswire)

Churchill Downs Preview & FREE Picks | Falls City Stakes 2023: Xigera Goes For 6th Career Win

Dr. Miranda previews & gives her FREE picks for the 2023 Falls City Stakes (G3) from Churchill Downs.

Can Xigera end her stellar 3-year-old season by earning her 6th career victory while facing older horses? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Rigney Racing’s Grade 2 winner Xigera will attempt to close out her successful 3-year-old season with a victory when she faces eight older fillies and mares that entered the 108th running of the $400,000 Falls City (G3), the centerpiece on a fantastic Thanksgiving Day program at Churchill Downs.

Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Falls City was carded as Race 11 of 12 with a post time of 4:22 p.m. (all times Eastern). The storied race shares the spotlight with the $300,000 Cardinal (G3), which will be run as Race 10 at 3:53 p.m. First post is 11:30 a.m.

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Xigera – pronounced ‘kee-jera’ – will be in search of her sixth career victory in Thursday’s Falls City.

Trained by Phil Bauer, the daughter of Nyquist began her career on turf. After breaking her maiden on the grass in late August of her 2-year-old season, Bauer opted to run Xigera on dirt in the Alcibiades (G1) where she crossed the wire fourth but was elevated to third after bumping with Raging Sea in deep stretch. Xigera closed her 2-year-old campaign with a disappointing 14th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).

Following that race, Xigera didn’t make her return until June but she fired fresh off her layoff and defeated 10 rivals by 3 ½ lengths at Churchill Downs in a first-level allowance event on turf. One month later, Xigera defeated seven fillies in the Tepin Stakes at one mile over the Ellis Park turf course.

Following her sixth-place finish over the listed “soft” turf in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3), Bauer returned Xigera to dirt in the Seneca Overnight Stakes where she easily defeated six rivals by 6 ¼ lengths. One month later, Xigera won her first graded stakes event in the Mother Goose (G2) at Aqueduct.

Jockey Julien Leparoux will be in the irons for the Falls City from post No. 8.

Another accomplished filly that entered the Falls City is Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ Grade 3 winner Hidden Connection. Trained by Bret Calhoun, Hidden Connection was originally entered in Saturday’s one-mile Chilukki Stakes (G3) but will opt for the Falls City around two turns.

In her last start, Hidden Connection finished a game second behind Search Results in the Locust Grove (G3). Jockey Flavien Prat has the call and will break from post 8.

Here is the complete field for the Falls City from the rail out (with jockey and trainer):

  1. Hidden Connection (Prat, Calhoun)
  2. Skratch Kat (Francisco Arrieta, Bauer)
  3. Shezz Koldazice (Luis Saez, Mike Maker)
  4. Misty Veil (Martin Chuan, Mike Maker)
  5. Jag Warrior (Brian Hernandez Jr., Dale Romans)
  6. Distinctlypossible (Tyler Gaffalione, Chad Brown)
  7. Music Street (Ricardo Santana Jr., Whit Beckman)
  8. Xigera (Leparoux, Bauer)
  9. Bellamore (Martin Garcia, Carlos Santamaria)