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Mike previews the 2022 Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs, then gives his top picks and longshots. The Kenny McPeek trainee Fun and Feisty hopes to rebound from her last-out defeat as she returns to the site of her 2022 Pocahontas Stakes (G3) victory. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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Thoroughbred racing in Kentucky shifts from Keeneland to Churchill Downs on Sunday as the home of the Kentucky Derby readies to open its 133rd Fall Meet with an 11-race program – all for promising 2-year-old Thoroughbreds – at 1 p.m. (all times Eastern).
The popular 19-day stand covers a four-week stretch every Wednesday-Sunday through Nov. 27, with the exception of Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5 when the Breeders’ Cup World Championships return to Keeneland.
The Fall Meet kicks off in style Sunday with the 18th annual “Stars of Tomorrow I” program, which is entirely devoted to hopeful 2-year-old stars that have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).
Sunday’s 11-race opening day card is headlined by the 10th runnings of two 1 1/16 miles, $200,000 stakes – the open-company Street Sense (GIII) and Rags to Riches for fillies. Those races serve as local steppingstones to the two Grade II, $400,000, 1 1/16-mile counterparts on the Saturday, Nov. 26 “Stars of Tomorrow II” program – the open Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod for fillies that are part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks series which award points to the Top 5 finishers (10-4-3-2-1).
Inaugurated in 2005, Churchill Downs’ “Stars of Tomorrow” programs have helped launched the careers of numerous graded stakes winners, including more than 50 future Grade I winners led by Horse of the Year champions Gun Runner (2017) and Rachel Alexandra (2009); Kentucky Derby winners Super Saver (2010) and Mandaloun (2021); Kentucky Oaks winners Rachel Alexandra (2009), Believe You Can (2012), Monomoy Girl (2018) and Secret Oath (2022); Preakness winners Rachel Alexandra (2009), Shackleford (2011), War of Will (2019) and Swiss Skydiver (2020); Belmont winner Creator (2016) as well as 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2013 Stephen Foster hero Fort Larned and 2013 champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge.
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