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Jessamine Preview: Boxing Day Steps Up
Boxing Day (Credit: Coady Photography)

Jessamine Preview: Boxing Day Steps Up

LEXINGTON, KY – After an impressive debut victory at Kentucky Downs, Godolphin homebred Boxing Day steps up to face an overdrawn field of fillies in Wednesday’s $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.

The Jessamine is a 1 1/16-mile turf route that serves as the final event on an 8-race card with a local post time of 4:44 PM. The race is also a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, awarding an automatic berth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar this November.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Jessamine:

1. Kneesnhips 30/1 – She returns to turf after failing to threaten in the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas Stakes (G3). She broke her maiden on debut as the 5/2 favorite in a 5 1/2-furlong Ellis Park firm turf sprint, then finished third over a yielding Saratoga lawn in the 5 1/2-furlong Bolton Landing Stakes. The top two finishers in that race finished fifth and sixth in Sunday’s Belmont Futurity (G3) versus boys.

2. California Angel 30/1 – She also gets back on her likely better surface, having broken her maiden on debut in a 1-mile Kentucky Downs event before finishing a late-running third in a 6-furlong Churchill Downs fast dirt sprint against optional claimers. Rafael Bejarano, still looking for his first win this meet, remains her only rider and has won 3 of 11 total mounts for trainer George Leonard III.

3. Turnerloose 5/2 – The field’s only entry with multiple turf wins to her credit, she broke her maiden on debut in a 1-mile Ellis Park turf route before winning the 1-mile Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes. The fifth-place finisher dominated $40k claimers by 7 lengths in a Churchill Downs sprint next out, her second win on dirt. Expect jockey Florent Geroux to continue using her early turn of foot here.

4. Ontheonesandtwos 20/1 – She tries turf for the first time after compiling a 4-1-1-0 record on dirt that included finishing second by 1 length in the 6-furlong Debutante Stakes. Well-beaten in 2 starts agains graded stakes company, she recently worked 4 furlongs in a dull :53.20 over this turf. Sire Jimmy Creed produces 7% first-time turfers and trainer Norm Casse is 1 for 23 when going dirt to turf.

5. Roughly a Diamond 30/1 – She’s the only runner drawn into the field who hasn’t crossed the wire first in a race, as she was placed first via disqualification in her lone start, a 7 1/2-furlong Gulfstream Park turf route. That race came in July, so she has the long layoff to overcome, but she rallied up the rail from last to miss by a head and the third-place horse broke her maiden next out.

6. Bhoma 20/1 – She broke her maiden at second asking in a 6 1/2-furlong restricted maiden special weight on the Churchill Downs dirt but netted a 58 Beyer Speed Figure that dipped below the 60 she earned for finishing second by a head on debut. Her sire Bernardini produces 3% first-time winners on grass, but she’s a half to multiple Grade 3 turf stakes champion Mom’s On Strike.

7. Rigby 20/1 – She never threatened when debuting in a 5 1/2-furlong Saratoga dirt sprint, but she popped a 1-length victory when trainer Mike Maker switched her to turf for a 6-furlong sprint on the outer Belmont Park lawn. Both starts came against New York-breds so the waters get deeper, but she showed a strong early turn of foot and a willingness to pass last out that should serve her well here.

8. Queen Judith 15/1 – She broke her maiden on debut in a 6 1/2-furlong Kentucky Downs sprint over yielding ground, rallying from well off the pace to score by a well-timed neck under returning rider Julien Leparoux. Despite the deep give, she finished the final 1/2-furlong in 6 seconds flat and should relish going two turns and Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse repeats at 18% with last-out winners.

9. Decree of Love 12/1 – Maker’s second entry finished fourth on debut in a 1 1/16-mile route over Saratoga’s yielding outer turf course, then returned to defeat maidens in a 1-mile Kentucky Downs event on firm footing. She’s bred to go long on the lawn and Irad Ortiz Jr. – who connects at 24% overall with Maker – rides for the second straight start. Maker repeats at 21% with last-out winners.

10. Misthaven 6/1 – She rallied from well off the pace to break her maiden on debut in a 6 1/2-furlong Kentucky Downs sprint over firm going, pulling away late to win by 1 3/4 lengths. The Irish-bred is a half to the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) champion Bobby’s Kitten and multiple graded turf stakes winner Camelot Kitten, both of whom competed in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) events.

11. Opalina 6/1 – She broke her maiden at third asking last time out, wiring Florida-breds by 12 lengths in a 1-mile route over yielding Gulfstream Park grass. She finished second in a pair of 5-furlong sprints against open company prior to her class-dropping victory (including behind a rival returning here), so she’ll need to bring a stronger effort while facing more speed than she did last time out.

12. Dressed 9/2 – She broke her maiden by 5 1/4 lengths in a 1 1/16-mile off-turf Churchill Downs route after racing second on debut in a 5-furlong Arlington Park firm turf sprint. She switched back to turf last time out and was a similarly strong 3 1/4-length victor in a 6 1/2-furlong Kentucky Downs firm sprint against optional claimers. Top California jockey Flavien Prat picks up the mount.

13. Boxing Day 20/1 – She broke her maiden on debut in a 6 1/2-furlong firm sprint at Kentucky Downs, surging from mid-pack to take the lead in the stretch before extending her advantage by the wire. A similar trip in her second career start would be to her benefit, as there appears to be plenty of early speed signed on in this event. Trainer Brendan Walsh repeats at 19% with last-out winners.

14. Diamond Wow 8/1 – She scratched out of Friday’s Alcibiades Stakes (G1) on the local dirt to run instead in this spot, as her connections seem to believe that’s her better surface. She broke her maiden wiring a 5-furlong Gulfstream Park turf sprint before winning the off-turf 7-furlong Our Dear Peggie Stakes. Her dam is a half to multiple graded dirt and turf stakes winner Diamond Oops.

15. Blissful 12/1 (Also Eligible) – She’ll need at least 1 horse to scratch in order to make the gate. She broke her maiden on debut running gate to wire in a 1 1/16-mile Saratoga inner turf route. She’s the first call for jockey Luis Saez, who would leave his current mount Roughly a Diamond if Blissful draws into the field.

16. Haughty 8/1 (Also Eligible) – She’ll need at least 2 horses to scratch in order to make the gate. Though technically a maiden, she crossed the wire first in her only start, a 1-mile Belmont Park outer turf event that saw her finish 3 1/4 lengths clear but get disqualified and placed third for interference in the stretch.

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