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FRANKLIN, KY – Fillies and mares have the stage to themselves Sunday, September 12 in the 10-race closing program, Greenbrier Whiskey Day, of the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs.
The headliner is the $550,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon for older fillies and mares at 1 5/16 miles. Preceding the Music City are a pair of $500,000 sprint stakes, the Ainsworth for 2-year-old fillies and the Nelson’s Green Brier Whiskey Music City for 3-year-olds fillies.
First post is 12:20 PM Central. All the races will be shown on TVG.
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In the Ladies Marathon, the final stakes of the season, Godolphin homebred Micheline will try to repeat her success in last year’s Dueling Grounds Oaks. The daughter of Bernardini has a single win since her Oaks victory – in the Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 6 – but all her starts have been in graded stakes company. The Marathon will be her first start since was a well-beaten seventh in the Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3) at Delaware Park on July 10. Joel Rosario, who rode her to victory in the Dueling Grounds Oaks, returns to the saddle. Micheline is a daughter of Panty Raid, who won 2 Grade 1s while earning over $1 million.
Catherine Wills’ homebred Luck Money, trained by Arnaud Delacour, was third in last year’s Dueling Ground Oaks at 29/1 and since has a listed stakes win and was second in the Dick Memorial. In her last race, she was fourth after weakening late in the 1 1/2-mile Glens Falls (G2) at Saratoga on August 7. War Like Goddess cruised in the Glens Falls and on Saturday captured the Flower Bowl (G1) at Saratoga.
Cannon Thoroughbreds’ Go Big Blue Nation ships in from California for trainer Michael McCarthy, who won this year’s Preakness (G1) with Rombauer. Go Big Blue Nation stepped back from stakes company on July 18 to win an allowance/optional claimer at 1 3/8 miles at Del Mar.
The Graham Motion-trained Blame Debbie returns to Kentucky Downs, where she finished first in an allowance race at the Ladies Marathon distance last year but was disqualified to third for interference. She was fifth in the Dance Smartly (G2) at Woodbine on August 22.
The Big Lick Farm homebred Cavalier Cupid is likely to get a lot of attention in the Ainsworth Stakes. Cavalier Cupid, a daughter of Quality Road won the $100,000 Keswick on August 2 at Colonial Downs for trainer Sarah Nagle. The Maryland-bred ran second in her debut on June 22 at Belterra Park. She broke her maiden at Colonial at 5 furlongs on July 19 and won the 5-furlong Keswick by a length 2 weeks later. Nagle is a former assistant for retired trainer Buff Bradley.
Trainer Wesley Ward will saddle Arnmore Thoroughbreds’ Poppy Flower, who most recently was second in the Bolton Landing at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 18. The speedy daughter of Lea led from gate to wire to break her maiden at Belmont Park on June 20. In her return after a 2-month break between races, she set the pace over yielding ground but was overtaken in deep stretch. Regular rider Jose Ortiz has the mount.
Mystic Eyes steps up to stakes company for newly inducted Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher after winning her maiden debut impressively at Saratoga on August 5. Sent off as the 3/5 favorite in the field of eight, she seized the lead out of the gate and won in hand by 4 1/2 lengths.
The French-bred Cheerupsleepyjean owned by DJ Stable will make her North American debut for trainer Mark Casse from post 11. The daughter of Starspangledbanner has not raced since June but she has been battled-tested against strong company. On June 16 at Royal Ascot, she was third by 3 lengths in the Queen Mary (G2) at 50/1. Eleven days later at even money, she was third in the Arlie Stud Balanchine (G2) at the Curragh. Tyler Gaffalione, the 2020 Kentucky Downs riding champ, will be up.
Two-time stakes winner Tobys Heart will cut back in distance in the Music City after 2 solid performances at a mile. Jockey Joel Rosario, who won 10 of his first 19 starts at the meet this season, will ride for trainer Brian Lynch. Tobys Heart showed ability as a 2-year-old winning the Bolton Landing last summer at Saratoga. In Apri, she prevailed at the favorite in the Limestone Turf Sprint at Keeneland. On July 23 at Saratoga she was third by 1 1/2 lengths in a wide trip in the Lake George (G3) at Saratoga.
Illegal Smile was a popular song by the beloved late singer-songwriter John Prine and the Camacho filly has proven to be a consistent runner for Hat Creek Racing and Wesley Ward. She broke her maiden in a stakes at Aqueduct in November and reaches the Music City after a pair of runner-up finishes. Last out, she was second by a head in the Galway at Saratoga on Aug. 15.
Peachtree Stables paid $320,000 for Saranya as a 2-year-old and the daughter of The Factor, who is trained by Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox, has a record of 3-3-1 from eight starts. On June 23 she earned her first stakes victory in the Curtis Sampson Stakes at Canterbury Park.
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