February 20, 2024

Juveniles highlight closing day card at Churchill

Churchill Downs (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

The curtain falls on the Churchill Downs spring meet Monday, July 4, and with it a trio of stakes on the nine-race program, including the track’s leading springtime events for juveniles.

Leading a field of six in the $175,000 Bashford Manor S. over six furlongs is Gulfport, the Steve Asmussen-trained Uncle Mo colt who won debut by seven lengths on June 10. Also exiting maiden wins at first asking are Owen’s Leap, Andthewinneris, and Stayhonor Goodside. Owen’s Leap, notably, is a half-brother to 2019 Ellis Park Debutante winner Green Destiny.

Keeneland debut winner Simply Super is the second choice on the morning line. The Super Saver colt broke slow and was no factor second out in the May 5 Kentucky Juvenile, in which he finished eighth. Mr. Gordy fared better in the Kentucky Juvenile, finishing fourth, after breaking his maiden first out in Lexington.

Seven fillies were entered for the $175,000 Debutante S., also over six furlongs. The competitive group includes debut winners Crackalacking, Wonder Wheel, Sabra Tuff, and Les Bon Temps.

The slight morning line favorite, Empire of My Own, did not win first out, but was a clear second in a May 5 maiden won by next-out Astoria S. winner Devious Dame. Empire of My Own subsequently graduated last month for Asmussen.

A competitive field of older horses will travel one mile in the $175,000 Hanshin S., a race formerly run at Arlington Park and known for decades as the Equipoise Mile.

Recent Westchester (G3) winner Cody’s Wish and 2021 Ack Ack (G3) victor Plainsman are the early favorites in the one-turn test. Grade 3 veteran Weyburn, Steve Sexton Mile (G3) runner-up Mish, and Grade 3-placed Runnin’ Ray are also among the field of seven.