Multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire I’m a Chatterbox headlines a seven-distaffer field entered for Sunday’s $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston.
The chestnut daughter of Munnings will be looking to give trainer Larry Jones his third victory in five years in the contest with regular rider Florent Geroux in the irons.
The duo were last seen finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) on November 4, which followed a romping seven-length triumph in the Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland a month earlier. The newly turned five-year-old mare also captured the Delaware Handicap (G1) last season.
“She’s doing really well,” Jones said. “We will get her settled and she will gallop Friday and Saturday morning.”
I’m a Chatterbox has been installed as the 6-5 favorite on the morning line and breaks from post 4.
Not far behind I’m a Chatterbox in the odds is 9-5 morning-line second choice Family Tree. The Wayne Catalano pupil went 4-2-2 from eight starts in 2016, including easy scores in the Iowa Oaks (G3), Indiana Oaks (G2) and an 8 1/2-length victory in the Zia Park Oaks to close out her sophomore season.
Julien Leparoux was aboard for the Indiana Oaks and takes back the mount on the Smart Strike filly.
Also of note in the Houston Ladies Classic is Danzatrice, who was off from July 2015 to October 2016 but ended last year a 7 1/4-length winner of the Tiffany Lass Stakes. Luis Saez has the call on the Steve Asmussen charge.
One race earlier, eight will go 1 1/2 grassy miles in the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3). Trainer Mike Maker has three of those eight entrants and they lead the morning line.
Bigger Picture is the early choice at 9-5. The six-year-old gelding recorded a drawing off score in the Red Smith Handicap (G3) last November but failed to factor when eighth in the Claiming Crown Jewel three weeks later. Fellow Grade 3 winner Oscar Nominated is 2-1 on the morning line off a runner-up effort in the Tropical Park Derby on New Year’s Eve while 5-2 third favorite Greengrassofyoming just missed by a nose in the December 17 Buddy Diliberto Memorial most recently.
Jose Ortiz rides Bigger Picture, Geroux has been tabbed for Oscar Nominated and Robby Albarado will be holding Greengrassofyoming’s reins.