August 2, 2021

Morticia aims for second win in Franklin County at Keeneland

Morticia and jockey Tyler Gaffalione win the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs on Saturday, September 7, 2019 (c) EquiSport Photos/Wendy Wooley

With her career winding down, Morticia will take a run at achieving millionaire status when she heads a large field in Friday’s $150,000 Franklin County (G3) at Keeneland.

G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and trainer Rusty Arnold’s homebred five-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy has bankrolled $989,669 and is an eight-time stakes winner, most recently scoring her second career graded victory in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3) on September 7. She captured the 2017 Franklin County at age three, but finished third in last year’s renewal.

With the Kentucky Downs course favoring pace types on the afternoon of the Ladies Sprint, Morticia’s rivals from that race might be worth a closer look on Friday. Oleksandra, for example, rallied from near the back to finish third. She had previously defeated Morticia in a stakes at Saratoga. One position ahead of Oleksandra was 20-1 shot A Little Bit of Me, who closed from midpack. Painting Corners, who had previously captured the $100,000 Daisycutter at Del Mar, retreated to fifth in the Ladies Sprint after rating in third.

Other major players in the salty renewal include Goldwood, who’s won five straight stakes at Monmouth and Laurel. Another who shows early zip is Girl Knows Best, who returned from a lengthy layoff on September 15 to defeat males in a Churchill Downs allowance. Hotshot Anna is best known for her success on synthetic surfaces with two victories in the Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) and the 2018 Chicago H. (G3), but the Trappe Shot mare also owns a 6-2-1-1 mark on the turf for owner-trainer Hugh Robertson.

The Franklin County, run over 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass, is the ninth race on a 10-race program.