If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Seven weeks after suffering a surprise defeat at Churchill Downs, Mylady Curlin will try to bounce back with a winning effort over the Louisville oval in Saturday’s $200,000 Chilukki Stakes (G3) going a mile.
The consistent daughter of Curlin won five straight races between March and August, including the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) at Pimlico, emerging as a capable stakes performer for trainer Brad Cox. These efforts stamped Mylady Curlin as the even-money favorite for the September 14 Locust Grove Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs, but she failed to fire her best shot, rallying belatedly to finish third by 1 ¼ lengths.
The good news is, Mylady Curlin’s Locust Grove conquerors are skipping the Chilukki, and only a half-dozen challengers will line up to face the expected favorite. The most accomplished among them is Chocolate Martini, upset winner of the 2018 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and fifth in the 2018 Kentucky Oaks (G1). A stretch-running four-year-old conditioned by Tom Amoss, Chocolate Martini is dropping in class, but hasn’t been seen under colors since finishing seventh in the May 3 La Troienne Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Also returning from a layoff is Still There, runner-up in the 2018 Ballerina Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. A classy sprinter, Still There failed to fire in the May 27 Critical Eye Stakes at Belmont Park, her lone start so far in 2019. With just three timed workouts under her belt in the interim, it’s unclear if Still There is ready to fire her best shot in the Chilukki, though she should appreciate the one-turn configuration of this race.
Stakes-winning sprinter Cairenn will likewise stretch out in distance for the Chilukki and enters off a late-running win in a seven-furlong handicap at Colonial Downs, her first victory of 2019. Divine Queen is also a sprinter, having won the six-furlong Open Mind Stakes at Churchill Downs on September 14, though she’s also shown the ability to run farther, nabbing an allowance race over this track and distance on June 22 before finishing second in the one-mile Groupie Doll Stakes at Ellis Park.
The wildcard might be the improving three-year-old Sally’s Curlin. She was soundly beaten in her lone graded stakes attempt, finishing eleventh in the Indiana Oaks (G3), but has since dominated a pair of one-mile allowance races. She was particularly sharp on September 15 at Churchill Downs, unleashing a huge rally from off the pace to win by 9 ¼ lengths.
Completing the field is She’s Pretty Lucky, a versatile stakes winner seeking to rebound from a series of defeats on both dirt and turf.
The Chilukki Stakes is the 8TH race of the afternoon. Post time is scheduled for 6:42 p.m. ET.