January 23, 2022

Factor This, Juliet Foxtrot top turf stakes on Preakness undercard

Factor This wired the Muniz Memorial Classic in course-record time at Fair Grounds (Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.)
  • The following turf races on the Preakness Day undercard can be found below.
    • Dinner Party S.
    • Gallorette S.
    • Laurel Futurity
    • Selima S.
    • James W. Murphy S.
    • Hilltop S.

Dinner Party Stakes

Previously run as the Dixie, the 119th edition of the $250,000 Dinner Party (G2) features seven contestants at 1 1/16 miles on Pimlico’s turf. It’s one of the oldest turf stakes in North America.

Factor This, who had a four-race stakes-winning streak snapped with a close second in the Sept. 5 Old Forester Bourbon Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs, rates as the horse to beat. Brad Cox trains the front runner, and Factor This counts the Wise Dan (G2) and Muniz Memorial Classic (G2) among his victories this season. The 5-year-old son of The Factor surpassed $1 million in earnings in his last outing, and Florent Geroux rides.

Somelikeithotbrown is eligible to rebound with an improved showing following an unplaced effort in the Old Forester. He didn’t make the lead last time, and the 4-year-old colt is likely to show more speed with Paco Lopez picking up the assignment. Winner of the Bernard Baruch (G2) at Saratoga two back, Somelikeithotbrown has won four of his last nine starts for Mike Maker.

Grade 2 winner Hembree, a rallying third in the Sept. 9 Tapit S. at Kentucky Downs, will be running late for Maker and Daniel Centeno. Doctor Mounty exits a nice win in the Sept. 7 Henry Clark S. at Laurel Park for Shug McGaughey.

Gallorette Stakes

Graded stakes winners Juliet Foxtrot and Varenka highlight eight distaffers in the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) at 1 1/16 miles.

A close third to Rushing Fall in the Jenny Wiley (G1) two back, Juliet Foxtrot exits a fourth in a salty edition of the Sept. 5 Distaff Turf Mile (G2) at Churchill Downs. Cox trains the 5-year-old mare, and the English-bred daughter of Dansili should be forwardly-placed in the early stages with Geroux.

Varenka, winless in four starts since a dead-heat victory in the 2019 Lake Placid (G2), adds blinkers off a rallying fifth as the favorite in the Sept. 7 One Dreamer S. at Kentucky Downs. Trevor McCarthy guides the Graham Motion-trained Ghostzapper filly.

She’sonthewarpath is also a win contender. A three-time stakes queen this season, the 4-year-old filly exits a runner-up in the Aug. 2 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Preview S. at Ellis Park, and Gabe Saez picks up the mount for Steve Margolis.

Laurel Futurity

Ten 2-year-old males will square off over 8 1/2 grassy furlongs in the $150,000 Laurel Futurity.

Pivotal Mission will receive support following a half-length second in the Sept. 7 More Than Ready Juvenile S. at Kentucky Downs. John Velazquez will be up on the chestnut colt for Motion, who will also second out French import Wooten Asset.

Nautilus returns to grass for Cox after capturing an off-the-turf maiden at Saratoga. Maker has a duo in Catman and Tijuana Brass. Steve Asmussen will be represented by Hidden Enemy, an Irish-bred son of Galileo who exits a runner-up in a Sept. 5 turf maiden at Saratoga.

Selima Stakes

Two-year-old fillies take their turn in the $150,000 Selima, with a field of eight youngsters set for the 1 1/16-mile affair.

Domain Expertise could be favored for Chad Brown after a half-length second in her debut, a 1 1/16-mile turf maiden at Saratoga. Victor Carrasco will pick up the mount on the chestnut daughter of Kitten’s Joy. Brown will also send out Fluffy Socks, a last out maiden scorer at Kentucky Downs in her second start. McCarthy has the call.

Sorority S. runner-up Invincible Gal is a contender for Motion, and Golden Voice can’t be dismissed following a convincing maiden triumph for Maker.

James W. Murphy Stakes

Monday Morning Qb had been under consideration for the Preakness following his runner-up effort in the Sept. 7 Federico Tesio S., but the Butch Reid-trained colt will instead try turf in the $100,000 James Murphy. The Maryland-bred son of Imagining heads a full field of 14 sophomores in the one-mile test, and Carrasco retains the assignment.

Bye Bye Melvin will seek a second consecutive stakes triumph following his 19-1 upset in the Aug. 29 Saranac (G3) at Saratoga. Don Juan Kitten, a head second in the Saranac, looks like a main player here, and stakes winners Buy Land and See, Jolting Joe and Vanzzy add further depth to a nice cast.

Hilltop Stakes

Thirteen 3-year-old fillies are in the spotlight in the $100,000 Hilltop.

Motion appears well-represented in the one-mile event with Lucky Jingle and Shimmering. Stakes-placed Lucky Jingle will add McCarthy, and Velazquez takes over on English import Shimmering, who kept outstanding company overseas and is eligible to relish the class relief.

Princess Grace, an easy winner of both starts, will make her stakes debut for Michael Stidham in the one-mile event. Vigilantes Way brings a two-race win streak to her first stakes attempt for McGaughey.