June 26, 2022

Obligatory takes on elders in Chilukki

Obligatory wins the Eight Belles Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Chilukki S. (G3) — Race 10 (5:36 p.m. ET)

The three-year-old Obligatory captured the Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs in May and later placed in two Grade 1s, but hasn’t necessarily landed in an easy spot in Saturday’s $300,000 Chilukki S. (G3) at Louisville oval.

Although a close second in the Acorn (G1) following the Eight Belles, Juddmonte Farms’ homebred gray hasn’t been as sharp in the second half of the season. Runner-up to Clairiere in the Cotillion (G1) in September, that effort was book-ended by modest efforts in the Test (G1) and Raven Run (G2) over the filly’s bread-and-butter distance of seven furlongs.

Obligatory, a come-from-behind sort, stretches back out to a mile in the Chilukki, but faces older rivals for the first time and there doesn’t appear great deal of speed to set up one of her more potent stretch kicks.

Sally’s Curlin, who won the 2019 Chilukki as a three-year-old, has been a solid one-turn performer at Churchill for several seasons and enters off a near-miss second in a two-turn allowance at Keeneland for Dale Romans. The multiple stakes-winning Matera saw a three-race win streak snapped in the 1 1/16-mile Locust Grove (G3) on Sept. 18, but enters off some quick works for the ever-dangerous Brad Cox barn.

She Can’t Sing blitzed allowance rivals by 5 1/4 lengths going seven furlongs on the Churchill surface in early October, and could prove dangerous right back. Miss Bigly is stakes-placed both here and at Santa Anita this season, while Pass the Plate and Princess Causeway are capable on dirt despite having stronger histories on grass.

The field is completed by Its Cold in Dehere, who’s developed into a more consistent allowance type this fall for Norm Casse.