March 4, 2024

Frank’s Rockette tops Roxelana on Churchill Downs opener

Frank's Rockette
Frank's Rockette winning the Gallant Bloom H. (G2) at Belmont Park (Photo by Coglianese Photos/Joe Labozzetta)

Highlighted by the 149th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 6, Churchill Downs’ spring meet gets underway Saturday evening with a 10-race program, and female sprinters will take center stage in the $175,000 Roxelana Overnight S. at six furlongs.

The 10-race program kicks off at 6 p.m. (ET), and the Roxelana is scheduled for 10:11 p.m.

Multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Frank’s Rockette will go favored among six fillies and mares. Owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations and trained by Bill Mott, the same connections of Kentucky Derby contender Rocket Can, the six-year-old mare exits a pair of romping stakes wins at Gulfstream Park this winter, scoring by 12 lengths in the Sugar Swirl (G3) in late December and drawing off by eight lengths in the Hurricane Bertie (G3) on March 11. Junior Alvarado rides the daughter of Into Mischief.

Coppelia won the Dream Supreme S. at Churchill last November and came back with a third in the Sugar Swirl. Tyler Gaffalione rides the speedy mare for Phil Bauer. Three-time stakes queen Pretty Birdie, second in the Eight Belles (G2) on the Kentucky Oaks undercard last year, is also part of the mix. Luis Saez takes the call for Norm Casse.

Last-out allowance winners My Destiny and Praise and Honor are also entered, and multiple stakes queen Last Leaf will try to turn things.

The 44-day spring meet concludes on July 3.