February 22, 2024

Red Carpet Ready prevails in a hard-fought Eight Belles

#6 Red Carpet Ready wins the Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

Ashbrook Farm and Upland Flats Racing’s Red Carpet Ready engaged the heavily favored Munnys Gold approximately three furlongs from home in Friday’s $500,000 Eight Belles Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs and eventually scored by a diminishing head. Under guidance from her pilot, Luis Saez, the dark bay daughter of Oscar Performance completed seven furlongs over a fast main track in 1:22.28.

Munnys Gold as expected got to the front, posting opening fractions of :22.67 and :45.11 with Condensation to her inside and the eventual winner traveling in the clear and to the outside just a short ways back. Condensation began to retreat a bit after a half and it was at this time that Red Carpet Ready joined up with Munnys Gold. As the field of seven sophomore fillies entered the stretch, Red Carpet Ready gained a clear advantage, passing six furlongs in a brisk 1:08.96.

As it turned out, her victory was not going to happen without a fight as Munnys Gold showed toughness of her own and refused to back down. Munnys Gold made a fight of it to the end under Irad Ortiz Jr. and came up just short of Red Carpet Ready, who edged out her rival in an absolute thriller.

Accede was 1 3/4 lengths farther behind in third, and completing the order of finish were the aforementioned Condensation, Olivia Twist, Sabra Tuff, and Grand Love. Positano Sunset and Effortlesslyelgant were scratched.

Bred in Kentucky by Lynn B. Schiff, Red Carpet Ready has four wins from five starts and earnings of $588,670. She captured the Forward Gal Stakes (G3) and placed a commendable third in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2), both at Gulfstream Park. The filly is the third foal produced by the unraced Street Sense mare Wild Silk, who has an unnamed yearling full brother to the Eight Belles winner and a 2023 filly by Not This Time.

Trainer Rusty Arnold, who conditions the winner, said afterward that they’ll keep Red Carpet Ready sprinting for the time being.