Maxfield wins the Grade 2 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.
Between Del Mar’s closing weekend Turf Festival (with a mandatory payout looming on Sunday in the Jackpot Pick 6), Churchill Downs’ traditional Thanksgiving weekend stakes program, solid racing at Aqueduct and champion Pink Lloyd’s farewell performance at Woodbine, horseplayers are in for a feast this holiday.
Here’s a quick look at some of those races:
4:22 p.m. – G2 Falls City Stakes at Churchill Downs
Juddmonte’s multiple graded stakes-winning filly Bonny South headlines a competitive field of seven fillies and mares that entered the 106th running of the $500,000 Grade 2 Falls City, the centerpiece on the 12-race Thanksgiving Day program at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Trained by Brad Cox, Bonny South bypassed the G1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., Nov. 6 and stayed at Churchill Downs for the Falls City. The 4-year-old daughter of Munnings finished third in the $500,000 G1 Spinster to multiple G1 winner Letruska. Prior to her Spinster effort, Bonny South nearly defeated Letruska in the $600,000 G1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga but came up a half-length short.
Envoutante is slated to defend her title in the Falls City. The 4-year-old filly by Uncle Mo won the $150,000 Shawnee Stakes at Churchill Downs in late May. Following her 4 ¼-length victory, the Kenny McPeek trainee had back-to-back third-place finishes to Letruska in the $300,000 G2 Fleur de Lis and Shedaresthedevil in the $400,000 G3 Locust Grove. In her most recent start, Envoutante finished fifth in the Spinster. McPeek’s go-to rider Brian Hernandez Jr. will be in the saddle from post 4.
Falls City Entries
4:33 p.m. – G3 Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar
The Red Carpet Handicap, a marathon of a mile and three eighths that will be contested on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, has brought out five long-winded distaffers who’ll be shooting for the lionesses’ share of the $100,000 purse.
Three of the five runners have European backgrounds and one of them, L N J Foxwoods’ Luck, figures to go favored off her two sharp efforts this year since coming stateside. The 4-year-old daughter of the top American grass sire Kitten’s Joy smartly won an allowance race at Del Mar in August, then came back on Oct. 2 in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita to just miss to the multiple-stakes winner Going to Vegas.
Neige Blanche finished fourth in the Rodeo Drive in her most recent try. The French-bred 4-year-old by the Irish sire Anodin captured the CTT & TOC overnight handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 14 at the same 11-furlong distance on grass as the Red Carpet. Earlier this year she won the Grade 3 Santa Barbara Sakes at a mile and one-half on the grass at Santa Anita.
England’s Rose comes into the affair off two straight wins, the most recent being the Swingtime overnight stakes at Santa Anita. Her previous victory was at a mile and three eights on the lawn at Del Mar on Sept. 3.
Single Soul is in from the east coast to try her luck Thursday. She was an allowance winner at Belmont Park on Oct. 22 in her most recent effort.
Nicest was a distant fourth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland Oct. 16 in her first U.S. outing. The 3-year-old by American Pharoah had been taking on stakes horses in England and Ireland prior to that.
Red Carpet Entries
3:43 p.m. – G3 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct
Multiple graded stakes-winning Crazy Beautiful made an impressive seasonal turf debut last out but will return to more familiar surroundings on a dirt track as part of an eight-horse field of 3-year-olds fillies competing at 1 1/8 miles in the $200,000 Comely. Crazy Beautiful has compiled a 4-2-0 record in eight starts in 2021.
Three Diamond Farm’s Army Wife has finished in the money in each of her last eight starts dating to October 2020 for trainer Mike Maker. The Declaration of War filly won the prestigious G2 Black-Eyed Susan on the eve of the Preakness at Pimlico before posting a 3 3/4-length score in the G3 Iowa Stakes in July. Elevated to G1 levels, Army Wife held her own, earning black type twice, starting with a third-place effort behind Clairiere and winner Malathaat in the Alabama before garnering another third in the Cotillion behind Obligatory and a winning Clairirere in September.
Victories in her last four starts – and five wins in her last six races – have earned Vegas Weekend a seat at a higher stakes table as she makes her first stakes appearance in her 12th career start. Trained by Rob Atras, the Mineshaft filly has won at distances ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Claimed for $50,000 out of a win traveling nine furlongs on Aug. 19 at Saratoga, Vegas Weekend bested optional claimers by three-quarters of a length off the layoff going seven furlongs on Nov. 12 at the Big A.
5:56 p.m. – G1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs
Godolphin’s multiple graded stakes-winning colt Maxfield drew post No. 8 and will face a talented field of seven rivals that in the $750,000 Clark, the premier race of the Churchill Downs Fall Meet. Maxfield’s 2021 campaign includes two victories at Churchill Downs in the $400,000 Alysheba and $600,000 G2 Stephen Foster. The talented Kentucky-bred finished second to eventual G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Knicks Go in the $1 million G1 Whitney and second to front-running Art Collector in the $500,000 G1 Woodward Stakes. Overall, Maxfield sports a stout career record of 7-2-1 from 10 starts and earnings of $1,550,902. He will be ridden in the Clark by regular rider Jose Ortiz.
Chief among Maxfield’s Clark adversaries is Winchell Thoroughbreds’ improving 3-year-old Midnight Bourbon. Campaigned by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bourbon was prominent in nearly all of the top 3-year-old races this year. The Tiznow colt finished a troubled sixth in the G1 Kentucky Derby when he broke slowly from the starting gate and was forced wide on both turns. Following the Derby, Midnight Bourbon took the lead in the final turn of the $1 million G1 Preakness Stakes but ultimately gave way to finish second behind Rombauer. Midnight Bourbon enters the Clark following back-to-back runner-up finishes in the $1.25 million G1 Travers and $1 million G1 Pennsylvania Derby. Jockey Joel Rosario, who won the 2019 edition of the Clark aboard Tom’s d’Etat, will have the call from the rail.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher entered two horses in this year’s Clark: St. Elias Stable’s two-time graded stakes winner Dr Post and Wertheimer and Frere’s G1 victor Happy Saver. In his last start, Dr Post finished one length behind Maxfield in the Woodward. The 4-year-old son of Quality Road has a pair of G3 victories this year. Happy Saver, a 4-year-old chestnut colt by Pletcher’s Kentucky Derby-winner Super Saver, was second last out in the $1 million G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. He won the 2020 edition of the race by three-quarters of a length. The five-time winner from seven starts will cut back in distance after competing at the 1 ¼-mile distance in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the $400,000 G2 Suburban, where he finished third.
Long Island Entries
Kennedy Road Entries
Golden Rod Entries
Kentucky Jockey Club Entries
Jimmy Durante Entries
Hollywood Derby Entries
To be updated after entries are taken
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