The Churchill Downs publicity team on Monday released the lists of projected contenders for the smorgasbord of stakes over Kentucky Derby weekend, May 2-3.
The May 2 Kentucky Oaks card is supported by five stakes -- the Grade 1, $300,000 La Troienne for older distaffers and the Grade 2, $300,000 Alysheba for older horses, both at 1 1/16 miles; the Grade 3, $175,000 Eight Belles for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs; the Grade 3, $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint; and the $150,000 Edgewood for sophomore fillies over 1 1/16 grassy miles.
Kentucky Derby Day, May 3, also features five undercard stakes -- the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, headlined by two-time Horse of the Year and defending champion Wise Dan; the Grade 1, $300,000 Humana Distaff and the Grade 2, $400,000 Churchill Downs, both for older runners at seven furlongs; the Grade 2, $300,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile; and the Grade 2, $250,000 American Turf for three-year-olds.
Champion Will Take Charge is "possible" for the May 2 Alysheba, but trainer D. Wayne Lukas has left the door open to a turf tilt in the Woodford Reserve, versus Wise Dan. Normandy Invasion is another Alysheba possible, while the likely cast comprises Golden Ticket, Moonshine Mullin, Bradester, Dynamic Sky and Appealing Tale.
On Fire Baby is expected in the La Troienne, with Unlimited Budget, Devil's Cave, Magic Union and Don't Tell Sophia also listed as likely.
Champion She's a Tiger could begin her three-year-old campaign in the Eight Belles, where she is projected to meet Our Amazing Rose, Milam, Cash Control, Lady Paradime, Bajan, Silk Purse, and Hot and Dangerous. Empress of Midway, who is currently on the outside looking in for the Kentucky Oaks, is possible.
She's a Tiger (right) could return in the Eight Belles, while BC Juvenile Fillies foe Ria Antonia runs in the Oaks(Breeders' Cup Ltd. Photo)The five-furlong Twin Spires Turf Sprint is likely to attract Marchman, Positive Side, Sum of the Parts, Ancil and Googleado. The Edgewood probables are Resistivity, Istanford, V V Goodnight, A Little Bit Sassy and Personal Diary.
Turning to Derby Day, Wise Dan's forecast opponents in the Woodford Reserve are Seek Again, Admiral Kitten, Skyring and Bright Thought. Skyring is a stablemate of Will Take Charge, who could make an audacious turf debut here if he passes on the Alysheba. Although not listed by Churchill, Little Mike has also been mentioned as a candidate to regain his crown from 2012.
The Humana Distaff field is shaping up to include Funny Proposition, Heart Stealer, Scherzinger, Speedinthruthecity, Street Girl and Warm Breeze.
Sahara Sky tops the expected cast in the Churchill Downs, which comprises Clearly Now, Delaunay, Falling Sky, Laugh Track, Cape Bastone, Countercyclical and Sensational Slam.
Centre Court is set to contest the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, as are Miz Ida, Tapicat, Effie Trinket, Coffee Clique, English Class and Every Way.
The 1 1/16-mile American Turf will feature a contentious group of sophomores -- Storming Inti, Woodfield Springs, Global View, Chief Barker, Picozza, Long on Value, Craftsman and General Jack. Pleuven, a Chad Brown trainee like Storming Inti, is possible.