Finest City Headlines Friday’s La Troienne; American Freedom Returns In Alysheba

Seltzer Thoroughbreds’ Finest City, winner of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade I) headlines a field of nine entered Tuesday for the 32nd running of the $ 300,000 La Troienne (Grade I) Presented by Spirit Funds for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track at Churchill Downs.

The La Troienne, which goes as the fifth race on Friday’s 13-race program, is one of six graded stakes that day which is highlighted by the 143rd running of the $ 1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI). Post time for the La Troienne is 12:35 p.m. (all times Eastern) with first post time being 10:30 a.m.

Other stakes on the Friday program are the 14th running of the $ 400,000 Alysheba (GII) for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the 62nd running of the $ 200,000 Eight Belles for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs on the main track, the 23rd running of the $ 150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up going five furlongs and the 33rd running of the $ 150,000 Edgewood Presented by Forcht Bank for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Trained by Ian Kruljac, Finest City followed up her Breeders’ Cup victory with a triumph in the Santa Monica (GII). In her most recent start, she finished second to the top mare Vale Dori in the Santa Margarita (GI).

Mike Smith, who was aboard for the Breeders’ Cup and Santa Monica victories, has the mount Friday and will break from post position eight.

The field for the La Troienne, from the rail out with rider and weight, is: Eskenformoney (Javier Castellano, 118 pounds), Impasse (Geovanni Franco, 118), Big World (Florent Geroux, 118), Paid Up Subscriber (Joel Rosario, 118), Romantic Vision (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Streamline (Chris Landeros, 120), Factory of Faith (Jose Ortiz, 118), Finest City (Smith, 118) and Go Maggie Go (Luis Saez, 118).

Gary and Mary West’s American Freedom, unraced since finishing second to Arrogate in last August’s Travers (GI), will make his return to the races in the G2 Alysheba when he faces 10 rivals.

The Alysheba will go as the afternoon’s sixth with a 1:17 p.m. post time.

Trained by Bob Baffert, American Freedom finished second to Exaggerator in the Haskell Invitational (GI) prior to the Travers. In his lone Churchill Downs, American Freedom finished sixth in the Pat Day Mile (GIII) on Derby Day last year.

Rafael Bejarano has the mount on American Freedom and will break from post position nine.

Other top contenders include the 1-2 finishers from the April 1 New Orleans Handicap (GII) in DARRS Inc.’s Honorable Duty and Gunpowder Farms and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Breaking Lucky.

The field for the Alysheba, from the rail out with rider and weight, is: Bird Song (Julien Leparoux, 118 pounds), Breaking Lucky (Javier Castellano, 118), El Huerfano (Paco Lopez, 118), Honorable Duty (James Graham, 120), December Seven (Corey Lanerie, 118), International Star (Jose Ortiz, 118), Flashy Jewel (Joe Bravo, 118), Noble Bird (Joel Rosario, 118), American Freedom (Bejarano, 118), Behesht (FR) (Joe Rocco Jr., 118) and Fish Trappe Road (Luis Saez, 118).

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Sumaya U.S. Stable’s undefeated Ghalia, winner of the Sunland Park Oaks on March 26 in her most recent start, headlines a field of 14 fillies entered for the G2 Eight Belles.

The Eight Belles will go as the afternoon’s eighth race with a 2:53 p.m. post time.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Ghalia won her first two starts at Gulfstream Park before making a successful stakes debut at Sunland Park. John Velazquez has the mount on Ghalia, who will break from post position 10.

Two Grade I winners, Pretty City Dancer and Union Strike, will challenge Ghalia.

John Oxley’s Pretty City Dancer dead-heated for the win in the Spinaway last September at Saratoga. In her most recent start, she finished sixth in the Ashland (GI) at Keeneland.

Trained by Mark Casse, Pretty City Dancer will break from post position four and be ridden by Julien Leparoux.

Ruis Racing’s Union Strike, winner of the Del Mar Debutante last September, enters the Eight Belles off a victory in the Santa Paula at Santa Anita on April 9. Trained by Mick Ruis, Union Strike will be ridden by Brice Blanc and break from post position two.

The field for the Eight Belles, from the rail out with rider and weight, is: Benner Island (Javier Castellano, 118 pounds), Union Strike (Blanc, 118), Lovely Bernadette (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Pretty City Dancer (Leparoux, 118), Gris Gris (Mike Smith, 118), Laney (Corey Lanerie, 118), Golden Mischief (Jose Ortiz, 120), I’mluckysgirl (Miguel Mena, 118), Florida Fabulous (Paco Lopez, 118), Ghalia (Velazquez, 120), Let It Ride Mom (Joel Rosario, 118), China Grove (James Graham, 118), What What What (Flavien Prat, 118) and Cajun Delta Dawn (Juan Leyva, 118).

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Holding Gold and Green Mask, the 1-2 finishers in last month’s Shakertown (GII) at Keeneland head a field of 13 for the G3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint.

The Twin Spires Turf Sprint will go as the afternoon’s seventh race with a 2 p.m. post time.

Owned by the Live Oak Plantation and trained by Mark Casse, Holding Gold came off a six-month layoff to win the Shakertown by a neck over Green Mask. Joel Rosario has the mount on Holding Gold and will break from post position three.

Abdullah Saeed Almaddah’s Green Mask is a multiple graded stakes-placed runner now in the barn of Brad Cox. Winner of the Bonapaw at Fair Grounds three starts back, Green Mask will break from post position 12 and be ridden by Javier Castellano.

The field for the Twin Spires Turf Sprint, from the inside with rider and weight, is: Wilbo (Joe Bravo, 120 pounds), Platinum Prince (Joe Rocco Jr., 120), Holding Gold (Rosario, 125), Why Two (Flavien Prat, 120), Maniacal (David Flores, 120), Expected Ruler (Didiel Osorio, 120), Derek’s Smile (Paco Lopez, 117), Pure Sensation (Jose Ortiz, 120), Partly Mocha (Julien Leparoux, 122), Black Bear (Calvin Borel, 120), Latent Revenge (Rafael Bejarano, 120), Green Mask (Castellano, 120) and Tell All You Know (Corey Lanerie, 120).

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The John Oxley entry of La Coronel and Dream Dancing headline a field of 13 3-year-old fillies for the G3 Edgewood.

The Edgewood will go as the afternoon’s 10th race with a 5:04 p.m. post time.

Trained by Mark Casse and to be ridden by Julien Leparoux, La Coronel was a daylight winner of the Appalachian (GIII) at Keeneland in her most recent start. She won the Jessamine (GIII) last fall at Keeneland and by virtue of that was the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI) in which she finished sixth.

Dream Dancing, winner of the Herecomesthebride (GIII) at Gulfstream Park in March and most recently a fast-closing fourth in the Appalachian also is trained by Casse, who won the Edgewood last year with Catch a Glimpse.

Dream Dancing has won three of her five career starts on grass. Leparoux also is named on Dream Dancing and will break from post position nine.

The field for the Edgewood, from the inside with rider and weight, is: Bernadiva (Javier Castellano, 118 pounds), Youngest Daughter (Jose Lezcano, 118), India Mantuana (Jose Ortiz, 118), Journey Home (John Velazquez, 123), Stallion Heiress (Mitchell Murrill, 118), Proctor’s Ledge (Corey Lanerie, 118), Storm the Hill (Joel Rosario, 118), Sweeping Paddy (Luis Saez, 118), Dream Dancing (Leparoux, 123), Purely a Dream (Florent Geroux, 118), Emphatically (Flavien Prat, 118, La Coronel (Leparoux, 123) and You Missed It (Mario Gutierrez, 118).

Racing – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

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