Hopes for Firm Track
After winning three of her first four starts, Dixiana Farms' Brielle’s Appeal has run into obstacles in trying to advance to the next level. Trainer Al Stall hopes that changes in the $450,000, Grade III Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint on Saturday at Kentucky Downs.
Brielle’s Appeal won her debut a year ago in one of Kentucky Downs’ $135,000 maiden races for 3-year-olds and up, and she was third in a Keeneland allowance race in her next start. Brielle’s Appeal was patiently handled by Stall, winning an allowance at Fair Grounds by 5 1/2 lengths and then another allowance at Keeneland by the same margin this past spring — all in front-running fashion.
Then things quit going to plan. The filly spiked a temperature that kept her out of her scheduled stakes debut on Preakness weekend in Maryland, a cancellation that was pretty much a wash after rain took the race off the turf. When she resumed racing in Saratoga’s Caress Stakes on July 23, Brielle’s Appeal struggled home ninth over extremely soft turf.
“She’s a naturally fast horse, and the course just wasn’t suiting her one iota,” Stall said. “That was clearly a throw-out race.… We shipped her right back to Kentucky after that race. We started pointing for this race because she broke her maiden there last year. The horse is fine, but we’ll be sweating entries when the time comes. She’s had kind of a weird summer. I’d like to be able to run a race with no excuses.”
As things turned out, Brielle’s Appeal was in good shape under the preference criteria, and she made the field. She'll break from post 1 under Shaun Bridgmohan.
Bridgmohan, who began riding Brielle’s Appeal in New Orleans, said, “She’s a really nice, fast filly,” he said. "She didn't handle the soft turf at all at Saratoga."
Brielle’s Appeal has the advantage of having proven she can handle Kentucky Downs’ undulating course, as well as the stakes’ 6 1/2-furlong distance.
“She doesn’t have those built-in excuses,” Stall joked, “so she better show up.”
Now all the trainer has to do is watch the weather.
And of course Lull, who won the Ladies Sprint last year as a 3-year-old and captured the Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs as a 2-year-old.
“She’s the favorite no matter who comes to the race,” Stall said.
Edited release with additional content by Dick Downey