Always a Princess, wire-to-wire winner of the Grade II Indiana Oaks in her most recent start, leads a competitive field of 12 fillies and mares entered in the Grade III Chilukki on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The Chilukki, run at one mile on the main track, will go as the third race on Saturday’s 11-race program and serves as the lead-in to eight Breeders’ Cup World Championship races.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Always a Princess is one of five graded stakes winners in the field. The race was won last year by Malibu Prayer, who was nominated to the Chilukki but will run in the Ladies’ Classic this time around.
Always A Princess is unbeaten in two starts as a 3-year-old after showing promise at two with a runner-up finish in the Grade I Oak Leaf at Santa Anita and a fifth-place run behind She Be Wild in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at the same track. She returned to competition with an allowance victory over older rivals at Del Mar in early September and then shipped to Hoosier Park for the Indiana Oaks.
Martin Garcia has the return call Saturday on Always a Princess, the 5-2 morning line favorite. The daughter of Leroidesanimaux will break from post three and carry top weight of 119 pounds.
Other major players in the Chilukki include the Doug O’Neill-trained California invader Emmy Darling, fifth to Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite Zenyatta in the Grade I Ladies Secret. Rafael Bejarano will ride the daughter of Graeme Hall, who is the 5-1 second choice in the race.
Third Dawn also traveled from California for the Chilukki for trainer John Sadler. The 4-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa makes just her third start of the year and has not run since a good third-place finish in the Grade II Milady Handicap (GII) at Hollywood Park in May. Calvin Borel will ride Third Dawn, who is 6-1.
The field for the Chilukki, from the rail out: First Passage (Garrett Gomez, 118 pounds), Bronx City Girl (Julien Leparoux, 115), Always a Princess (Garcia, 119), Direct Line (Tony Farina, 118), Emmy Darling (Bejarano, 118), Taste’s Sis (Larry Sterling Jr., 118), Be Fair (Rajiv Maragh, 118), Distinctive Dixie (Robby Albarado, 118), Third Dawn (Borel, 118), Devil by Design (Kent Desormeaux, 118), Double Espresso (Leandro Goncalves, 118) and Alpha Kitten (Joel Rosario, 118).
Eleven to Compete in Dream Supreme
One race prior to the Chilukki will be the Dream Supreme, an overnight stakes event for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs on the main track.
Rapport, wire-to-wire winner of the six-furlong Grade III Victory Ride at Saratoga in August, is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The daughter of Songandaprayer is coming off a disappointing sixth-place run behind Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint contender My Jen in the GradeI Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Rapport is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Dream Supreme. She will break from the rail under Martin Garcia and carry top weight of 122 pounds.
A close second choice in the Dream Supreme at 3-1 is Nichole H, a 10 1/2-length winner in a six-furlong allowance race at Belmont Park in her most recent start. Ramon Dominguez will ride the daughter of Mr. Greeley, who is trained by Michael Hushion.
Other contenders include Happy Week (6-1), a daughter of Distorted Humor trained by Todd Pletcher, and Tidal Pool (10-1), the third-place finisher to Ladies’ Classic favorite Blind Luck in the Kentucky Oaks. John Velazquez will ride Happy Week, while Mike Smith has the call on Tidal Pool.
The field for the Dream Supreme, from the rail out: Rapport (Garcia, 122 pounds), Nicole H (Dominguez, 116), Helen Belen (Robby Albarado, 116), Storming Suzy (Freddie Lenclud, 116), Wildcat Heiress (Corey Lanerie, 116), Aegean (Joel Rosario, 116), Tidal Pool (Smith, 116), Lou’s Angel (John McKee, 116), Happy Week (John Velazquez, 116), Fuzzy Britches (Calvin Borel, 116) and Magnificent Mia (Javier Castellano, 116).
(Edited from track notes)