Veteran trainer Garry Simms will bid for rare back-to-back wins in the $100,000-added Debutante Stakes (GIII) when he saddles Dorothy Sell and Barry L. King’s Blueeyesintherein to five nine rivals in Saturday’s 112th running of the historic six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.
The Debutante, which was first run at Churchill Downs in 1895, is the featured 10th event on an 11-race program on the next-to-last Saturday of racing in
the historic track’s 2012 Spring Meet.
Longshot Flashy Lassie, also owned by King, provided
Simms with a surprise victory in the 2011 Debutante and a win on
Saturday by Blueeyesintherein would make him only the fourth trainer in
the long history of the Debutante to win the race in successive years. Steve Asmussen was the most recent to do so when he saddled three consecutives Debutante winners: Effectual (2005), Richwoman (2006) and Rated Fiesty (2007). D. Wayne Lukas, who has trained a record seven Debutante winners,, earned back-to-back victories with Be Gentle (2003) and Classic Elegance (2004). Eventual two-time champion filly and Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Silverbulletday won the Debutante in 1998 for trainer Bob Baffert, who took the race the following year with Chilukki.
Blueeyesintherein, an impressive 3 ¾-length winner in her 4 ½-furlong
racing debut at Churchill Downs on May 31, drew post three for the
Debutante. The daughter of Magna Graduate, who won Churchill Downs’
Clark Handicap (then Grade II, now a Grade I event) in 2005, will be
ridden by Leandro Goncalves, who was in the saddle for her maiden victory.
Other Churchill Downs-based Debutante contenders include Rob Auerbach and Marc Winston’s Quiet Success, a daughter of Successful Appeal who earned a victory in her second career start for trainer Tom Amoss in a Kentucky Derby Week maiden race; and John C. Oxley’s Floral Sky, an Ohio-bred daughter of Sky Mesa who won at first asking for trainer Mark Casse at Churchill Downs on May 17.
A quartet of fillies will invade from tracks outside of Kentucky in a
bid to make the Debutante their first stakes triumph. The group
includes Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Richie’slilcowgirl, an easy winner in her racing debut over Arlington Park’s Polytrack surface on May 11; Paul Schaffer’s Dancing Elliebelle, a daughter of Pure Prize who easily won her debut at Minnesota’s Canterbury Park for trainer Leigh Bentley, a former Lukas assistant; Sheltowee Farm and Blazing Meadow Farm LLC’s Love Me Good, who comes off a victory for trainer Tim Hamm over the synthetic Tapeta surface at Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle Downs; and K.D. Investments and trainer Jackie Christenson’s Truthandknowledge, a Magna Graduate filly who won her only start at Ohio’s River Downs on June 3.
A win by Richie’slilcowgirl would be Asmussen’s fifth in the Debutante. He also trained 2001 winner Cashier’s Dream. Lukas will seek to extend his record Debutante victory total when he sends out Bluegrass Hall’s Neith, a Dynaformer filly who ran fifth in her only start on June 8 at Churchill Downs.
The field for the 112th running of the Debutante, from the rail out (with jockey and weight), includes: Truthandknowledge (Ramon Vasquez, 120), Quiet Success (Miguel Mena, 120); Blueeyesintherein (Goncalves, 120), Neith (Jon Court, 118), Floral Sky (Shaun Bridgmohan, 120), Shesakitty (Calvin Borel, 118), My Daughter’s Song (John McKee, 120), Love Me Good (Shane Sellers, 120), Dancing Elliebelle (Brian Hernandez Jr.) and Richie’slilcowgirl (Corey Lanerie, 120).