1 of 5 juvenile fillies may stand out on opening day at Churchill

1 of 5 juvenile fillies may stand out on opening day at Churchill
Photo: Coady Photography

The $200,000 Rags to Riches Stakes attracted five 2-year-old fillies on Sunday's "Stars of Tomorrow" card on Churchill Downs' opening day.

First held in 2013, the 1 1/16 mile race has seen a rise in class over the years. Winners include two-time champ Monomoy Girl (2017) plus multiple graded-stakes winners Finite (2019) and Lovely Bernadette (2016).

Click here for Churchill Downs entries and results

The Rags to Riches is carded as race 5 of 11 with a 3:03 p.m. EDT post time.

The field

Mama Rina. The class of the field, Mama Rina finished a distant second at long odds in the Pocahontas Stakes (G3). However, she was not up to Grade 1 competition in the Alcibiades in her most recent start, finishing a distant fourth, beaten 5 3/4 lengths. The Ken McPeek trainee has three starts at 1 1/16 miles under her girth, and the drop in class could result in a visit to the winner's circle. Win contender.

Pedigree: Mama Rina (Gormley - Honky Tonk Rose, by Forest Wildcat) is a member of the first crop of Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Gormley. Mama Rina's half-sister Spirituality was third in the Matron (G3) at Belmont. Her distaff family includes the multiple graded-winning handicap horses Geri and A.P. Arrow.

Sandstone. In her second start over a sloppy Churchill track, Sandstone put away the pacesetter and turned back all changers on her way to a nine-length score in a one-mile maiden event. The Ken McPeek trainee was timed in 1:37.43 and got her final furlong in a good 12.47 seconds while under a hand ride. Win contender.

Pedigree: Sandstone (Street Sense - Seattle Shimmer, by Seattle Slew) is bred to appreciate classic distances. It's rare to see Seattle Slew as a damsire nowadays. Sandstone's dam, Seattle Shimmer, was 19 when Sandstone was foaled. The mare produced multiple Grade 2-placed Sway Away and Shaken, who was third in the 2016 Rachel Alexandra (G2). Sandstone's second dam is Grade 2 winner Golden Gale.

Yuugiri. She has speed to spare, and Yuugiri could run them off their feet if she can carry that speed around two turns. In her Churchill debut, the Rudy Brisset trainee chased an opening quarter of 21.32 before taking over and getting the half-mile in 44.91. She opened up under a hand ride, got five-furlongs in 56.92, and galloped under the wire 7 1/4 lengths in front in a sparkling 1:09.55, just two seconds off the track record of 1:07.55 set by Indian Chant in 2007. Win contender.

Pedigree: Yuugiri (Shackleford - Yuzuru, by Medaglia d'Oro) has a miler pedigree and could be proficient over multiple surfaces. The blacktype in her distaff line is international, although her dam won the turf mile Forever Together Stakes at Delaware. Yuzuru's half-sister bore three Japanese stakes winners. Multiple Japanese and French group winners make up the bulk of the third generation of this family, except for Grade 1 winning turf horse Sligo Bay. Yuugiri's fourth dam is the Rene-de-Course, Ballade, Dam of champions Devil's Bag, Glorious Song, and the prominent sire Saint Ballado.

Dressed. In her last start, her graded stakes hopes were dashed in the Jessamine (G2), so Wayne Catalano gives Dressed a chance to see if she'll take to dirt after winning over Polytrack and turf. Dressed ran a powerful race in the Jessamine, wide the entire way and finishing with a rush, just 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Florent Geroux is seeking his fourth victory in five years, and he'll be sure to keep Dressed clear of kickback. Wild-card chance.

Pedigree: Dressed (More Than Ready - Almada, by Lonhro (AUS)) has turf breeding throughout her pedigree. Her dam is a half-sister to Maqsad, a ten-furlong listed winner in Great Britain. Dressed's third dam Aquarelliste is a three-time Group 1 winner in France, and she placed second in the Arc de Triomphe (G1) and Hong Kong Vase (G1).

Manasota Sunset. She seeks a return to the winner's circle after finishing a distant third in the Ellis Park Debutante and second, bested 2 1/4 lengths in a one-mile $80,000 Optional Claiming race at Keeneland. Unfortunately, the Joe Sharp trainee has her work cut out for her, and Minnesota Sunset has not shown the class or speed to run with this group. Toss.

Pedigree: Manasota Sunset (Outwork - Highestmaintenance, by Macho Uno) has a miler pedigree. Second-crop sire Outwork's babies are best as sprinter-milers. Highestmaintenance is a stakes-placed sprinter, and her dam Half Heaven is a multiple stakes-winning miler who earned $435,526 in 29 starts.

Analysis

Only one favorite has won, and one finished third in the Rags to Riches since the race's inception. Six winners made two or three previous starts, and pacesetters and pressers won the majority of the time, although closers prevailed from 2014 to 2016.

Sandstone fits the winning profile. She's made two starts, won her last start, and has a setting/pressing running style. Add the high percentage combo of McPeek and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., and we have a strong case.

Mama Rina and Dressed also have excellent chances to win. Yuugiri could be something special, but she may regress slightly from that huge victory.

3. Sandstone (5-2)
2. Mama Rina (3-1)
5. Dressed (5-2)



Meet Laurie Ross


 HRN Pedigree Analyst 

 Handicapper 

 Published Author

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Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 


I support clients with all aspects of pedigree/breeding analysis, research, sales, catalogue review, and recommendations on claims or private sales. Clients include national leading owners, racing/breeding syndicates, the little guy with one mare, and everyone in between. 10-20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue & retraining groups. Check out my website, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds, and the IMTBreds blog.

I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping, and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic, please contact me. 

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