Churchill Downs undercard: V V’s Dream rolls in Pocahontas

Churchill Downs undercard: V V’s Dream rolls in Pocahontas
Photo: Carson Blevins / Eclipse Sportswire

V V’s Dream sat just off pacesetters Hot Beach and Youalmosthadme in the early stages of the race before easily running past those foes down the stretch to win Saturday’s 55th running of the Grade 3, $300,000 Pocahontas Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by a widening 8 3/4 lengths over Youalmosthadme at Churchill Downs.

Owned by Michael Mackin’s MJM Racing, V V’s Dream ran the one-turn mile in 1:36.45 for jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. and trainer Kenny McPeek. This marked the second straight year McPeek trained a Mackin-owned runner to win the Pocahontas after doing it in 2022 going the-then 1 1/16 miles around two turns with Fun and Feisty.

V V’s Dream, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Mitole out of the Tapit mare Quay, banked $183,105 for the win and is the early points leader on the road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) after collecting 10 points. The Pocahontas was the first of 32 qualifying races to the Oaks that will be run May 3, and points were awarded to the top five finishers on a 10-5-3-2-1 scale.

“She’s still young but has shown a lot of talent already,” said Greg Geier, McPeek’s assistant trainer. “She spent the summer in New York training for this race. It’s been the plan to run here in the Pocahontas and then to the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies). I don’t see why she wouldn’t improve stretching out in distance after this.”

Breaking from post 3 in the field of six 2-year-old fillies, V V’s Dream tugged her way into third after leaving the chute. Hot Beach and a tracking Youalmosthadme dictated the pace through fractions of 22.83, 45.55 and 1:10.24. At the top of the stretch, V V’s Dream was full of run and cut loose with a powerful, three-wide move to demolish her rivals.

“She sat in a perfect spot just behind the two pacesetters,” Hernandez said. “She got a little bit of a breather around the turn and really went by them own her own. She’s won impressively in two starts here. I think stretching out around two turns shouldn’t be a problem in the future.”

V V’s Dream, now 3: 2-1-0 with $297,605 in earnings, paid $4.40, $2.92 and $2.44 as the 6-5 favorite. Youalmosthadme, second under Tyler Gaffalione, returned $3.62 and $2.70 at odds of 2-1. Hot Beach, with Flavien Prat up, was another three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $2.38 to show. Courbe, Riperton and Regal Rumor completed the order of finish. Empire Island, Peignoir and Raining Sugar were scratched.

The winner was bred in Kentucky by Mark Stansell.

Search Results leads all the way in Locust Grove

Search Results, the 9-5 favorite owned by Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables, set moderate early fractions and led every step of the way in the $400,000 Locust Grove (Grade 3) for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs on her way to a 3 1/4-length triumph over Hidden Connection.

Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione and trained by Chad Brown, Search Results went right to the front from post position 4 and rattled off fractions of 24.30, 48.16 and 1:11.83 with Hidden Connection in close pursuit to her outside. The reasonable, early pace meant Search Results would have plenty left for the stretch run, and she responded with the comfortable win. It was her first victory since winning the Molly Pitcher (G2) at Monmouth Park in July 2022.

Search Result’s clocking for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track was 1:42.40, the fastest in 10 runnings of the Locust Grove over the surface and distance, eclipsing Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil’s 2021 mark of 1:42.86.

“She ran a great race today,” Gaffalione said. “I just sort of inherited the lead, and she settled really well. In the stretch, when I asked her to quicken, I had a lot of horse beneath me.”

Search Results, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Flatter out of the Candy Ride mare Co Cola, returned $5.74, $3.30 and $3.04. Hidden Connection, ridden by Cristian Torres, returned $7.58 and $5.30. Misty Veil was another 4 1/4 lengths back in third under James Graham and paying $10.96 to show.

Yuugiri runs down Fire On Time, wins Open Mind

Yuugiri overcame a stumble leaving the gate, stalked pacesetter Fire On Time from the inside and tipped out down the stretch to collar the leader inside the final sixteenth of a mile to win the $300,000 Open Mind by three lengths. The 1-4 favorite Wicked Halo never threatened and finished third.

Ridden by Flavien Prat for trainer Rodolphe Brisset and owners Mr. and Mrs. Tsunebumi Yoshihara, Yuugiri ran six furlongs over a fast track in 1:09.43.

Yuugiri went to her knees from post position 1 when the gates opened and the usual frontrunner was forced to track four-time Churchill Downs winner Fire On Time from the inside. After splits of 22.09 and 45.20 seconds, Prat took Yuugiri off the rail and angled out for her run down the stretch. After five furlongs in 57.08 seconds, Fire On Time began to retreat, and Yuugiri cruised right on by for the comfortable win.

“She broke a step slow but was able to relax and really finish well,” Prat said. “She showed a new style today.”

Yuugiri returned $8.74, $7.26 and $2.10. Fire On Time, ridden by Martín García, returned $11.06 and $2.30. Wicked Halo was another 5 3/4 lengths back in third under Tyler Gaffalione and paid $2.10 to show.

Bango ties Churchill record with stakes win

Popular sprinter Bango grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch and determinedly turned back a late bid from Gulfstream Way to win Saturday’s third running of the $300,000 Louisville Thoroughbred Society by a head and collect his 11th Churchill Downs victory, tying Ready’s Rocket for the most documented wins at the Louisville, Ky., track.

Bango ran six furlongs in 1:09.02 under jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who piloted the winner for trainer Greg Foley and owners-breeders Tamaroak Partners.

“Churchill Downs has been our home for a very long time,” Foley said. “It’s so special to have one of our horses go into the history books as tying the all-time win record at Churchill. These owners Fred and Debbie Schwartz have been with us for a very long time. They’ve stuck with me through my career, and it’s special their horse is part of history. And a homebred, too.”

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