First Look: Stars lining up for 16 'other' Derby weekend stakes

First Look: Stars lining up for 16 'other' Derby weekend stakes
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

You probably are aware that the undercards for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks feature a bevy of strong graded stakes. But you might not have paid a lot of attention to how the fields for those races are shaping up.

Here is the latest from Churchill Downs on the likely fields for graded stakes on the Derby and Oaks undercards, along with a handful of other graded stakes at Belmont and Santa Anita this weekend.

Friday – Churchill Downs

La Troienne (G1), 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

Last year's Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil followed up with a third-place finish in the Spinster (G1) last October before starting 2021 with a narrow win over Letruska in the Azeri (G2). After winning the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) last July, Paris Lights took time off and returned to win the Distaff Handicap (G3) in April. This would be the first race for Dunbar Road since her third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Distaff behind Monomoy Girl and Valiance.

2021 La Troienne (G1)

Alysheba (G2), 1 1/16 miles, 4-year-olds and up

Maxfield has East from his trip to California, where his third-place finish in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) was the first loss of his career. Max Player is expected here in his first start since finishing 11th in the Saudi Cup (G1). In winning the New Orleans Classic (G2), Chess Chief beat two other expected starters – Roadster (fourth) and Sonneman (fifth). After an allowance win at Gulfstream, Attachment Rate returned to graded stakes company last out and finished third in the Commonwealth (G3).

2021 Alysheba (G2)

Eight Belles (G2), 7 furlongs, 3-year-old fillies

Dayoutoftheoffice, winner of her first three before losing to Vequist in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, is slated to make her 2021 debut here. Sun Path's third-place finish in the Honeybee (G3) was her first graded-stakes effort. Abrogate is 3-for-4, the only blemish being a third-place finish in the Dixie Belle Stakes in February.

2021 Eight Belles (G2)

Edgewood (G2), 1 1/16 miles (turf) 3-year-old fillies

We'll see the first of Brad Cox's Aunt Pearl since she won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf to go 3-for-3 in her career. Todd Pletcher brings Jouster, who has finished first or second in her last four starts, and Zaajel, winner of the Forward Gal (G3) in January but sixth in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) last out.

2021 Edgewood (G2)

Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2), 5 1/2 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up

This would be the first start of the year for Diamond Oops. After winning this race last year, when it was on the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks undercard, he scored in the Phoenix Stakes (G2) before a sixth-place effort in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and ninth in the Mr. Prospector (G3). Classy John's win in the Costa Rising last out was his first victory since the 2018 Louisiana Futurity.

2021 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2)

Saturday – Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs Stakes (G1), 7 furlongs, 4-year-olds and up

Mind Control looks for his first win in more than a year; he was second in the Carter Handicap (G1) last out. This would be the second start of the year for Hog Creek Hustle, who finished sixth in the Commonwealth (G3) last out. After finishing ninth in the Phoenix Stakes (G2) on Oct. 2, Lexitonian got a break and returned to finish fourth in an allowance race at Gulfstream on March 28.

2021 Churchill Downs Stakes (G1)

Turf Classic (G1), 1 1/8 miles (turf), 4-year-olds and up

Colonel Liam has won three in a row: the Tropical Park Derby, the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and the Muniz Memorial last out. Ivar returns off his fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Turf Mile. Before that, he won the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).

2021 Turf Classic (G1)

Derby City Distaff (G1), 7 furlongs, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

Gamine, winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and this year's Las Flores (G3), makes her second start of the year here. Her ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks is her only loss in eight starts. Bell's the One scored in this race last year (September edition) with a nose win over Serengeti Empress. Chilukki (G3) winner Finite followed that effort by coming in fourth in the La Brea (G1) and third in the Bayakoa (G3).

2021 Derby City Distaff (G1)

Distaff Turf Mile (G2), 1 mile (turf), fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

Only three are lined up for this race so far. Got Stormy is coming off a win in the Honey Fox (G3) in Feb. 27 after finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Blowout had only three starts last year, finishing second in an allowance race, the Noble Damsel (G3) and the Matriarch (G1). This would be his first start this year.

2021 Distaff Turf Mile (G2)

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.
RankSilksHorse / SireRatingTrainer / JockeyLast StartStatus
 Got Stormy
Get Stormy
M. Casse
1st, 2021 Honey Fox (G3) 
C. Brown
2nd, 2020 Matriarch (G1) 
E. Kenneally
3rd, 2021 Sand Springs (LS) 

Pat Day Mile (G2), 1 mile, 3-year-olds and up

Dream Shake was No. 18 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard before his connections opted to send him here instead. Jackie's Warrior was 4-for-4 in one-turn races before trying two turns with a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a third in the Southwest (G3). Prevalence was another Derby hopeful, winning his first two starts before a sixth-place showing in the Wood Memorial (G2).

2021 Pat Day Mile (G2)

American Turf (G2), 1 1/16 miles (turf), 3-year-old males

Fire At Will, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, hasn't scored in his two starts since; he was eighth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and third in the Transylvania (G3).

2021 American Turf (G2)

Other graded stakes – Saturday

Señorita Stakes (G3), Santa Anita, 1 mile (turf), 3-year-old fillies

Madone won her first three races before finishing eighth in the Breeder' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Closing Remarks' second-place finish in the Providencia (G3) followed a second in the listed China Doll stakes and a win in the black-type California Cup Oaks.

2021 Senorita Stakes (G3)

Sheepshead Bay (G3), Belmont, 1 3/8 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

My Sister Nat could make her first start since a ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Before that, she was in the money in her previous six starts, including a win in the Waya Stakes (G3). Magic Attitude won the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) in September before a third-place effort in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) and her seventh-place finish in the Hillsborough (G2).

2021 Sheepshead Bay (G2)

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.

Westchester (G3), Belmont, 1 mile, 4-year-olds and up

Dr Post has been on the board in each of his six career starts, including a second-place finish behind Tiz The Law in last year's Belmont Stakes. Mr. Buff is 2-for-2 this year, with wins in the Jazil Stakes and Stymie Stakes.

2021 Westchester (G3)

Fort Marcy (G2), Belmont, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 4-year-olds

This race might not fill, stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes said. Field Pass has been on the board in his last five starts – all graded stakes – but his only win during that stretch came in the Ontario Derby (G3).

2021 Fort Marcy (G2)

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.


Ruffian (G2), Belmont, 1 mile, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

Lady Kate will seek her first win since the Groupie Doll Stakes in August. She came in second to Monomoy Girl in last year's La Troienne (G1). Our Super Freak's runner-up effort in the Bayakoa (G3) also was a defeat by Monomoy Girl. Lake Avenue steps back into stakes company after two wins in a row.

2021 Ruffian (G2)

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