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The top five finishers in last month’s WEBN S. return to Turfway Park Saturday for the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial S., the last local prep for the Lane’s End S. (G2) on March 27. Eight three-year-olds are entered for the Battaglia Memorial, run at 1 1/16 miles over the Polytrack.
Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Wild, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade I) and the champion 2-year-old filly of 2009, and Mark DeDomenico LLC, John Carver and Jerry Hollendorfer’s three-time Grade I winner Blind Luck head an impressive roster 143 3-year-old fillies nominated to compete in Churchill Downs’’ 136th running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI).
Ten runners will look to enhance their Kentucky Derby (G1) credentials when they line up in Saturday's $150,000 Sham S. (G3) at Santa Anita. The 1 1/8-mile event looks very contentious, with no graded winners but a number of promising individuals among the entries, and provides a perfect opportunity to grab some graded earnings.
A stellar field of eight sophomore fillies has been entered in Saturday's $150,000 Davona Dale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, and the one-turn mile event will be the highly anticipated stakes debut for two of the runners. The connections of COMIC MARVEL (Distorted Humor) and CHRISTINE DAAE (Giant's Causeway) have been talking up their fillies for some time, and the pair will have to live up to all the hype if they hope to challenge against this group.
BACKTALK (Smarty Jones), one of the early-season juvenile leaders last year when scoring back-to-back wins in the Bashford Manor S. (G3) and Sanford S. (G2), will make his seasonal debut in Friday's $75,000 Sportsman's Paradise S. at Delta Downs.
The Triple Crown nominated colt, trained by Tom Amoss, enters off two unplaced efforts in the Hopeful S. (G1), where he rallied for fourth, and the Breeders' Futurity (G1), where he was a subpar eighth in his Polytrack and two-turn debut.
Champagne S. (G1) hero HOMEBOYKRIS (Roman Ruler) will face six rivals on Saturday in the 3RD race at Gulfstream Park. The Richard Dutrow trainee will be making his second start of the year in the one-mile allowance following a fifth in the Holy Bull S. (G3) on January 23. Homeboykris dueled on the front end of the eight-furlong Holy Bull, but gave way in the stretch run to be fifth of nine on that day.
Smarty Jones S. winner DRYFLY (Jump Start) exited his ninth-place effort in Saturday's Southwest S. (G3) with an injury in his left front knee and will be sidelined through the Triple Crown.
Nearly won a year ago by then unheralded Canadian juvenile champion Mine That Bird (Birdstone), who went on to capture the Kentucky Derby (G1), the $100,000 Borderland Derby at Sunland Park will be renewed Saturday and serves a stepping stone to the lucrative Sunland Derby (G3) on March 28.
The field of nine three-year-olds set to travel 1 1/16 miles does not include any entrants as decorated as Mine That Bird, however, as only three possess a two-turn win to their credit.
SOUTH / JODY SLEW ARRIVES IN TIME FOR SILVERBULLETDAY USPET – The rapidly improving Jody Slew is developing a reputation for dramatic finishes after completing a last-to-first rally under jockey Miguel Mena to notch an upset victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Silverbulletday (Grade III) at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds.