Morning Gold to shine in Saturday’s G2 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs
The first Saturday of the fall opening weekend at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., features four stakes races including the 51st running of the $200,000 Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over 1 ½ miles.
The 8-horse field is race nine of the day’s 11-race card and is slated for a post time of 4:53 p.m. ET. No horse has won a stakes race in the field, so today’s race is extra pressure as it also includes an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1 and is the first qualifying-points race for the 2020 Kentucky Oaks, held the Friday before the Kentucky Derby.
#6, Morning Gold, Jose Ortiz, 3-1
The co-morning line favorite with No. 3 Portrait, Morning Gold won by a solid 5 ¼ lengths in his last start, a maiden special weight race on the turf at Saratoga on August 11. Jose Ortiz returns for his second start after defeating Morning Gold (his first career start) in a maiden special weight race, also on the turf at Saratoga, on July 14. She and Portrait are the only starters in the race to have gone two turns and Morning Gold will use Lasix for the first time today for trainer Kenny McPeek, who captured back-to-back Pocahontas wins with Dothraki Queen (2015) and Daddys Lil Darlin (2016). The pick.
#3, Portrait, Shaun Bridgmohan, 3-1
The other co-morning line favorite, who also comes off a dominating 12 ½-length victory of a maiden race on Aug. 25 at Ellis Park, while using blinkers for the first time. Bridgmohan returns to the saddle for trainer Brad Cox. When you win by that many, have to give her a shot. Second-best.
#5, Blood Curdling, Corey Lanerie, 5-1
Top Churchill Downs jockey Corey Lanerie is in the saddle for this 11-length winner after facing four decent runners at Colonial Downs in her only start on Aug. 15. She took command at the 3/16 pole and drew off driving for the win. Lanerie can not be overlooked here. In the mix.
#4, Lazy Daisy, Abel Cedillo, 8-1
In her debut., she won by a ½-length outlasting Greg’s Diva in a maiden special weight at Del Mar on Aug. 3. She returned 28 days later making a huge step in class to finish fourth in the G1 Del Mar Debutante Stakes, won by Bob Baffert’s Bast. After two starts with Rafael Bejarano, Abel Cedillo takes the mount for trainer Dog O’Neill.
By Lou Monaco