The $300,000 Falls City Stakes (G2) will be run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Churchill Downs on Thursday. For fillies and mares, three-year-olds and upward, it has attracted a field of nine and the morning line maker is having trouble separating four of them.

RELATED: Falls City Stakes advance

Top Picks for the Falls City Stakes

  • 6 Sally’s Curlin
  • 7 Princess Causeway
  • 3 Mylady Curlin
  • 8 Ratajkowski
  • $20 Exacta: 6 with 3, 7, 8
  • $1 Trifecta Box: 3, 6, 7, 8

Falls City Stakes contenders

#1 MOONLIT GARDEN has improved some since switching to Brad Cox’s barn four starts back. She easily won a $100K stakes at Prairie Meadows then was a distant third as the odds-on favorite at Ellis Park. She just missed in the Locust Grove (G3) here going two turns then shipped to Aqueduct and lost all chance after a rough start. A ground-saving trip could put her in the mix but I am worried about her getting shuffled back into traffic.

#2 GRANDARIA beat Cotilion (G1) winner Street Band way back in December at Fair Grounds but did little next out there and went to the sidelines for seven months. She returned with an even effort on the turf at Ellis Park before running second in a stakes race at Parx Racing. Needing some class relief, she beat allowance foes at Keeneland last out but the time was not that good and she doesn’t get a break in the weights.  

#3 MYLADY CURLIN won five straight races, including a very fast Grade 3 stakes race at Pimlico going this distance. She won her next two starts against modest company then was an even third as the even-money favorite in the Locust Grove. Last out, going a one-turn mile in the Chilukki (G3), she chased the leader after a rough start and only gave way in the final yards. She has shown that she can get this distance and a long sprint 26 days ago should have her fit.    

#4 VEVINA makes her dirt debut off some poor efforts on the turf going much longer. Trainer Phil D’Amato wins 18% with this surface switch but there is not much else to recommend.  

#5 OVER THINKING does have a win here exactly 12 months ago going this distance in an off-the-turf event but her last two starts on the turf were very fast and would need the race to fall apart to get involved.

#6 SALLY’S CURLIN did little in her first four career starts but blossomed when Dale Romans added blinkers and she won here going a one-turn mile in good time. For some reason, she did nothing next time out when moved up in class but bounced back with two open-margin wins against allowance foes. After being rested for about seven weeks, she came back to win the Chilukki with a determined late run and she has the best closing kick of any of this group.   

#7 PRINCESS CAUSEWAY had been racing on the turf for Ian Wilkes but he brought her back on the dirt here and she won easily going seven furlongs in fast time. She relaxed beautifully last out after a stumbling start and should have no trouble getting two turns with a stout pedigree. Even off only 19 days’ rest, Wilkes has drilled her a five-furlong bullet breeze at Keeneland last week so it looks like he has her in peak form.

#8 RATAJKOWSKI is a New York-bred that won her past three starts including a $250K stakes at Belmont Park last out in good time. Even though she is a by a winner of the Belmont Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) over this main track, she has very good speed and the five-year-old mare, who only made her career debut this year, is not that far off this class level with her recent speed ratings.

#9 GO GOOGLE YOURSELF ran well here at this class and distance when she finished fourth behind two Grade 1 winners. She won going a two-turn mile two starts back then held on grimly in the Locust Grove last out when she opened up a clear lead and was all out to win. Off for 75 days, she has already shown that she can run well fresh but Brian Hernandez Jr. will have to use some energy from post 9.