Catching My Eye: Churchill Downs May 26-28

May 30th, 2023

Racing analyst Kevin Kilroy discusses a number of horses who caught his attention at Churchill Downs last weekend.

Friday, May 26

Race 8

In a salty conditional optional claimer that could have easily been a turf sprint stakes, Bad Beat Brian schooled the field from the start. With proven gate speed all drawn inside of him, Bad Beat Brian shot out a full length ahead under Chistopher Emigh. In no way wanting the lead, he conceded it to his foe on the rail, as Just Might hustled to the front. And everything after that was a textbook stalk-and-pounce trip for the now eight-time winner trained by Brittany Vanden Berg.

Earning a 94 Brisnet Speed figure, the six-year-old beat three game foes in Smokin Jay, Just Might, and Bound for Nowhere. Two races back, he ran a game head-shy of Caravel in the Shakertown (G2) and heโ€™ll likely find himself in his fourth graded stakes soon.

Saturday, May 27

Race 5

Quaria Comet took a big step forward winning against n3x fillies going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. The Shackleford filly had been game night-in and night-out over the winter at Turfway Park. Returning to the sod in the fourth start of her four-year-old campaign, she banged out a career-best 93 Brisnet Speed figure.

Breaking a step slow on the far outside of eight, Quaria Comet found her stride and then found her position tucking inside the formful Nota Benne while staying 2-3 wide before swinging out in the turn and โ€œstreaking through the stretch to scoreโ€ as announcer Tracis Stone phrased it. (Is there anyone better than Stone right now? Heโ€™s been slaying his calls.)

Race 6

Royal Take Charge improved 10 points off her last win, earning a 93 Brisnet Speed figure in an n2x on Saturday. She put over six lengths between her and five others in her second attempt going nine furlongs. Initially tracking in third along the rail, jockey Rey Gutierrrez brought her outside the top pair and set to stalking the leader, who she took on coming wide though the turn and staying to business throughout.

Three wins in four efforts, she was half a length shy last out at Keeneland, and Saturday turned the tables on Jumpintothefire, who beat her that day. A full sister to the turf talent Take Charge Ro, this four-year-old filly trained by Al Stall has tons of potential coupled with options going forward.

Race 9

Jersey Pearl has progressed nicely for trainer Darrin Miller. She had matched her two-year-old top figure in her previous start back in January, and on Saturday, she jumped 14 points to earn a 96 Brisnet Speed figure, asserting herself in the three-year-old filly sprint division conversation.

Race 11

Mullikin continues to put up big numbers against three-year-old fellas, and making his third start in Saturdayโ€™s finale, he finally got the win for trainer Rudolph Brisset.

Mullikin had been facing tough fields, including the impressive debut of Equivoque who was too much for him last out at Keeneland. In that race and his debut, he broke a little slow. Not the case in either regard on Saturday, as the field was soft and he ran professionally throughout. Figure-wise, it wasn't a step forward, but he was under firm wraps and still won by over 10 lengths.

Sunday, May 28

Race 4

After breaking his maiden on the Wednesday of Kentucky Derby week when dangled in for a tag, Eddie M stepped forward again on Sunday. Finding suitable allowance starter company for his first time against winners, the three-year-old trained by Brendan Walsh stepped forward to receive an 85 Brisnet Speed figure going seven furlongs. 

Race 5

Mo Town Mayhem broke her maiden at second asking sprinting on the dirt. She made a solid move forward, winning by open lengths over two well-bred first-time starters in the $1,250,000-purchase Pumpkin Scone and the daughter of Gun Runner Absinthe. After breaking slow, she was able to pass many in the field going wide, including those two who had softened each other up in a stretch duel.

A full sister to the graded stakes synthetic and turf filly Souper Hoity Toity, trainer Mark Casse debuted her going long on the turf in April at Gulfstream Park. She has talent and has options in many condition books.

Race 7

Deer Districtโ€™s nine-and-a-half-length victory sprinting six furlongs on Sunday was something else. The three-year-old facing n1x peers settled off the front and tracked the leaders before making a huge move in the turn to take the lead and pull away.

Second to Andthewinneris in last yearโ€™s Bourbon (G2) on the turf, the Oscar Performance colt shortened up and switched surfaces for the sophomore campaign, but ran into two buzzsaws in Squire Creek and Federal Judge. There was no one nearly as talented in Sunday's race, but he got a huge confidence booster bolstered by a career-high 97 Brisnet Speed figure.