Recent maiden winners Shanghai Rain and Restless Rider headline the field of nine 2-year-old fillies in Saturday’s 118th running of the $100,000 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs.
The six-furlong Debutante is one of three stakes events on Churchill Downs’ 12-race closing day card. The Debutante will go as Race 7 at 3:50 p.m. (all times Eastern). Also on the card is the $100,000 Bashford Manor (Grade III) for 2-year-olds and the $75,000-added Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes.
Shanghai Rain, owned and bred by Tom Durant, broke her maiden in her second-career start on May 18 at Churchill Downs under jockey Gabriel Saez for trainer Bret Calhoun. The daughter of Shanghai Bobby defeated eight rivals including next-out winners Blame the Frog and Lady Lucy.
“That was a tough race Shanghai Rain is exiting,” Calhoun said. “The runner-up (Blame the Frog) just came back to win and (trainer) Bill Connelly’s horse (Lady Lucy) came back to win impressively.”
Saez will once again pick up the mount on Shanghai Rain and break from post nine.
Chief among Shanghai Rain’s rivals is Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimney Farm’s debut maiden winner Restless Rider for trainer Kenny McPeek. The $150,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase won a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight by 2 ¾ lengths under Churchill Downs’ leading rider Brian Hernandez Jr. at odds of 8-1.
McPeek is seeking his second straight Debutante Stakes victory after winning last year’s renewal with Sunny Skies. Hernandez has the call on Restless Rider and will break from post five.
Also entered in the Debutant is Chicago-based O’Keeffe for owner Carolyn Wilson and trainer Larry Rivelli. O’Keeffe was highly regarded to bettors at odds of 2-5 when she broke her maiden on May 27 at Arlington Park. The daughter of Munnings will be ridden by veteran Jose Valdivia Jr. and break from post four.
The Debutante field from the rail out: Miss Mission (ridden by Nathan Vickers, trained by Kevin Rice); My Wynter Rose (Rayan Gazader, Tommy Short); Payntermaniac (Carlos Villasana, John Ennis); O’Keefe (Valdivia, Rivelli); Restless Rider (Hernandez, McPeek); War Ballad (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., James Chapman); Beach Getaway (Joe Rocco Jr., Ben Colebrook); Hay Dilly (James Graham, Kelly Rubley) and Shanghai Rain (Saez, Calhoun). All horses will carry 120 pounds.