Off of three consecutive wins, including a most recent score in the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill, Winchell Thoroughbreds and Thomas J. Reiman's Finite has been installed as the 6/5 morning line favorite over seven 3-year-old filly rivals in the $150,000 Silverbulletday. Run over 1 mile and 70 yards, the top four finishers in the Silverbulletday will earn points (10-4-2-1) on the Road to the Longines Kentucky Oaks.
Finite's trainer Steve Asmussen has taken the Silverbulletday on two previous occasions — with eventual Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Summerly (2005) and War Echo (2009). A daughter of Munnings, Finite has won sprinting, routing and on turf. In her first sloppy track and two-turn try last out in the Golden Rod, she stalked the early pace before gutting out the win. She will break from post position six with Ricardo Santana, Jr. aboard.
After scoring in the race with Monomoy Girl in 2018, trainer Brad Cox knows how to plot out a successful road to the Kentucky Oaks, and this year he has another daughter of Tapizar who hopes to follow in her stablemate's hoof steps. Even with Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner British Idiom plotting a course towards the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds on February 18 and rising star Taraz “needing a little more time than four weeks between starts” and heading to Oaklawn for the Martha Washington at Oaklawn on February 1, Cox still has a live Silverbulletday shot with LNJ Foxwoods' Portrait, the 7/2 second choice who will break from post seven with Florent Geroux. After breaking her maiden over seven furlongs at Ellis Park by 12 ½ lengths in late August, Portrait would return to run third as the 6/5 favorite in the Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill on September 14. In tight between horses early, she was a bit rank into the first turn, stalked from the pocket, had aim in the stretch but evened out.
“We are very excited,” Cox said of Portrait. “I talked to Alex Solis (bloodstock agent for LNJ Foxwoods) and basically said that I didn't think it was necessary to go into the first-level allowance right now. She's training as well as she's trained and I feel comfortable to try this stake off the layoff. There's a quality filly in there who has won a graded stake (Finite) and she deserves to be favored, but if we can get a good trip, she'll make a good account of herself. I've always liked this filly. She's very talented.”
Trainer Dallas Stewart, who won the 2014 edition of the Silverbulletday with eventual Kentucky Oaks champ Unbridled Forever, has an improving filly for this year's renewal in Mark and Nancy Stanley's Tempers Rising. Following some less than ideal trips, it took the daughter of Bayern five tries to win for the first time. Even in her maiden breaker last time out at Churchill, she was pinched out at the start, shuffled back, steadied then hung four-five wide all while closing into a pedestrian pace.
“She's a nice filly that can run all day long,” Stewart said. “In her work last week she had a really nice gallop out (five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 breezing on 1/5).”
Tempers Rising finished up her final major preparation for the Silverbulletday with a half mile breeze in :50 4/5 on Sunday morning at Fair Grounds. She will break from the rail and Julien Leparoux, who was aboard for her last two starts, is named as the pilot for this 10/1 shot.
A Silverbulletday wild card is Silverton Hill LLC's Pass the Plate, who has run on turf in all three career starts, winning her last two in visually impressive fashion, for trainer Paul McGee. She will break from post position two at 8/1.
“Ultimately you have to just try them,” McGee said of running the daughter of Temple City on the main track. “She's always worked well on dirt, not exceptional but she hasn't shown she doesn't like it. She had a bullet at Churchill a couple months ago (November2, best of 36) and has had some good breezes here. She's worked in company and outworked them pretty handily. (Saturday's jockey) Shaun Bridgmohan was on her (in the works) and he was impressed.”
Rounding out the field (with jockey/trainer, post and ML odds) for the Silverbulletday (race 12 at 5:23 p.m. CT): Mt. Brilliant Stable LL and Orrin Ingram's Ursula (post three, Murrill/Stidham at 12/1), Ben and Sheila Rollins' His Glory (post four, Graham/Amoss at 6/1), TOLO Thoroughbreds and Iron Oaks' Maga Suite (post five, Albarado/Glover at 20/1) and Lothenbach Stables' She Can't Sing (post eight, G. Saez/Block at 8/1).
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