Churchill Downs stakes recap (Coady Photography photo of Shedaresthedevil’s victory over Crystal Ball in Saturday night’s Locust Grove under Florent Geroux):
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021) – Qatar Racing, Flurry Racing Stables and Big Aut Farms’ 2020 Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) hero Shedaresthedevil broke fast from the gate, dictated the pace throughout and determinedly held off Crystal Ball by a neck to win Saturday night’s 37th running of the $400,000 Locust Grove (Grade III) for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, Shedaresthedevil, the odds-on favorite in the field of six fillies and mares, clicked off comfortable fractions of :24.32, :48.30 and 1:12.17 en route to a final time of 1:42.86 for the 1 1/16 miles.
“She’s a very classy filly,” Geroux said. “Tonight we got the lead and she was moving comfortably. This was a good prep race for the Breeders’ Cup. She has seven weeks until then and I think she’ll get a lot out of this race.”
Shedaresthedevil, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Daredevil out of the Congrats mare Starship Warpspeed, returned $3.20, $2.40 and $2.10. Crystal Ball, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $3.40 and $2.20 with Envoutante another 1 ½ lengths back in third under Brian Hernandez Jr. and paying $2.10 to show.
Matera, Our Super Freak and High Regard completed the order of finish.
“The spot wasn’t quite there for her to go by around the first turn,” Gaffalione said of Crystal Ball. “We ended up sitting just off the pace. Around the far turn we got room on the inside and she ran a great race but it just wasn’t enough. I’m really proud of the effort she showed tonight.”
The victory was worth $244,140 to Shedaresthedevil and increased her earnings to $2,291,458 with a record of 9-2-4 from 16 starts. Shedaresthedevil, the 15-1 upset winner of last year’s Kentucky Oaks, is perfect in five starts beneath the Twin Spires.
In her previous start, she won last month’s $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch (GI) at Del Mar. Now 4-for-5 this year, her 4-year-old campaign includes a one-length score in the $500,000 La Troienne (GI).
“Congratulations to all of the partners who are involved in this filly,” Cox said. “Florent gave her a really good trip. She’s a very classy filly and knows how to fight to get things done. She’s proven how well she’s done here at Churchill and this was a good spot to get her ready for the Breeders’ Cup.”
The Locust Grove is named after the 1790 Georgian mansion in Louisville that played home to ancestors of Churchill Downs founder Col. M. Lewis Clark.