Rags to Riches Stakes Honors Top Mare

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By Emily Shields

Juvenile fillies will line up in Sunday’s $90,000 Rags to Riches Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs, which is a no-points stepping stone to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks. The 1 1/16-mile race drew a field of nine.

The Rags to Riches is named for the gritty filly who won the 2007 Kentucky Oaks (G1) before defeating males such as Curlin in the 2007 Belmont Stakes (G1). In all, Rags to Riches, by A.P. Indy, won five of seven starts and earned over $1.3 million. She was a $1.9 million yearling at Keeneland September in 2005.

There are three unbeaten horses in the Rags to Riches field, with Coach the only horse to have won both her career starts. The Brad Cox trainee will be partnered by Florent Geroux. Both of her wins came at Indiana Grand, but the daughter of Commissioner steps up here.

Salty as Can Be, by Into Mischief, is trained by Mark Casse. She broke her maiden over the course by a head at 11-1 going six furlongs, but is stretching out now. Finishing behind her was Lady Traveler, a daughter of Dale Romans by Quality Road, who broke her maiden three weeks later. She was a $350,000 yearling. Mark Casse’s son Norm starts Malibu Bird in the race for the Marylou Whitney Stables; the daughter of Malibu Moon won at Keeneland on October 3 and hails from the female family of 2004 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Birdstone and Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town.

Midnight Ballerina is also unbeaten for Bill Mott. The daughter of Mineshaft is out of the stakes winning Midnight Lute mare Midnight Ballet, who comes from the female family of 1996 Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone. Julien Leparoux will ride.

Orsetto will break from the rail. The Bernardini daughter is trained by Timothy Austin, and will have Declan Cannon aboard. Oliviaofthedesert is another Bernardini, this one out of stakes placed Queenie’s Song, by Unbridled. Ken McPeek trains Oliviaofthedesert, who broke her maiden at Ellis Park in August and has since been stakes placed at Kentucky Downs on the grass. Most recently, the $320,000 purchase was fifth in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades.

Dash to the Top is a daughter of Violence trained by Wayne Catalano. She broke her maiden at Saratoga, but that was at the $50,000 claiming level. She was second in allowance company at Keeneland last out, beaten just a nose.

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