Locust Grove (Grade 3)- $200.000 Purse
CD- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
September 14, 2019
A small field of five will go to post for the 15th running of the Locust Grove, a grade 3 event for fillies and mares that has seen a lot of change in its history. The race has gone from graded, to ungraded, to graded and seen its distance fluctuate. The purse had remained constant, and sees an increase for this year’s race, to the current $20.000 level. Last year, Shake It Off took the win here, and ultimately ran in the BC Distaff. Let’s take a look!
#1- Hollywood Sister (Estero Farms, ridden by L Contreras)- In six starts this season, Hollywood Sister has played a supporting role to the winner, with no wins, but two places and three shows in that span. Of the thirds, the Grade 2 Gazelle was one of them, so at the times she has run against some very good competition. A similar result seems probable here.
#2- Style Cant Spoil (Night Rider Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- The Commanding filly may have style, but she still does not have a finish in the money this year. Fourth has been her thing, but that has mostly been in smaller fields like this one. The trainer keeps giving her these stake opportunities, but has not won since late November, in the smaller Grade 3 Maple Leaf Stakes.
#3- Jinxed Queen (Smokey Stover, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- On name recognition, Jinxed Queen would seem to be the one to beat here. She has over $1,200.000 in career earnings, which is almost double the combined earnings of the rest of the field. But it’s been a year since her last win, that being in the 2018 Personal Ensign, and since then she has been sold twice. Now, she arrives in the Smokey Stover barn after a $400.000 private sale, so the trainer certainly still believes in her.
#4- Foxy Dame (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by R Santana Jr)- This is the only horse in the field that has won a race this year. That alone, is a remarkable fact considering this is a $200.000 graded stake. That came at ELP, in the $125.000 Groupie Doll last month. Overall, she does know how to win, doing so in five of ten career starts. Duplicating her Groupie Doll effort here should get it done again, and I am going to give her the nod despite Jinxed Queen having a higher profile.
#5- Fantastic Appeal (Nakamura Stables, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- The three year old is making the jump into stake competition, and certainly the trainer sees something with her. She won her maiden at PM, then struggled in smaller races, and comes off a second in a LAD allowance. This is a good field to see what she might do in this level, but I’ll have to see it first.