Xigera winning the Tepin Stakes at Ellis Park July. (Coady Photography)
Darren Rogers/Churchill Downs
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rigney Racing’s stakes-winning 3-year-old filly Xigera has competed on turf for six of her seven career starts but trainer Phil Bauer is excited for her return to dirt in Saturday’s $175,000 Seneca Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs.
The last time Xigera ran on dirt resulted in a fourth-place finish in last year’s Alcibiades (Grade I) at Keeneland. Since that race, the well-backed daughter of Nyquist won two starts on turf including a half-length score in the July 1 Tepin at Ellis Park.
“We’ve always thought highly of her since her 2-year-old season,” Bauer said. “She ran on the dirt once as a 2-year-old and we’ve been looking forward to getting her back to the dirt down the road. This race worked out well timing wise for us to run at Churchill and not ship anywhere. She trains well on the dirt here.”
Xigera was tabbed as the third choice on the morning line odds at 9-2. The three-time winner enters the Seneca following an enigmatic sixth-place finish in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (GIII).
“I don’t think she handled the track at all that day,” Bauer said. “That was the last race they ran on the turf that day because of the rain and it was really soft.”
Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Seneca is one of four stakes contests on the 11-race “Downs After Dark” program. First post is 6 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the Seneca will go as Race 9 at 10:11 p.m. The featured race Saturday is the $300,000 Dogwood (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies run at seven furlongs. Along with the Dogwood, the program will also feature the $300,000 Bourbon Trail and $300,000 Harrods Creek.
Here are the fields for Saturday’s stakes:
Race 7: the $300,000 Bourbon Trail
1. Manciata d’Oro (Manny Esquivel, Brad Cox, 4-1)
2. Slip Mahoney (Gerardo Corrales, Brad Cox, 5-2)
3. Denington (Corey Lanerie, Kenny McPeek, 7-2)
4. Shirl’s Bee (Julien Leparoux, Dallas Stewart, 15-1)
5. Oscar Eclipse (Cristian Torres, Brian Lynch, 3-1)
6. Lincoln Highway (Rafael Bejarano, Vicki Oliver, 15-1)
7. Big Data (Emisael Jaramillo, Michael Lerman, 5-1)
Race 8: the $300,000 Harrods Creek
1. Bourbon Bash (Jaime Torres, Wayne Lukas, 6-1)
2. Determinedly (Francisco Arrieta, Mark Casse, 6-1)
3. Loyal Company (Declan Cannon, Brendan Walsh, 3-1)
4. Bouncer (Ricardo Santana Jr., Mark Casse, 5-1)
5. Mount Up (Emisael Jaramillo, Todd Pletcher, 7-2)
6. Everso Mischievous (Cristian Torres, Brad Cox, 2-1)
7. Praetorian Guard (James Graham, Lou Linder Jr., 20-1)
Race 9: the $175,000 Seneca Overnight Stakes
1. Taxed (Cristian Torres, Randy Morse, 5-2)
2. Sabra Tuff (Rey Gutierrez, Dallas Stewart, 6-1)
3. She’s Lookin Lucky (Ricardo Santana Jr., Matt Shirer, 5-1)
4. Poblano (Francisco Arrieta, Brendan Walsh, 3-1)
5. Champagne Calling (Declan Cannon, Ian Wilkes, 12-1)
6. Xigera (Julien Leparoux, Phil Bauer, 9-2)
7. Nomadic Pride (Edgar Morales, Tom Amoss, 10-1).
Race 10: the $300,000 Dogwood (GIII)
1. Yesternight (James Graham, Lindsay Schultz, 3-1)
2. Metaphysical (Ricardo Santana Jr., Jeff Hiles, 10-1)
3. Flamand (Mitchell Murrill, Elias Lopez, 5-1)
4. B G Warrior (Joe Ramos, Hugo Andrade, 6-1)
5. Lady Radler (Jesus Castanon, Michael Campbell, 10-1)
6. Santa Fe Gold (Francisco Arrieta, Bret Calhoun, 6-1)
7. Twice as Sweet (Declan Cannon, Brendan Walsh, 6-1)
8. Nora G (Rey Gutierrez, Patricia West, 12-1)
9. Alexa Lou (Julien Leparoux, Dallas Stewart, 4-1)
Saturday is the final Downs After Darkof the year as Churchill Downs presents “Bourbon & Boots” where Music City meets Derby City with the perfect combination of music, bourbon, fashion and horse racing.
Louisville’s biggest “Honky Tonk” will feature music from DJ Stingy (5-8:15 p.m.) and Nashville’s Tim Cote Band with special guest Lana Scott (8:30-11 p.m.) on a stage at The Grove, which is located just inside the Clubhouse and VIP Gates.
There also will be a mechanical bull; a Tootsie’s-inspired photo booth; Nashville-inspired murals; Sherwin-Williams Sponsored Live Art; and anOld Forester Cocktail Demonstration.
Admission gates will open at 5 p.m. and the 11-race program will be conducted between 6-11:10 p.m. General admission to Downs After Dark is $20 and includes an official program. Guests under the age of 18 will only be admitted to the track if accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Limited premium dining packages are available starting at $84 per person. Outdoor box seats range from $25 to $35 per person. Reserved seating can be purchased online at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.
Fans can watch and wager on all the action from Churchill Downs onwww.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Kentucky Derby.
This Week At Churchill Downs
The September Meet rolled on Wednesday for the start of a five-day racing week. First post was 12:45 p.m. for the nine-race card.
Thursday’s eight-race program will got underway at 5 p.m. for “Twilight Thursday.” Fans enjoyed $2 domestic beer, food trucks and live music from Sweet Lady. On the track, the featured contest was a 1 1/16-mile conditioned allowance event in Race 7 at 7:54 p.m.
Friday’s 10-race program had a first post of 12:45 p.m. and featured the return of stakes winner Chop Chop in Race 6 – a conditioned allowance contest run at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.
Saturday is “Downs After Dark” with a special late first post of 6 p.m. The card is comprised of four stakes contests: the $300,000 Dogwood (GIII), $300,000 Bourbon Trail, $300,000 Harrods Creek and $175,000 Seneca Stakes.
Sunday’s first post will return to 12:45 p.m. for a 10-race program. The featured event will be in Race 3 – a 5 ½ furlong allowance optional claiming event for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up run on turf. The field of eight is led by classy five-time winner Goin’ Good.
Fans can tune into “Churchill Downs Today” one hour before the start of each program for expert selections and handicapping tips from Joe Kristufek, Scott Shapiro and Kaitlin Free. The show will air on the Churchill Downs simulcast signal, @ChurchillDowns on X and the Churchill Downs LIVE app on smart TVs.
Down The Stretch
Racing resumed Wednesday at Churchill Downs with a first post of 12:45 p.m. There was a $71,625 carryover in the 20-cent Derby City 6 Jackpot that spanned Races 4-9. …
Jockey Declan Carroll returned to Churchill Downs on Wednesday and plans to ride this fall in Kentucky and Indiana. Carroll, who was riding at Woodbine since April, also stated he will likely stay in Kentucky this winter and ride at Turfway Park. …
The temporary rail on the Matt Winn Turf Course will be set Wednesday-Friday in Lane 4, 36 ft. from the inside. Saturday and Sunday’s turf racing will take place in Lane 2, 12 ft. from the inside. …
“Inside Churchill Downs” will return Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7 The one-hour program will preview Saturday’s Downs After Dark card. Fans outside the Louisville area can listen live onwww.espnlouisville.com. …
For more information about Churchill Downs and the September Meet, visit www.ChurchillDowns.com.