Churchill Downs serves up graded stakes action for Thanksgiving weekend

November 21, 2020

Bonny South leads strong field in Falls City; McGaughey has high hopes for Code of Honor in the Clark

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Juddmonte Farms’ Fair Grounds Oaks (Grade II) winner Bonny South tops a competitive field of nine fillies and mares that were entered in Thursday’s 105th running of the $200,000 Falls City (GII) at Churchill Downs.

The 1 1/8-mile Falls City has been run on Thanksgiving Day beneath the historic Twin Spires since 1978. It will go as the featured event in Race 10 of 11 with a post time of 3:53 p.m. There will be a special first post of 11:30 a.m. for the holiday program. 

Bonny South was a highly-touted 3-year-old filly last winter following her 2 ¼-length victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks. Following nearly four months on the sidelines, the daughter of Munnings returned in the $400,000 Ashland (GI) where she finished fourth behind Speech, Venetian Harbor and fellow Falls City rival Envoutante.

Following her race in the Ashland, Cox shipped Bonny South to Saratoga where she was the runner-up behind Swiss Skydiver in the $500,000 Alabama (GI). Bonny South will enter Thursday’s Falls City following a narrow defeat in the Oct. 3, $250,000 Black Eyed Susan (GII) at Pimlico. This will mark her first race against elders.

2020 Black-Eyed Susan Replay

Jockey Florent Geroux has the call on Bonny South who will break from post position No. 3.

Cox will attempt to win his second straight Falls City following Mylady Curlin’s 2 ¼-length score in last year’s event.

Chief among Bonny South’s rivals in the Falls City is Walking L Thoroughbreds LLC and Three Chimneys Farm’s $100,000 Remington Park Oaks (GIII) winner Envoutante. Trained by Kenny McPeek, Envoutante has faced Bonny South twice in her eight-race career. Envoutante got the better of Bonny South by two lengths in the Ashland but was defeated by 7 ¼ lengths as the fourth-place finisher in the Alabama.

Brian Hernandez Jr. rides Envoutante in the Falls City from the rail.

Also entered in the field of fillies and mares is Farfellow Farm’s multiple graded stakes placed Another Broad, who will make her first start under the care of Steve Asmussen; LBD Stable and David Ingordo’s $125,000 Shuvee (GIII) third-place finisher Our Super Freak; and G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s graded stakes placed duo of Cash Out and High Regard, who are joined in the gate by his three-time winner Over Thinking.

The complete field for the Falls City from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Envoutante (Hernandez, McPeek); Another Broad (Ricardo Santana Jr., Asmussen); Bonny South (Geroux, Cox); Smooth With a Kick (Tyler Gaffalione, Chad Brown); Our Super Freak (Gabriel Saez, Cherie DeVaux); Cash Out (Edgar Morales, Rusty Arnold II); High Regard (Corey Lanerie, Vicki Oliver); Over Thinking (Rafael Bejarano, Oliver); and Market Rumor (Chris Landeros, Ian Wilkes). 

Code of Honor wins the Dwyer at Belmont July 2019. (Janet Garaguso)

McGaughey hopes Code of Honor is no longer ‘Victim of Circumstances’ in Clark

W.S. Farish’s two-time Grade I winner Code of Honor had to alter his schedule multiple times in 2020 but his Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey III hopes Friday’s $500,000 Clark presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) gets the colt back to the winner’s circle.

“He’s just been a victim of circumstances with the COVID situation,” McGaughey said. “I would’ve liked him to run him in the Westchester (GIII) which would’ve been the start of the Belmont Meet in the spring. I would’ve spaced the races out that way. That didn’t’ work out so we couldn’t run until June 6 in the Westchester. He won that and I really had in my mind I wasn’t going to run him back until the Whitney. He’s run a lot better with his races spaced.”

Following Code of Honor’s half-length victory in the $100,000 Westchester, McGaughey decided to run the colt one month later in the $500,000 Metropolitan Handicap (GI).

“He ran in the Derby and then didn’t run again until Fourth of July weekend and then didn’t run again until the Travers during the last part of Saratoga. The Metropolitan Mile is a prestigious race so we decided to run in that race. He was doing really good and he ran a really good race that day. I think if we may have missed that we could’ve made a better showing in the Whitney.”

Code of Honor finished fourth in the aforementioned $1 million Whitney behind the wire-to-wire winner Improbable. The 4-year-old Noble Mission (GB) colt will enter Friday’s Clark off a runner-up effort behind Complexity in the $150,000 Kelso (GII).

Friday’s Clark is the marquee race of the Churchill Downs Fall Meet. Entries for the 1 1/8-mile event will be taken Sunday. The field is also expected to include graded stakes winners By My Standards, Mr Freeze and Owendale.

2019 Dwyer Replay

TV SCHEDULE – Racing at Churchill Downs continues every Wednesday-Sunday through Nov. 29 daily first post at 1 p.m. (except 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day). Below is this week’s TV schedule on the Fox Sports family of networks:

Saturday: FS2 (11:30-6 p.m.) | MSG+ (12-6:30 p.m.)

Sunday: FS1 (12-4 p.m.), FS2 (4-6 p.m.) | MSG+ (12:30-6 p.m.)

Churchill Downs partners with NYRA for Cross Country Pick 5 on Sunday

Churchill Downs has once again partnered with the New York Racing Association for a Cross Country Pick 5 that included three races from Churchill and two from Aqueduct.

The Race order and approximate post times (all times eastern):

Leg A: Aqueduct Race 7 (2:45 p.m.)

Leg B: Churchill Race 5 (3:03 p.m.)

Leg C: Aqueduct Race 8 (3:17 p.m.)

Leg D: Aqueduct Race 10 (4:13 p.m.)

Leg E: Churchill Race 8 (4:36 p.m.)

The 50-cent minimum wager has a 15% takeout and can be placed at simulcast centers and ADWs including

DOWN THE STRETCH – There was a $154,724 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot for racing on Saturday at Churchill Downs. First post was 1 p.m. and the Single 6 spanned races 5-10. … There were 99 2-year-olds on the Churchill Downs work tab Saturday morning including $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) contenders Inspector Frost (five furlongs, :59.60), King Fury (five furlongs, 1:00.60) and Swill (five furlongs, 1:02.). Also on the work tab were $200,000 Golden Rod (GII) contenders Simply Ravishing (five furlongs, 1:01) and Travel Column (five furlongs, 1:00.20). … Graded stakes winner Dennis’ Moment is slated to return to the races for the first time since February in a conditioned allowance event on Wednesday at Churchill Downs. He drew the rail in Race 8 which will go at 4:36 p.m. … For more information about the Churchill Downs Fall Meet, visit

Press Release Photo: Bonny South in a morning work at Churchill. (Coady)

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