Hot and Sultry powers home in the Chilukki (Coady Photography)
Churchill Downs Press Release
LOUISVILLE, Ky.— JoAnn and Alex Leblong’s 4-year-old filly Hot and Sultry returned from a 196-day layoff to blitz seven other fillies in mares with a front-running eight-length win in Saturday’s 38th running of the $295,000 Chilukki (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
After a swift first quarter mile in :23.03 and a half-mile in :45.88 while breaking from the outside post 8, Hot and Sultry clocked one mile over a fast track in 1:35.93 under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., who rode the winner for trainer Norm Casse.
“She broke pretty good and she’s a very fast filly,” said Santana, who also won the Chilukki three years ago aboard Finite. “We went quick early but she was doing it very easily. She’s a very nice filly.”
It was the filly’s second stakes win but first against graded stakes company. In January, she won the $150,000 American Beauty at Oaklawn Park. After that she finished fourth in the $350,000 Azeri (GII), third in the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (GI) and fourth in the $750,000 Derby City Distaff (GI) on the Kentucky Derby undercard before Hot and Sultry received a 28-week break between races.
“I was a little worried today,” Casse said. “This really wasn’t the first plan. We knew going the one-turn mile at Churchill is always a little more difficult off the layoff. This was a tough race but it was a little bit of class relief from her last start in the Derby City Distaff.
Hot and Sultry banked the $180,350 first prize in the Chilukki and rewarded her backers with $6.20, $4.08 and $3.16 as the 2-1 favorite.
Nostalgic, ridden by Florent Geroux, finished second at odds of 7-2 and paid $4.32 and $3.54. Oeuvre was another nose back in third at 7-1 under Jareth Loveberry and returned $4.38.
Falconet was fourth and was followed by last year’s Chilukki winner She Can’t Sing, Be Like Water, Braganza and Hidden Connection. Raindrops On Roses was scratched.
Overall, Hot and Sultry has won four of nine starts and $590,320.
A return to Oaklawn for stakes engagements this winter is likely, according to Casse.
“The Lieblongs are based in Arkansas so Oaklawn is probably the next logical spot to end up with her,” Casse said.
Hot and Sultry is a dark bay or brown daughter of Speightster out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Hot Water and was bred in Kentucky by Cobalt Investments LLC.
Known as the Churchill Downs Distaff from 1996-2004, the Chilukki was renamed in 2005 to honor Stonerside Stable’s graded stakes-winning filly. The daughter of Cherokee Run made four starts at Churchill Downs, all of which were victories. Chilukki won the 2000 edition of this race in what would be her final start with a final time of 1:33.57 – a track record at the time.
Racing at Churchill Downs resumes Sunday with a nine-race program that begins at 1 p.m. ET.