Review of Fall City Handicap at Churchill Downs on November 22

Churchill Downs has hosted the Falls City Handicap for most of the racetrack’s    history.  Inaugurated in 1875, the Falls City has been contested every year since except for 1878-1881, 1893-1909, and 1928-1940.  It has been a Thanksgiving Day feature since 1978 and has been run at its current distance since 1982.  A Grade III from 1976 through 2001, it has since held its Grade II designation.

Race 11. Fall City Handicap. For three-year-old fillies and mares at 1 1/8m on dirt. Purse $200,000.

PP Filly/Mare Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Divine Miss Grey Tyler Gaffalione Danny Gargan 3/5
2 Mannerly Julien Leparoux Brendan Walsh 6/1
3 Dutch Parrot Ricardo Santana, Jr. William Van Meter 12/1
4 Skeptic Brian Hernandez, Jr. George Arnold, II 12/1
5 Dreamcall Robby Albarado Steven Asmussen 6/1
6 Prado’s Sweet Ride Florent Geroux Chris Block 10/1
7 Honor Ride Corey Lanerie Grant Forster 20/1
8 Red Dane Edgar Morales Charles Lopresti 10/1

Divine Miss Grey will likely go as the favorite. She won easily the Chilukki Stakes (GII).  If she runs back to that race she should win. The turf should be her liking, but she stretches out an extra furlong and race is around two turns.  That two-turn obstacle matters: her only try at a mile and an eighth was a credible enough second behind Wow Cat, but the Belmont race was at mile and an eighth around one turn. She ran well in the Dr. James Penny at Parx, against a softer group than entered in the Fall City Handicap. albeit against an easier set, a group of washed-off turf horses.  But, is that enough of a question to make this space want to look elsewhere at odds-on?  Especially with the drifting out that DIVINE MISS GREY did last time out, it sure is.

Dreamcall finished well behind Divine Miss Grey in the Beldame Stakes (GI). She finished second in the Molly Pitcher (G3), a two-turn race at Monmouth, beaten 3/4 length for top money, but five and a half lengths clear of Divine Miss Grey.

Honor Ride and Skeptic should set an honest pace. These two should provide Dreamcall to chase. She should be on the board.

Prado’s Sweet Ride has made most of her career on the turf, including a win in the Grade III Regret Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the Churchill grass 3 years ago.  She has only run on dirt four times during her career, her best ones have come on dirt.  She should be in mod-pack down the back stretch. She should be running down the leaders in the stretch.

Skeptic ran poorly in the Spinster Stakes last time but was unprepared for the start that day. She has a tactical style of running and has won three of four starts before that including the Monmouth Oaks.

Mannerly is winless,0-for-5, against stake competition, but she has a pair of show finishes. She has won at Churchill Downs before. She figures to save ground stalking the pace.

Our Top Three Picks:

  • Divine Miss Grey
  • Dreamcall
  • Skeptic

 

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