04/30/2013 3:35PM

Churchill Downs: Believe You Can tops Kentucky Oaks undercard

Barbara D. Livingston
Believe You Can won the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and returns there for the La Troienne on Friday

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Led by 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, 54 horses were entered in five supporting stakes on Friday’s Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs.

Believe You Can, coming off a pair of blowout victories in stakes at Fair Grounds this winter, is matched against Apple Blossom winner On Fire Baby and five others in the first of the five stakes, the Grade 2, $300,000 La Troienne, which goes as the sixth race.

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Other entrants in the La Troienne, a dirt race at 1 1/16 miles, include Imposing Grace, Authenticity, More Chocolate, Class Included, and Draw It.

Rosie Napravnik, who became the first female jockey to win a Kentucky Oaks when aboard Believe You Can in the race last year, is again in the irons. Larry Jones trains her for owner/breeder Brereton Jones, a former Kentucky governor.

Although the La Troienne drew a small cast, contention runs deep in the other stakes Friday at Churchill Downs.

The Edgewood for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, the only stakes Friday that is not graded, drew 11 well-matched runners, some with the potential to become top players in the division.

The likely Edgewood favorite is Tokyo Time, a close second in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park on March 2.

Surpassing the Edgewood in both numbers and quality is the Grade 3 Eight Belles at seven furlongs on the main track. It attracted 14 entries, including three unbeaten fillies in Blueeyesintherein, Calistoga, and Gold Medal Dancer.

Their opposition is headed by stakes winners Fusaichiswonderful, So Many Ways, and Dancinginthecircle.

Nine horses go in the next race, the Grade 2 Alysheba for older males at 1 1/16 miles, which serves as a prep for the Grade 1 Stephen Foster later in the Churchill Downs meet. Its leading contenders include Take Charge Indy, Macho Macho, Bourbon Courage, and Cyber Secret, winner of the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 13.

Take Charge Indy, winner of last year’s Grade 1 Florida Derby, finished second in his last race March 30 in the Skip Away at Gulfstream Park, while Bourbon Courage and Macho Macho were third and fourth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap that same day at Fair Grounds.

In the final pre-Oaks stakes race, 13 horses were entered in the Grade 2 American Turf for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on grass, with Noble Tune from the barn of trainer Chad Brown being the most established horse.

A winner of 3 of 4 starts with his only defeat being a second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, he scored a nose victory in his lone start at age 3 in winning an open allowance at Tampa Bay Downs.

Also sure to attract attention in the American Turf is War Dancer, a winner of two straight, capped by a first-level allowance triumph at Keeneland on April 10 that came despite being a tardy start.