11/03/2011 11:41AM

Churchill Downs: Buckleupbuttercup can cap Kenneally's day

Justin N. Lane
Buckleupbuttercup, with Julien Leparoux riding, wins the 2010 Eight Belles.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With a runner in the first and one in the last and 7 1/2 hours in between, Saturday portends to be a long – but potentially successful – day for trainer Eddie Kenneally.

After sending out morning-line favorite Jump Up in a first-level allowance in the opener at 12:05 p.m., Kenneally may have the horse to beat, Buckleupbuttercup, in the Grade 2, $150,000 Chilukki Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile. Post time for the Chilukki is 7:40 p.m.

Buckleupbuttercup is 3 for 3 at Churchill Downs, including a victory in the Eight Belles Stakes going 7 1/2 furlongs here in 2010. Buckleupbuttercup has alternated a good-race, bad-race pattern and she is coming off a last-place finish in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont in her last start. Kenneally felt that Buckleupbuttercup was compromised by being down on the inside in the Gallant Bloom, at a distance – 6 1/2 furlongs – that is shorter than her best.

“Things have to go her way for her to run her best race, and she just hasn’t had things go her way,” Kenneally said. “However, she’s back at Churchill, and she’s 3 for 3 at Churchill. She’s run well, here she trains well here, and she’s coming into the race real good.”

There also appears to be ample speed in this field, and Buckleupbuttercup is better when there is pace. Javier Castellano will ride Buckleupbuttercup from post 3.

Persuading is 3 for 5 at Churchill, including a third-level allowance victory going a one-turn mile in an-off-the-turf race run in the mud in June. Her last two races, on turf and synthetic, have not been good.

“She’s a very good filly. We’re waiting for her to have that major breakthrough race, because I know there’s more there than she’s done so far,” trainer Dale Romans said.

The unknown in the race is the Peruvian-bred Anunciata, trained by Michael Matz. Anunciata went 9 for 17 in Peru and makes her North American debut and first start since March 26.

“Fitness-wise she should be able to compete at a mile,” Matz said. “She hasn’t competed in awhile so it might end up she needs a race, but there’s not much more I can do working her to get ready for this race.”

After facing males in her last two starts, Maristar returns to face her own gender in the Chilukki.