06/23/2011 3:07PM

Churchill Downs: Culotte steps up, goes longer in Debutante

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Culotte will step up to stakes competition in Saturday's Grade 3 Debutante at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Of all the juveniles to race at Churchill Downs this meet, few have been as dominant as Culotte. Debuting on May 13, she sped to the lead and drew away to win by 5 1/4 lengths, racing 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.69 seconds and posting a 72 Beyer Speed Figure.

Having passed that test easily, she gets another one Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Debutante at Churchill – making her stakes debut against seven other talented 2-year-old fillies, including by a pair of fast shippers, Shocktime and Defy Gravity.

Throw in that the Debutante is six furlongs, a furlong and a half further than the distance over which she won her maiden race, and the challenges for Culotte are apparent.

“It is a significant change in distance,” acknowledged trainer Tom Amoss. “I feel like she is ready to go six furlongs, but it’s up to her.”

Relative to the six-furlong distance, her opponents are in a similar position, though some to lesser degrees. None of the entrants have raced this far, and only longshot Five Star Momma has raced even 5 1/2 furlongs. All the others enter the Debutante off races at 4 1/2 or five furlongs.

Amoss has been among the hottest trainers of 2-year-olds at Churchill this spring, going 3 for 4 in baby races, with the one loss being a second-place finish by Charming Vixen on June 6.

Culotte, a daughter of Sky Mesa owned by Gold Mark Farm, will be ridden by Leandro Goncalves.

Shocktime, 2 for 2 in races at Lone Star this spring, should vie for favoritism with Culotte.

Although she has faced restricted competition in both of her races, she won them easily, suggesting a bright future. She handled Texas-bred maidens by nine lengths April 23 and then won the TTS Sales Futurity for fillies by 12 3/4 lengths June 11.

In winning the latter race, she ran five furlongs in 58.61 seconds, faster than the division for colts and geldings, which was won by Lil Cherokee in 58.83. Shocktime earned an 83 Beyer.

“I’m not quite sure what’s she’s beaten, but she’s done it convincingly and very impressively,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “This is a big step for her, but it’s a big step for all of them.”

Defy Gravity and Queen Teuta, who each won maiden races in their second starts, are the principal threats to Culotte and Shocktime.