06/16/2011 2:42PM

Churchill Downs: Kathmanblu back on turf

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Barbara D. Livingston
Kathmanblu finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf over the Churchill Downs grass.

Racing in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks, Kathmanblu couldn’t keep pace with the cream of the 3-year-old filly division, finishing sixth, 10 lengths behind victorious Plum Pretty.

There were no excuses. Nor should there be Saturday in the Grade  3, $125,000 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs – except the outcome should be more favorable.

Dropped in class and returned to turf, a surface over which three of her five victories have come, she appears poised for one of her better efforts.

That will be needed to defeat a field that includes turf stakes winners Excited and Diva Ash, not to mention first-time turfer Bouquet Booth, who finished fifth, 6 3/4 lengths ahead of Kathmanblu, in the Kentucky Oaks.

Not typically a flashy workhorse, Kathmanblu has recorded three swift main-track breezes since the Oaks, capped by a bullet five-furlong move in 1:01.60 over a tiring, sloppy surface at Churchill on June 11.

In considering how best to regroup from her poor Oaks try, trainer Kenny McPeek felt the Regret offered the most positives.

“She’s been successful on the grass, and didn’t have to leave town,” he said of her base at Churchill. “It looked like a good spot.”

Julien Leparoux rides Kathmanblu, who ran third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in her only start over this turf course last fall.

McPeek is also represented by the rapidly improving Bizzy Caroline in the 1 1/16-mile Regret. A maiden until late April, she has since won two in a row, including a first-level allowance by seven lengths May 27.

Immature at age 2, she is hitting her stride, McPeek said. Manny Cruz will ride.

The wild card is Bouquet Booth, who outran her 47-1 odds in finishing fifth in the Oaks, just getting nosed out for fourth by favored Joyful Victory.

Although unraced on turf, she is a winner on both dirt and synthetic and has trained well over the Churchill Downs grass course in recent weeks. A daughter of Flower Alley, she went five furlongs around the dogs in 1:01.40 June 2, and followed that with a similar five-furlong move in 1:01.80 June 9, co-fastest of seven on turf that morning.

“Classwise we belong – it’s a question if she can step up to these horses on the grass,” trainer Steve Margolis said.

Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount on Bouquet Booth, winner of the Grade 3 Delta Princess and Silverbulletday Stakes.