09/05/2013 4:11PM

Churchill Downs: Locust Grove Handicap right in Flashy American's comfort zone

Barbara D. Livingston
Flashy American has flourished since focusing on two-turn dirt races.

Ten fillies and mares are entered in the Grade 3, $100,000 Locust Grove at 1 1/16 miles on the Churchill Downs main track – conditions that play to the strength of favored Flashy American.

A late-developing filly who did not win a maiden race until her 11th start last July at Saratoga for a $25,000 claiming tag, Flashy American has since steadily moved up in class with success, becoming a multiple stakes winner and graded-placed.

The reason for her development? Trainer Ken McPeek found her niche.

“Going two turns on the dirt, she’s hickory,” McPeek said.

Although Flashy American has no listed workouts since winning the Alada Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 9, McPeek said she has breezed since her last race, but that track clockers missed her work, which came in the fog over Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track.

Corey Lanerie rides.

Wine Princess, winner of the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks last year, and Magic Hour, runner-up in the Grade 3 Gardenia at Ellis Park on Aug. 1, could prove her chief rivals.

Wine Princess adds blinkers, a high-percentage statistical angle for her trainer, Steve Margolis. Eight of his last 22 runners (36 percent) adding blinkers have won.