05/26/2012 2:53PM

Churchill Downs: Onepointhreekarats taking the next step


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hard to say what is hotter: the triple-digit heat index that was supposed to hover over Churchill Downs through Memorial Day weekend, or the pressure a trainer feels when it takes a $1.3 million purchase four races just to make it through a maiden condition.

For the ever-cool Graham Motion, however, there have been few worries with the aptly named Onepointhreekarats, a 4-year-old filly who steps up into first-level allowance conditions Monday at Churchill after notching her first career victory over the local turf course during Kentucky Derby week.

“Obviously there have been very high expectations for the filly,” said Motion. “She’s actually been a really nice filly, been pretty consistent. But nobody has put me under the gun, nobody has really said anything about hurrying her along or anything like that. We’ve just let her develop at her own pace.”

Onepointhreekarats – so named because of what the Live Oak Plantation of Charlotte Weber paid for her at the Keeneland yearling sale in September 2009 – was assigned post 1 in a field of seven in the eighth of 10 Monday races, a $59,800 allowance at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Miguel Mena has the call on the likely favorite.

In her May 3 triumph, Onepointhreekarats was prominent throughout before prevailing by two lengths.

“She ran so well on grass there, it seemed logical to let her run again over that course,” said Motion. “I’ve tried a lot of different things with her. I thought it’d be good to keep some consistency with her.”

Onepointhreekarats is one of about 10 horses Motion left behind at Churchill following a very active period at the three-week Keeneland meet and during Derby week. The English-born trainer is based primarily out of the Fair Hill training center in Maryland and races throughout the Eastern seaboard.

Other contenders in the Monday feature include Woodford Lady and Beijoca. The race is the only allowance on a card that begins at 12:45 p.m. Eastern.

Monday marks the first day for the 10-percent purse increase announced recently by Churchill officials. The purse for the feature race was listed as $55,300 before the hike.

After Monday, Churchill goes dark for two days before live action resumes Thursday. The Saturday card, with three Grade 3, $100,000 stakes, will be the first of three Saturday evening programs in June. The meet ends July 1.