11/10/2011 3:33PM

Churchill: Mrs. Revere has late-season appeal

Barbara D. Livingston
Hungry Island, with Alex Solis riding, wins the Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Lots of trainers with a good 3-year-old turf filly seem to have the same idea about the Mrs. Revere Stakes. It’s a Grade 2 with a $175,000 purse, it’s the last chance to run in such a major event against 3-year-olds, and with temperatures dropping, all turf courses north of the Mason-Dixon line are about to close shop for the winter.

All of which helps to explain yet another rugged renewal of the $175,000 Mrs. Revere, a 1 1/16-mile turf fixture that anchors the Saturday card at Churchill Downs as the ninth of 10 races. Shug McGaughey has sent Hungry Island from New York. Roger Attfield and Mark Frostad have sent Smart Sting and New Normal, respectively, from Canada. Marty Wolfson has sent Louvakhova from Florida, and there are a couple of longshot fillies, Trac N Jam and Tourmaline, in from Chicago and Oklahoma, respectively.

Not to overlook the local contingent – it’s six-strong and would comprise a very interesting side in a Vegas-style prop wager versus the six invaders. It includes three runners-up from recent stakes at Keeneland: Marketing Mix, from the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup; Groupie Doll, from the Grade 2 Raven Run; and Bizzy Caroline, from the Grade 3 Valley View.

Running second in the QE II would be a nice feather in any filly’s proverbial cap, but Tom Proctor, the trainer of Marketing Mix, is wary of making too much of that.

“I’ve noticed that sometimes horses coming out of the Queen Elizabeth don’t run that well in this race,” said Proctor. “I hope that’s not the case with our filly, and I don’t think it will be. She bounced out of it pretty good and we’ve been doing everything we can to get her ready for this.”

Leading jockey Julien Leparoux will be aboard Marketing Mix when she breaks from post 10.

In the last seven years, quite a few fillies have advanced from the QE II to the Mrs. Revere, but just two have won here at Churchill: River Belle, third in the 2004 QE II, and Bit of Whimsy, the 2007 QE II winner.

McGaughey initially wanted to run Hungry Island in the QE II, but after the filly dominated the Grade 2 Lake Placid in August at Saratoga, the Hall of Fame trainer was caught in something of a scheduling dilemma. Hungry Island, bred and owned by Emory Hamilton, has raced just once since then, finishing fourth as one of the favorites in the Grade 1 Garden City on Sept. 17 at Belmont.

“I blame myself for the Garden City,” McGaughey said by phone Thursday. “I probably ran her back too quick, pressed a little to make it. Maybe I should’ve waited and ran her straight in the Queen Elizabeth. After all that, I just picked this spot out and been pointing to it for the last couple months.

“I give her a big chance. I really think she’s a good filly. We’re doing something new, shipping and running, but she seemed to have gotten down there to Louisville just fine. We’ll see. It’s a pretty good race, but I think she fits in there just fine.”

Hungry Island, with Corey Nakatani to ride, will break from post 1. The filly is by More Than Ready, whose progeny have been sensational on the Churchill turf in the last 12-plus months: Pluck (2010 Juvenile Turf), More Than Real (2010 Juvenile Fillies Turf), and Regally Ready (2011 Turf Sprint) all became Breeders’ Cup winners in that time.

This is the 21st running of Mrs. Revere, which is named for the filly who won four Churchill stakes in 1984-85 for trainer Bill Mott.