10/26/2014 7:41PM

Conquest Tsunami, West Coast Belle win juvenile stakes

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Conquest Tsunami, with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, scores by 2 3/4 lengths in the Street Sense Stakes on Sunday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In near-perfect autumn weather, Churchill Downs kicked off its fall meet Sunday with a card comprised solely of 2-year-old races, highlighted by victories from Conquest Tsunami in the Street Sense Stakes for males and West Coast Belle in the Rags to Riches for fillies.

The two stakes, overnight events run for a little more than $60,000 each with Kentucky-bred purse incentives, were positioned on opening day to fill the void left by the Iroquois and Pocahontas stakes when those were moved last year to the September meet to become Breeders’ Cup preps.

The two horses used contrasting styles to record their victories, with Conquest Tsunami shooting to the lead and maintaining a 2 3/4-length advantage in the Street Sense, while West Coast Belle rallied from eighth to win the Rags to Riches by 6 3/4 lengths.

Conquest Tsunami, a multiple stakes winner owned by Conquest Stables, ran a mile over a fast main track in 1:37. He was ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan for trainer Mark Casse – the same jockey/trainer tandem that won the inaugural running in 2013 with Coastline.

A Stormy Atlantic colt, Conquest Tsunami paid $5.20 as the favorite. Nun the Less, the 5-2 second choice, narrowly held the runner-up spot by outfinishing third-place Far Right by a head.

Assistant trainer Norman Casse said the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 29 is a next-race option for Conquest Tsunami. Conquest Tsunami is also a logical contender for next year’s prestigious Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, being eligible as a horse bred in Ontario, Canada.

In the Rags to Riches, West Coast Belle scored an 11-1 upset, coming off a first-out maiden victory, defeating 74-1 longshot Simple Confection, who grabbed the runner-up spot over Taylor S. Her time was a bit slower than that of Conquest Tsunami, with West Coast Belle racing a mile in 1:37.38. She paid $25.40.

Channing Hill rode the winner, a daughter of Tapit, for trainer Wayne Catalano and Mary and Gary West, her owners and breeders.