11/23/2010 1:44PM

Distinctive Dixie looks like solid favorite in Falls City

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Barbara D. Livingston
Distinctive Dixie, impressive winner of the Chilukki three weeks ago, appears formidable in Thursday's Falls City Handicap.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Family tradition being what it is on Thanksgiving, a certain edge might have to be granted to Wally Dollase and his wife Cincy this Thursday at Churchill Downs. Few racetrack couples epitomize the core values the Dollases have come to represent, and it would seem most appropriate if it was them occupying center stage after the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap is run for the 95th time.

It would help, of course, if Wally Dollase sent out the best horse in the $150,000 feature, and darned if that doesn’t appear to be the case. Distinctive Dixie, an impressive winner of the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes on the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup undercard, will wheel back as a solid favorite for the 73-year-old trainer when she stretches out an extra furlong in the 1 1/8-mile Falls City.

Distinctive Dixie, with Robby Albarado to ride, will break from post 4 in a field of six fillies and mares entered in the Falls City, which goes as the 11th of 12 races on a card that begins at 11:30 a.m. Eastern. Post time for the Falls City is 4:24 p.m., with the last race going at 4:53.

Distinctive Dixie really put everything together when returning from a four-month layoff in the Chilukki, breaking sharply, then settling willfully before she boldly carried Albarado into contention. Down the stretch, the 5-year-old Distinctively Dixie was dominant in posting the first stakes win of her 18-race career.

“We’ve always known she had the ability,” said Dollase. “We’d love to see her run like that again.”

Perhaps her top rival in the abbreviated field is Striking Dancer, a 4-year-old who had raced exclusively on turf or synthetics until making her dirt debut a winning one in an allowance race during Breeders’ Cup week.

“She’s always been a really good filly, maybe a little unlucky as a 2- and 3-year-old,” said Ken McPeek, trainer of Striking Dancer. “She is doing extremely well. I thought her race over the dirt was an excellent prep.”

Striking Dancer will break from post 3 when ridden by Julien Leparoux, who won the Falls City last year when Serenading upset heavily favored Unbridled Belle.

Rounding out the Falls City lineup are Dundalk Dust, Third Dawn, High Quail, and Ravi’s Song.