04/30/2014 6:42PM

Effie Trinket seeks first graded stakes win in Distaff Turf Mile


Samraat and Uncle Sigh aren’t the only New York-breds looking to land a big victory at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

A few hours before the Kentucky Derby, Effie Trinket seeks her first graded stakes victory in the Grade 2, $300,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile. The event drew five graded stakes winners, including Grade 1 winner Centre Court.

“It’s going to be a very deep race, a tough race, but she belongs,” said Rick Violette, who in addition to Effie Trinket trains Samraat. “She’s a really nice horse.”

Effie Trinket is a four-time stakes winner, three of those against statebreds. She displayed an affinity for the Churchill Downs course when finishing second by a half-length in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes last November, then was third in her season debut, the Grade 2 Honey Fox Stakes, in March at Gulfstream Park, a race Centre Court won.

“She got beat a length and a half off the bench in a real class race, with a couple of fillies that are going to run here Saturday,” Violette said. “And she was on the lead, and I really don’t think that’s her best spot. I think she’s going to run huge.”

Centre Court is returning to a favored course, with three victories from four starts on the Churchill turf, including the Grade 3 Regret Stakes and the Mrs. Revere in 2012. She returned from a six-month layoff, necessitated by a pulled muscle, to win the Honey Fox, then was fifth, beaten less than a length in a blanket finish, in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland after leading into the stretch.

Centre Court drew the outside post in the nine-horse field, with Effie Trinket just to her inside.

Miz Ida also is a graded stakes winner at Churchill, taking the Grade 3 Mint Julep Handicap last June. Ready Signal is seeking her first graded victory after winning a pair of minor stakes during the Gulfstream Park meet.