05/27/2010 11:00PM

Hot Dixie Chick taking on elders


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Hot Dixie Chick will be facing older fillies and mares for the first time when she starts Monday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The 3-year-old Hot Dixie Chick was one of the most precocious fillies in her class, winning the Grade 3 Schuylerville and Grade 1 Spinaway last summer at Saratoga. But her connections declined to run her over the synthetic surface at Santa Anita last fall in the Breeders' Cup, and more than six months had elapsed when she returned to win the Prima Donna Stakes in March at Oaklawn Park easily.

In her only start since then, Hot Dixie Chick faded to third when in against 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 3 Eight Belles on the May 1 Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill. She has breezed once since then, going five furlongs in 1:01.60 here May 19.

Dubai Majesty, who won the Winning Colors as the favorite last year, is among the seasoned older horses set to oppose Hot Dixie Chick.

The six-furlong Winning Colors, carded as the 10th of 11 Monday races, drew six other fillies and mares: Double Espresso, Emmy Darling, J Z Warrior, Minewander, Nadeshiko, and Secret Gypsy.

Paddy O'Prado headed for Colonial Turf Cup

Paddy O'Prado, third in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Preakness, will make his next start in the Grade 2, $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup on June 19 at Colonial Downs in Virginia, said trainer Dale Romans.

Paddy O'Prado had his first workout since exiting the Triple Crown series when he breezed a half-mile in 48.80 seconds Thursday over a firm Churchill turf course.

"He's shown he can pretty much do anything," said Romans. "I'm proud of him. Right now's the time that the money's getting really good for 3-year-olds on the grass, so we'll look that way for now, then play it by ear. At least we know we can always go back to the dirt."

Paddy O'Prado, owned by the Donegal Racing partnership, has run well in all four turf starts, including a victory in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes for his only career win.

Brass Hat going back to dirt

Brass Hat, most recently third in the May 22 Louisville Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf, might make his next start on dirt, although it won't come in the biggest race of the post-Derby segment of the spring meet, the Grade 1 Stephen Foster on June 12.

Brass Hat returned earlier this week to the Frankfort, Ky., farm of breeder-owner Fred Bradley for about a week's rest, said Buff Bradley, who trains the 9-year-old gelding for his father.

"I'd like to find an easier spot for him," said Bradley.

Silverfoot's racing days over

Silverfoot, a three-time winner (2004-06) of the Grade 3 Louisville 'Cap at Churchill and an earner of nearly $950,000, has run his last race. The 10-year-old gray gelding was retired by owner Stephanie Clark after he finished eighth in the latest renewal of the Louisville.

Silverfoot was trained by Dallas Stewart during a 40-race career that netted 14 wins, six of them stakes, and earnings of $949,503.

Field sizes hurting

Even with four-day race weeks, field size has become a disconcerting issue at this meet. The Sunday card serves as a prime example, with seven of the 10 races having attracted seven or fewer starters.

Shortly after the 2009 Derby, Churchill eliminated Wednesdays from the schedule, but even that cutback has not substantially alleviated what clearly is a shortage of available horses.

* Spun Silver made a successful transition to dirt when she captured the $49,600 Thursday feature at Churchill. The 4-year-old filly shipped in from California recently for trainer Bob Baffert after starting her career with three races on synthetic surfaces, including a maiden victory in her previous start. She returned $7 after winning the first-level allowance sprint by 1 1/2 lengths under Shaun Bridgmohan.