08/12/2016 11:26AM

Princess Kennedy takes on older foes in Distaff Handicap

Reed & Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs
Washington Oaks winner Princess Kennedy (left) will try to become the first 3-year-old to win the Emerald Distaff on Sunday.

Princess Kennedy will try to make history when she runs in the 21st edition of the $65,000 Emerald Distaff Handicap at Emerald Downs on Sunday. If she wins, she will become the first 3-year-old to win the 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares.

She also would give trainer Tom Wenzel his third straight win in the race. His two previous winners, Stopshoppingdebbie in 2014 and Lady Rosberg last year, paid $2.40 and $2.80.

“Numbers-wise, I don’t think Princess Kennedy is as good as they were,” he said. “We thought we would give her a chance because the older filly and mare division at Emerald has been pretty weak this year.”

Princess Kennedy is coming off a win in the $75,000 Washington Oaks, where she finished with a rush to edge Brookys Star in the 1 1/8-mile race. It was her first win since she romped in the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes last August.

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As evidenced by her strong five-furlong move in 58.20 seconds Aug. 5, Princess Kennedy appears to be peaking at the right time.

“She is doing real well right now,” Wenzel said. “She came out of the Oaks in great shape, and I was really happy with her work.”

Similar to the other eight horses entered, Princess Kennedy does her best running late. She drew post No. 4, with leading rider Rocco Bowen retaining the mount.

“We are aware there isn’t a lot of speed in the race,” Wenzel said. “We’ll leave it up to Rocco on how he wants to ride her, but I don’t like to take horses out of their element.”

Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will be going for a record fourth win in the Distaff. If All Star Bub, the highweight at 121 pounds, runs as well as when she finished third to Beholder in the Grade 3 Adoration at Santa Anita on May 8, he could get it.

All Star Bub, who will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez, came back with a dull effort in the $100,000 Iowa Distaff at Prairie Meadows on July 1, though.


Princess Kennedy, by Sun King
Last 3 Beyers: 85-69-71

◗ She appears to be back on track following an ambitious fall-winter campaign that included being overmatched in the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs and the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland.

All Star Bub, by Midshipman
Last 3 Beyers: 64-82-79

◗ The 4-year-old filly is not the most consistent horse around, but she is capable, and Hollendorfer knows what kind of horse it takes to win this race.

Guinevere’s Finale, by Tale of the Cat
Last 3 Beyers: 79-73-66

◗ Trained by David Martinez, she is trending in the right direction and overcame getting bumped at the start to win the $50,000 Boeing in her last start.