04/26/2010 12:00AM

South African starts fresh in U.S.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As Barry Irwin tells the story, Gypsy's Warning and Sweet Theresa frequently worked together as younger horses. Sweet Theresa usually came out ahead, but Gypsy's Warning became a two-time Group 1 winner in their native South Africa.

Irwin, the president of Team Valor International, ultimately bought both horses for the worldwide syndicate. American-based trainer Graham Motion has been preparing both for their Stateside debuts, and Sweet Theresa's comes Wednesday in the feature race at Churchill Downs, a second-level allowance for fillies and mares on turf.

The 1 1/16-mile race drew 10 horses, plus three entered for the main track only.

Sweet Theresa, winless in five starts last year, hasn't fared as well in competition as her stablemate, but Irwin said he expects the 5-year-old-mare to give an excellent account of herself in Wednesday's ninth race.

"I don't know if she's going to be a graded horse in America, but I do think she'll be ready to show something in her first start," he said of Sweet Theresa, who won a Group 3 race in 2008.

Sweet Theresa, with Julien Leparoux to ride, will break from post 7 when she faces a rugged cast for the condition. The probable favorite is Consequence, a Phipps Stable homebred who was beaten a head in a similar race earlier this month on the Keeneland turf. John Velazquez has the mount back for trainer Shug McGaughey.

Other logical contenders include two others from the April 7 Keeneland race in which Consequence was second: Sweetest Song, third as the front-runner, and Bluegrass Princess, fifth as the favorite.

Shameless and Awesome Grannie also rate decent chances, assuming the race stays on the grass.

First post Wednesday is 12:45 p.m. Eastern. The only other allowance of the day is race 8, a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the main track for fillies and mares.

* The Thursday feature at Churchill is the Edgewood Stakes, a former graded race that has been downsized to a $62,000 overnight stakes. Nine 3-year-old turf fillies have been entered, with Negligee likely to go favored over Dynazaper and Midway Holiday.