Updated on 09/15/2011 12:44PM

This time 'Casual' is favorite


Casual Feat pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the Churchill spring meet when she won the Grade 3 Regret Stakes at 28-1 on June 16. In Saturday's $50,000 Audubon Oaks at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., Casual Feat will not be so overlooked. She is the probable favorite in the one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies.

Casual Feat, who entered the Regret off a maiden win against colts in her first start with Lasix, beat a solid field that included stakes winners Nasty Storm, Bold Answer, and La Vida Loca. In her next start, a three-other-than allowance at Churchill, Casual Feat hopped in the air at the start and was forced to come from behind, a different style than she had shown in her two wins. She finished third that day, beaten less than a 1 1/2 lengths. With an alert break, Casual Feat should be tough to catch. Larry Melancon will ride.

Players looking for an upset to back have plenty to choose from. Sluice, from the barn of Bill Mott, has a pair of fourth-place finishes in her two previous attempts in stakes company. She recently rallied from far back to finish second in a two-other-than allowance at Arlington.

Kiss the Devil is a neck shy of having a perfect record over the turf. She was caught just before the wire in an Arlington allowance three weeks ago. Her two authoritative wins on the Churchill turf this spring suggest she will be a major factor on Saturday.

The Hess Express, who ran second to 2-year-old filly champion Caressing in the Bassinet Stakes last fall, looked good winning a 5 1/2-furlong turf allowance by three lengths over this course July 13. A Lord Carson filly, The Hess Express will stretch out to a mile for the second time in her career.

The lightly raced Valory is undefeated on turf, including a nonwinners-of-two allowance over the Ellis course last month. That win was only two weeks after her maiden victory at Churchill. Having only raced since mid-May, this could be a difficult task for the filly, though she should be a prominent pace factor.

Other possibilities include Town Queen, who finished a neck behind Casual Feat last time; Diamond Bracelet, who can handle soft footing if necessary; and Jenny Lake, who has won 2 of 4 and is regally bred for the turf.

* Jerry Quinn, formerly an assistant for trainers Elliott Walden and Mike Stidham, won his first race as a trainer Wednesday when My Extolled Honor ($9) scored in the eighth race.

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