11/25/2016 6:42PM

Wilkes keeps hot hand with Linda in Mrs. Revere

Coady Photography
Linda scores her first stakes win in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Trainer Ian Wilkes and his wife, Tracey, are planning to take a vacation to their native Australia shortly after the Churchill Downs meet concludes on Sunday, and he is training like a man that wants to make up for any lost future opportunities.

A day after winning three races, including the Grade 3 River City Handicap with Thatcher Street, Wilkes was a multiple visitor to the winner’s circle Friday at Churchill, taking a pair of races, including the Grade 2, $200,000 Mrs. Revere with the blossoming Linda.

Linda, still a maiden until late July, has shown rapid development in recent months, winning a pair of races and running second in the Grade 3 Valley View at Keeneland Oct. 21.

Those races were apparently just a sampling of what was to come. Her performance in the Mrs. Revere was easily her best race to date. After settling in seventh early, she swooped to the lead with a wide rally on the turn and easily outkicked Del Mar Oaks winner Hamormize by 2 ½ lengths.

“She proved today how good she is,” said regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. “She put away a Grade 1 winner at the head of the lane today like it was nothing.”

Hernandez said he wasn’t worried about ground loss with his filly, noting the outside portion of the course seemed preferable to the inside after rain earlier in the week.

A homebred 3-year-old filly by Scat Daddy owned by Whitham Thoroughbreds, Linda raced 1 1/16 miles on a “good” turf course in 1:44.63, paying $10 as the third favorite in the field of 11.

Sweet Tapper, an 89-1 longshot,  ran third, 5 ¼ lengths behind the runner-up, while favored Hawksmoor, offered little response in the stretch to be sixth.

Wilkes said Linda's improvement in recent weeks has been impossible to miss. “As I said after her last race, she’s breathing different air, eating different oats – she’s just going to another level,” he said.

He plans to give her a break next, and aim for a 2017 campaign.

Wilkes still has some work to do before his vacation, most notably saddling morning-line favorite McCraken in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Saturday at Churchill.