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Grade III River City Among 3 Stakes Events At Churchill Downs On November 13

Churchill Downs will host three stakes races on Sunday, November 13. Grade III River City Stakes is the crown jewel of those trio of races with a strong field of 12.

Grade III River City Among 3 Stakes Events At Churchill Downs On November 13

With the 2022 Breeders Cup in the rearview mirror, big stakes events will be far and between until the calendar turns to 2023. For example, there are three graded stakes events this weekend (Nov. 11-13) in North America. Churchill Downs is the only American racetrack to host one of those events in the Grade III River City Stakes on Sunday.

The $300,000 River City Stakes is one of three stakes that will be run at Churchill Downs on November 13. The $300,000 Bet On Sunshine Stakes and $300,000 Dream Supreme Stakes are the other events at the Louisville (KY) track. All three events are for horses, 3-year-olds, and upwards.


River City Stakes

The River City Stakes has a long history at Churchill Downs. Named after the nickname of Louisville, the stakes race originated in 1978 though it was not held in 2019 or 2020. The one and one-eighth-mile turf race earned graded stakes distinction in 1996.

Great Britain-bred and multiple graded stakes winner Set Pace is the slight morning line favorite at 2-1 in a solid 12-horse field with four other graded stakes horses. The Juddmonte- owned gelding is likely the favorite due to his success at Churchill Downs, where he is 4-for-6 on the grass, which includes three graded stakes victories.

However, all four of those victories came over the prior Churchill Downs course, which was replaced during a turf reconstruction project last year. Only one start, a non-threatening fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Arlington Million Stakes (G1T) this summer, has come over the new turf, which was first laid down with sod last fall.

Set Pace is coming off a fourth-place – beaten by one and three-quarter lengths by Annapolis at the Grade I Coolmore Turf Stakes at Keeneland on October 10, marking the third time in the last four races the six-year-old son of Dansili has failed to finish in the money. He does get regular rider Florent Gereoux back in the saddle after Joel Rosario got the mount in his last outing.

A victory in Sunday’s 10th race, set to go to post at 5:35 p.m (ET), would allow Set Pace to reach $1 million in career earnings and give trainer Brad Cox a record-setting third victory in the event. Cox won the last two times the River City stakes were run (2018, 2019) with Mr. Understood.

Brazilian-gelding In Love (7-2), Cellist (6-1), Field Pass (10-1), and Pixalate (10-1) are the other horses in the field who are graded stakes wins.

Dream Supreme Stakes

The Dream Supreme Stakes (listed) is a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upwards. The Dream Supreme is named after the six-time graded stakes winner who won the Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs in 2011. Trained by Bill Mott, Dream Supreme won two Grade I sprints in her 16-race career and earned $1,007,680 between 1999-2001.

Joyful Cadence, a 4-year-old filly from sire RunHappy, is the morning line favorite at 2-1. Joyful Cadence is coming off a distant third-place finish in the Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on October 8. She has finished “ in the money” in 12 of 14 career races, which includes three times in four outings at Churchill Downs.

The real story of the race is that this could be the swansong for Sconsin. The 5-year-old mare could head into retirement following the event, but trainer Greg Foley said that decision rest with Sconsin.

“Like we’ve done for her entire career, we’ll let her decide if Sunday is it. If you judge her by the way she’s been training, you’d love her chances in the Dream Supreme. Then, you see her last few races, and sometimes Mother Nature can catch up with mares, and they’re ready for their next career. She still shows us every sign she wants to run, and worked great last week. She has a date with Gun Runner lined up, and we’ll still leave things open depending on the result Sunday.” – Foley said.

Sconsin (20-6-5-2, $990,537) was sixth in the Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America the last time out. She has reached the winner circle since May but loves to run at Churchill, where five of her victories have come. A win on Sunday, Sconsin – listed at 5-2 on the morning line – would become Foley’s top-earning horse in his 42-year training career, surpassing Champali, who earned $1,073,794 over his 22-race stand.

“She’s simply a great mare. She’s been tremendous to have in the barn.” – Foley added.

Palm Cottage (3-1), Club Car (5-1), Coppelia (5/1), and Sharp Hero (8-1) round out the six-horse field for race 8. The Supreme Dream Stakes is slated for a 4:33 p.m. post time.


Bet On Sunshine Stakes

The ninth race on Sunday is a six-furlong race set to post at 5:05 p.m. with 10 horses. Sibelius, coming off a fourth-place finish in the Stoll Keenan Ogden Phoenix Stakes, is the slight morning line favorite at 5-2. Bango (3-1), Miles Ahead (7-2), and Mucho (6-1) are major contenders.

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