Get Stormy bids to repeat last year's victory in the Turf ClassicPICTURE: Joe Ganley/EquiSport Photos
Get Stormy and Sassy Image head cast of stars
Preview: USA, Saturday 9.44pm BST (live on RUK)
Churchill Downs: Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Grade 1) 1m1f, turf, 4yo+
LAST year's Grade 1 winners are back in force on Saturday when both Get Stormy and Sassy Image bid to complete back-to-back successes in top-level races on a richly endowed Kentucky Derby undercard featuring five other graded stakes.
The six-year-old Get Stormy (Tom Bush/Ramon Dominguex), long since one of the nation's better turf horses, faces pressure up front from Little Mike (Dale Romans/ Joe Bravo) as he bids to repeat last year's victory in the Turf Classic.
Although Get Stormy could finish only fourth to Saturday's rival Data Link (Shug McGaughey/Alex Solis) when trying to make all in the Maker's 46 Mile on his last start, he has won three of his six starts at this 1m1f trip.
Just as he did last year, Get Stormy shoulders top-weight of 8st12lb (shared with Data Link) in a double-figure field.
Others taking their chance include former Stan Moore-trained Slim Shadey (SimonCallaghan/David Flores), shiping in from California in search of his first Grade 1 after some decent efforts on the west coast.
However, Woodbine Mile winner Turallure (Charles Lopresti/Julien Leparoux), touched off in the Breeders' Cup Mile, could provide the answer in an open race.
Coral: 9-4 Turallure, 4 Doubles Partner, Data Link, 8 Turbo Compressor, 9 Get Stormy, 10 Little Mike, Brilliant Speed, 16 Slim Shadey, 20 Al Khali, 25 Boxeur Des Rues, Papaw Bodie
Also on Saturday
Churchill Downs: Churchill Downs Stakes (Grade 2) 7f, dirt, 4yo+ (7.08pm BST)
A Grade 1 in all but name, this $400,000 event looks the best race of the night among the supporting contests as Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Amazombie (Bill Spawr/Mike Smith) faces off against last year's Preakness winner Shackleford (Dale Romans/Jesus Castanon) and multiple top-level scorer Smiling Tiger (Jeff Bonde/Joel Rosario).
Although Amazombie showed his liking for this track at the Breeders' Cup, that was over 6f and he has been beaten on both previous outings over 7f.
He comes in off a Grade 2 victory, while Shackleford cut back in trip for a solid third in the Carter Handicap last time.
Apriority (David Fawkes/Rafael Bejarano) was beaten only a nose here 12 months ago and Gantry (Ron Faucheux) is on a five-timer as he steps up in class.
Churchill Downs: Distaff Turf Mile (Grade 2) 1m, turf, 4yo+ f/m (7.59pm BST)
A field of ten turf specialists is headed by Daisy Devine (Andrew McKeever/James Graham), who made the Grade 1 breakthrough last month in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland.
Marketing Mix (Tom Proctor/Julien Leparoux) won a Grade 2 at this track in November.
Churchill Downs: Humana Distaff (Grade 1) 7f, dirt, 4yo+ f/m (8.49pm BST)
Track specialist Sassy Image (Dale Romans/Robby Albarado) has won five out of six at Churchill, including this race 12 months ago, when a late charge took her home by an three lengths.
She hasn't run for eight months since finishing last in the Ballerina at Saratoga in August, having subsequently sustained a bone chip in a hind ankle when being prepared for the Breeders' Cup.
Sassy Image is one of four Grade 1 scorers alongside Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint one-two Musical Romance (Bill Kaplan/Juan Leyva) and Switch (John Sadler/Mike Smith), plusGroupie Doll (Buff Bradley/Rajiv Maragh), who had Musical Romance well in arrears when winning the Vinery Madison last month on the Polytrack.
Sassy Image and Switch get a useful 5lb from their chief rivals here.
Coral: 9-4 Groupie Doll, 11-4 Switch, 10-3 Sassy Image, 7-2 Musical Romance, 14 Salty Strike, 25 Mildly Offensive, Hot Summer, 40 Magical Feeling, Fantasy Of Flight
Hollywood Park: Mervyn LeRoy Hcap (Grade 2) 1m½f, AW, 3yo+ (12.30am Sun ST)
Last year's Carter Handicap victor Morning Line (John Shirreffs/Joe Talamo) makes his debut for Zenyatta's trainer after leaving Nick Zito's barn.
In a hot contest for the status, he faces fellow Grade 1 winners Awesome Gem (Crag Dollase/Martin Pedroza) and Jaycito (Bob Baffert/Brice Blanc) in this trial for the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 7.