COTTILION STAKES | PURSE: $750,000 | GRADE 2 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | 1 1/16 MILES
It drew only six, but the lucrative Grade 2 Cotillion Stakes from Parx Racing lured three of the top-ranked sophomore fillies in the nation -- each of them Grade 1 winners.
The $750,000 Cotillion, run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track Oct. 1, has become an important Breeders' Cup prep for 3-year-old fillies recently. Two-time Grade 1 winner It's Tricky was listed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite, while Kentucky Oaks victor Plum Pretty (2-1) and Mother Goose titleholder Buster's Ready (4-1) also give the race star appeal.
Buster's Ready is one of two entrants trained by Todd Pletcher, who will also saddle the improving Love and Pride, a recent dominating stakes winner at Saratoga.
Buster's Ready, It's Tricky, and Plum Pretty will each carry 124 pounds and give five to 10 pounds to their other three rivals.
Post time for the Cotillion is slated for 4:58 p.m. EDT.
In the 2010 Cotillion, Havre de Grace defeated Blind Luck by a neck and both fillies went on to place in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic.
Godolphin Racing's It's Tricky and Peachtree Stable's Plum Pretty will face each other for the third time this summer. It's Tricky won the first meeting July 23 when scoring the Coaching Club American Oaks by three-quarters of a length over Plum Pretty at Saratoga, completing back-to-back grade I wins. In June, she romped in the Acorn on Belmont Park's muddy main track.
It's Tricky finished a distant second to Royal Delta in the Aug. 20 Alabama last out, while Plum Pretty was well back in fourth.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, It's Tricky has won four of six starts this season and five of seven overall. The daughter of Mineshaft will be ridden by Eddie Castro once again.
Plum Pretty is seeking her first victory since taking the Kentucky Oaks back in May. The Medaglia d'Oro filly finished second as the favorite in both the Hollywood Oaks and CCA Oaks before tiring early in the Alabama.
Trainer Bob Baffert sent Plum Pretty back to California after the Alabama and she has worked four times there, including a seven-furlong move in 1:25 1/5 Sept. 25 at Santa Anita. Rafael Bejarano takes over riding duties from Martin Garcia.
A homebred of the Estate of Edward P. Evans, Buster's Ready has not raced since finishing fourth in the CCA Oaks. That was the only time in seven starts this season that the More Than Ready filly finished out of the money. She rolled by 4 1/4 lengths in the June 25 Mother Goose one start after finishing second to Royal Delta in the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.
Pletcher has assigned David Cohen to ride the bay filly, who will break from the outside post.
Pletcher's other filly, Green Hill Farm's Love and Pride, could serve as a pace setup for Buster's Ready. The daughter of A.P. Indy went wire-to-wire in her last two starts, first rolling by more than eight lengths in a July 25 optional claimer at Delaware Park and then drawing clear for a 6 3/4-length triumph in the Aug. 19 Proud Spell Stakes at Saratoga in her black-type debut.
Love and Pride (5-1) will be ridden by Joe Bravo.
A wild card in the race is Halo Dolly (8-1), who ships in from California for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer after winning five straight. The last two wins have come on turf -- one at Santa Rosa and the other a one-mile state-restricted race Aug. 21 at Del Mar. The daughter of Popular, who began her career in a maiden claimer at Golden Gate Fields, has produced a record of 6-2-1 in 10 career starts.
The longshot in the field is Daring Reality, who finished sixth in both the Delaware Oaks and Monmouth Oaks in her last two tries.