By Christie DeBernardis
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Curalina (Curlin)–a two-time Grade I winner at three last term–makes her seasonal bow in Friday’s GI La Troienne S. on the Kentucky Oaks under card at Churchill Downs. Getting up just in time for a neck decision after a poor start in Belmont’s GI Acorn S. June 6, the Todd Pletcher pupil crossed the wire a nose second to GISW I’m a Chatterbox (Munnings) in the GI Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga July 26, but was promoted to first after that rival was disqualified for interference in the stretch. Third next out behind Embellish the Lace (Super Saver) and I’m a Chatterbox in the Spa’s GI Alabama S. Aug. 22, the chestnut was second behind MGISW Wedding Toast (Street Sense) when facing older horses for the first time in Belmont’s GI Beldame Invitational S. Sept. 26 and was third when last seen in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff Oct. 30.
Harold Queen’s Sheer Drama (Burning Roma) enters off a win in Keeneland’s GI Madison S. Apr. 9 and gets the slight morning-line nod at 8-5 over her younger rival. Second in both this race and the local GII Fleur de Lis H. last year, the 6-year-old posted back-to-back victories in the GI Delaware H. July 18 and GI Personal Ensign H. Aug. 29. Finishing 4 3/4 lengths behind Curalina in fourth in their lone meeting in the Distaff, the chestnut stretches back out a bit here after besting Distaff winner Stopchargingmaria (Tale of the Cat) and GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Sprint heroine Wavell Avenue (Harlington) by a neck last time in the seven-furlong Madison.
Angela Renee (Burning Roma) looks to make it two in a row for new trainer Chad Brown. Previously campaigned by Siena Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher, the full-sister to MGISW To Honor and Serve was picked up by Don Alberto Stable for a sale-topping $3 million at last term’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale and transferred to Brown. The bay finished second to subsequent GI Kentucky Oaks winner Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection) in last spring’s GI Ashland S. and was sixth next out in the Oaks. Fifth when trying turf in Belmont’s Wild Applause S. last June, she was a well-beaten seventh in the GI Test S. Aug. 8 and was subsequently shelved. Making her debut for the Brown barn in an Aqueduct optional claimer last time Mar. 17, the 4-year-old earned her first success since winning the 2014 GI Chandelier S.
Godolphin’s Penwith (Bernardini) takes another crack at Grade I company after finishing a disappointing fourth in the GI Santa Margarita S. in Arcadia last time Mar. 19. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee returned from an 11-month layoff to win a Gulfstream optional claimer Jan. 21 and followed up with a victory in that venue’s GII Royal Delta S. Feb. 13.