By Christie DeBernardis
‘TDN Rising Star’ Elate (Medaglia d’Oro) makes her first start after seven months on the sidelines due to a popped splint in a small, but tough renewal of Oaklawn’s GII Azeri S. Saturday. Winner of both the GI Alabama S. and GI Beldame S. in 2017, the homebred made just two starts in 2018, winning the GII Delaware H. July 8 and finishing a neck second to champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road) after a tough stretch battle in Saratoga’s GI Personal Ensign H. Aug. 25.
Dual Grade I winner Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) seeks her second straight win of the season here. Victorious in the GI Santa Anita Oaks and GII Mother Goose S. last term, she was promoted to first in Parx’s GI Cotillion S. Sept. 22 after champion Monomoy Girl (Tapizer) was disqualified for bumping her in late stretch. The dark bay finished third behind that Eclipse winner in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff Nov. 4 and opened her 2019 account with a win in the GIII Houston Ladies Classic Jan. 27.
Champion female sprinter Shamrock Rose (First Dude) looks to return to winning ways in this spot. She followed a win in the GII Raven Run S. Oct. 20 with an upset score in the GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Sprint Nov. 4. She finished a well-beaten fourth as the heavy favorite last time in Gulfstream’s GIII Hurricane Bertie S. Jan. 26.
GI Alabama S. victress Eskimo Kisses (To Honor and Serve) makes her 4-year-old bow in this test after finishing a non-factor seventh in Keeneland’s GI Juddmonte Spinster S. Oct. 7.