Whitham Thoroughbreds homebred With Dignity (Declaration of War–Ivory Empress, by Seeking the Gold) followed in big brother McCraken (Ghostzapper)’s hoofsteps Sunday to garner the ‘TDN Rising Star’ nod at Churchill Downs. The sophomore filly belied 17-1 odds and her conditioner’s notorious patience to rally and graduate at 17-1 odds sprinting here May 11. Backed at 3-5 odds on the stretch-out and having worked a bullet breeze in the interim, she turned in another extremely impressive showing under the Twin Spires despite a less-than-ideal trip. Awkward into stride, the dark bay was taken back after being hung wide around the first turn. She was forced to tap on the breaks heading down the backside and was relegated to last. Starting to inch clear but still with plenty of work to do behind a half in :48.96 and six panels in 1:13.42, she was forced to wait for a seam at the head of the lane. Pilot Julien Leparoux worked her out into the clear by midstrech, and from there With Dignity exploded, gobbling up rivals down the center of the track under hands and heels to post the head-turning 3 1/4-length tally. Jo Marie (Elusive Quality) completed the exacta.
In addition to being a half to McCraken, MGSW & GISP, $869,728–who was a five-time Churchill winner himself and who is finishing up his first year at stud at Airdrie–With Dignity is half to Bondurant (War Front), MGSP, $250,379. Her GSP dam, a daughter herself of GSW Madame Pandit (Wild Again) and a half to GISW Mea Domina (Dance Brightly), has an unraced 2-year-old filly named Four Graces (Majesticperfection) and a yearling colt by Into Mischief. She most recently visited Empire Maker.
With the win on With Dignity, Leparoux becomes the seventh jockey to ride 900 winners under the Twin Spires.
“It was great to win number 900 for [trainer] Ian Wilkes,” Leparoux said. “He’s supported me a lot in my career and this filly is very nice. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with her in stakes company down the road.”
8th-Churchill Downs, $96,178, Alw (NW1X)/Opt. Clm ($75,000), 6-2, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:45.03, ft.
WITH DIGNITY, f, 3, Declaration of War
1st Dam: Ivory Empress, by Seeking the Gold
2nd Dam: Madame Pandit, by Wild Again
3rd Dam: Tuesday Evening, by Nodouble
Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $104,496. Click for the Equibase.com chart or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O/B-Whitham Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Ian R. Wilkes.