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West Sunset, Thorpedo Anna Spar in Golden Rod

West Sunset  and Thorpedo Anna  lead a field of eight 2-year-old fillies in the final Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race of the year in the Nov. 25 $400,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Gary and Mary West’s homebred West Sunset, a debut winner over the Louisville oval in September, returned and scored with a vengeance in the Oct. 29 Rags to Riches Stakes here for trainer Brad Cox. In that start, she outran her speedy stablemate Gin Gin  for the lead and splashed home by 6 3/4 lengths over a sloppy track. She also defeated the highly-touted graded stakes winning V V’s Dream  in the Rags to Riches, who is noticeably absent from Saturday’s field.

West Sunset, a daughter of the West’s stallion West Coast  , is ridden back by Florent Geroux in the Golden Rod.

Gin Gin, owned by Calumet Farm, could very well challenge or press West Sunset for the early advantage with a clean break. The Hightail   filly jumped out a bit slowly from the gate in the Rags to Riches last time, which left her more than three lengths behind her barn mate in third when the field ran into the first turn.

Thorpedo Anna - MSW - R04 - KEE - 102623
Photo: Coady Photography

Thorpedo Anna breaks her maiden at Keeneland

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The biggest opposition to the Cox duo is the undefeated filly Thorpedo Anna. Trained by Kenny McPeek, Thorpedo Anna looks to be more than a capable substitute in place of V V’s Dream. The talented daughter of Fast Anna  has captured her first two starts by 17 1/2 lengths. Campaigned in partnership by Brookdale Racing, Mark Edwards, Judy Hicks, and Magdalena Racing, Thorpedo Anna routed her rivals by 8 1/2 lengths in her Keeneland debut Oct. 26 before annihilating the field by nine in a mile first-level allowance contest at Churchill. Earning a 96 Equibase Speed Figure for the effort, she shaded 1:36 for the mile.

Wheeling back in fifteen days for the Golden Rod, Thorpedo Anna will again be piloted by Brian Hernandez Jr.

Not to be dismissed in the field is the Godolphin homebred Central Avenue . A come-from-behind debut winner at Colonial Downs in August for trainer Mike Stidham, Central Avenue next ran a solid second to eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and likely 2-year-old filly champion Just F Y I  in the Frizette Stakes (G1) Oct. 7.

The late-running filly was hampered at the start of the Frizette and rallied belatedly to get second through a torrential downpour at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The forecast calls for clear skies on Saturday.

Held over the 1 1/16 miles, the Golden Rod offers Kentucky Oaks (G1) points on a 10-5-3-2-1 scale.

Entries: Golden Rod S. (G2)

Churchill Downs, Saturday, November 25, 2023, Race 10

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $400,000
  • 2 yo Fillies
  • 5:18 PM (local)

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