Locust Grove Victress Played Hard Set For Return In Churchill Downs’ Falls City

Rigney Racing’s Played Hard, winner of the Locust Grove (G3), headlines a field of six fillies and mares entered in Thanksgiving Day’s 107th running of the $500,000 Falls City (G3) at Churchill Downs.

The 1 1/8-mile Falls City has been run on Thanksgiving Day since 1987. This year’s event will go as Race 10 of 12 with a post time of 3:53 p.m. (ET). First post is 11:30 a.m. and the card also features the $300,000 Cardinal Stakes (G3) in Race 11

Trained by Phil Bauer, Played Hard drew off to a 5 ¾-length victory in the Sept. 17 Locust Grove at Churchill Downs. In her next start, the improving 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief finished third to eventual Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Malathaat in the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) Oct. 9 at Keeneland. Overall, Played Hard sports a record of  4-5-2 from 13 career starts and has banked $672,870 in purse earnings.

The versatile filly has yet to finish off the board in her 2022 campaign with three wins, one second, and one third-place effort.

Played Hard will be ridden in the Locust Grove by Joel Rosario from post No. 4.

Chief among her competition for the Falls City is S.M.D. Ltd.’s multiple stakes-winning Pennsylvania-bred filly Leader of the Band.

Trained by John Servis and ridden by Luis Saez, Leader of the Band was victorious as a 3-year-old in the 2021 Monmouth Oaks (G3). Along with that score, Leader of the Band’s résumé includes wins in the Summer Colony this summer at Saratoga and Lady’s Secret this spring at Monmouth Park. In her mist recent start, the 4-year-old Bandbox filly finished second as the heavy 2-5 favorite to Love in the Air in the Plum Pretty at Parx Racing.

Leader of the Band drew the rail in the Falls City.

Other accomplished horses that entered the Falls City include Cypress Creek Equine’s Grade 1-placed Ava’s Grace, Kaleem Shah’s three-time winning California invader Bellamore, Farfellow Farms’ stakes winner Moon Swag, and Robert Zoellner’s stakes winner She’s All Wolfe.

The complete field for the Falls City from the rail out (with jockey,trainer): Leader of the Band (Saez, Servis); Bellamore (Martin Garcia, Simon Callaghan); Moon Swag (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh); Played Hard (Rosario, Bauer); Ava’s Grace (David Cohen, Ricky Courville); and She’s All Wolfe (Joe Rocco Jr., Donnie K. Von Hemel).

The Falls City was first run in 1875 and was restricted to 3-year-olds. Camargo won the first running, which was a match race worth a purse of $1,125. The favorites have only won the Falls City twice in the last 10 years: Mylady Curlin (2019) and Afleeting Lady (2012).

The post Locust Grove Victress Played Hard Set For Return In Churchill Downs’ Falls City appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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