Brad Cox will have two in the chamber for this weekend’s Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds after entries were revealed.
The leading trainer has entered both Divine Comedy and Sun Path in Saturday’s $150,000 feature race.
It means Cox is pitting home-bred rivals from Godolphin and Juddmonte Farms in a race that offers ten Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the winner.
Sun Path, the mount of Florent Geroux, is set to head the betting, while stablemate Divine Comedy will be partnered by Shaun Bridgmohan and has more to prove at this point in her career.
Sun Path is a full-sister to last year’s Fair Grounds Oaks winner Bonny South and could be headed towards that same race in March if things go to plan in the Silverbulletday. She is two-from-three so far in her career, finishing second on debut at Keeneland in October before wins at Churchill Downs in November and a wide-margin Fair Grounds success in December.
She worked well over the weekend and Cox suggests she’s simply ready to race again.
“She worked well Saturday and we have to enter seven days out,” Cox said. “Her last race wasn’t super taxing on her and she’s had two nice works since, so we decided to run her back. Hopefully she can continue her progression to what we hope is the Kentucky Oaks. She drew outside but I think if we get a trip, she’ll be tough [to beat].”
Divine Comedy, a daughter of Into Mischief, was only sixth on her debut at Churchill in September in a sprint but she improved markedly on next start, taking a two-turn Fair Grounds contest by over five-lengths on December 18th.
Cox was expecting an improved showing once Divine Comedy stepped up in trip and he suggests further progress is likely now taking on better class rivals in the Silverbulletday.
“The ground helped her more than anything [last time],” Cox said. “She just kind of found herself on the lead doing all the work and she stayed on.
“We always thought she’d be better with distance and she was. She’ll need to step up in her third career start, but she’s had two good works since her last race and I think she’s ready to move forward.”
Amongst the field trying to deny the Cox pair will be Mark Casse’s unbeaten filly Souper Sensational. The daughter of Curlin is 2-2 thus far on Woodbine’s Tapeta surface, though the $725,000 yearling now faces a rise in class. Casse’s assistant David Carroll feels the Silverbulletday is a fact-finding mission.
“Based on how well she performs will dictate her campaign after that,” Carroll said. “We feel she can be special, it’s just a matter of at what distance and whether dirt will be part of that.
“The most important thing you hope for is talent and she’s already shown that. She deserves to test the waters against really nice, three-year-old fillies on the dirt. If she handles this well, it opens up more avenues for her.”