News and STORIES

Morticia Ready For Big Field In Franklin County Stakes

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Thursday October 10, 2019
Watts Humphrey Jr.'s Morticia is set to face off against a field of 13 other fillies and mares in the $150,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (G3T) on Friday at Keeneland. She is coming off a second graded win at Kentucky Downs; her first was in the same race two years ago. 

Morticia is trained by Rusty Arnold.

"She came out of it good. She's acted good. She's trained well at Keeneland. She likes it there — that's her home," Arnold said. "Everything's going into the race well."

Morticia ran in the Sept. 7 Spendthrift Farm Ladies Sprint Stakes (G3T), where she finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead to complete 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.85. 

Looking to Cross the $1 Million Mark 

Morticia, the 5-year-old Twirling Candy mare, now has a career record of 10-6-5 in 25 starts. Her total earnings are at $989,669, and a win on Friday would put her past the $1 million mark. 

She will be coming into the Franklin County Stakes on Friday at 124 pounds, which is two to six pounds over her competitors. 

"She's carrying a lot of weight, and it's a very, very tough field," Arnold said. "It's going to be a whole lot different race than at Kentucky Downs."

The jockey on top of Morticia will be Tyler Gaffalione, and they will be breaking from post 3. 

"She's been steady. You get a lot of them that tail off," said Arnold. "I see Blue Prize (is) at the top of her game at the end of her 6-year-old year, and she won a grade 1 (the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes) a second time, so it can happen. (Morticia)'s a very, very sound filly — knock on wood — she's happy, and she shows up every time you run her. I think she's missed being off the board (worse than fourth) one time in her life, and it was her only dirt start."

Tough Field Includes Hotshot Anna

Morticia will be facing a tough field on Friday. Included in the field is Hugh Robertson's Hotshot Anna, who won the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (G2) on Sept. 16 to defend her title. 

Hotshot Anna performs best on all-weather surface, but she has a record of 2-1-1 from six grass races. She won by five furlongs in allowance optional claiming company at Arlington International Racecourse. 

Other horses that Morticia will go up against include Christopher Johnson's A Little Bit Me and Team Valor International's Oleksandra, who finished in second and third, respectively, in the Ladies Sprint. 

A Little Bit Me was claimed for $40,000 by Johnson in November, and she then won the Unbridled Sidney Stakes in May. In that race, she beat Morticia. 

Morticia has also been beaten twice by Oleksandra. She came up from seventh to take the Smart N Fancy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 17, while Morticia finished fourth. 

Goldwood, out of Colts Neck Stable, is looking for her sixth consecutive stakes win since May. She has performed great at Monmouth Park, where four of her wins came. She also won the Sensible Lady Turf Dash Stakes at Laurel Park. 

Girls Know Best will be looking for her third win in a row on Friday after defeating Morticia in the Abundantia Stakes at Gulfstream Park in December. She was victorious in her last run, which was a five-furlong turf allowance at Churchill Downs. 

The Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (G3T) will be race 9 at Keeneland on Friday.