Two Texas-breds have won the $100,000 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs in recent years, and two horses from the Lone Star State are entered in Friday’s renewal of the historic race under the iconic twin spires of the Louisville track. The field of 13 2-year-old fillies includes Rockin Royalty, a daughter of Early Flyer, and Patrona Margarita, a filly by Special Rate.
Patrona Margarita is a half brother to reigning Texas Horse of the Year Texas Chrome (by Grasshopper), a two-time Grade 3 winner with earnings of more than $930,000. Both Patrona Margarita and Texas Chrome were bred by Craig Upham, who operates Stoneview Farm with his wife Sue Dowling, out of the Texas-bred Naevus mare Margarita Mistress. Texas Chrome runs for Danny Keene’s Keene Thoroughbreds LLC, while Patrona Margarita, who broke her maiden at first asking in a maiden special weight contest at Churchill, runs for Upham. Chris Landeros, who rode Patrona Margarita in that maiden race, has the call in the Debutante for trainer Bret Calhoun.
Rockin Royalty was bred by Caroline Dodwell and runs for owner and trainer Danny Pish. The filly won a May 6 race for Texas-breds at Lone Star Park and prevailed by more than three lengths. She will be ridden by Channing Hill in the Debutante.
Calhoun won back-to-back editions of the Debutante in 2013 and 2014 with Texas-breds Fiftyshadesofgold and Promise Me Silver.