By renewing their established rivalry, Bell’s the One and Sconsin double-handedly turned Saturday’s Grade 3 Chicago Stakes at Churchill Downs into one of the weekend’s most intriguing races.
The seven-furlong Chicago also offers up Grade 1 winner Kalypso, who finds herself relegated to the chorus against her elders. The Grade 3 race carries the name of its former environs, having been an Arlington Park staple for years. We last saw the Chicago Stakes at Churchill Downs five years ago, when Finley’sluckycharm dismissed her rivals as the 1/5 favorite.
Neither Bell’s the One, nor Sconsin will go off anywhere near 1/5. But the two mares will likely suck out all the oxygen in this race. While Bell’s the One has the Grade 1 win her rival doesn’t – courtesy of her Derby City Distaff victory two years ago — it’s Sconsin who comes in with better form.
The 5-year-old mare won the Grade 3 Winning Colors last month, her second consecutive stakes score and third in a year, going back to her Winning Colors victory last year. That Winning Colors 2.0 score came 8 ½ months after she beat Bell’s the One by a half-length in the Listed Open Mind last September.
Bell’s the One needs a rebound
In turn, that Sconsin victory came three months after Bell’s the One beat Sconsin in the Black-Type Roxelana Stakes. Both of those grudge matches came at Churchill Downs, where Bell’s the One is 4-for-11 lifetime. Included there was her flagship win: her 2020 Derby City Distaff nose victory over Serengeti Empress. Among her victims was fourth-place Ce Ce, who Bell’s the One beat by nearly four lengths.
But Bell’s the One hasn’t found the winner’s circle since winning the Listed Dream Supreme Stakes last November at Churchill Downs. Since then, she finished three quarters of a length behind Just One Time in the Grade 1 Madison, then a disappointing fourth in the Derby City Distaff.
What made that disappointing was how Bell’s the One went outside going into the stretch, yet had nothing left to hold off winner Obligatory, who passed her in mid-stretch. Nor did she have enough to pass a tiring Just One Time for third.
Sconsin brings the form
As for Sconsin, she’s hit the board in five of her last six starts (3-2-0). That dates to her second in the 2021 Derby City Distaff, where she finished second by only 1 ½ lengths to Gamine.
The fourth-place runner, who finished 3 ¾ lengths behind Sconsin in that race? Bell’s the One.
Sconsin averaged a 105.5 Equibase Speed Figure in her last four races. She reeled in front-running Joyful Cadence from fourth without much effort in that Winning Colors. At 5, she likely has more in the tank than her 6-year-old rival.
Besides Kalypso, a former Bob Baffert charge now conditioned by Steve Asmussen, there’s Four Graces. We last saw Four Graces beat Bell’s the One by nearly three lengths in the recent Derby City Distaff. She finished second to Obligatory by three lengths as the second longest shot in the field: 16.20/1.