Lull in­trigues on the cutback

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Marty McGee

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It’s been a while since she raced as short as 5 1/2 fur­longs, but Lull shouldn’t mind the turn-back when part of a full field of 12 Fri­day in the Grade 3 Franklin County Stakes at Keeneland.

“She’s cut­ting back, but she’s been very con­sis­tent re­gard­less of dis­tance, that’s for sure,” said jockey Brian Her­nan­dez Jr., who will don the famed Clai­borne Farm or­ange silks when he gets a leg up on Lull for the ninth of 10 Fri­day races. “Com­ing off her last race, I’ve got to go in there with a lot of con­fi­dence.”

Lull won the 6 1/2-fur­long Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Sept. 9 when fac­ing older fil­lies and mares for the first time in her most re­cent start, giv­ing her a record of two wins and two sec­onds in the four races Her­nan­dez has been aboard. Trained by Christophe Cle­ment for Clai­borne and Adele Dilschnei­der, the bay home­bred has raced mostly at longer dis­tances, but her turn of foot and ver­sa­til­ity should make her a ma­jor player when she breaks from post 6 against older horses again Fri­day.

An­other 3-year-old, Mor­ti­cia (post 7, Jose Lez­cano), fig­ures as one of the chief threats to Lull in this 21st run­ning of the $100,000 Franklin County. Third as a luke­warm fa­vorite in the Ladies Sprint, the speedy filly al­ready is a four-time stakes win­ner from just eight ca­reer starts.

Among the other top con­tenders are Miss Ella (post 1, Fear­gal Lynch), win­ner of this race last fall for trainer Graham Mo­tion; Ka­suga (post 4, Julien Leparoux), also a last-out win­ner at Kentucky Downs af­ter be­ing trans­ferred into the care of Bill Mott; and Justa Lady (post 2, Ri­cardo San­tana Jr.), win­ner of an un­graded turf sprint stakes on the Sept. 9 Su­per Derby card for trainer Steve As­mussen.

First post for this Fri­day the 13th card is the usual 1:05 p.m. East­ern, with the fea­ture go­ing at 5:30. Af­ter rain here for sev­eral days, the forecast for Thurs­day through the week­end called for sunny skies.

The Franklin County is part of a late pick four (races 7-10) with a pool guar­an­tee of $200,000.

A jockey au­to­graph ses­sion to ben­e­fit the Per­ma­nently Dis­abled Jock­eys Fund starts at 11:30.

KEY CON­TENDERS

Lull, by War Front Last 3 Bey­ers: 91-89-85

◗ Prior to her Kentucky Downs tri­umph, she was beaten a nose by Mor­ti­cia in a sev­en­fur­long turf stakes at Belmont in May be­fore fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the Grade 2 San Cle­mente go­ing a mile at Del Mar.

Mor­ti­cia, by Twirling Candy Last 3 Bey­ers: 86-85-85

◗ This handy bay filly was co-bred by owner G. Watts Humphrey and trainer Rusty Arnold, who are still fly­ing high af­ter win­ning the Grade 1 Spin­ster here on Sun­day with Ro­man­tic Vi­sion.

Miss Ella, by Ex­change Rate Last 3 Bey­ers: 69-93-94

◗ This 5-year-old mare is a twotime stakes win­ner at Keeneland, hav­ing won the 2015 Beau­mont on dirt some 18 months be­fore her neck vic­tory over Fair Point in the 2016 Franklin County.

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