By Jonathan Horowitz – August 14, 2014 – Aurora, CO

Some of the most accomplished Arabian fillies and mares in the United States will line up in Saturday’s Grade 3 COBRA Distaff Sponsored by Soaring Eagle, and a group of up-and-comers will try to take the next step to stardom in Sunday’s Grade 3 COBRA Classic Sponsored by Crow Valley at Arapahoe Park.

The seven fillies and mares entered for the 1 1/8-mile, $25,000 COBRA Distaff are led by two-time Darley Award recipient Ms Dixie.  The 6-year-old gray mare has won nine stakes races and earned $165,264 since being claimed for $15,000 in October 2011 by her current connections, the Quarter Moon Ranch of Lori Long and her husband trainer Scott Powell.  Powell said he has noticed a change in Ms Dixie as she tries to become just the sixth Arabian to win a Darley Award in three different years.

“Dixie can relax a lot better now than she’s done in the past,” Powell said, “She’ll need to do that because it’s going to be a tough race.”

Ms Dixie, who will be piloted by Kelsi Purcell, will renew her rivalry with Lil Rich Girl, who has finished a closing second to Ms Dixie in the COBRA Distaff Sprint and the Miles Massey Handicap at Arapahoe Park this season.  Trainer Ken Danyluk said that Lil Rich Girl, a Darley Award finalist in the older mare category that Ms Dixie won in 2013, is close to top form again as she recovers from breaking her tail in October 2013.

“You can’t imagine the amount of work we put into Lil Rich Girl,” Danyluk said.  “It’s a pleasure to train a mare like this.  She has such determination.”

Travis Wales will ride Lil Rich Girl, who has also won two races at Arapahoe Park in 2014.  Sand On Fire is another 2013 Darley Award finalist in the COBRA Distaff.

By contrast, the field of seven for the 1 1/4-mile, $25,000 COBRA Classic is headed by up-and-coming horses.

“The horses in the boys race are horses that are not proven yet,” Powell said.  “It’s wide open.  It’ll be exciting to see who’s going to do what at 1 1/4 miles.  This will be judgment day.”

Paddys Day breaking his maiden by 17 lengths at Arapahoe Park on July 25, 2014. Photo by Coady Photograph

Paddys Day breaking his maiden by 17 lengths at Arapahoe Park on July 25, 2014. Photo by Coady Photograph

Paddys Day, a 3-year-old bay colt owned by Ray Teutsch, trained by Kenny Massey, and ridden by Dennis Collins, broke his maiden in a 6-furlong debut on July 25 by 17 lengths.

“I was expecting a win, but not a win like that,” Massey said.  “It’s a huge step from his first race to this race, and really we don’t know what to expect, but we’ll hope for the best.”

Rb Moose, a Quarter Moon Ranch 3-year-old colt to be ridden by Purcell, shipped from Colorado to California to break his maiden by daylight at Oak Tree at Pleasanton on July 4.  Rb Rich, a 4-year-old gray colt trained by Elizabeth Brand and ridden by Wales, won an Arapahoe Park allowance on June 7 and is coming off a third-place finish to Ms Dixie and Lil Rich Girl in the Miles Massey Handicap.  Ms Dixie is entered in the COBRA Classic, too, but Powell said Ms Dixie’s focus would be the COBRA Distaff.

CLICK HERE for a replay of Miles Massey Handicap on August 2