Florida-bred Halina’s Forte has been labeled the 5-2 second choice on the morning line for Saturday’s $225,000 Fern Creek for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs where she will challenge 8-5 program favorite Youalmosthadme, winner of the $198,000 Mytlewood at Keeneland in her last start. These two will head a full field of 12 set to go six-and-a-half furlongs on the main track in the Fern Creek.

Trained by Philip Bauer for Richard and Tammy Rigney’s Rigney Racing LLC of Louisville, Ky., Halina’s Forte makes her second career start in the Fern Creek after an impressive debut at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. That day, Halina’s Forte led throughout a five-and-a-half-furlong maiden special weight for fillies to win by four-and-a-half lengths. Her final time of 1:04.39 was good enough to garner a notable 81 Beyer Speed Figure, which is second best among Fern Creek entrants to Youalmosthadme’s 89 Beyer number earned in the Mytlewood.

Halina’s Forte is from the first crop by champion male sprinter Mitole out of the stakes-winning Florida-bred mare Lunarlady, by Yes It’s True and she was bred in Florida by Bill and Corinne Heilegbrodt of Houston and Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck of Morriston, Fla.

The Vanlangendonck’s sold Halina’s Forte through their Summerfield consignment at the 2022 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Winter Mixed Sale where she garnered a final bid of $130,000 from Woodford Thoroughbreds. Woodford then pinhooked her back through the 2022 Fasig Tipton Kentucky July Yearling Sale where she sold for $250,000 to Chenowith Run Stables.

She earned $42,000 in her lone start and Bauer has named Martin Garcia to ride Halina’s Forte from post four.

Youalsmosthadme hails from the barn of Brad Cox and will race in the colors of Qatar Racing LLC, Swinbank Stables, Steve Adkisson and Black Type Thoroughbreds.

By Oxbow out of Good Gator, by Good and Tough, Youalsmosthadme is the most experienced among the Fern Creek entrants

Youalmosthadme – Renee Torbit/Coady Photography

with five career starts, four of which of come in stakes.

She won the $198,000 Kentucky Juvenile going five furlongs at Churchill Downs in her second start in May then finished third behind winner Hot Beach in the $150,000 Debutante going seven furlongs at Ellis Park in August. She was a well-beaten second to V V’s Dream in the Grade 3 Pocahontas going a mile at Churchill on Sept. 16 before winning the Mytlewood over several Fern Creek rivals including third-place finisher Fibber, Field Lass in fifth and seven-place finisher Wellareyouhappynow.

Tyler Gaffalione, who has ridden Youalsmosthad in every race except the Debutante, gets the return mount and they will start on the rail in post one.

The third choice in the program at 6-1 is Sharp Tune from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

Owned by Douglas Scharbauer of Midland, Tex., Sharp Tune won a maiden special weight by two lengths at Churchill Downs in May before taking five months away from the track. Upon her return, the daughter of Frosted won a first level, $100,000 optional claiming by a length over a sloppy six-and-a-half furlongs at Churchill on Oct. 29.

Sharp Tune will be ridden by Joel Rosario and has drawn post 10.

Rounding out the Fern Creek field are Fibber with Mitchell Murrill in the irons, Saratoga Secret and jockey Javier Castellano, Talkin in Cursive with jockey Ferrin Peterson, Ma Rae’s Girl has Rafael Bejarano named to ride, Pinotslilgirl will have Edgar Morales up, Field Lass with jockey Julien Leparoux, Samuel Bermudez will be aboard Wellareyouhappynow, Bella Haze gets Adam Beschizza as her pilot and Luis Saez takes the mount on Irish Maxima.

Return to Nov. 24 issue of Wire to Wire