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Scylla Makes Stakes Debut in Doubledogdare

The highly touted daughter of Tapit will face graded winner Raging Sea.

Scylla breaks her maiden last spring at Keeneland

Scylla breaks her maiden last spring at Keeneland

Mathea Kelley

The lightly raced but talented Scylla returns to the site of her first career victory and faces her biggest test yet, when she starts in the April 19 $300,000 Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) at Keeneland.

A homebred for Juddmonte Farms, the silver-spooned Tapit  filly is out of the operation's multiple grade 1-winning mare Close Hatches, making her a full sibling to $3.7 million earner Tacitus . Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott knows Scylla's family better than anyone, having trained both Close Hatches and Tacitus for Juddmonte. The conditioner has brought Scylla along at a slower pace than her dam and brother, but has acknowledged the ability is there with the promising 4-year-old.

Scylla followed up her eye-catching Keeneland debut score with an even more impressive performance—romping home an 8 1/4-length winner in a Churchill Downs allowance optional claimer in June. Both efforts resulted in triple-digit Equibase Speed Figures.

The budding star was then benched for the next nine months, resurfacing in a March 17 second-level allowance contest at Gulfstream Park. She fell a neck short of catching the front-running winner that day over the speed-favoring track.

With a race and two bullet works under her belt, Scylla should be at the top of her game come Friday's Doubledogdare.

Jockey Javier Castellano, the rider in all three of Scylla's starts, has the call.

Graded Stakes-Winning Challengers

Six other older fillies and mares are slated to challenge Scylla in her first foray into stakes company.

Raging Sea, unraced since a nose triumph over Julia Shining in the Nov. 25 Comely Stakes (G3), poses the biggest threat to Scylla in the one-mile Doubledogdare. The Chad Brown trainee won a Keeneland allowance Oct. 20, and in her two other Keeneland outings in the 2022 Alcibiades Stakes (G1) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), she finished fourth and third, respectively, for Alpha Delta Stables.

Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds' Hidden Connection, a well-traveled stakes performer over four seasons for trainer Bret Calhoun, brings the advantage of experience into the 1 1/16-mile Doubledogdare. Runner-up to Frost Point in last year's running of the race, Hidden Connection exits a sixth-place showing in the Jan. 27 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (G3).

Blue Blood

Scylla isn't the only contender in the Doubledogdare with a mouth-watering pedigree. Godolphin's Loved, a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  trained by Brendan Walsh, counts multiple grade 1 winner Maxfield  (by Street Sense ) as foremost among her siblings. A top-level victor at Keeneland in the 2019 Breeders' Futurity (G1) as a 2-year-old, Maxfield was also campaigned under the Godolphin silks and Walsh's care.

After breaking her maiden at second asking by a whopping 11 1/2 lengths last spring at Keeneland, she easily ran through her allowance conditions before finishing a disappointing fourth in the July 22 Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park. The Doubledogdare marks her return to the races.

"We just gave her a little break and backed off (after the Molly Pitcher)," Walsh said. "Not sure she will be as good as her brother, but we are very hopeful about her. This is a good race for her to start back."

Entries: Baird Doubledogdare S. (G3)

Keeneland, Friday, April 19, 2024, Race 9

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 5:16 PM (local)
11Raging Sea (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat120Chad C. Brown5/2
22Queen of Missoula (KY)Luan Machado118Ben Colebrook20/1
33Scylla (KY)Javier Castellano118William I. Mott8/5
44Loved (KY)Tyler Gaffalione118Brendan P. Walsh3/1
55Saddle Up Jessie (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateIrad Ortiz, Jr.118Brittany T. Russell6/1
66Hidden Connection (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateReylu Gutierrez118W. Bret Calhoun10/1
77Curl Girl (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Saez118Philip D'Amato15/1