Focus on fillies with a decent foundation that have done well on the stretch ou
There is plenty of speed jumping off the pre-entries page for the Juvenile Fillies on Breeders’ Cup Friday. My initial assessment is that this will be a touch faster than normal early on in the race. That bodes well for the filly (or fillies) sitting a few lengths off the leaders.
The Alcibiades at Keeneland on October 7 looks to be our main prep race. The top three finishers there, Wonder Wheel, Chop Chop, and Raging Sea have a realistic shot in here. This trio also hits on many of the criteria of successful runners in the BC Juvenile Fillies.
- Fillies with a decent foundation (3+ races)
- Show improvement in each start
- Ran two turns in final prep
- Presser-type runners
- Highest career speed figure in final prep
There are a few horses listed in the pre-entries that hit many of these. The three I mentioned above, as well as Atomically, And Tell Me Nolies, and Chocolate Gelato. Does this mean you should build your tickets around all six of these? No.
Here’s what sticks out to me from who I deem to be the main contenders here.
Atomically – She’s moved to the barn of Todd Pletcher. She’s also shown significant improve while facing tougher competition and adding more ground. These are two huge positives.
Raging Sea – She was oh so close in the Alcibiades after pressing a rather hot pace (Brisnet E1 of 97 and E2 of 101). She did well to hang in there. She’s only run twice, which isn’t ideal but Chad Brown 2 year-olds do typically take another forward step in their third start.
Wonder Wheel, – She did well to win with Alcibiades setting those fast fractions and hanging on to win. What’s most impressive to me though is the jump up in figures stretching out from 7 furlong in the G1 Spinaway at Saratoga to the 8.5 furlongs last time out. She’s proven she can win on the lead or come from off it. Lots to like.
Chop Chop – A rather valiant effort in the Alcibiades to finish second. After beginning her career with two route tries on turf, this was a quality dirt debut. Talking about that foundation of three races, no one else in this field has three route races like Chop Chop. With the speed in front of her she should be one of the faster horses late. Another improvement in her second start on dirt isn’t unrealistic.
Chocolate Gelato – On the surface her last race in the Frizette at Aqueduct isn’t all that appealing. It was, however, over a sloppy track. I’m willing to give her a pass. Looking two races back at her maiden score she earned a 102 BRIS speed figure, easily the fastest in the pre-entry field. She could present a fair bit of value here for two reasons, one; her last race doesn’t look good on paper and two; it’s her first try around two turns which I noted above is a knock in this race. Repole, Pletcher, and perhaps no better than fourth or fifth choice… I’m willing to take a shot.
You’re probably wondering why I didn’t include And Tell Me Nolies with the others. She’s won three straight, has shown improvement, and has run around two turns. So, what gives? Well, to me, with the anticipated pace in here she hasn’t shown enough stamina late in the race. Her Late Pace (LP) figures are noticeably weaker than others in here.
And Tell Me Nolies had some large early pace figures last time out in the Chandelier, then somewhat tailed off at the end. I’d prefer to see a more even distribution of energy. That’s why a horse like Uncontrollable appeals more to me in here than And Tell Me Nolies despite the latter beating the former by 3/4 of a length in that Chandelier.
Along with Chop Chop, Uncontrollable has shown a consistent late turn of foot. As I’ve mentioned, the early pace in the BC Juvenile Fillies figures to be hot and should set up well for these two.
Photo: Wonder Wheel in the lead in the Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland with Chop Chop close behind and Raging Sea (a DQ’s to 4th) closing in. Coady Photography.