By Margaret Ransom
The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) was first run at Monmouth Park in 2007 in what was the first year the World Championships expanded beyond the single-day format. And aside from the first year when it was offered at six furlongs, has been contested at seven furlongs ever since.
In all but four years since the inaugural running, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint has gone on to earn the Eclipse Award as the country’s champion female sprinter. Ventura (2008), Wavell Avenue (2015), Bar of Gold (2017) and Finest City (2016) are the only winners of this race who did not win championship honors. Three years ago, Covfefe won this race en route to her title in the division as well as the honor as champion 3-year-old filly and in 2020, Gamine won before her connections collected her Eclipse Award trophy two months later.
Last year, Ce Ce visited the winner’s circle after winning this race and went on to earn her own Eclipse Award for owner Bo Hirsch and trainer Michael McCarthy. Ce Ce is back, her connections hoping she repeats as one of the favorites this year under regular jockey Victor Espioza. So far, Groupie Doll in 2012 and 2013 is the only repeat winner of the race.
Trainer Buff Bradley is the only trainer to have won twice (he also co-owned Groupie Doll) while three jockeys – Rajiv Maragh, Mike Smith and Irad Ortiz Jr. – have each ridden a pair of winners.
The Bobby Frankel-trained Ventura still owns the fastest time for the race at seven furlongs when she posted 1:19.90 in 2008.