Chop Chop out of the track Wednesday morning. Coady Photography
Breeders’ Cup Notes/Edited
LEXINGTON, Ky.— Trainer Brad Cox will attempt to win his second Juvenile Fillies when he saddles Selective’s Chop Chop as the 4-1 favorite. The City of Light filly is going off a very narrow loss to Wonder Wheel in the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland.
“It was a tough one to swallow because I felt like she ran a winning race,” Cox said. “She just came up a touch short. The main thing is, she came out of it in good order. I feel like she has moved forward from a physical standpoint. She’s put on weight since the race, and she’s done exactly what you want to see a young horse do – move forward at the right time. I think if she breaks a little better this time, she has a big shot.”
Darley Alcibiades victor Wonder Wheel galloped a mile Wednesday morning at Keeneland for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse in her penultimate trip to the track before competing in the NetJets Juvenile Fillies on Friday. Owned by D. J. Stable, the daughter of Into Mischief will turn in an easy jog tomorrow morning.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of speed in the Alcibiades,” Casse said. “It looks like there will be a fair amount of speed (in the Juvenile Fillies). We’ve got some New York fillies coming that have only run one turn so they’re going to be doing something they haven’t done before. The first turn is going to be interesting. I would say we’re going to be fairly close (to the pace). I don’t overanalyze that stuff. We’ve got Tyler (Gaffalione), and he’s one of the best in the game so we’ll let him figure that out.”
Casse will be looking to add his first Juvenile Fillies win to his five previous Breeders’ Cup wins. Wonder Wheel will break from post five and Tyler Gaffalione, who has ridden her in all of her starts, will retain the mount. She has morning-line odds of 5-1 as the second choice.
Trainer Peter Miller will seek his fifth Breeders’ Cup trophy and trainee And Tell Me Nolies will attempt to sew up a championship when she seeks her third consecutive graded stakes win in the Juvenile Fillies. The daughter of 2017 Classic winner Arrogate will break from post three under Ramon Vazquez and was assigned a morning line of 8-1.
“She shipped really well, and she has been doing good since arriving here at Keeneland,” Miller said. “She had a big breeze on Friday, so we are in maintenance mode here. I think the three-hole is fine for her, as far as the post. It could have been a lot worse. She’s very tactical and can be wherever she needs to be, as far as early in the race. If the pace is hot, she’ll be back, and if it’s slow, she’ll be close. I’ll leave it up to Ramon and hopefully he works out a good trip.”
Fourth on debut over 5f at Del Mar July 23, the daughter of Grade 1-placed, Grade 3-winning filly Be Fair then reeled off three wins, including the Del Mar Debutante over 7f and Chandelier over 1 1/16m.
“She has shown she’s our best filly from Day One when we bought her at OBS. She’s just a really smart and gutsy filly. She wants to do it and she tries. She wants to win and that’s half the battle with these young horses; getting someone who’s got their mind on running and trying to win. They can maybe outrun a horse who might have a little more ability than they do. But she’s very talented, don’t get me wrong.
“She worked five-eighths in 59 the other day and galloped out in 1:12 and seven-eighths in 1:26 at San Luis Rey and that track will get you fit enough to run anywhere. We’re really happy with where we’re at with her.”
What she lacks in post position luck, drawing outermost 14, Juvenile Fillies contender Raging Sea may surely make up with a combination of pedigree and promise. Such is exactly what trainer Chad Brown hopes for the Alpha Delta Stables homebred daughter of Curlin, from the immediate family of A. P. Indy.
A determined neck winner of her 7f debut on Aug. 7 at Saratoga, the chestnut filly returned at Keeneland Oct. 7 to lose by a neck, third across the wire, but demoted to fourth for interference. She was also ssigned a morning line of 8-1 for Friday’s race.
“(Flavien) Prat is going to have his work cut out for him, isn’t he,” Brown said. “If you’re trying to look at it with the glass half-full, you say, well, there’s a lot of speed in the race. If everyone is forward going into that first turn, maybe it spreads the field out and he’s able to guide her over and not lose too much ground into that turn. We’ll have to see. Hopefully she can work out a Zandon-like trip.”
Brown-trained Zandon closed from far back to win April’s G1 Blue Grass Stakes over 9f.
Frank Fletcher Racing Operations’ American Rockette, a half-sister to fellow 2022 Breeders’ Cup runner Frank’s Rockette, will make her fourth career start in the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) for trainer Bill Mott. On Wednesday morning, she had a routine gallop on the main track in preparation for her first two-turn test, having finished fourth last out in the Frizette over a sloppy surface on Oct. 2.
“She’s a 2-year-old filly who won her first out and she’s a little short on experience,” Mott said. “She’s had three races, but she’s talented, even if she is a little difficult horse to handle. She’s a little flighty. In her second start, she broke and took a right-handed turn and almost went to the outside fence. In fact, the outrider had to get out of the way—but she got back in and wound up coming up through the field and finishing fourth, only beaten three or four lengths and made up a lot of ground.
“We ran her in the mud last time, but she didn’t seem to be the same horse on a muddy racetrack,” Mott continued. “We are going to have to see how she does. This is two turns, and everything is going to be a little new to her. We are reaching out a little, but also, she’s very talented. With her disposition, being a little flighty, we are always a little uncertain with what she’s going to do.”
Junior Alvarado, aboard for all three previous runs, will be astride. American Rockette was given a 20-1 morning line and will break from post position 11.
Doug O’Neill-trained Vegas Magic galloped 1 1/8 m under exercise rider Connor Murray Wednesday morning. Owned by Omar Aldabbagh, Todd Cady and Ty Leatherman, the daughter of Good Magic won her first three starts, including the Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar. Her most recent start was a fourth-place finish in the TVG Del Mar Debutante Stakes where she faded in the stretch.
“She’s going to have to really just conserve herself and be patient and quiet in the paddock, the post parade and the starting gate,” O’Neill said. “I think she just got a little bit too anxious before the race last time and spent a lot of her energy early. When the real running was ready to start, she just didn’t have the relaxation and the breath pattern to finish up. We’re hoping for a more mature filly like the one we saw in her first few races.”
The Juvenile Fillies will be Vegas Magic’s first start at Keeneland. With morning-line odds of 30-1, she will break from post one with Abel Cedillo aboard who has ridden her in three of her four starts.