By Ryan Dickey
The Juvenile races of the Breeders’ Cup Championships, run of “Future Stars Friday”, don’t always get the pre-race scrutiny as the more prestigious races contested on Saturday. But horseplayers around the world know that a big score on Friday can lead to a more interesting Saturday, so having some strong winning opinions in the 2-year-old races can always help.
This week, I’ll tackle the five Juvenile races of the Breeders’ Cup, starting with the Juvenile Fillies today, and following (in order) with the Juvenile Turf, Juvenile Fillies Turf, Juvenile and Juvenile Turf Sprint.
With only eight fillies pre-entered in the Juvenile Fillies, contested on the main track at Keeneland at 1 1/16 miles on Friday November 6, this race was the one best to be dissected before the draw.
The pace of the Juvenile Fillies will be less draw-dependent than the other races on Friday. There are no real standout frontrunners, and the early pace should be honest. The field will consist of no more than eight freshman fillies, with two multiple graded stakes winners in the bunch.
The Juvenile Fillies may feature the winners of Keeneland’s Alcibiades (G1), Belmont Park’s Frizette (G1) Saratoga’s Spinaway (G1) and Santa Anita’s Chandelier (G2).
Here is a look at the potential field for the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies:
Princess Noor, trained by Bob Baffert, owned by Zedan Racing Stables, sired by Not This Time out of Sheza Smoke Show (by Wilko), a multiple graded stakes winner, 3-for-3 lifetime ($303,000)
Her wins have been visually impressive, but the question is how her California competition stacks up against the previous competition of the other contenders of this race. It’s also worth noting that her trainer is once again under fire for medication violations.
Out of the first crop of promising freshman sire Not This Time, Princess Noor was a $1.35 million purchase from April’s Ocala Breeders’ Sale of 2-year-olds in training after selling for a tenth of that price out of the 2019 Keeneland September yearling sale.
She has been a prohibitive favorite in all three starts, including her maiden victory at Del Mar on Aug 22. Princess Noor became a graded stakes winner over the same Del Mar track by taking the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante in September. She then took the two-turn Chandelier at Santa Anita in her most recent start on Sept. 26.
Expect Princess Noor to be well-backed at the betting window and a beatable favorite if she in fact realizes favoritism at post time. While her wins have looked good, her speed figures do not equal a few others in this race. She will not offer much value in either vertical or horizontal wagers. She will be best used underneath in trifectas and superfectas.
Dayoutoftheoffice, trained by Tim Hamm, owned by Siena Farm and Blazing Meadow Farm, sired by Into Mischief out of Gottahaveadream (by Indian Charlie), a multiple graded stakes winner, 3-for-3 lifetime ($216,500)
One of the fillies most-likely to be the early pacesetter, Dayoutoftheoffice calls Thistledown her home for training under the auspices of trainer Tim Hamm. A Siena Farms homebred, this multiple graded stakes winner should not be viewed as an overachiever. She may have a very bright future.
This race will be her first around two turns, as her Frizette victory at Belmont was a one-turn affair. That seems to be the question mark for this one. Do not discount her for being from a less-revered barn. Do be hesitant about the first time around two turns. Of the top contenders in this race, her chances may be more draw-dependent than the others.
Dayoutoftheoffice has improved in terms of speed figures as each race distance has lengthened. She should be regarded as a top contender, and one to use in horizontal wagers.
Simply Ravishing, trained by Ken McPeek, owned by Harold Lerner, Magdalena Racing and Nehoc Stables, sired by Laoban out of Four Wishes (by More Than Ready), a Grade 1 winner, 3-for-3 lifetime ($304,600)
The story behind this filly’s breeding almost overshadows the actual accomplishments of this Alcibiades winner by the surprising sire Laoban.
The gist of the story is that the mare Four Wishes is by all intents and purposes a rescue. She was taken in by Meg Levy at Bluewater Sales for $500. The mare foaled a strapping Revolutionary colt, and Levy decided to breed her to one of her client’s new stallion–Laoban. Simply Ravishing is the result of that breeding.
On the track, Simply Ravishing won her debut at Saratoga going a mile and sixteenth on the turf. She followed that up with a black type victory in the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga on the dirt. In her most recent start, she won the Alcibiades by a stunning 6 ¼ lengths.
Having won over the Keeneland track and twice at the distance, Simply Ravishing should be seen as the most-likely winner of the Juvenile Fillies. Key her atop exactas and trifectas. She should not be used as a single in horizontal wagers.
Vequist, trained by Robert Reid Jr., owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Swilcan Stable, sired by Nyquist out of Vero Amore (by Mineshaft), a Grade 1 winner, 1-for-3 lifetime ($195,500)
She won the Spinaway at Saratoga by just shy of ten lengths. Vequist followed that effort up with a second-place finish in the Frizette. Both of those contests were Grade 1 affairs, so she has the class to compete well here.
A $120,000 RNA from last September’s Keeneland yearling sale, the Parx-based filly will be making her two-turn debut. Her dam was graded stakes placed for the same connections, and she’s by impressive sire Nyquist. Consider her a top contender here. She’s usable in all wagering positions.
Thoughtfully, trained by Steve Asmussen, owned by Heider Family Stables, sired by Tapit out of Pension (by Seeking the Gold), a Grade 2 winner, 2-for-3 lifetime ($145,064)
A first-out winner by 8 ¾ lengths at Churchill Downs in a 5 ½ furlong sprint in June, Thoughtfully won the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga in her first start against winners. She finished fourth in her most-recent start, the two-turn Alcibiades.
While she is one of the fillies in the Breeders’ Cup race with experience at two-turns and over the host track, she was beaten by more than a dozen lengths by two of the main contenders here. Where will she make up those 12 ¼ lengths?
A $950,000 purchase from the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale last year, this filly has a bright future and she could be a major player as a sophomore. Tapit offspring sometimes take a while to get their heads straight. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies race may not be the one to hinge hopes upon.
She is best used underneath in trifectas and superfectas.
Girl Daddy, trained by Dale Romans, owned by Albaugh Family Stables, sired by Uncle Mo out of Cara Marie (by Unbridled’s Song), a Grade 3 winner, 2-for-2 lifetime ($141,240)
The only filly in the race with only two career starts, Girl Daddy stretched out from six furlongs to a mile last out.This will be her first try at two turns. The Albaughs bought her for half a million dollars, and she’s off to a great start. Girl Daddy probably lacks the foundation to compete with the others here, but expect her to get to the front, and possibly try to take this race in gate-to-wire fashion.
Girl Daddy has the pedigree to do some damage, but her lack of two-turn experience could cost her. She is to be considered a viable longshot. Her best chance is to get out to a sneaky lead, and steal the show.
This one is best used underneath in exotics and as the last choice in horizontal wagers.
Crazy Beautiful, trained by Ken McPeek, owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds, sired by Liam’s Map out of Indian Burn (by Indian Charlie), a stakes winner, 2-for-4 lifetime ($188,845)
A quarter million dollar purchase, the “other” McPeek in this race finished first in her first two races and second in her next two. She’s raced over the Keeneland track and at the Juvenile Fillies race distance.
While she’s less accomplished than the others in this race, she’s definitely no toss.
Crazy Beautiful will probably find herself near the back of the pack early, and will look for some pace to close into. If the pace is honest, and no other filly gets a long lead, her running style may not be suitable here.
This filly may not be useful in vertical wagers here.
MY TOP SELECTIONS:
1. Simply Ravishing