By Ryan Dickey
Now that the dust has settled and the Breeders’ Cup races have been drawn and the past performances are widely available, there is no need to dwell on the particulars of each horse set to face the starting gate.
Pedigrees are to be found in the past performances. Race records, earnings, and the owner/trainer/jockey information is there. Just about everything that can be quantified if right there in black and white.
Time to get handicapping!
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf race to be held on Friday at Keeneland is quite a puzzle, as it features both North American as well as European freshmen filly turfers.
Contested at a mile over the Keeneland lawn for a $1 million purse, a full field is set in search of Breeders’ Cup glory.
A quick look at the field:
|2||Miss Amulet||Julien Leparoux||12-1|
|4||Plum Ali||Joel Rosario||4-1|
|5||Aunt Pearl||Florent Geroux||3-1|
|8||Mother Earth||Ryan Moore||20-1|
|11||Royal Approval||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||10-1|
|12||Spanish Loveaffair||Tyler Gaffalione||15-1|
|13||Union Gables||Jose Ortiz||20-1|
|14||Editor at Large||Javier Castellano||12-1|
|15*||Invincible Gal||Jose Ortiz||AE|
It’s been a while since a Euro import has won the Juvenile Fillies Turf (2012–Chriselliam), but freshman fillies from overseas have performed well in non-winning efforts. This year looks particularly tough for horses coming from across the pond.
The biggest story in this race as far as the Euro runners are concerned is that Aidan O’Brien’s No. 8 Mother Earth, who was last seen running in a race where she was misidentified as another O’Brien runner (Snowfall) and ran the race as a longshot on the toteboard and not the much shorter-priced filly that she should have been.
Then there’s the Wesley Ward trainee No. 10 Campanelle, who races overseas for the American-based trainer. She did her own thing at Royal Ascot, when she ran all by herself, away from the main pack of horses in winning the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes.
Campanelle followed up her Royal Ascot win with a Group 1 victory, and should be seen as the top threat to North American fillies in this Breeders’ Cup race.
As for the projected pace, No. 1 Oodnadatta has a propensity to go to the front, and has drawn the rail. She should be joined near the front of the field by No. 5 Aunt Pearl, Campanelle and No. 13 Union Gables.
Expect pace pressure from No. 11 Royal Approval and No. 12 Spanish Loveaffair.
The outside runners caught the short end of the stick at the draw, and No. 14 Editor at Large was the biggest loser of them all, drawing the far outside post. This will hamper her chances in this race tremendously, and jockey Javier Castellano will be forced to work out a trip, but in a hurry. She doesn’t appear to have the speed to clear from those on her immediate left.
To me, the winner of this race comes down to three fillies–No. 3 Alda for trainer Graham Motion, No. 4 Plum Ali for trainer Christophe Clement or Campanelle.
Plum Ali enjoys a wide margin lead over the field in terms of earnings per start. She won a half-million dollar stakes race at Kentucky Downs and a Grade 2 affair at Belmont Park at a mile and a sixteenth. She would be my top choice to win except…
Alda is 12-1 on the morning line and there is a good chance Plum Ali is the favorite in this race. Alda looks like the poor man’s (or poor woman’s) Plum Ali in the past performances. While the former tends to sit further back in the early pace than the later, a quick contested lead between three or more fillies can only help Alda, and at much better odds.
I expect the early pace to be brisk. Alda can sit behind Plum Ali and Capanelle, while jockey John Velazquez will have to adeptly maneuver around the fillies tiring from the hot pace as the field trudges down the lane.
- Alda (12-1)
- Plum Ali (4-1)
- Campanelle (4-1)