If ever a mare were reduced to always being a bridesmaid and never a bride, then that mare would be Switch
. After breaking her maiden at first asking in mid-December of 2009, Switch went on to have a stellar 3-year old and 4-year old season. But despite her success during the year, come time for the year end championships, Switch just could not find the winner’s circle.
In 2010, she went 10: 3-3-2 with wins in the G2 Hollywood Oaks, the Torrey Pines Stakes, and the G1 La Brea Stakes. Though she finished off the year with a score in the G1 La Brea, when it came to that year’s Filly & Mare Sprint, she just could not quite get there. At the break, she took up a stalking position under jockey Joel Rosario
, but she was covered up coming out of the far turn. Once she was able to split her rivals, she charged down the track after Dubai Majesty
to finish a clear second while posing no threat to the winner.
Last year, Switch put together a 7: 1-4-2 campaign, her only win coming in her 2011 debut in the G1 Santa Monica Stakes. She never finished off the board, but she was up against it entering the starting gate for her second try at Breeders’ Cup glory. Four of her starts last year were in route races. In her two other sprint starts for the year, she had won one and finished third in the second, finishing behind eventual Breeders’ Cup F&M champion Musical Romance
. If her connections had hoped for better luck, they were sorely disappointed. Switch broke slowly, was forced to go wide, steadied to keep from being pushed further out, and then closed to get up for second by a head while finishing 1 ¼ lengths behind the winner.
Third time’s a charm? Not so fast! If Switch was up against it last year, then she’s REALLY up against it this year. Fourteen fillies and mares were pre-entered in this year’s edition of the Filly & Mare Sprint
, among them Grade 1 winners Contested
, Turbulent Descent
, and Teddy’s Promise
; superstar and likely favorite Groupie Doll
; and defending champion Musical Romance. In 5 starts this year, the only one of the aforementioned rivals she has finished in front of has been Teddy’s Promise, who has not found the winner’s circle in a graded stakes race since New Year’s Eve.
In her only win this year, the G2 A Gleam Handicap, Switch guaranteed herself a spot in the starting gate of the Filly & Mare Sprint, but if she wants to reach the winner’s circle, then she will have to show better form than she has shown all year. Aside from her lone win, her best finish this year has been a pair of 4th place finishes. By comparison, last year, she never finished off the board; and in 2010, she only finished off the board twice in ten starts. To me that says this game mare has already peaked. She has sprinted and she has routed this year, but her only success was against a comparatively weak A Gleam field. Despite her past performances in the Breeders’ Cup, I do not look for Switch to finish on the board this year, not when facing the likes of Groupie Doll, Musical Romance, and Turbulent Descent.