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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

2012 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic: The Cotillion 4

Questing and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. winning the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at Saratoga Race Course.
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
With only six weeks to go until the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic, it’s time for the main players to make their final thrust towards Santa Anita in the form of a solid prep for the world championships. The big race of the week will take place on Saturday in Suburban Philadelphia with the running of the $1 million Cotillion Stakes. Freshly minted as a grade 1, the Cotillion only managed to attract four sophomore fillies to come to Parx, but what the field lacks in size, it makes up for in talent. It features probably the most anticipated showdown of three-year-old fillies so far in 2012, Questing vs. My Miss Aurelia.
 
Since switching to dirt this summer, Questing has been simply untouchable. Starting with a romp in a one mile allowance race at Belmont, the Godolphin owned daughter of Hard Spun has been more impressive with each successive start. The last two coming in grade 1 company, first with an easy win in the Coaching Club American Oaks in July, followed by a tour-de-force performance in the ten furlong Alabama Stakes. The two big wins in the prestigious Saratoga races have pushed Questing ever closer to a year-end Eclipse Award as the champion sophomore filly of 2012. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the front runner is expected to be a big favorite on Saturday, but if she is to win her third grade 1 win in a row, she will need to go through a filly who already is a champion. 
 
Not only is Stonestreet Stable and George Bolton’s My Miss Aurelia an Eclipse Award winner, but she still maintains a perfect record. The smashing winner last fall of the Grade 1 Frizette and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, My Miss Aurelia was a winner of all four of her juvenile races, and easily accounted for the two-year-old filly championship. The daughter of Smart Strike, trained by Steve Asmussen, was away from the races for nine months before finally making her seasonal debut in the Mandy’s Gold Stakes at Saratoga. Despite a poor break, wide trip, and trouble running on the correct lead, she was an easy winner against overmatched foes. She will undoubtedly need to improve on her mistakes of the 6 ½ furlong return race, but there is no reason to believe that the talented filly will not do just that on Saturday.
 
Adding to the intrigue of the Cotillion, and looking to bust up the top two’s party, is a very good filly from Canada. After running in all three legs of Canada’s Triple Crown, Dixie Strike returns to female racing, but has picked a very tough spot to do so. The stretch running daughter of Dixie Union has several things to like though in her first try on dirt in America. First off, the Mark Casse trainee has never lost on dirt, as her only attempt on the surface produced a win in the Prince of Wales, Canada’s version of the Preakness. Also, if the speedy My Miss Aurelia chooses to pressure Questing early, and vice-versa, the two might find the late run of Dixie Strike formidable indeed. Finally, the addition of leading rider Ramon Dominguez should not hurt the invader, from up north, one little bit.
 
Moment in Dixie, from the Jimmie Toner barn, completes the four horse field.
 

In other Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic doings …
 
Speaking of undefeated champions, Awesome Feather is primed to make her return to the races on Thursday at Belmont. The 2010 Juvenile Filly Champion is entered in the $85,000 Nasty Storm Stakes at one mile on the main track. 9 for 9 lifetime, the Stronach  filly will be making her first start in nearly eight months in hopes of being ready for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic for trainer, Chad Brown.
 

 

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Older Comments about 2012 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic: The Cotillion 4...

Matt makes a good point. There's no money to be made unless one of the two Dixies break up the Big 2.
If you are betting the only horse you can use is Dixie Strike. MMA and Questing will be way too short. By the way, MMA will win this race.
She only wins if Questing and My Miss Aurelia go at it early and often, but that is a distinct possibility.
The assumption train has struck again! I think you're right, though. As good as Questing has recently become, Dixie Strike might just be the one to beat. You have to be impressed by her 3rd place finish at 10f while facing males, as well as her win against the boys in the Prince of Wales.
Oh no, I was never leaning towards her. I just said the 1 1/16 was probably good for her. Questing is no doubt the one to beat, but I tell you Dixie Strike really has a shot to upset the Cotillion cart.
Last I checked, you had been leaning toward MMA for the win. Who is ZATT'S official Cotillion pick now?
Cannot wait for the return of Awesome Feather, one more day!
You know I am a huge My Miss Aurelia fan and I expect a big effort from her. I have to wonder why Asmussen didn't enter a front runner to try and press Questing in the Cotillion?

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.