Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Britain bred The Fugue has options.
The talented 4-year old daughter of Dansili can either try to improve on her 3rd
place finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare turf, or she can
continue to face the boys and run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. She has won a “Win
and You’re In” challenge race for both and could go in either spot. Where she
lands will remain a mystery for now, though trainer John Gosden has said that
she will pre-entered in both, with preference to the mile and a half Turf.
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf event was created in 1999, female turf
distance runners only had the option of running with the boys in the Turf. Between
the creation of the Breeders’ Cup World Championship races in 1984 and the
addition of the F&M Turf in 1999, two fillies were able to beat the boys to
the wire in the mile and half event. Both fillies won the Turf en route to
being named Champion Female Turf Horse and to this day remain the only two to
accomplish that feat. A win by The Fugue would put her in some pretty elite
company, but she has already proven that she has the talent and drive to be
As good as
British bred Pebbles was during her
two and three-year old seasons, it wasn’t until her 4-year old season that she
really began to shine. She won the inaugural running of the Group 2 Trusthouse
Forte Mile, the Group 1 Dubai Champion Stakes, and the Group 1 Coral Eclipse
Stakes, the only filly or mare to ever win that event since its inception in
1886. She also added a second place finish in the Group 2 Prince of Wales’s
Stakes. Trainer Clive Brittain then decided to ship his star filly to New York
to make her final career start in the second running of the Breeders’ Cup Turf,
held at Aqueduct in 1985.
sent off as the 11/5 favorite in a talented field that included the 1987 winner
of the race Theatrical. Jockey Pat Eddery settled the chestnut
filly in at the back of the field in the early stages of the race. As the field
entered the final turn, the duo began moving up on the inside, getting up to
within striking distance but stuck on the rail. Luck was with her that day,
though, for as the field turned for home, the rail opened up and she exploded
through on the inside to take the lead.
it was her first attempt at 12 furlongs, the gallant Pebbles had enough left in
the tank to hold off the late charge of the 1983 Australian Horse of the Year Strawberry Road. Her final time of 2.27
set a new course record for Aqueduct, a record that stands to this day. Her
victory was the first by a British horse in the Breeders’ Cup races, the first
for a filly or mare in the Turf, and earned her the Eclipse for American Female
Turf Horse for 1985. She was also named British Horse of the Year, Timeform
Horse of the Year, and European Champion that year.
later Miss Alleged became the second
filly to win the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Turf race. The bay daughter of Alleged
did not make her first career start until her 3-year old season, but she
quickly made up for lost time by rattling off three straight wins, included two
graded stakes wins. In 1991, it looked as though the talented filly may have
lost a step or two. She went winless in her first six starts of the year, but
when she needed a win most, she got one.
Eric Legrix, Miss Alleged stalked the early pace down toward the inside. For
the stretch drive, Legrix pulled the filly toward the center of the course and
set her down to catch the gray Itsallgreektome.
Gobbling up ground quickly, Miss Alleged caught the late leader and pulled away
to win by about a length as the 42-1 outsider. Miss Alleged stayed in the U.S.
for the remainder of her career. She added a win in the 1991 Grade 1 Hollywood
Turf Cup Stakes, again out-finishing Itsallgreektome, before going winless in
her last season. For her two wins over males at 12 furlongs, Miss Alleged was
named the 1991 Champion Female Turf Horse.
A win by The
Fugue in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf
would make her just the third filly to ever accomplish the feat. Unlike
Pebbles, The Fugue has the advantage of having already tried and succeeded at
the 12 furlong distance, and she’s familiar with the Santa Anita course. She
actually ran quite a race last year in the Filly & Mare Turf. She was down on the rail for most of the
early running and was kept trapped there on the turn and into the stretch.
After literally running up the heels of the horses in front of her, she finally
found some room to run, but it was too little, too late. A better trip and the
additional quarter mile of the Turf will do her a world of good this year.