2015 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Preview

October 14, 2015 04:30pm

With the World Championships less than 3 weeks away, all the prep races have been completed and the fields are starting to take shape. Though Europeans have dominated Breeders’ Cup grass contests overall, American runners have won their fair share when it comes to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. While Europeans seem to have an edge again this year, the stateside contingent is deep and will be formidable, looking to add to the winning streak Dayatthespa started last year. Here’s a look at the race’s top contenders as you get ready to tackle the greatest two days in the sport.

1. Legatissimo has been pointed for the Breeders’ Cup since capturing the “Win and You’re In” Coolmore Stud Matron Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown on September 12. Prior to that victory, the 3-year-old daughter of Danehill Dancer captured Group 1 victories in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. The 1 3/16 miles distance of the Filly & Mare Turf should be no problem, as she has won out to 1 ¼ miles.

2. A victory by Chilean-bred Dacita would hopefully fill a void for owners Sheep Pond Partners, as their stable star and likely favorite, Lady Eli, will miss the race due to injury. Dacita made her only local start a winning one when powering home to win the Ballston Spa (G2) for red-hot trainer Chad Brown. Prior to coming to the states, Dacita won 5 of 7 starts with three of them against Group 1 competition.


3. Jazzi Top ran her eyeballs out when falling just short to Covert Love in the Prix de l’ Opera (G1) on the Arc undercard. Following the race, trainer John Gosden mentioned he was leaning towards sending her over for another meeting with Legatissimo. In their 2 prior meetings, Legatissimo has gotten the best of Jazzi Top.

4. When people speak of older, hard-knocking runners, most are referring to male handicap horses (Game on Dude, Lava Man, etc.), but Stephanie’s Kitten is the most honest horse in training today. She dances every dance and brings her lunch pail with her every time. Her win int the Flower Bowl last weekend indicates that she will once again be in the hunt on her 3rd trip to the Breeders’ Cup.

5. Secret Gesture was first across the finish line in the Beverly D (G1) at Arlington back in August, but she was controversially disqualified for drifting into Stephanie’s Kitten in deep stretch. She appears a cut below the best, but would move up should the ground come soft as it did when a downpour hit prior to the Beverly D.

6. Though We Are is new to America, her owner, George Strawbridge has won top races here for decades. We Are was checked in third in the aforementioned Prix de l’ Opera. She has butted heads against Europe’s finest all year, racing against the likes of Treve and Cirrus Des Aigles. Though no final decision has been made on her running, expect her to be a major player if she makes the trip.

7. The Godolphin ownership group is still undecided on whether 3-year-old filly Pleascach will compete, but looks to deserve a shot after the company she’s been keeping thus far. Two back she captured the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) over Prix de l’Opera winner, Covert Love. She followed that up with a solid fourth-place finish against older males in the Irish Champion Stakes (G1), which was won by Golden Horn before his victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1).

8. Photo Call earned her spot in the starting when winning the Rodeo Drive (G1) at Santa Anita for trainer Graham Motion. In the race jockey Draden Van Dyke saved all the ground, found a seam in the stretch and powered home to victory. Though she appears a cut below the rest, Motion is no stranger to winning Breeders’ Cup races with longshots (Better Talk Now in the 2004 BC Turf at 27-1).

9. Watsdachances was the main beneficiary of Secret Gesture’s Beverly D disqualification, notching her first Grade 1 victory. Despite that piece good fortune, she is an ultra-consistent mare not having run worse than fourth in the last 4 seasons. Expect her to be running late, but fall short of the top prize.

10. Sentiero Italia appeared to be a filly on the rise, running Beyer Speed Figures in the ballpark with other top America contenders, but after Saturday’s lackluster third-place finish against 3-year-old fillies in Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1) it appears this group would be a tall task to conquer. The daughter of Medaglia d’ Oro needs to show trainer Kiaran McLaughlin improvement in the coming weeks to warrant a spot in the starting gate. 


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Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, Nebraska. From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10. Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for playing the races has risen to a new level. Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.

My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch. My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping Pick 4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.

The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do. I encourage others to post picks they like, too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions. That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal. Best of luck.

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