Only one Natalma heroine has won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in the last seven years, but four Natalma winners earned year-end honors as Canada’s Champion 2-Year-Old Filly.
The one-mile event is billed as race eight on Sunday, with a post time of 5:06 p.m. EDT.
Wagering Guarantees This Weekend at Woodbine!
Ten fillies, four of them from the Mark Casse barn, will enter the starting gate.
No. 5 Wild Beauty (5-2) missed the chance to be a Group 3 winner in her last start by a length in the Sweet Solera Stakes. The Charlie Appleby trainee is the field’s most experienced, with five career starts and two stakes-placed finishes. Appleby’s shippers do well in North America, and Frankie Dettori rides. Win contender.
7. Diabolic (3-1) is undefeated in a trio of starts, including the My Dear Stakes and Catch A Glimpse Stakes, in which she bested two Natalma rivals by a solid length. The Casse trainee’s speed figures are among the highest in the field. Win contender.
No. 1 Ready Lady (10-1) won her debut by a half-length over Guileful while under a hand ride. The margin wasn’t much, but she had her rival’s measure. More than Ready’s daughter is a half-sister to last year’s Natalma winner and Sovereign champ Lady Speightspeare. Their half-sister Perfect Lady is the dam of Summer Stakes (G1) contender Ready for the Lady. Roger Attfield trains the family, and in comparing Ready Lady and Lady Speightspeare, stated that Ready Lady is more manageable than her counterpart was. Ready Lady tuned up with a bullet five furlongs in 1:01.20 on the turf. Live longshot.
No. 4 Royal Engagement (8-1) has seen the tail end of Diabolic twice, the My Dear Stakes and Catch A Glimpse Stakes. The Tim Hamm trainee had the perfect chance to beat Diabolic in the Catch A Glimpse Stakes; however, Royal Engagement’s jockey decided to change course from the rail to the outside for running room. Diabolic, traveling directly behind Royal Engagement, continued up the rail and won by a length. Colby Hernandez, in town for the Woodbine Mile (G1), picks up the mount. Exotics.
No. 2 Pizza Bianca (4-1) made a last-to-first eye-catching move to graduate by 3/4 length at the Spa in July. Clement’s 2-year-old last-out maiden winners return to win 30 percent of the time. Clement won the 2019 Summer Stakes with Decorated Invader. Pizza Bianca is capable of winning, yet the more accomplished fillies will be tough to beat. Exotics.
No. 8 Mrs. Barbara (15-1) was a fast-closing third the Catch A Glimpse Stakes after a slow start and getting stuck in traffic. She’s searching for her first victory, and the daughter of Bodemeister should enjoy the extra distance. This Casse trainee’s speed figures are a little lower than the top contenders, but she’s worth a longshot look for the lower exotics if you’re spreading the wealth. Exotics.
No. 10 Eminent Victor (6-1) won her debut in July at Arlington by 1 1/2 lengths and immediately switched to Chad Brown’s barn. It’s a question of “who did she beat” because only two runners from seven next out starters hit the board. Usually, a filly like this would be dismissed. However, in the past five years, horses switching to Brown’s stable for their second start have all won or placed, four of them on the lawn.
Only two favorites have won the Natalma in the last decade, but have hit the board five times, so we could see a chalky payout.
The fillies running style in the Natalma is more versatile than the boys in the Summer Stakes. Four one-run closers won, while the rest were either pacesetters or pressers.
What a fun story it would be if Ready Lady followed in her half-sister’s hoofprints and won the Natalma. I’m cheering her on but will have to go with the two more accomplished fillies in the top spots.
5. Wild Beauty (5-2)
7. Diabolic (3-1)
1. Ready Lady (10-1)
4. Royal Engagement (8-1)