Based on the futures market for this year's $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 5 at Del Mar, a "big four" looms at the top led by undefeated multiple Grade 1 winner Echo Zulu.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Echo Zulu has won all three of her starts by a combined 16 3/4 length, which includes the seven-furlong Spinaway (G1) at Saratoga and one-mile Frizette (G1) at Belmont Park. The front-running daughter of first-crop sire Gun Runner has already made the trip to Southern California and on Friday had her first work since the Frizette with a five-furlong breeze completed in 1:02 flat at Santa Anita.
The 1 1/16-miles Juvenile Fillies will be Echo Zulu's first time navigating two turns.
Echo Zulu's three main rivals in the Juvenile Fillies figure to be Alcibiades (G1) winner Juju's Map for trainer Brad Cox, Pocahontas (G3) heroine Hidden Connection for Bret Calhoun and Southern California-based Ain't Easy, who won her bow at Del Mar and easily took the Chandelier (G2) at Santa Anita for trainer Phil D'Amato.
Juju's Map, by Liam's Map, graduated in her second start going a one-turn mile at Ellis Park and came back to win the Alcibiades at Keeneland by 4 1/4 lengths. Cox, who won a record-tying four Breeders' Cup races last year at Keeneland, claimed the 2019 Juvenile Fillies with British Idiom.
Hidden Connection romped on debut at Colonial Downs in August and came back a month later to air by 9 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/16-miles Pocahontas at Churchill Downs. The daughter of first-crop sire Connect will try and provide a third Breeders' Cup win for Calhoun.
Ain't Easy rolled to a 5 1/4-length win on debut at Del Mar when sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs. Stretched to two turns in the 1 1/16-miles Chandelier, the daughter of Into Mischief attended the pace under Joel Rosario and drew off in the stretch to score by 4 3/4 lengths over Electric Ride with stablemate Desert Dawn checking in third.
Ain't Easy and Desert Dawn were on track to contest the Juvenile Fillies and would breeze Saturday at Santa Anita, D'Amato told Horse Racing Nation Friday.
Trainer Bob Baffert is considering running both Grace Adler and Eda in the Juvenile Fillies. Grace Adler romped by 11 lengths in the seven-furlong Del Mar Debutante (G1) on Sept. 5, propelling her to odds-on favoritism in the Chandelier a month later. She would never be a factor.
The $700,000 auction purchase by Curlin was dead last through the opening half mile and would ultimately beat just two horses to the wire. Grace Adler returned to work on Friday with a bullet four-furlong drill completed in 47.2 seconds at Santa Anita. It was the fastest of 34 works at the distance.
Eda, a $550,000 auction purchase, won her debut at Santa Anita in June and came back to be second in the Sorrento Stakes (G2) at Del Mar. Sent off the favorite in the Del Mar Debutante, the daughter of Munnings flashed speed for a half mile before fading to fifth.
Pre-entries for the Juvenile Fillies and all other Breeders' Cup races will be taken on Oct. 25.
|Juvenile Fillies||Best odds||Notes|
|Echo Zulu||5-2||3 for 3 with 2 Grade 1 wins; unproven around 2 turns|
|Juju's Map||7-2||Dominated the G1 Alcibiades for Cox|
|Ain't Easy||6-1||2 for 2 with a Del Mar win; drew off in G2 Chandelier for D'Amato|
|Hidden Connection||6-1||Eye-catching 9 1/4-length winner of the G3 Pocahontas|
|Electric Ride||14-1||Daredevil filly 2nd in Chandelier; won bow at Del Mar for Sadler|
|Classy Edition||16-1||2 for 2, dominated a NY-bred stakes for Pletcher; possible|
|Sequist||16-1||Rallied for 3rd in the Alicbiades; 4th in Spinaway previous|
|Grace Adler||16-1||G1 DM Debutante winner disappointed at odds-on in Chandelier|
|Tarabi||20-1||Won bow, 2nd in the Spinaway for DeVaux|
|Desert Dawn||**||Cupid filly 3rd in Chandelier for D'Amato|
|Eda||**||2nd in G2 Sorrento; regressed in Del Mar Debutante for Baffert|
|Dream Lith||**||5th in both Alcibiades and Spinaway for Diodoro|
**No odds posted by bookmakers