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Monday, October 30, 2006

Filly and Mare Turf

- I've seen the Filly and Mare Turf referred to as a two-horse race, but I'm wondering who the second one is. Ouija Board (Cape Cross) is simply one of the best grass horses in the world, male or female. This year, she's beaten the late Electrocutionist, battled head and head with Dylan Thomas, ran within two lengths of Shirocco, prevailed in a thrilling duel with Alexander Goldrun, and was unlucky when shut off repeatedly in the Eclipse Stakes against David Junior. She would be a legitimate contender and one of the favorites in the Turf this year, and it seems almost nervy that an American three-year old filly whose resume consists of four grass races, three of them against her own age group, would be considered a threat. Even if that filly is trained by Todd Pletcher.

Wait a While (Maria's Mon) has been unthreatened thus far, but she of course hasn't met anything near the type of animals that Ouija Board has. Yet, she's certainly been outstanding. Look at the way she's come home, despite winning off with ease. 22.4 in the last quarter of the Yellow Ribbon, in which she beat a decent but hardly oustanding field of older fillies and mares; 11.2 in the Lake Placid (in which I actually bet against her, doh!). Her figs have progressed steadily, up to the 109 in the Yellow Ribbon that, on paper and using the rule-of-thumb 14 point deduction from Timeform ratings, puts her within a couple of points of Ouija Board. Still, it seems a bit of a stretch to me, and she may be one of the most underlaid horses on the board for the day. I've mentioned this before and you probably all think I'm nuts; but I think that if she beats Ouija Board fair and square, and Bernardini goes down in flames in a scenario like, say....Giacomo weaving his way to the wire through a 27 second final quarter, I think she'd have to receive consideration for Horse of the Year.

Satwa Queen (Muhtathir) is another sharp European; she missed by less than a length to Mandesha in the Prix de l'Opera. Prior to that was a G2 win in which she beat two subsequent Grade 1 winners. Her Timeforms are still a few below Ouija Board, but this is a sharp, late-developing four-year old who could hit the board at the least.

Germance (Silver Hawk), Mauralakana (Muhtathir), and Quiet Royal (Royal Academy), who all prepped in the QE II Challenge at Keeneland, are three Europeans who are not in the same class as Ouija Board. Quiet Royal had no excuse after saving ground both turns; Germance, who is a nice three-year old to be sure, and Mauralakan were both wide both turns, and the latter finished very well, but I think these are squarely a cut below.

Honey Ryder (Lasting Approval) and Film Maker (Dynaformer) duked it out in an exciting stretch duel of the Flower Bowl. Honey Ryder has stepped up in class in 2006, but I thought her 4th in the Beverly D showed her to be just a cut below the top in her division. Film Maker is a mare you gotta love, but she continues to come up just a bit short in Grade 1 company. Yet she's as sharp as ever, and ceded much ground on the final turn to Honey Ryder in the Flower Bowl. She certainly has to be included in exotic tickets.

Interested In: Ouija Board; unless she once again takes the worst of it in the post draw, it's hard to see past her. Wait A While gets the ultimate test for class; dazzle us if you can. Satwa Queen could be tough at a price with a good draw and would be helped by a soft course.

Against: The three coming out of the QEII.

Exotics: Film Maker rather than Honey Ryder.

- Wait A While worked 5 furlongs at a windy Belmont on Sunday in 1:01.70. Ouija Board, and ten other European participants including Satwa Queen, were safely installed in the quarantine barn at Churchill Downs last night. [RTE Sport]

5 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Using racingpost.co.uk figures (free registration required) WAW is a point below OB since she has a WFA allowance.

Tom

Anonymous said...

Not much history in the F&M turf, essentially the winners have made their last start in Europe, or were transferred to Frankel from Europe earlier in the year. Since Frankel has no entry is appear Quija Board and Satwa Queen are the logical picks, with the QE2 entrants also eligible for a share. I bet and loved Maure in the QE2, however she may have distance limitations. I will include Germance as she seems to be the real marathon runner of the three.

WAW will be off my ticket as will the Flower Bowlers.

Mr. Ed

Walter said...

Satwa Queen is an obvious contender off her strong second to Mandesha in the Prix de l'Opera. Behind her in third that day was the very highly-regaded filly Alexandrova. And firm ground won't be a problem at all, as the ground was firm enough on Arc Day for Mandesha to set the course record. Hard to get past Ouija Board, but a Ouija Board-Satwa Queen exacta might not be too shabby if everyone and their brother is boxing the two favorites. I respect Wait a While quite a bit, but this is a massive class-hike for her. I agree that she'll be underlaid. On the other hand, it's a pretty much a class drop for Ouija Board, as usual.

Mike said...

Ouiji Board over (All Euros+HR) over WaW/HR

I'm also going to play Honey Rider pretty hard, I think she'll handle the three turn aspect of this race very well... as will the Euros as usual. Wait a While is questionable at this distance for sure.

Anonymous said...

I tried to make HR but just can not include her over the Euros.

Take another looks at Germance, her lone defeat prior to QE2 was a placing as the 8-5 fave in the G1 French Oaks, a race in which Maura was sixth at 51-1.

She was also favored over Maura in the QE2, which has the look as a total prep for the BC as it was shorter than her optimal distance.

She will be the third filly on all my tickets with QB and SQ.

Mr. Ed