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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Juvenile Fillies

- I've started over on the right to list some links for easy access to workout reports and the Breeders Cup pages and columns. Far too much to try and keep up with here, so instead I figured we should spend the time trying to figure out who's going to win. Can't make definite picks before seeing the post positions, especially in the bulky fields. But I'll go through the races, discuss some horses that made an impression one way or another, and throw out some ideas for discussion. Please feel free to chime in; just click on the # of Comments link right under the post.

So let's get right to it. Untouched Talent, the intriguing Storm Cat filly who ran second in the Alcibiad, is out of the Juvenile Fillies and will be replaced by Lilly Carson (Carson City), who adds some pace to a race that doesn't have tons.

Dreaming of Anna (Rahy) is one of the obvious keys. If she replicates her turf effort on the dirt she'll obviously be tough, and her bullet (of 71) half-mile work over the Churchill track indicates she will be. Her trainer, Wayne Catalano, 33% winners for the year, said after the work that "she liked the track" but I guess we figured that out ourselves. However, she's a horse I'll be looking to beat assuming she'll be one of the choices. This is the kind of race I could feel silly afterwards if she romps, but I have to fall back on basic handicapping principles here. She just has a sprint win on the dirt against four awful opponents, and this is a new ballgame for her. But if she's 8-1, then that of course is another story.

Six fillies come out of the Alcibiad, and all will bear the Polytrack question, either as an excuse for a poor performance or an explanation of a good one. Bel Air Beauty (Smart Strike) was an overlay at 47-1 to be sure, but here she benefited from a ground-saving trip before swinging out for a strong finish. Three fillies who finished quite respectably, Cotton Blossom, Gatorize (Exploit), and Her Majesty, were all hurt by outside post positions. Gatorize and Her Majesty traveled 81.2 and 71.2 feet more respectively than the winner, according to Trakus (OK, I'm using it, you happy?)

It was Her Majesty (Giant's Causeway) who finished best of the three. She was very wide on both turns and seemed to run a bit greenly in the upper stretch. But once she straightened out, she finished well for third, holding off a tough Cotton Blossom, who was not quite as wide on either turn. Her Majesty is out of a mare by Smarten who's a half-sister to the champion sprinting mare Safely Kept.

Appealing Zophie (Successful Appeal) impressed me at Saratoga when she sprinted away in the stretch of the Spinaway. She had no excuse after setting a moderate pace in the Alcibiad...or maybe she did in her first try on Polytrack. The addition of the speedy Lilly Carson doesn't help; but there's enough stamina on her distaff side so suggest she should get at least this distance.

Octave (Unbridled's Song) is the other Pletcher entry besides Cotton Blossom. I had her in the Matron, and she had no excuse. She was hard ridden from the far turn, on which she saved all the ground. This is also her first try around two turns, and I'm not sure that it will help. Cotton Blossom ran pretty well in her first try around two turns; she was actually coming back against Her Majesty at the finish.

Cash Included and Quick Little Miss are the only two to come out of a two-turn race on real dirt, the Oak Leaf at Santa Anita. Cash Included (Include) earned a Beyer of 93, 12 points higher than the Keeneland race, and may very well be the favorite in the Juvenile Fillies. It was a nice effort in her first route race, and Nakatani said, "I had a ton of horse under me going to the far turn." But it was a pretty easy trip despite starting from the ten post. She drafted easily into the two path on the first turn, inherited the lead from 40-1 She's Got Skills, and held off favored Point Ashley. I've also read suggestions that the track at Santa Anita was strongly favoring speed. You don't really need to have any particular reason to stand against the favorite in a 14 horse two-year old stakes, but you can sieze on any possible perceived weakness or rationalization for a good performance to help build your case.

I liked the effort of third place finisher Quick Little Miss a lot. She was four wide around both turns, and turned in a solid rally for third. Dan Illman notes in his BC Prep Notes on DRF Plus, that she left a nice impression on the gallop-out. By Freud, she may appreciate turf down the road. She also just may like two turns. She improved two back in her first such effort, winning around the bullring at Fairplex, before her troubled effort in the Oak Leaf. She's out of an Unbridled mare who's a half to Greater Good; her third dam is the champion sprinter and Black Eyed Susan winner What A Summer. She could be an intriguing filly at a price.

Satulagi is the lone European entry. She's by Officer out of a Danzig Connection mare; and this is the distaff family of Mt Livermore and Judgable.

So, thus far, the race is looking like this, subject to change:

I'm interested in: Her Majesty and Quick Little Miss at prices.

Try to beat: Cash Included and Dreaming of Anna assuming they're bet down, as well as Octave.

On the fence: Cotton Blossom

For exotics: Appealing Zophie


Anonymous said...

California is the place to be for Juvenile Fillies (no pun). Former winners over the CD track

Open Mind, Pleasant Stage, Flanders, Silverbullet Day and the Y2000 winners escapes me but believe she was also from the West..

Mr. Ed

Anonymous said...

Forgot to list my pick, although it is very obvious from the above comments.

Cash Included is the one filly that appears to be special and should romp.

The Easterners, besides having history against them, have just run plain slow except for one race from Appealing Zophie, who is very questionable at two turns. Undefeated Dreaming of Anna is also a throw out, so perhaps money can be made playing the pick over the other Westerners;

Quick Little Miss, Shes Included, and Untouched Talent.

Watch out for supplemental entrant Mistical Plan if she somehow draws in, or if not wherever she runs next.