Habaya won't be overlooked in Jessamine
Only after Shadwell homebred HABAYA (Storm Cat) got up by a half-length to win at first asking on September 25 at Belmont Park did some pundits ask themselves how they could have missed a $20.20 mutuel that looked so obvious in retrospect. After all, the dark bay was the first starter out of Golden Apples (Ire) (Pivotal), the 2002 champion turf mare, and Habaya was making her debut on the green stuff for the ever-dangerous Kiaran McLaughlin.
Suffice it to say Habaya will be accorded far more respect when she steps up to tackle stakes company in Thursday's $150,000 Jessamine S. at Keeneland over 1 1/16 miles, where she and as many as 11 others will compete for an automatic bid in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita on October 24.
The Jessamine, the last "Win and You're In" race in advance of the Breeders' Cup, drew a field of 12 plus two also-eligibles, and a number bring positive stakes experience to the table. GLAMOROUS GAL (Soto) flopped on dirt last time, but is two-for-three on grass including a win in the Tippett S. at Colonial Downs two back, while ABBOTT HALL (El Corredor) demolished nine rivals in the Happy Ticket S. over the Louisiana Downs lawn most recently.
Logical threats moving over from Polytrack are PHOLA (Johannesburg), who earned a 96 BRIS Speed rating when a distant third in the Arlington-Washington Lassie S. (G3), and COMPLICITY (City Zip), a closing second in last month's Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies. NEVER LIE (Alke), meanwhile, was far behind in her two Polytrack starts, but easily captured an Arlington maiden by five lengths in her lone turf appearance. Other turf maiden winners who could make things interesting are WAR TIGRESS (War Chant), HINT OF LEMON (Lemon Drop Kid) and LAKE COOK (Boundary).
John Best, the Englishman who trained Square Eddie (Smart Strike) to an upset score in last Saturday's Breeders' Futurity (G1), sends out second-time starter ACTING LADY (Theatrical [Ire]) with Lasix added for her American debut. MAYBE BABY (Johar) won her debut at Arlington in a race originally scheduled for the turf, and though her time was far from spectacular, she has the pedigree to move way up on grass. The main body of the field is completed by LARAGH (Tapit), who weakened to fifth over soft ground in the Natalma S. (Can-G3) at Woodbine in her turf debut.
This article was originally published on brisnet.com
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