Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 6:04 PM
Continuing today and on these pages until the Breeders’ Cup on Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4 we will take a look in capsule form of the thirteen 2017 Races.
YOUNGER AND OLDER DISTAFFERS PAINT DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT SETUP…
Juvenile Filly Turf Oversubscribed…Distaff Down To A Handful…Time For Bullet Points!
On day one of the Breeders’ Cup (Friday 11/3 at Del Mar) the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf and the Breeders’ Cup Distaff will be separated by much more than age and experience.
In the Juvenile Filly Turf (1 Mile over the Del Mar grass course) a field of 18 youngsters, including the main body of 14 and 4 cross entered and/or also eligible contenders have been pre-entered.
In the BC Distaff (1 1/8 Miles over the main track) the original field of only 9 pre-entrants has been diminished to 8 as trainer Jerry Hollendorfer ruled out It Tiz Well from the Distaff. Despite the three-year-old daughter of Arch, coming off a victory in the Cotillion (G1) over Abel Tasman, after capturing the Delaware Oaks (G3) and Honeybee (G3) plus runner-up efforts in the Alabama (G1) and Santa Anita Oaks (G1), the conditioner was unhappy with her status after a recent workout and will give her time off.
Over the last 5 years, the field sizes of these two races have been the long and short that will be in play next Friday. The Juvenile Filly Turf has averaged 13.8 runners (full field of 14 in 4 of the years and 13 the other) whereas the Distaff has averaged 9.2 (only once a full field of 14 and as few as 6 once and 8 twice.)
Obviously the size of the fields has made the pay-offs in the juvenile race much higher, but it is also the proven form of the older distaffer colony vs the developing form of the youngsters which presents entirely different predictability levels.
These factors have proven out in the average payoffs over the last 5 years.
Average Win Payoff - $8.60
Average Exacta Payoff - $87.30
Average Trifecta Payoff - $426.75
Average Superfecta Payoff - $2,502.10
(And these numbers are propped up by 2015 payoffs of $16.20…$311.60…$1,419.20…$9,249.20)
BC JUVENILE FILLY TURF:
Average Win Payoff - $15.45
Average Exacta Payoff - $138.10
Average Trifecta Payoff - $3,036.90
Average Superfecta Payoff - $32,768.10
(SOLID FORM ONCE AGAIN IN DISTAFF)
It is very possible had the aforementioned declared IT TIZ WELL gone on Friday she might have gone off the post time favorite.
While this takes a major player out of the race, we once again see that the eight remaining fillies and mares are the best the division has to offer.
ABEL TASMAN – The Bob Baffert trained Quality Road filly has won 4 times and finished second 3 times in her last seven races…6 vs Grade 1 opponents, the other a Grade 3. The Distaff will be the 3-year old filly’s first test vs her elders.
CHAMPAGNE ROOM – The Peter Eurton trained daughter of Broken Vow copped the Remington Park Oaks on 9/24. It was only her second start since February. But the 3-year old filly was a winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies last year at Santa Anita.
ELATE – The 4-year old Medaglia D’Oro filly has easily won her last two, including a commanding victory in the G1 Beldame at Belmont in her last. In the last 5 years the Beldame has produced one winner and a trio of third place finishers in the Distaff.
FOREVER UNBRIDLED – The veteran race mare exits a last out victory in the Grade1 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga on 8/26. The daughter of Unbridled’s Song has worked six times like clockwork ever 8-9 days since September 16, including a trio of sharp 6 furlong breezes between 1:14 1/5 and 1:12 flat…all at Churchill Downs.
MOPOTISM – The Doug O’Neill trainee has not solved many of the fillies and mares she’ll meet on Friday, so has to be considered one of the few outsiders that would need to improve considerably.
PARADISE WOODS – On the plus side the lightly raced 3-year old daughter of Union Rags could be any kind if she repeats her last out romp in the Grade1 Zenyatta (a race that has produced 2 winners, a second and a third the last 5 years) at Santa Anita. She also handled ABEL TASMAN in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks this spring. Her only truly bad race was in the slop in the Kentucky oaks on derby Friday. On the other hand she had a so-so third over the Del mar surface in the Grade3 Torrey Pines.
ROMANTIC VISION – The 5-year old race mare enters in good form with wins in the Grade3 Locust Grove (CD) and Grade1 Spinster (Keeneland) in her last pair. In June she was well beaten by FOREVER UNBRIDLED in the Grade2 Fleur Di Lis at Churchill.
STELLAR WIND – Kudos to the connections for keeping this majestic race mare as consistent as she has been. She has raced seven times in the last two years, all vs Grade1 rivals with 5 wins and a second. Her only blemish as 4th place finish in last year’s BC Distaff after a bad start and 5 wide trip. She was also second in the 2015 BC Distaff at Keeneland and is 3-for-3 over the Del mar main track.
The field is shorter than just about any other BC Race, but at least the contention appears to be about 6 deep, so we’ll not be dealing with odds-on in any capacity.
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(BC JUVENILE FILLIES TURF AS OPEN AS EVER)
I mentioned above that this race has always drawn the capacity. In fact, this year there are 14 pre-entries in the main body and 4 as cross entered or also-eligible, making for a draw-field of 18.
One of the seemingly automatic questions that crop up in any of the Breeders’ Cup Turf races is how to compare the North American runners with those coming to the states from Europe.
In the last three years the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf has gone to North American based runners after being won by Euros Chrisellium ($15.80) and Flotilla ($24.80) in 2013 and 2012 respectively.
So here we are again in 2017 with the same measuring sticks. Do we dip them in the North American pool or the European pool?
Last year when New Money honey won the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf she exited the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont. This race has been a big influence on the Juvenile fillies Turf recently. Not only did New Money Honey exit to win last year’s edition but the prep has seen much success in the Cup race.
Last year’s runner up Coasted also exited the Miss Grillo. In addition this particular Belmont prep has produced Memoralia (3rd in 2015), Lady Eli (Winner in 2014), Testa Rossi (2nd in 2013) and Watsdachances (2nd in 2012.)
This year the 1-2-3 Miss Grillo finishers, SIGNIFICANT FORM, BEST PERFORMANCE and ORBULATION respectively have pre-entered for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Another prep that has been influential in recent years is the Jessamine from Keeneland and this year’s 1-2 finishers, respectively, RUSHING FALLS and STAINLESS are pre-entered.
While the Europeans have not found the winner’s circle since 2013, they will be well represented this year by the likes of HQAPPILY, the Aiden O’Brien Galileo filly who has won two straight Group 1 races, JULIET CAPULAT, last out Group 2 Shadwell Rocket stakes, SEPTEMBER, another Aiden O’Brien trainee who is a daughter of Deep Impact, the Japanese stud equivalent of Tapit, as well as NOW YOU’RE TALKING and MADELINE.
On Friday this contentious race starts the BC PICK 4 and the DISTAFF completes it. And as most serious bettors know, cashing the longshot early legs of the Pick 4 anchored by the more formful final leg always presents the best value.