This looks to be a two horse race between Turbulent Descent and Switch, but there are a couple of other fillies and mares that will be tough opponents.
Churchill Downs – Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1)
7 Furlongs – Dirt – $1,000,000
Date: November 4, 2011
Estimated Post Time: 5:30pm EST
1. Irish Gypsy – Martin Garcia – 20/1
2. Great Hot (BRZ) – Chantal Sutherland – 20/1 PICK
3. Turbulent Descent – David Flores – 6/5 PICK
4. Champagne d’Oro – Corey Nakatani – 30/1
5. Musical Romance – Juan Leyva – 20/1
6. Switch – Joel Rosario – 3/1 PICK
7. Tar Heel Mom – Alex Solis – 12/1
8. Tanda – Joe Talamo – 20/1
9. Golden Mystery – Kendrick Carmouche – 20/1
10. Tamarind Hall – David Cohen – 20/1
11. Her Smile – John Velazquez – 12/1
12. Pomeroys Pistol – Javier Castellano – 6/1
13. Shotgun Gulch – Garrett Gomez – 30/1 PICK
Turbulent Descent (FL) – Trainer Mike Puype
This field is full of talented Florida bred fillies and mares, but this one could be the best of the bunch. If not the best horse in the field. In 8 career starts, she has won 6 of them. Of those 6, three were Grade 1 races and the other a Grade 2. She has won going seven furlongs, a mile and even 1 1/16 miles on both dirt and synthetic. A versatile filly who is the horse to beat come race day.
2011 Record: 5 Starts 3-2-0 (Won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga and Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland).
Switch (KY) – Trainer John Sadler
There is nothing quiet about this Quiet American four year old filly. She is as tough a customer as you will find in horse racing. She is most known for her near win over heavily favored super mare Zenyatta last summer in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes at Oak Tree Hollywood. She actually held a 1 1/2 lengths lead late in the stretch before being caught at the wire. How many times have we heard that before?! This filly is also known for being snake-bitten (runner-up) on many occasions. She has not missed the board in her last 10 races, but has only won 3 of those races. She won the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar, then came 2nd in both the Lady’s Secret and Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (Dubai Majesty). She finished 2010 with a win in the seven furlongs Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita. That winning streak carried over into 2011 as she won the seven furlongs Grade 1 Santa Monica Stakes. She has yet to win in five races since. Three straight runner-up finishes in the 1 1/8 miles Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes (Miss Match by a head), 1 1/16 miles Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park (Havre de Grace 3/4 length) and 1 1/8 miles Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park (Blind Luck 1/2 length) were followed up by back to back 3rd place finishes in the 1 1/16 miles Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (Ultra Blend and Zazu one length) and six furlongs Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (Holiday for Kitten and Musical Romance 3/4 length). She can sprint, she can run long distance with the best fillies and mares in the country. Despite not winning in 5 races, this will either be the favorite or co-favorite along with Turbulent Descent.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 1-2-1 (Won the Grade 1 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita on January 30).
Pomeroys Pistol (FL) – Trainer Amy Tarrant
This three year old filly can never be counted out. You just know that she will be in the thick of things each and every race. In 11 career races, she has been in the money 9 times and off the board just once. Her lone result out of the top three in 2011 was a 6th place effort in the Grade 3 Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6. Her seven furlongs races this year have been the 6th in the Eight Belles, 1st in the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park and 2nd in the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga. She had three starts at six furlongs and finished 1st in the Just Smashing Stakes at Monmouth Park and 2nd in both the Grade 2 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream and Grade 2 Prioress Stakes at Belmont Park. She even tried a mile in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream. She finished 3rd. She had a 6 1/2 furlongs win last time out in the Grade 2 Foxwoods Gallant Bloom Handicap on September 24 at Belmont. She has shown the ability to sprint at any distance from 6 furlongs to seven furlongs. She stalks the lead each time and waits for her opportunity to move. She will be tough in this race.
2011 Record: 8 Starts 3-3-1 (Won the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Grade 2 Foxwoods Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park).
Great Hot (BRZ) – Trainer A.C. Avila
Here is an intriguing filly who won her one and only start in Brazil as a two year old last season. Over the winter, she was shipped to Southern California to the Avila barn. In her first race on American soil, she won an Allowance Optional Claimer at Santa Anita in March. She would miss four months of action before running in the one mile Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap where she finished 5th. She sat off the lead, but didn’t have anything down the stretch. In the one mile Sandy Beach Stakes at Del Mar, she once again sat off the lead and didn’t sustain a serious move. She finished 3rd. Next time out in the one mile Torrey Pines Stakes, she had the serious move down the stretch to over take the leader and favorite Sugarinthemorning to win by 3/4 length. She ran 1 1/16 miles for the first time in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes. She finished 3rd losing just two lengths to Zazu and Ultra Blend, two very solid fillies. She comes into the F&M Sprint off a win in the 7 furlongs Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on October 22. She sat back early and made a huge move down on the rail to slip on by and win by a head. She ran the 7 furlongs in a time of 1:21.3 which is 4/5 of a second off the track record. She obviously likes the 7 furlongs distance and should perform very well in this race.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 3-0-2 (Won the Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland and Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar.).
Champagne d’Oro (KY) – Trainer Eric Guillot
You would have to say that 2010 was a great success for this Medaglia d’Oro four year old filly. She won two Grade 1 stakes, the one mile Betfair TVG Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park and 7 furlongs Test Stakes at Saratoga. She also finished 2nd in the 6 furlongs Grade 1 Prioress Stakes. She followed up those performances with a 4th in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland and 4th in the BC Filly & Mare Turf. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to keep that momentum going in 2011. She hasn’t run poor, but not running as well as she did last season. She has yet to win or be runner-up in five starts. Her best result was a 3rd in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga. Her last race was at Santa Anita in the 1 1/16 miles Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes. She took the lead, but set quick fractions of 22.3, 46.1 and 1:10.0. She got tired and finished 4th. Her best distance is 7 furlongs and that is the distance of the F&M Sprint. She has yet to run 7 furlongs or even a mile this year. They have all been at 1 1/16 miles except for the Princess Rooney at Calder which was 6 furlongs. She could put in an upset bid.
2011 Record: 5 Starts 0-0-1
Tamarind Hall (KY) – Trainer Jeremiah Englehart
She has been a career claimer and Allowance filly until this summer. Her first attempt at graded stakes company came on July 3 at Belmont Park in the seven furlongs Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses Handicap. She would upset the field including heavy favorite Hilda’s Passion, who tired and fell back to 6th place. A very good sign for this Englehart trained horse. Next up, was the seven furlongs Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga. This race was Hilda’s Passion from the start especially with the horrific gate for Sassy Image which put her out of contention on that day and for the rest of the year. Tamarind Hall would finish 3rd a neck from 2nd. Her last race was a solid 2nd place in the 6 1/2 furlongs Grade 2 Foxwoods Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park. She was beaten by 4 lengths on that day to Pomeroys Pistol but clearly better than the rest of this field. This race at seven furlongs is best suited for her. She won’t get the respect that others will get at the betting window, but don’t be surprised if she comes up with a strong race.
2011 Record: 10 Starts 4-2-2 (Won the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses Handicap at Belmont Park).
Tanda (FL) – Trainer Mike Mitchell
This is another filly who always seems to be in the mix, but doesn’t get up for the win often. In the money 10 of 13 career starts with 5 wins to her credit. Last year, she won 4 of 7 races including a pair of Grade 3 stakes; Santa Paula Stakes at Santa Anita and Railbird Stakes (beat Switch) at Hollywood Park. She finished the season with a 3rd in the one mile Grade 1 Betfair TVG Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park, but unfortunately, she was hurt during the race and would miss significant time. 10 months later, she would return to action in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Handicap and finish 4th. A 6th in the Grade 2 Milady Handicap was followed up by a a pair of 3rd place finishes in the Redondo Beach Stakes and Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap. She would finally get back to the winner’s circle in the 6 1/2 furlongs Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar this summer. In her most recent race, she and favorite Unzip Me were upset by Broken Dreams in the Grade 3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes. Over her career, she has seemed to perform best at seven furlongs. We’ve said about a few horses in this field. It should be a close race down to the wire.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 1-0-3
Tar Heel Mom (KY) – Trainer Stanley Hough
As with many of these fillies and mares, consistency is par for the course and the reason they have achieved so much in their career. Not to mention have an opportunity to run in a $1,000,000 race. This mare is one of the oldest entered in the race. At six year’s old, she is still running strong. Has won 11 of 30 career starts, in the money 24 of those 30. This yea is 7 of 9 in the money and won 4 times. First race of the year, she won the six furlongs Grade 3 Sugar Swirl Stakes at Gulfstream Park. She won back to back non-graded stakes at Gulfstream and Belmont; Harmony Lodge Handicap and Nany Stakes both going six furlongs. Then followed those up with back to back runner-up performances in non-graded stakes at Parx and Delaware Park going six furlongs. She won the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga going gate to wire in the six furlongs race. She was never threatened and drew off towin by almost 6 lengths. Shen then finished a distant 2nd to Hilda’s Passion in the seven furlongs Grade 1 Ballerina. Hilda was running her own race en route to a 9 1/4 lengths victory. Her last race was a disappointing 5th in the Gallant Bloom. She didn’t get out of the gate well, couldn’t get the lead, went 3 wide on the turn for home and 7 1/2 lengths back of the winner Pomeroys Pistol. If she can get the lead without pressure, even if she goes quick, she could go gate to wire.
2011 Record: 5 Starts 0-1-1
Her Smile (VA) – Trainer Todd Pletcher
This filly won three of her four starts last year as a two year old. Took two times to break her maiden, then won an Allowance and the Donna Freyer Stakes at Philadelphia Park. Her first race of 2011 came in a 4th place effort in the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs. She then finished 3rd in the Suncoast Stakes and then a 2nd in the Grade 3 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct Stakes. After that race, she would move from the Leigh Delacour barn to Todd Pletcher. She was shipped to Churchill Downs for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and finished a distant 11th. It became apparent that this filly did not want to go long distance. They shorten it up by running in the one mile Grade 1 TVG Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park. She had a terrible gate and was running from far behind the entire race and finished a distant 3rd to It’s Tricky and Turbulent Descent on a muddy track. Pletcher brought her right back just 3 weeks later and shortened the distance a little more in the 6 furlongs Grade 1 Prioress Stakes. She ran her best career race in last to first fashion and ran the race in 1:09.2. They found the perfect spot. She came back and ran in the 7 furlongs Test Stakes at Saratoga and finished 4th to Turbulent Descent and Pomeroys Pistol, the filly she just beat in the Prioress. Her last race, she was bumped out of the gate and early, and didn’t seem to recover in the Charles Town Oaks. I believe after her career breakthrough win that this filly should continue racing true sprints at 6 furlongs. She has shown to compete at 7 furlongs, but not enough to win.
2011 Record: 8 Starts 1-1-2 (Won the Grade 1 Prioress Stakes at Belmont Park).
Irish Gypsy (KY) – Trainer Bob Baffert
A lightly raced five year old mare has finally become a graded stakes competitor. After running only once over an 18 month span due to injury, Bob Baffert has done a remarkable job at keeping this horse in shape and competitive despite the lack of racing experience. Never won a stakes race until this year. Her first race of 2011 was the Time To Leave Stakes at Hollywood where she finished 2nd. She came back 29 days later to capture the Valid Expectations Stakes at Lone Star Park. Upon returning home to Hollywood, she won two more races, the Desert Stormer Handicap and her first graded stake the seven furlongs Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap. That race was part of the Win and You’re in Series and automatically qualified her for the Filly & Mare Sprint race. Her three race winning streak was snapped when she traveled across the country and ran 4th in the six furlongs Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga. Her last race was back home in Southern California in the 6 1/2 furlongs Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar. For some reason, she hasn’t been able to duplicate her performances from her three race winning streak. I like her best at seven furlongs versus six or 6 1/2 furlongs and that bodes well for her chances in this race.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 3-1-1 (Won the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap and Desert Stormer Handicap both at Hollywood Park).
Musical Romance (FL) – Trainer William Kaplan
This four year old filly has already raced 32 times in her career. Winning eight and in the money twenty times. Only been off the board just five times. She ran six times as a two year old, 13 times as a three year old and already 13 times as a four year old. You would think a drop off would have occurred at some point but she keeps running her heart out. She hadn’t won a stakes race until this year. Her first five starts of 2011, she missed the top three in each, but in her last 8, she has yet to be out of the top three. She won her first stakes race in the 5 1/2 furlongs Ema Bovary Stakes at Calder Race Course. She came right back to win the U Can Do It Handicap going six furlongs. Her first encounter in Grade 1 company was a good one with a solid 2nd to Sassy Image in the 6 furlongs Princess Rooney Handicap. She then won the Barb’s Dancer Stakes and finished 3rd in the Connie Ann Stakes both at Calder. A trip to Presque Isles Downs was well worth it as she took home the winner’s share of $240,000 in the Grade 2 Presque Isles Downs Masters Stakes going 6 1/2 furlongs. Her last race was a narrow 2nd place defeat to 18-1 longshot Holiday for Kitten in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland. She has shown she can win going 5 1/2 furlongs, 6 furlongs and 6 1/2 furlongs. This race will be a little further at seven furlongs, but with her racing style, she should be able to adapt. She has shown ability to sit just off the pace or come from far behind.
2011 Record: 13 Starts 4-3-1 (Won the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes at Presque Isle Downs on September 10).
Shotgun Gulch (OK) – Trainer C. R. Trout
You just don’t know what to expect from this four year old chestnut filly. She either shocks everyone with a win when you least expect it, or she comes up flat and doesn’t even come close. She is a winner of 7 races in 21 career starts, yet she has missed the board on 8 occasions. She won 3 non-graded stakes last year at Remington Park and Oaklawn Park. This year, hitting the board has been much harder than last year, due in part that she has faced tougher competition at mainstream race tracks. She has tried 5 1/2 furlongs, 6 furlongs, seven furlongs and even 1 1/16 miles. The only race that she performed well in was her surprising win in the seven furlongs Grade 1 Vinery Madison Stakes at Keeneland at odds of 11-1. It wasn’t a tough field and she ran the race in a time of 1:24.14. Not exactly a blazing time. I highly doubt she will be able to keep up with some of the horses entered in this race.
2011 Record: 7 Starts 1-0-1 (Won the Grade 1 Vinery Madison Stakes at Keeneland).
Golden Mystery (FL) – Trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero
This five year old chestnut mare out of Awesome Again appears to be over her head in this race. A career Allowance or low level stakes runner is coming off a pair of wins at Monmouth Park and Parx Racing. She won the Mongo Queen Stakes going six furlongs in 1:09 and a winners Allowance going 6 furlongs in 1:09.2. Her only appearance in a graded stakes race was last year in the Princess Rooney and she finished a distant 6th. I just don’t see anything happening here.
2011 Record: 7 Starts 3-0-1 (Won the Mongo Queen Stakes at Monmouth Park).