With Midday and Sarafina heading to the Turf to take on the boys, this race will be Stacelita’s to lose. She has clearly been the best mare in the US since her arrival. Although her competition will be tougher than her two previous, but definitely the horse to beat.
Churchill Downs – Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1)
1 3/8 miles – Turf – $2,000,000
Date: November 4, 2011
Estimated Post Time: 6:50pm EST
1. Dubawi Heights (GB) – Joel Rosario – 8/1
2. Stacelita (FR) – Ramon Dominguez – 2/1 PICK
3. Harmonious – Martin Garcia – 30/1 PICK
4. Cambina (Ire) – Garrett Gomez – 30/1
5. Nahrain (GB) – Frankie Dettori – 7/2
6. Announce (GB) – Maxime Guyon – 9/2 PICK
7. Aruna – Julien Leparoux – 6/1
8. Perfect Shirl – John Velazquez – 30/1
9. Shared Account – Edgar Prado – 30/1
10. Distorted Legacy – Rajiv Maragh – 30/1
11. Dynaslew – Corey Nakatani – 30/1
12. Misty For Me (Ire) – Ryan Moore – 10/1 PICK
Stacelita (FR) – Trainer Chad Brown
Another French bred mare now part of the Chad Brown barn here in the US has done everything according to plan since being shipped earlier this year. A multiple Group 1 winner in both 2009 and 2010 in France, missed 6 months after finishing 8th in the Group 1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin. She only lost by 2 lengths. Her last race in Europe was 3rd in the Group 3 La Coupe at Longchamps on June 13. She was sent to Chad Brown from J-C Rouget and continued her high level success in the US. Her first race was against the boys in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park and finished 3rd. Her next two races would be easy wins versus the girls in both the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park and Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park.
Dubawi Heights (GB) – Trainer Simon Callaghan
A European shipper late in 2009, had not seen action from October 2009 to September 2010. Almost 11 months between races. This four year old filly did not have a good start to her US career. It took three tries to break her maiden. That being maiden special weight November 28, 2010 at Hollywood Park. From there, it seemed a different horse, maturing with each race. She followed up her maiden victory with an Allowance score at Santa Anita after a four winter break. Four weeks later she took home her first graded stakes win in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap. A month later she picked up the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes. Everything seemed to be falling into place. She was beat handily by Stacelita in the Beverly D. Stakes. She lost by 1 1/2 lengths. Her last result was a win in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes. She beat several of the horse that have been entered in this race. She will be tough to beat but will have to win the rematch between her and Stacelita.
2011 Record: 5 Starts 4-1-0 (Won the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita, Grade 1 Gamely Stakes and Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap both at Hollywood Park).
Misty for Me (KY) – Trainer Aidan O’Brien
Another solid filly from the seemingly endless list of quality horses from the Aidan O’Brien barn. This three year old Galileo filly has only won 2 of her 5 races this year, but those two came by beating Midday and Together. One is a multiple Group 1 winner in Europe and the other a multiple Group winner in Europe and winner of the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland on October 15. She is not as consistent as others in this field, but those two wins can’t be ignored. She is a front runner and if given a chance to run without pressure, she could take this race and with a decent price at the betting window.
2011 Record: 5 Starts 2-0-1 (Won the Group 1 Stobart Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes and Group 1 Qipco 1000 Guineas both at Curragh).
Cozi Rosie (KY) – Trainer John Sadler
This is one of the fillies that Dubawi Heights beat in the Yellow Ribbon. She finished 3rd that day. She has been a model of consistency for most of her career. Only missing the top 3 three times in 14 races. She has won 5 of the 14. She has yet to win a Grade 1 race, however, she does have two Grade 2 and one Grade 3 victory under her belt. If there is one thing you can say about this horse is that you know she will be coming hard from well behind the field. She is a late runner who could sneak in for a piece if the pace sets up just right.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 2-3-1 (Won the Grade 2 Buena Vista Handicap at Santa Anita and Grade 2 John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar).
Nahrain (GB) – Trainer Roger Varian
Very lightly run three year old filly who has won all four of her starts. Her last race was a nose win over Announce in the Group 1 Qatar Prix De L’Opera at Longchamps on October 2. If trainer Roger Varian is bringing this filly to the US after just four races, she is the real deal. Would not be surprised if she runs big and takes this race. She stalks the lead, and makes her run down the stretch.
2011 Record: 4 Starts 4-0-0
Announce (GB) – Trainer Andre Fabre
This four year old chestnut filly is another consistent performer with only one blemish on her resume, that being a 8th place finish in the Group 2 NYSE Euronext Prix De Royallieu at Longchamps last October. Other than that, she has won five of 10 career starts, with three seconds and a fourth. In 2011, she has won Group 1 and 3 races while competing and narrowly losing to such horses as Sarafina (three time Group winner in 2011) and Cirrus Des Aigles (Champions Stakes winner). She stalks the leaders and takes a run at them down the stretch. With Sarafina and Midday looking at taking on the boys in the Turf, this filly might be one to upset Stacelita, who will most likely be the post time favorite.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 2-3-0 (Won the Group 3 Prix Allez France at Chantilly and Group 1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville on August 21).
Cambina (IRE) – Trainer Jeff Bonde
This is a competitive little three year old filly. Was sent to the Jeff Bonde barn late last year and made her US debut in the Sweet Life Stakes at Santa Anita. She finished 6th. It seemed as if she needed that race to acclimate herself with Southern California as she rattled off three consecutive wins including two graded stakes races; Grade 3 La Habra Stakes and Grade 2 Providencia Stakes. Two 3rd place results in the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes and Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap at Hollywood were quickly followed up by a win in the Grade 1 American Oaks Stakes. She could not make up enough ground in the Del Mar Oaks despite quick fractions being set up front early on in the race. Her most recent race was her first try against older fillies and mares in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes. Again, she could not make up enough ground from the back of the field. This time, the pace was not as quick. In order for her to get into serious contention, she will need a combination of quick fractions and an explosive move like we saw in the American Oaks. The additional distance will help her as well.
2011 Record: 9 Starts 4-0-2 (Won the Grade 1 American Oaks Stakes at Hollywood Park, as well as, Grade 3 La Habra Stakes and Grade 2 Providencia Stakes both at Santa Anita).
Distorted Legacy (KY) – Trainer Angel Penna Jr.
Even despite her 2nd place effort in the Flower Bowl Invitational in early October, this horse seems to be in way over her head. She has been a career Allowance and Claimer runner until early this summer when she won her first stakes race, the Sky Beauty Stakes at Belmont Park. Instead of trying to tackle a Grade 3 or even Grade 2 race, she was entered to run in the Grade 1 Ruffian Invitational Handicap at Saratoga. She finished 5th beaten 9 lengths. The Flower Bowl was a race for 2nd as Stacelita was not going to lose. She drew away and easily won by almost 3 lengths. Distorted Legacy did get up for 2nd place. Is she maturing? Does she prefer to turf now over the dirt? It’s tough to say. I still believe with this many true contenders who have won top tier Graded and Group level stakes, she doesn’t have a chance.
2011 Record: 8 Starts 2-3-0 (Won the Sky Beauty Stakes at Belmont Park on July 1)
Fantasia (GB) – Trainer Jonathan Sheppard
Whether is has been a non-graded stakes race, a Grade 1, 2 or 3 stakes race this mare comes to run each and every time. That doesn’t mean she wins all the time, but you can count on the track announcer mentioning her name as they come down the stretch. Since making the move to the US from Europe late 2009, she has been on the board each and every race. She has two stakes win, the River Memories Stakes at Woodbine last October and Grade 3 Modesty Handicap in July of this year. Her best efforts of 2011 have been runner-up performances in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park and Grade 2 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland in April.She was closing hard and defeated a very talented french mare in Zagora. She lost to Never Retreat, who is certainly a talented filly as well. Her last race before the Breeders Cup was a 4th place result in the Grade 1 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine which once again saw Never Retreat win. Fantasia was closing hard again, but lost by a couple of lengths. She hasn’t gone 1 3/8 before and the extra distance should certainly help her running style.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 1-2-1 (Won the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park on July 9).
Harmonious (KY) – Trainer John Shirreffs
This four year old filly is having a hard time duplicating her results from 2010. It was a season in which she won the Grade 1 American Oaks Stakes at Hollywood Park, was 2nd in the Del Mar Oaks and won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland. She ended the season on a sour note as she was bumped very hard out of the gate in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf last year. She would never recover and was not a factor in a 10th place finish. 2011 hasn’t been a write off by any stretch, but this filly was used to winning or at least competing for the top spot. She finished 2nd in her 2011 debut in the Grade 2 Robert J. Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita. A distant 3rd to Always a Princess and Blind Luck in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes was not a complete shock as those two horses are at the top of their division. The shock was her running in a non-turf surface for the first time since her career debut back on April 25, 2010. The dirt experiment didn’t last very long as she was put back on turf and ran 2nd in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Mile Stakes at Hollywood Park. A 4th in the Grade 2 John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar was followed up by a 3rd in the Yellow Ribbon. If she is having a tough time getting the win at her local track, she will definitely find it tough to win against the best turf horses in the country and World. By the time post time comes, it will have been just shy of 13 months since her last win. Confidence?
2011 Record: 7 Starts 2-3-0
Shared Account (KY) – Trainer Graham Motion
Since her shocking 46-1 win in this race last year, she has been hit with the injury bug. She did not race from November last year until May of 2011 in the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico. She missed another 3 months before heading up to Woodbine and turning in a 6th place finish in the Grade 1 Canadian Stakes. Last year’s win in the BC Fillies & Mares Turf was incredible to say the least, but it took a lot out of her. She is obviously not the same this time around.
2011 Record: 2 Starts 0-0-0
Perfect Shirl (KY) – Trainer Roger Attfield
Her performance from 2010 to 2011 has declined. A winner of three straight races last year including the Grade 2 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga has yet to win since that start. A total of 8 races. She followed up the Lake George win with a 3rd in the Del Mar Oaks. Her last race of 2010 was a disappointing 8th in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes. She missed exactly 6 months due to injury and that may be the reason for her decline. Her first race of 2011 was a 4th in an Allowance race at Keeneland. She finished 3rd after that in an Allowance Optional Claimer. A couple of months later, they tried her back in graded company at Delaware Park in the Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes. She finished 10th. Not sure what happened in that race or exiting it for that matter as that result seemed to turn things around. She finished 3rd in the Grade 3 Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park, 3rd in the Belle Mahone Stakes at Woodbine and then last time out a very strong 2nd in the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes against a talented field. Where did that come from? The fractions were not that fast, she was far back early and still made a strong move down the middle of the stretch passing the likes of Zagora (FR), Fantasia (GB), Miss Keller (IRE) and Shared Account. If she can duplicate that effort somehow, she can be a player.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 0-1-3
Dynaslew (FL) – Trainer Seth Benzel
This is another mare who has seen her performance drop from 2010 to 2011. This five year old Dynaformer horse was a winner of three stakes races last year including the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Stakes at Saratoga and Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes at Belmont Park has been followed up by just two top three finishes out of 5 starts this year. She started the year with a 13th place effort in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park, then 4th as the favorite in a Handicap Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. She missed 3 1/2 months after that race. She appeared again at Saratoga in the De La Rose Stakes where she finished 9th. Her last two starts have certainly been better. She led the entire race before being caught by Emerald Beech in the Grade 3 Glens Falls Stakes. Her last was 3rd in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park on October 1. Based on results, she has improved lately, but if she does get into the BC Filly & Mare Turf, she will not be a serious contender. She will play a key part in what transpires though as she is one of the true speed horses.
2011 Record: 5 Starts 0-1-1