Without Havre de Grace, this field becomes wide open as many of these fillies and mares have taken turns beating each other over the course of the racing season.
Churchill Downs – Breeders Cup Ladie’s Classic (G1) – 1 1/8 miles – Dirt – $2,000,000
Date: November 4, 2011
Estimated Post Time: 7:30pm EST
1. Miss Match (ARG) – Garrett Gomez – 10/1 PICK
2. Pachattack – Rajiv Maragh – 12/1
3. It’s Tricky – Ramon Dominguez – 5/1 PICK
4. Satans Quick Chick – Edgar Prado – 30/1
5. Ask the Moon Martin – Javier Castellano – 6/1
6. Royal Delta – Jose Lezcano – 5/2
7. Ultra Blend – David Flores – 8/1 PICK
8. Plum Pretty – Rafael Bejarano 2/1 PICK
9. Medaglia d’Amour – Patrick Valenzuela – 30/1 SCRATCHED
10. Super Espresso – John Velazquez – 20/1
It’s Tricky (KY) – Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin
Winner in 5 of 8 career starts won her one and only start as a two year old last year. She started 2011 with a pair of wins in an Allowance Optional Claiming and the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct. McLaughlin then took her to Gulfstream for her first encounter in graded stakes company. She finished 4th in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Oaks. That gave her some experience and obviously confidence as she rattled off back to back Grade 1′s back up in New York. First it was the one mile TVG Acorn Stakes on a muddy track which saw her defeat Southern California star Turbulent Descent. A multiple graded stakes winner at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Keeneland. She came back to win the 1 1/8 miles TVG Coaching Club American Oaks against more graded stakes winners in Plum Pretty (Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks), Royal Delta (Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes), Buster’s Ready (Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes) and Joyful Victory (Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes). Royal Delta came back to beat her handily in the 1 1/4 miles Grade 1 TVG Alabama Stakes and Plum Pretty came back to beat her by 7 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2 Cotillion Stakes. She has shown that she can sit off any pace, although a quick pace up front would certainly help her cause.
Royal Delta (KY) – Trainer William Mott
This Empire Maker filly also ran just once as a two year old last year. She broke her maiden first time out. She was given a few months to train over the winter before running a disappointing 9th in the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. She then flew up to Keeneland and won an Allowance race. Continuing the east coast travel, she then went to Baltimore and won the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. She certainly enjoyed going the longer distance of 1 1/8 miles. She faced Grade 1 competition for the first time at Saratoga in the TVG Coaching Club American Oaks. She finished well behind It’s Tricky and Plum Pretty. She would get her revenge on those two fillies when they squared off in the 1 1/4 miles Grade 1 TVG Alabama Stakes. She took the lead at the top of the stretch and drew off to win by 5 1/2 lengths. I guess she likes the distance. Last time out in the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park was a race for 2nd place as no horse was going to touch Havre de Grace. Larry Jones filly destroyed the field by 8 1/4 lengths. Royal Delta came in 2nd 5 3/4 lengths ahead of 3rd place finisher Satans Quick Chick. The Ladie’s Classic will be back at 1 1/8 miles, but at least she won’t have to face Havre de Grace this time.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 3-1-1 (He won the Grade 1 TVG Alabama Stakes and Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes).
Plum Pretty (PA) – Trainer Bob Baffert
She too raced once last year as a two year and broke her maiden first time out. She jumped right into graded stakes company and finished 3rd in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita. Next up was the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes. She ran well, but was over matched versus winner and Zazu and runner-up Turbulent Descent. The experience certainly get her mature quick as she took the Sunland Oaks by 25 lengths. That set her up perfectly for the Kentucky Oaks where she stalked the leader Daisy Devine and hung on late to win by a neck over hard charging St John’s River and Zazu. She had 2nd’s in the Grade 1 Hollywood Oaks and TVG Coaching Club American Oaks. A 4th in the TVG Alabama Stakes had people wondering if she had peaked in the Kentucky Oaks. That suggestion was squashed when she destroyed It’s Tricky and the field by 7 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2 Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing. She went gate to wire and set a stakes record of 1:41.19 for 1 1/16 miles. It was a tick off the track record. This was good timing for this filly as she gears up for the biggest race of her life. Zazu would come back to beat her in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes, but you have to love how this mare has stepped up her game in 2011 and should be respected come November 4.
2011 Record: 8 Starts 3-2-2 (She won the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and Grade 2 Cotillion Stakes).
Ultra Blend (CA) – Trainer Art Sherman
One of the few non-three year olds expected to run in this race. She is a five year old mare from the Art Sherman barn out of Souther California. She is as consistent as you can be at the top level of horse racing. She has won 11 of 24 career starts and been in the money 22 of those 24. In 2011, she has won 4 of 7 races and been in the money all seven times. This year, she started to run in graded company and has done very well for herself. She even took home her first win at the top tier. She started the year with a 3rd in the Sunshine Millions Distaff Stakes at Santa Anita, then rattled off three straight including the Grade 2 Milady Handicap. She only lost a nose to Irish Gypsy in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap who went gate to wire. Ultra Blend came from last to almost win. The fairy tale season continued as she took over for Zenyatta and won the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes. She defeated a good field of horses including Zazu, Switch and St. Trinians.
Ask the Moon (KY) – Trainer Martin Wolfson
This six year old mare is a consistent horse as well. In 33 career starts, she has won 10 and been in the money 22 times. She too started to run against graded company in 2011 after racing in Allowance and lower stakes throughout her career. She only had one stakes win to her credit coming into the year and that was the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes at Laurel Park back as a a two year old in 2007. So yes, when she won the Grade 1 Ruffian Invitational Handicap at Saratoga on July 31, she shocked the racing World. If that wasn’t enough, she came back to win the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Invitational Stakes. Both times going gate to wire. The distance of 1 1/8 miles and 1 1/4 miles didn’t seem to matter. Her first trip to the west coast seemed to take a toll on her as she finished a distant 6th in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes at Santa Anita. She didn’t even get the lead, the fractions were not fast. She just didn’t handle the situation and the trip very well. She will be back on the east coast for this race and has trained well leading up to it. If she can get a lead and post somewhat moderate fractions, she could once again go gate to wire.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 2-1-1 (She won the Grade 1 Ruffian Invitational Handicap and G1 Personal Ensign Invitational Stakes both at Saratoga).
Savvy Supreme (KY) – Trainer Todd Pletcher
Not sure what to expect from this three old old filly. She didn’t race as a two year old. She broke her maiden second time out at Gulfstream Park. From that point on, she has raced each month. She won the Classy Mirage Stakes, was 6th in the Grade 1 TVG Acorn Stakes and 2nd in the Sometime Thing Stakes all at Belmont Park. She won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks in August and most recently was upset as the favorite in the Remington Park Oaks at Remington Park. She finished 2nd. She is a good horse, but as you can tell, there are many proven graded 1 and 2 stakes winners in this field. It would have to be the best race of her life to even be in the thick of things.
2011 Record: 7 Starts 3-3-0 (Won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at Monmouth Park on August 13).
Miss Match (ARG) – Trainer Neil Drysdale
A Grade 1 winner in Argentina hasn’t been able to duplicate those efforts here in the US until this year. She has won Allowance races, but no stakes wins of any kind. That changed on March 12 at Santa Anita when she shocked heavily favored Switch at odds of 45-1 in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes. She sat just off the pace, then was held back until they turned for home. She flew past everyone including Switch who held a one length lead half way down the lane. Miss Match would get up at the end to win by a head. Since then, she hasn’t won or been runner-up but has been on the board a couple of times. A 4th in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park, 3rd in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park, a 7th against the boys in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap and last out was 4th against the boys once again in the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita. She has the talent as displayed in the Santa Margarita, but most of the time she doesn’t seem to have enough to be a serious threat.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 2-0-1 (She won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes at Santa Anita).
Pachattack (KY) – Trainer Gerald Butler
The travel miles have been racked up over the past 2 years with this five year old Pulpit mare. Her first 16 races were run in Europe as a two, three and early four year old. Her first wnis other than maiden came last summer in England where she won back to back stakes races; European Breeders’ Fund Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle and European Breeders’ Fund Chalice Stakes at Newbury. Her first trip to the US was three weeks later at Arlington Park for the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes. She finished 6th losing 4 1/4 lengths (Eclair de Lune). She went North of the border to Woodbine and finished 5th in the Grade 1 E. P. Taylor S. Presented by Fly Emirates, then won the Maple Leaf Stakes. She flew back to England, took the winter off then ran off the board in a couple of Stakes races. She then made her way back over the pond and has spent the rest of the season here in the US. She first won the Grade 3 Arlington Matron Stakes at Arlington by 6 lengths. Followed that up with a 8th in the Beverly D. Stakes. After that race, they decided to give this mare a shot on the dirt. It’s been a decision for the better. She ran 2nd in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Invitational Stakes at Saratoga (Ask the Moon) and 2nd in the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland (Aruna). She has shown she can compete at this level on the dirt. She could be a threat again.
2011 Record: 6 Starts 1-2-1 (She won the Grade 3 Arlington Matron Stakes at Arlington Park).
Satans Quick Chick (KY) – Trainer Jeff Odintz
She has been very consistent in the Allowance and lower Stakes level throughout her career. Her attempts at the graded stakes level were decent until she was forced to miss 9 months during the 2010 season. She won the Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland in 2009. She was runner-up in the Manatee Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in January 2010, and we wouldn’t see her again until the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes vs Zenyatta and Switch. She finished 3rd beaten five lengths. After that race, it was as if she couldn’t perform well at anything other than a non-graded stakes race. Over her next nine starts, she would have a record of 1-3-1 in 6 starts non-graded stakes races. She was 0-0-1 in 3 starts in Graded races. Two of those 7th place results in the Grade Arlington Matron Stakes and Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland. Her 3rd place finish was last time out oddly enough in the Beldame Invitational. Don’t let that fool you, she was beaten 14 lengths by Havre de Grace and Royal Delta. This mare could go off at odds of 50/1 or more. Won’t be a factor.
2011 Record: 8 Starts 1-3-1 (Won the Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn Park).
Medaglia d’Amour (KY) – Trainer Ben Cecil
This very lightly raced 5 year old mare, has been bitten by the injury bug on many occasions over the course of her career. She did not race as a two year old and ran just once as a three year old, which was an 8th place finish in Maiden Special Weight race. You could tell 2010, would have been a phenomenal year had she not got hurt after her third race. She broker her maiden in February, then won an Allowance in March, then won the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap in early May. Not bad considering the lack of racing experience. Unfortunately, we would not see her again for for 15 months until the Grade 2 John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar on August 14 this year. She finished 7th and last after stalking the pacesetter Wasted Tears. Cecil brought her right back 3 weeks later in the Grade 2 Palomar Handicap on the turf. She finished a much better 2nd just 3/4 lengths behind winner City to City. Her last race was the Yellow Ribbon Stakes and finished 9th and last. It’s hard to get a read on this filly, but it’s clear this race is over head.
2011 Record: 3 Starts 0-1-0