Happy Breeders Cup Friday! The first of two days of championship racing at Del Mar includes four Breeders Cup races, capped by the Breeders Cup Distaff. Featuring top older runners Stellar Wind and Forever Unbridled matched up with three year olds Elate, Paradise Woods and Abel Tasmen, in some ways it’s a shame this race is buried on Friday but it really takes a back seat to nothing else we’ll see this weekend.
The Plan – We have posts previewing each of the Breeders Cup races individually (this is the first one). Then we’ll come back with another post looking at the Breeders Cup Friday Pick-4.
Audio – For the first time on this site, we have an audio preview. I talked with my friend Steve Falk and we broke down all 13 Breeders Cup races over three different files. You can listen to our first episode, looking at the Friday races, here.
Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
If someday I become the Breeders Cup Czar, the first thing I would do is eliminate the Dirt Mile, but the second thing I would do is move the two juvenile dirt races to Friday (and move the Distaff to Saturday) to create a “Stars of Tomorrow” type of Breeders Cup Friday. This year’s Breeders Cup starts off with a potential star in Rushing Fall for trainer Chad Brown.
Rushing Fall is by far the best of the American hopes in this race after two ultra-impressive finishes under Javier Castellano, one at Belmont in her debut and another in the Jessamine at Keeneland where she made up six lengths in the last quarter mile to win going away by an easy three lengths after taking a few strides to change leads. She is the horse to beat, without question.
Chad Brown trains Rushing Fall and he also trains Significant Form, who won the Miss Grillo at Belmont fairly comfortably. She has more speed than Rushing Fall, and she’s talented too, but probably a cut below her stablemate. Significant Form finishes just ahead of Best Performance, who drew well on the inside, in the Miss Grillo, and Best Performance was very good behind a very slow pace in her race at Kentucky Downs two-back. Don’t overlook this Christophe Clement trainee.
Fatale Bere and Moon Dash ran 1-2 in the Surfer Girl at Santa Anita, but they benefited from a fast pace against weaker and are probably in too tough.
Meanwhile, there probably haven’t been too many Europeans to come into this race with two Group 1 wins as Happily does for Aidan O’Brien and Team Coolmore. Both of those Group 1 wins were over soft turf, which should be a moderate concern since she’ll get firm turf here, but Aidan O’Brien surely knows this and figures she can handle the going. Also of note, Happily is currently the second choice overseas in futures betting for the 1,000 Guineas in May and oftentimes the Euros will take their top two year olds and rest them up for a run at their spring classics.
Of the other Euros, Juliet Capulet drew very poorly in Post 13. Now You’re Talking and Madeline come out of the six furlong Chevelely Park Stakes, won by 1000 Guineas favorite Clemmie. Juliet Capulet tracked the pace in there and was pretty game holding on for third while Madeline had to wait a bit but had room late and should have beaten Clemmie. Both have to stretch from six furlongs to a mile and are both 15-1 and up overseas.
Despite the impressive credentials of Rushing Fall and Happily, I’ll take a small shot with the “other” O’Brien, September. September was beaten a nose in the Group 1 Fillies Mile last time at Newmarket on good turf. Two-back, Happily beat her at The Curragh, but September missed the break in that race which came on soft turf that Happily seems to prefer. In that Fillies Mile, she had legitimate trouble in the stretch before finally getting clear late and putting in a furious rally to just miss to Laurens.
#10 September (6-1)
#11 Rushing Fall (7-2)
#2 Happily (9-2)
#1 Best Performance (12-1)