Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies: Talent and Then Some
By Casey Laughter
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) is the pinnacle point for a 2-year-old filly, and normally, will be voted the champion 2-year-old filly. The last time a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner was not honored with the Eclipse Awards was in 2013 when She’s a Tiger and Ria Antonia were involved in a disqualification, leaving Ria Antonia the Breeders’ Cup winner and She’s a Tiger the Eclipse Award winner.
This year the 1 1/16-mile test is loaded with potential top runners, including three undefeated fillies with diverse backgrounds and pedigrees.
Let’s look at these fillies and give a quick look into their shot to win this top race:
Colorful Charades (Discreet Cat – Laila’s Punch, by Two Punch) – This filly was last seen finishing third in the Frizette Stakes (GI) at Belmont Park, 9 1/4 lengths behind the second-place horse. She has never been two turns, which she will have to do here. Her pedigree seems to be limited when it comes to distance. Discreet Cat was a miler who sires mostly sprinters. He did sire Discreet Marq, a top turf mare in her time. Colorful Charades has not shown a definite running style in her two starts, but has shown she likes to be on or near the lead. She will have to run the race of her life to win here.
With Honors (War Front – All Her Class, by Street Cry ([RE]) – With Honors was narrowly defeated in the Chandelier Stakes (GI) at Santa Anita last out in her first try on dirt. In her first two start she raced on the turf, which resulted in two wins, one in the listed Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes. With Honors prefers to be on or near the lead so aclean break will be essential of her if she wants is to get out ahead of the stampede to the first turn. She has shown that she can duke it out in the stretch and will not back down. She is a top contender here.
Valadorna (Curlin – Goldfield, by Yes It’s True) – Mark Casse sends this filly in off a maiden win at Keeneland in her second start and she won by six after closing from mid-pack. The Stonestreet Stables homebred has been working well at Keeneland and should get a good pace to run at here, but she will have to really step it up if she wants to win this race.
Yellow Agate (undefeated) (Astrology – Lemon Sorbet, by Lemon Drop Kid) – Yellow Agate won the Frizette in her second start after breaking her maiden in September at Belmont Park. The filly has never been two turns, but pedigree suggests she should stretch out fine. While Astrology is a freshman sire and we do not yet know how far his offspring will want to go, Yellow Agate has a good start. She won the Frizette by just a head, showing can battle down the stretch. She has worked well in the mornings at Belmont Park and should be considered a top threat to improve at Santa Anita.
Sweet Loretta (undefeated) (Tapit – Ithinkisawapudycat, by Bluegrass Cat) – Sweet Loretta was last seen finishing in a dead heat at Saratoga in the Spinaway Stakes (GI) at seven furlongs and also won the Schuylerville Stakes (GIII) over the summer. This filly closes from the back of the pack and will likely get a good pace to run at. It also appears she could improve in her first start around two turns. Todd Pletcher has never won the Juvenile Fillies but knows how to get fillies to the major races.
Champagne Room (Broken Vow – Lucky to Be Me, by Bernstein) – Champagne Room broke her maiden in the Sorrento Stakes (GII) at Del Mar this summer and then finished third in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes behind Union Strike and American Cleopatra. She looks good in the mornings, according to her connections, and they love the post position for her. She runs mid-pack, and this post should be fine if she gets out of the gate okay. She also has already gone this distance, but her only win was in a sprint. She is a question mark, but worth a look.
Jamyson ’n Ginger (Bernardini – Ginger Brew, by Milwaukee Brew) – The Rudy Rodriguez trainee is coming in off her maiden-breaking win, which came in her third career start. The filly won that race off a front-running effort. However, she has not raced on the lead before, including in her previous third- and fifth-place finishes. The filly will need to wildly improve to win this race. She is bred to cover the distance effectively but her ability at this point is questionable.
Dancing Rags (Union Rags – Home Court, by Storm Cat) – This filly has won her last two, a maiden at Laurel Park and the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (GI) at Keeneland. The Union Rags filly is half-sister to sprinter Coup de Grace. In the Alcibiades, Dancing Rags sat right off the leaders, before taking command coming into the stretch. The second-place horse, Daddys Lil Darling, ran out of racing room and finished a length behind the Union Rags filly. Dancing Rngs is able to sit off the pace, which will prove essential here. She has a good post position to be effective with her perfect trip.
Union Strike (Union Rags – Classic Strike, by Smart Strike) – The second Union Rags filly in this race is coming in off a nearly two-month layoff. The filly won the Del Mar Debutante (GI) over American Cleopatra and Champagne Room and since that win, she has been transferred to trainer Craig Dollase. She has the pedigree to continue improving as she gets older and more mature. Distance will likely be no problem for her, and she should be considered a top threat here. She will be making her move later in the race, as she usually sits mid-pack.
Noted and Quoted (The Factor – Silver Cub, by City Zip) – This filly has learned how to fight for what she wants. She had to battle With Honors to nose that filly out in the Chandelier Stakes at last time out. Pedigree suggests this filly will not want more than the 8.5 furlongs she is going to get in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She likes to run on the lead and she will not get an easy lead here. While she has sat off horses before, such as in her maiden breaking race two races back, she seemed to enjoy being up on the pace. This race will truly test her heart and talent.
Daddys Lil Darling (Scat Daddy – Miss Hot Salsa, by Houston) – This filly has won two of her four starts while finishing second last time out in the Alcibiades. She has run will on both fast and wet tracks, so she should have no problem with the Santa Anita track. However, looking at pedigree, she looks to be bred for the turf. She is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GI) winner Mongolian Saturday. She has a good shot to make a late run here, but will she have enough running room and a track that plays fairly? She should be taken as a serious threat.
American Gal (undefeated) (Concord Point – American Story, by Ghostzapper) – This filly is one of the “other” Baffert horses, but comes in off a win in the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita going six furlongs. This will be her first time going two turns. The filly will need to show her versatility, as she likes to go to the lead. She will have some tough company to contend with, but Bob Baffert can get this filly ready. Pedigree suggests she should handle the 8.5 furlongs. Her sire is a half to Off the Tracks while her damsire was a Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner. She will definitely have to step it up to be considered a top threat here.
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is the first race on Saturday, Nov. 5, with an approximate post time of 12:05 p.m. PT. With multiple fillies in here with unblemished records and others with stronger stakes victories than others, this is a strong field of fillies. The key is to look at how the track will play and fillies who can sit just off the lead. Santa Anita is notorious for favoring early speed.