Fillies and Mares Head Breeders’ Cup Mile
By Jordan Sigmon
The last two horses to take back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Miles (GIT) were Wise Dan (2012, 2013) and Goldikova (2008, 2009) who would eventually win the race for the third time in a row (2010). Those are some pretty big shoes to fill for last year’s winner Tepin and star-studded field of milers has arrived in Southern California from all ends of the worldin hopes of dethroning the reigning “Queen of the Turf.”
One of six fillies/mares in the race, Tepin will be looking to return to winning ways after a mildly disappointing second in the First Lady Stakes (GIT) at Keeneland. Before that, Tepin had been riding an eight-race win streak that included the Queen Anne (GIT) at Royal Ascot. Owned by Robert E Masterson and trained by Mark Casse, Tepin will likely be the favorite at post time.
Photo Call shocked the world last out when she ran the race of her life to defeat Tepin in the First Lady (GIT). Spurting away to a ten-length lead early, the Galileo mare was able to put too much separation between her and the rest of the field and held on to earn her second career grade 1 score. Photo Call is owned by Teresa Viola Racing Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher. The final American-based filly in the race is the Graham Motion-trained Miss Temple City, who is coming off of a win against the boys in the Shadwell Turf Mile (GIT) at Keeneland. Owned by Allen Rosenblum, Sagamore Farm, and The Club Racing LLC, Miss Temple City holds another win against the boys in the Maker’s 46 Mile (GIT) earlier this spring.
Ironicus, Tourist and Ring Weekend—the respective second-, third-, and seventh-place finishers in the Shadwell Turf Mile (GIT)—are also coming back in this spot. Owned by Stuart S. Janney III and trained by Shug McGaughey, Ironicus has yet to win a grade 1 but holds a deadly late kick that has seen him within a head of one. Tourist tasted grade 1 success for the first time this summer in the Fourstardave Stakes (GIT) at Saratoga. Seemingly best when he’s on or near the front end, the Bill Mott trainee owned by WinStar Farm LLC, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber would benefit from a nice stalking trip. Ring Weekend was a grade 1 winner in his only start last year and after struggling with some soundness issues has made four starts this year. His best race came when setting a track record in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (GIIT). He is owned in partnership by St Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds and trained by Graham Motion.
The California-based pair of Midnight Storm and What a View are both best when on the lead. Midnight Storm, who races under the ownership of A Venneri Racing Inc. and Little Red Feather Racing for trainer Phil D’Amato, has won three straight races in Southern California including the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (GIT). What a View scored his first grade 1 win in the spring win taking the Franke E. Kilroe Mile (GIT) in gate-to-wire fashion. The Vronsky gelding owned in partnership by Finish Line Racing LLC, The Elwood Johnson Trust and Taste of Victory Stables, and is trained by Kenny Black.
Five Europeans are expected for the race, headed by the star sprinter Limato. Having never won beyond seven furlongs, the mile distance will be a question, but there’s no doubting the talent that has catapulted him to two group 1 victories this season. Limato is owned by Paul G. Jacobs and trained by Henry Candy.
Another leading contender for the race is Coolmore’s three-time group 1 winner Alice Springs. As per usual she is trained by Aidan O’Brien and sired by none other than Galileo. Also running for Aidan O’Brien are Coolmore’s group 2 winner Cougar Mountai and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GIT) winner Hit It A Bomb for owner Mrs. Evelyn Stockwell. Godolphin Racing has a formidable contender in the Charles Hills-trained colt Dutch Connection. A multiple group winner and once group 1-placed, the son of Dutch Art will look to improve from off=the-board finishes in his last two starts. The final filly in the race is M M Racing Stable LLC’s group 1-placed Spectre for trainer Markus Munch.