3- Juvenile Fillies
The “jailbait” Stakes, as I have come to know it, is running with a full 14. What does this mean? It means that the #1 Dreaming of Anna and the #14 Gatorize face a slight disadvantage. That is why the #1, who has looked dominant in her first 3 starts (all wins) is not the favorite. Still, she’s just showed too much speed and consistency to think that she can’t run solid even from the rail. The same for #14, who’s late running style eases the wide post handicap a bit. The rightful favorite, # 3 Cash Included, romped in the GI Oak Leaf BC at Santa Anita in Sept, proving that she’s just fine with going 1 1/16 against similar foes. A filly who I think is showing some solid gains is #10 Her Majesty. The Giant’s Causeway filly is green, and has yet to see this Churchill Downs dirt, but she’s bread specifically for this distance. Could be a decent bargain. You also have to like the form of #6 Bel Air Beauty. Only her third start, but this filly showed a lot of grit, and more importantly speed, winning the GII Alcibiad at Keeneland last month. Would be surprised if she’s still not in peak form.
Longshot: #13 Quick Little Miss
I like the #3 Scat Daddy. This Todd Pletcher trained son of Johannesburg shows much of the same heart that his bloodline would suggest. 4 career starts with 3 wins and 1 second, so consistency abound here. The only question of course, is will rider John Valezquez be able to coax her into the extra distance of 1 1/16? That is why you must also look at the #6 Principle Secret. A blazing young colt who showed a fast, but easy cruising speed in the GII Norfolk last month. Although he was nipped at the wire by the #2 Stormello, he just might be able to take this if he’s not significantly challenged early. Should the fractions be grueling, which they very well could be, then favorites #9 Circular Quary and #7 Great Hunter will be tough. #2 Stormello also should be good for a strong homestretch kick.
Longshot: #4 King of the Roxy
5- Filly and Mare Turf
#2 Ouija Board has been one of the greatest champions Europe has seen in some time, and hasn’t missed a step when shipping over to the US. At 5 years old, she’s the wise on of the bunch, and enters her last Breeder’s Cup starting gate. This will be her third go around in the F&M Turf, winning it in 2004, and second last year. Her class and record at Churchill make her impossible to ignore, but does she still have what it takes to compete with the best 3 and 4 year old fillies? #7 Wait a While has absolutely dominated in her last 4 starts, all wins, and all against graded competition. However, this will be her first time at the cooky 1 3/8 3-turn turf course. If she can handle the change without sacrificing speed, she should make it 5 in a row. #4 Film Maker is also very tested and very consistent. This daughter of Dynaformer was clipped at the wire by #5 Honey Ryder last time out on the Belmont grass, but trainer H. Graham Motion has been raving about her recent works.
Longshot: #3 Mauralakana, #8 My Typhoon
Mention #4 Henny Hughes around trainer Kiaran McLaughlin these days and he can’t help but gush about his 3 year old colt out of Hennessy. He has every right to gloat: all HH has done is win his last 3 starts preps in dominating fashion, after a 2 year old campaign that found him often coming up 2nd, including 2nd in the BC Juvenile a year ago. Will likely be even money, but assuming he gets a clean trip, should be primed for another big effort. The challengers: the lighting quick #Bordonaro who’s won 5 of his 6 lifetime posts. #10 War Front is worth a look at 10-1, and you can’t write off the #8 Pomeroy.
Longshot: #12 Malibu Mint, #13 Attila’s Storm
Ah, the mile, an annual match-up of imports. #12 Gorella is a French bred (not the kind served with soup) but American tested, and has been the best miler in the States all year. He looks like he’s still improving, and should be ready to fire. The #7 Aragon is out to prove he’s the best of the yanks at this distance and can’t be left off your ticket. Don’t look past #8 Badge of Silver at 12-1 either. Of course, there are plenty of classy imports in here, and one of them will likely hit the board…like the #3 Araafa.
This is the most wide-open of the batch. #2 Pine Island is my early choice, and the undefeated #7 Fleet Indian will be the even money favorite. But I like a couple longshots too: #11 Bushfire, and #8 Baghdaria.
Bernardini has been nothing short of brilliant all year, beginning with his romp in the Preakness, Travers, and Jockey Gold Cup. Unless he simply doesn’t feel like running, he’ll be crossing the line first. I’d box him with #11 Invasor, and throw in a longshot to complete the tri. #8 Lava Man is 2 years Bernardini's elder, and even though he's had a flawless 2006, I'm hesitant to put him over the #3 and #11. Kentucky Derby favorite, #5 Lawyer Ron, is worth a cheap bet with his high odds, and never, I mean never, count out #6 Perfect Drift, who is the Godfather of this field. Should be a dandy.