2010 Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Odds, Picks, Analysis Handicapping Churchill Downs
by Ken Strong of Predictem.com
Race 7, Churchill Downs, Friday, November 5, 2010
Age: 3-and-up, Fillies & Mares, Distance: 7 furlongs, Purse: $1,000,000 Surface: Dirt
The Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint has been run three times, twice at Santa Anita at seven furlongs on ProRide and once at six furlongs on the dirt at Monmouth Park. All three winners have come from off the pace and only the first winner, Maryfield, paid double digit odds at $18. That being said, both 2008 winner Ventura ($7.60) and 2009 winner Informed Decision ($8.80) were overlays and were thinking once again, with all the crazy money going into the Breeders Cup betting pools, that whichever horse you choose to bet on will likely be better odds than she should be. Of course, that could prove true in many of the Breeders Cup races.
Seven furlongs is a tough distance for many horses. Its generally too short for the milers to get up in time and a touch too long for the pure sprinters to hold on. Well be looking for horses who are proven at the seven furlong distance and milers that can sit close to the pace, rather than pure sprinters, even though the latter type could still go all the way if they happen to be the lone speed.
The three previous winners of the Filly and Mare Sprint came out of different preps to win this race and were thinking it wont matter where they last ran, as long as they have proven they can win in graded company. Maryfield (2007 winner) prepped for this race with a win in the seven-furlong Ballerina at Saratoga, Ventura (2008) finished a good second in the Woodbine Mile on the turf, and Informed Decision (2009) won the TCA at Keeneland going six furlongs before winning the Filly and Mare Sprint. One common thread among the three previous winners was a Grade 1 win.
Additional positives would be the proven ability to handle shipping and a win on traditional dirt, but horses who have been racing over synthetics have already proven on numerous occasions that they can make the switch to Churchill Downs dirt and win, so that shouldnt be an issue. Horses have a much more difficult time going from dirt to synthetic than vice versa.
Early morning-line favorite Rightly So comes into the race off a strong wire-to-wire four-length victory in the seven-furlong Ballerina at Saratoga on August 28, a race in which she left other Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint contenders Informed Decision and Jessica is Back in her wake and it wasnt close. While her racing lines say shes all speed, she has come from just off the pace to win before.
Dubai Majesty comes into the Filly and Mare Sprint off a three-quarter length win in the six-furlong TCA Stakes at Keeneland in which Informed Decision finished third beaten a length. In both the Ballerina three starts back and the TCA, Informed Decision has looked like a reluctant rallier, and even though she managed to sandwich a head win over win Dubai Majesty in between those two races in the 6 -furlong PID Masters, were thinking shes just not the same horse that won this race in 2009. Dubai Majesty looked okay winning her last, but is 0-1-3 from seven starts at seven furlongs.
Secret Gypsy, listed at 8-1 on the early morning line, looks interesting. She had some minor trouble before winning the six-furlong Endine at Delaware in her last, and she has been beaten by both Informed Decision and Dubai Majesty in the past, but she has won three in a row, and shes cracked 100 on the Beyer Speed Figure scale five times in her career including a 103 garnered from an eighth-length win going seven furlongs at Churchill Downs in 2008. Not sure whether she has the class to win this, but she certainly has current form going for her.
Unrivaled Belle has listed the Breeders Cup Ladies Classic as her first preference but she will be a solid contender at good odds if she goes here. Shes finished second in three Grade 1 routes in a row, but dont forget she wore down Rachel Alexandra at Churchill Downs to win the mile and a sixteenth La Troienne in the spring. She also has 5-time Breeders Cup winning trainer Bill Mott in her corner as she makes her second start off the layoff, and she has won going seven furlongs.
Champagne DOro prepped for the Filly and Mare Sprint with a decent fourth place finish beaten two lengths by Dubai Majesty in the TCA at Keeneland. The 3-year-old was impressive winning the seven-furlong Test Stakes in August at Saratoga and could sit a nice trip. While she was soundly beaten in her only previous start at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Oaks, we think shell probably run her best race this time. The question is whether that will be good enough.
Switch probably owns the most impressive Filly and Mare Sprint prep rare, finishing second beaten only half a length by the mighty Zenyatta in the Ladys Secret going a mile and a sixteenth on Santa Anita ProRide. While this 3-year-old doesnt have a Grade 1 win or a seven-furlong victory to her credit, she has come within half a length of recording both, and she fits the angle of synthetic to Churchill Downs dirt that has produced four of the last five Grade 1 Humana Distaff winners at Churchill Downs going seven furlongs. While her trainer John Sadler is 0-for-19 at the Breeders Cup, we will be using her as a contender on all our tickets.
Evening Jewell is tough to gauge coming into this race off four straight turf routes, three of which she won. The two- time Grade 1 winner does have some speed and she was beaten only a nose by Blind Luck in the Kentucky Oaks this spring at Churchill Downs. Again, that was going a mile and an eighth. Her Beyer Speed figures are a touch lower than many of these and she didnt really have much of a kick in her last start in which she finished fourth going a mile and an eighth on the turf at Keeneland in the Queen Elizabeth II. Not out of it but
Gabbys Golden Gal has a lot of angles going for her in a race that just keeps getting more interesting. She comes into the Filly and Mare Sprint with a Grade 1 workmanlike win in the seven-furlong Santa Monica Handicap at Santa Anita for 7-time Breeders Cup winning trainer Bob Baffert. She hasnt run since that race on January 31, which could be a problem in the late stages of this race, but she has won off a long layoff in the past.
My Jen, Moontune Missy and Sara Louise come into the Filly and Mare Sprint off a 1-2-3 finish respectively in the 6 -furlong Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park. My Jen rallied from a few lengths off the pace to get up by a nose over Moontune Missy, who really has no excuse after stalking a pressured pace from the outside and moving the lead in the stretch. My Jen can probably move forward off that race, but may not be good enough.
More intriguing is Sara Louise, who rallied and hung to be beaten only 1 -lengths while making her first start off a 10-month layoff for 3-time Breeders Cup winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who has a 50 percent win clip from eight horses making their second start off a long layoff. A Grade II winner, Sara Louise has also won going seven furlongs. Sara Louise prepped for this race last year in the Gallant Bloom before finishing a rather flat fourth, so were not quite sure what to make of her. Our guess based on the fact that she won the one-mile Pocahontas at Churchill Downs early in her career, is that shell run better on the Churchill Downs dirt this year than she did on the Santa Anita ProRide last year. And she has cracked the 100 Beyer Speed Figure mark twice in her career.
Jesscia is Back comes into the Filly and Mare Sprint off an even third-place finish beaten 4 -lengths in the Ballerina by the early morning-line favorite for this race Rightly So after a good trip inside. She did finish ahead of Informed Decision in that race but she also looked similar to how that one has looked lately like a reluctant rallier.
This 2010 Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint appears to be wide open, with five or six major contenders. Wed like to single Switch at odds of 10-1or better, but trainer Sadlers poor record in the Breeders Cup wont let us. Well have to watch the workouts and wait until final entries are taken so that we can look at how the race will set up on paper, before making our final selections.
Make sure to check back at Predictem.com for our final 2010 Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint picks.
2010 Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Pre-Entries with Early Morning-Line Odds
Rightly So (3-1)
Informed Decision (5-1)
Dubai Majesty (6-1)
Secret Gypsy (8-1)
Unrivaled Belle (8-1)
Champagne d’Oro (8-1)
Evening Jewel (10-1)
Gabby’s Golden Gal (15-1)
Sara Louise (15-1)
Jessica Is Back (15-1)
Sweet August Moon (20-1)
My Jen (20-1)
Moontune Missy (30-1)
Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint also eligibles:
Tidal Pool (30-1)
Derwin’s Star (30-1)
Double Espresso (30-1)
First Passage (30-1)
Nicole H (30-1)