The Juvenile Fillies race at the Breeders' Cup doesn't get nearly as much attention as some of the bigger races, but I just love it. Two-year-old colts are insane - they don't know what they are doing, and their races are often chaotic. Two-year-old fillies, on the other hand, are just little ladies. They race smarter and often more predictably. We have seen some truly great fillies win this race over the years. There are several horses in this field that could join those greats, but we have the chance to watch the birth of a true superstar if the favorite performs as truly expected. Here are the highlights of this intriguing 10-horse field:
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Songbird (9/5): Mike Smith, the legendary jockey, has been aboard for all three wins this filly has had so far. He has rarely had to do less on a horse. He just sits there and lets her decimate the fields. She's that good. Not only has she not been beaten, but she hasn't even been remotely challenged to date. Total blowouts. She has been working great since her last race, too, and she has speed figures that no other horse in this race can begin to touch. There are concerns, of course - most notably that she has to leave California for the first time. West Coast shippers have won just once in the eight times that the Breeders' Cup has been held at nearby Churchill Downs. Still, she is the absolute class of this field, and if she has her day she won't be beat.
Rachel's Valentina (5/2): This impressive filly is guaranteed to be bet down lower than she should. After all, her mother is wildly-popular super-filly Rachel Alexandra - the 2009 Horse of the Year who won the Preakness that year. She has only run twice and is coming off a 57-day layoff. The second win was in a Grade 1, so she obviously has talent. I can't shake the feeling, though, that if I was really concerned about having a filly at her best for this race I would approach the preparations differently than they have here. There won't be any betting value at all here.
Tap To It (4/1): The same criticism I have for Rachel's Valentina applies here. She was second to Rachel's Valentina last time out in her second start and first stakes race. And that's it. Two races. Nearly two months layoff. She just isn't seasoned enough to be taken really seriously - not with a horse as good as Songbird in here. The gap between her and Rachel's Valentina may not be as big as the price suggests, though.
Nickname (10/1): Here's where the value is in this race. She was well beaten in her debut by Rachel's Valentina. She has bounced back well, though, winning two in a row impressively and clearly improving each time. She needs to continue improving, but she's sharp and her training shows she is moving in the right direction. If she goes off at close to her morning line price she is definitely worth a close look.
Land Over Sea (12/1): If, like me, you believe in Songbird then you would really struggle to buy into this horse. Her only win came on turf. The last two times she has raced she has been no match for Songbird. Hard to imagine how she suddenly overcomes the obvious gap between her and the favorite. I like that she has raced four times, though, and she has trained sharp, so she could be useful in the bottom half of exotics.
Dothraki Queen (12/1): She has run three times, and after breaking her maiden on turf she has a win and a second place in stakes races on dirt. The second last time out was at Keeneland, and she liked the track fine even though it was sloppy on the day. Trainer Ken McPeek has had 25 Breeders' Cup starters and doesn't have a trophy to show for it. She could get a piece here, but I think his losing streak is set to continue.
Bold Quality (15/1): Here's another one with just two starts and a 50-day layoff coming into this race. Add in that I wasn't at all impressed with her last race and that I don't love how she has trained since, and you have a horse I'm not too excited about. One note of interest, though - her sire, Elusive Quality, is the sire of, among many others, Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones.
Ma Can Do It (20/1): Maybe Ma can do it, but I'm not at all convinced this horse can. She has run three times and has improved each time, but she has yet to win. Her last race was the same one at Keeneland in which Dothraki Queen finished second, but this horse didn't like the track nearly as much as that one. It would take a huge leap forward here, and I'm just not willing to bet it will happen against this field.
Forever Darling (30/1): She has only raced twice and took two tries to break her maiden. She has never seen stakes company, and never run further than 6.5 furlongs. Her works have been underwhelming. It seems to me like her connections really wanted to go to the Breeders' Cup, and she was their ticket in.
Right There (30/1): She leads the way in this field with five starts. Unfortunately, none of them have been very impressive. The last two times out she has been crushed by Songbird and soundly beaten by Land Over Sea as well. Outclassed.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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