Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies

(pictured is the 2004 winner of this race, Sweet Catomine. She was a lotta horse, baby.)

By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com

We'll get right down to business. The race is over the main track and is 1 1/16ths of a mile. The last 6 winning Beyers for the Juvenile Fillies were 95, 90, 87, 102, 99, and 102. Pretty well varied, as you can see. This year's winning Beyer figures to be somewhere in the mid-90s.

Stardom Bound is certain to go off as the favorite, and I think she'll win. Her last race out was a Grade 1, at this distance, over this surface and she won as the favorite, by 3 1/4 lengths. After finishing second in her first two races by a combined length and a nose, she has won two Grade 1s over synthetic surfaces by a combined 7 3/4 lengths. I should also point out that she's a California horse, and California horses have a knack for winning this race.

The likely second betting-favorite will be Sky Diva. She's 2-for-2 and her last out was the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park. To her advantage will be her stalking style, and to her detriment is her trainer's 0-for-16 record this over synthetic surfaces. Does this mean you shouldn't bet her? No, but you better get about 7 or 8-1 on her if you do. Being the only undefeated horse in the race, I have a feeling she'll be overbet.

The rest of the horses have been inconsistent. At times, winning nice races, at other times, losing to horses they'll be facing on Friday. With so few races under their belt (or girth, I guess) it's tough to say what it all means. The best example of that is Emmy Darling. In her second race (of 4 lifetime) she won a 100k race at Hollywood Park while recording a 94 Beyer, by far the highest career Beyer in the field. She went on to lose her next two races by 10 and 3/4 lenths combined- being beaten twice by Stardom Bound, Palacio de Armor, and Evita Argentina, who are in this race. She could have the most upside in the race, but without consistency it's difficult to know what to make of it. Palacio de Armor has finished second twice to Stardom Bound by a combined 4.5 lengths, with her front running style I'm not sure she'll like the added distance she'll be getting. Nice horse, but not her spot.

The lone European in this race is Ireland's Pursuit of Glory. She's a sprinter who is stretching out for the first time, but being a daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus with a closing style, I think she may fare better with the new distance then several other of her rivals. She went off at 5-1 in a Grade 1 race in her last, was beaten by 1 1/4 lengths and received a Timeform rating that translates to around a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. If she can run that race on Friday, she could very well win this race. She figures to be a fair price as well. The last horse I'll mention is Persistently. She also figures to be a fair price. In her last race she was beaten easily by the impressive Sky Diva who everything go her way in terms of traffic, whereas Persistently had to swing way out wide at the end to pass tiring horses to finish second in impressive fashion. That's not to say that Persistently should have won that race, but she showed a lot more than what it says in your racing form. With a little better racing luck, and the added distance, factored in with a much, much nicer price than Sky Diva figures to be, she would be a very sensible bet.

1. Stardom Bound- In such an unproven field, it's comforting that she won her last race out over this surface, against these foes at this distance. She won't be great value, but I think she'll win, and that is the point of betting afterall.

2. Pursuit of Glory- I'll take a chance on her and hope she can run back to how she did her last out. Michael Tabor wouldn't send a horse from Ireland to California and waste anyone's time. She ought to be running late and a lot of fun to watch.

3. Persistently- She has yet to have a trip go entirely her way, and I'm willing to bet that she can finish very strongly here if she gets a nicer trip. From a speed figures standpoint, she's every bit as quick as Star Diva, but has actually handled adversity before and has handled it well, so I like her here.

Below is the Oakleaf where Stardom Bound passed a tiring but game Palacio de Amor.

This is the Frizette at Belmont Park, which is won by Sky Diva where Persistently works her tail off (figuratively) to place.

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