As the 36th Breeders’ Cup draws closer, more than three and a half decades of world-class racing have given rise to some powerful trends that handicappers should not ignore as they do their homework for the Nov. 1-2 World Championships at Santa Anita Park.
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, which was introduced in 2008, may not have as long of a history as races like the Breeders' Cup Classic or the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile, but it does have some trends that might be helpful in wagering on the Nov. 1 stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Above all, the $1 million test at one mile on the turf has a rather vivid shade of Brown to it.
Trainer Chad Brown has won the last three runnings of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and his resume numbers four wins in the last five years, with a grand total of five wins in the race’s 11-year history.
None of this should be surprising since Brown is not only a three-time Eclipse Award winner but he is also acknowledged as the nation’s premier turf trainer who has a bevy of the sport’s top grass stars in his barn.
The Miss Grillo is the most important steppingstone prep to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Four of Brown’s five BC Juvenile Fillies Turf winners captured the Miss Grillo prior to their big win at the World Championships.
One other Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, Tapitsfly in 2009, was second in the Miss Grillo, giving the prep a link to five of the 11 winners of the Grade 1 stakes, illustrating the importance of New York’s 1 1/16-mile prep for the World Championships. It also shows why Crystalle, the runner-up in the Miss Grillo, deserves some attention at the Breeders’ Cup.
One Natalma winner and one runner-up in the important Canadian stakes have emerged triumphant at the World Championships, plus a third filly, Stephanie’s Kitten, was third in the Natalma and then won the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland – a main track contest - before she prevailed in the Breeders’ Cup.
Now, before anyone begins to ponder the chances of switching from dirt to turf in the Breeders’ Cup, keep in mind that in 2011 Keeneland’s main track was a synthetic surface which usually favors horses with turf pedigrees.
This year’s Natalma winner, Abscond, is expected to run in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, where she might be joined by the runner-up in the Natalma, Walk in Marrakesh, and the third-place finisher, Fair Maiden.
The Juvenile Fillies Turf also boasts some foreign intrigue as two of the 11 winners have shipped in from Europe. The number could jump to three next month as at least four Europeans are targeting the race. They include Albigna, Daahyeh, Living In The Past, and Rose of Kildare.
The one to watch from that group could be Albigna, as she is exiting a victory in the Prix Marcel Boussac-Criterion des Pouliches, a one-mile Group 1 stakes at Longchamp that 2012 Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Flotilla captured before her win at the World Championships.
Finally, while last year’s Juvenile Fillies Turf went to the 3-5 favorite, the race has historically been fertile ground for longshots. In the 11 runnings, only twice has the favorite prevailed. There was a victorious 3-1 second choice as well, but after that the other eight winners paid between 6-1 and 13-1. In particular, if you see a filly at 6-1 on the tote board, a wager may be in order. Four of the 11 winners went off at 6-1 odds.
How’s that for a pick 6?