Winner of this year’s Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland to earn a “Win and You’re in” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, Spiced Perfection looks to continue proving she’s one of the top female sprinters in the country with a good showing in the race.
Before she lines up for her first Breeders’ Cup appearance on Saturday, let’s learn more about the daughter of two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint third-place finisher Smiling Tiger.
Breaking her maiden in her third start as a 2-year-old, Spiced Perfection won her first stakes next out in the 2017 Generous Portion Stakes before finishing runner up in two others to end her season.
Spiced Perfection started her 3-year-old year on a tough note when seventh in an allowance optional claiming race in her first race on turf down Santa Anita Park’s downhill course against a field that included future Grade 3 winner Ms Bad Behavior. Returned to the dirt for her next start, she quickly rebounded with another stakes win in the listed Evening Jewel Stakes followed by a second in the listed Melair Stakes. Her only off-the-board finish other than her 3-year-old debut came at Del Mar in July when she was fourth in the Fleet Treat Stakes.
That fourth saw her dropped back into allowance optional claimer territory where she registered her best career Equibase figure to that point by earning a 104 with a 1 ½-length victory at six furlongs. Since then, Spiced Perfection has only run in stakes and has proved she has taken a major step forward.
Last September, she tried the downhill turf again and finished third in the listed Unzip Me Stakes behind Travieza and old rival Ms Bad Behavior. She returned to her stakes-winning ways one start later when she won the Betty Grable stakes before taking a huge step up to Grade 1 level for the La Brea Stakes – one of the final stakes of the season.
The third choice in the race, Spiced Perfection proved she belongs among the best in her division when winning by 1 ¼ lengths over the same track and distance she’ll compete on this weekend. That ended her time in the barn of trainer Brian Koriner as the filly sold to Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Peter Deutsch over the winter.
Transferred to trainer Peter Miller, Spiced Perfection was shipped to the East Coast where she started her season with a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie Stakes. It wasn’t long before she registered her first Grade 1 win for her new owners with a neck victory over Amy’s Challenge in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland.
After an uncharacteristic fourth by 6 ¾ lengths in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on Kentucky Derby day, Spiced Perfection was sent for five month break – the longest break she’s had since starting her career – over the summer. That proved to work out for the best as the mare came back fresh on Keeneland’s Fall Stars weekend to win the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes for an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
Spiced Perfection’s sire Smiling Tiger has plenty of Breeders’ Cup experience as a two-time third-place finisher in the race and ran in California for nearly all of his 23 races including three Grade 1 wins in sprints.
The stallion stayed in the state upon retirement and has proved to be a successful regional sire, though his influence is also felt internationally as the sire of South Korean champion Ace Korea. While Spiced Perfection is his best runner, he has sired six stakes winners overall including her full brother Cruel Intention.
While Spiced Perfection’s dam has produced two stakes winning sprinters, the mare has more stamina on her side as the daughter of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect. A four-time winner, Perfect Feat is out of the stakes placed Bold Feat and a half-sister to the dam of stakes winning Count Them Again.
Breeders’ Cup success runs deep in this family with Spiced Perfection also from the family of champion turf female and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Lady Eli, who was one of the best turf females in the U.S. this decade. Already a strong regional family up close and international family further back, if Spiced Perfection can win on Saturday, it will make an already deep family much deeper.
Spiced Perfection will be running in a wide-open field at the Breeders’ Cup but she does have an advantage over some of the others – she’s won a Grade 1 at the seven-furlong distance on this track.
The Filly and Mare Sprint is known for some surprising victories with a favorite not winning the race since 2014. But with an “anyone can win” type of race in front of her and four-time Breeders’ Cup winning trainer Peter Miller behind her, she may just be able to add her name to the winner’s list this year.