Craig Spencer is back with more Breeders’ Cup analysis, this time covering the Filly and Mare Sprint….
Filly & Mare Sprint – Thoroughbred Club of America winner or TCA top 3 with a good last work:
The Thoroughbred Club of America (TCA) at Keeneland 4 weeks out has produced the winner 5 times but none of the last 4 events (although Bar of Gold did compete on the same day as the TCA at Keenenald last year before springing a huge upset). I have likely leaned too heavily on the TCA exiting horses of late and will broaden my contender search, but because of the return to Churchill this year, I will still look closely at those exiting the TCA. In 2014, Judy the Beauty showed that you can be successful coming off a bit of a layoff when she won and in 2016 Finest City also won off of a break of more than a couple months.
Filly & Mare Sprint
From the G2 TCA we have:
- Golden Mischief who ran a figure that is an improvement over the prior 4 running’s of this race, and before those 4 running’s this was the key prep with 5 straight winners coming out of the TCA. This filly has continued to progress nicely with wins in her last 3 races and should be right there even if she doesn’t continue to improve. I think the added furlong will be right in her wheelhouse.
- Chalon was beaten a dirty head while rallying with the winner the entire length of the stretch. The winner was able to get through on the inside while this filly was forced to go around and likely was the deciding factor. Her final workout a week out was ranked 6th of 14 at the distance which does not qualify on my spectrum as a Good Last Workout, I will downgrade her to a C because of that.
- Miss Sunset went off the favorite and was 3 wide the entire trip and hung. She shipped in from SoCal. She might have needed the start and could be one to forgive her start if she is training forwardly over Churchill’s surface leading into the big race, but barring significant signs of life in the morning, I’d be passing on this one. Her work 6 days out at Churchill was ranked 80th of 113 workers that morning which is not “significant signs of life”, so I will pass.
As for the other entrants:
- Marley’s Freedom brings a 4 race winning streak into this event for Mr. Baffert, however this filly last raced on August 25th at Saratoga when winning the G1 Ballerina. I am not a fan of this long between races but, again, Bob is one of the few trainers that I wouldn’t toss immediately because of it. The final equibase figure in the TCA was a couple of points better than her Ballerina so I’ll still lean a bit more heavily on the winner from the TCA (2nd and 3rd place finishers did not excite me in their morning workouts.)
- Finley’sluckycharm comes in off that same 70 day break after last being seen losing to Marley’s Freedom at Saratoga in the Ballerina. She was beaten 8 lengths, however she has won 6 of 7 starts over the Churchill Downs oval so I will need to use her at least defensively in my horizontal wagers.
- Mia Mischief who finished second in the G2 Prioress at Saratoga in early September for Steve Asmussen, hit the worktab within 2 weeks of that race but was another 4 weeks before seeing any more morning moves. It is a sprint so likely a little less significant of an issue but it is evidence that there was some type of issue or they likely would have either found another race in the interim or at least kept her working more regularly. I’ll pass on this one.
- Selcourt would look very good in an allowance race on the West Coast but coming in off a 224 day break for an 0 for 41 in the Breeders’ Cup trainer doesn’t make me super confident, especially considering she isn’t exactly a proven Grade 1 commodity. 224 days is a lot longer than 62 (Finest City) and 76 (Judy The Beauty) days, I’ll pass!
My selections for this race will be Golden Mischief and Marley’s Freedom as my A’s, Chalon and Finley’sluckycharm as a C’s.