Sunday, October 23, 2011

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

By the end of this year, there will be five winners of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint: from Maryfield at Monmouth, to Ventura and Informed Decision at Santa Anita, to Dubai Majesty and a new champion at Churchill. Will one of these fillies or mares be that new champion? Here are my top four picks for the Filly & Mare Sprint:
1. Turbulent Descent: This Mike Puype trainee is an extremely talented filly. By Congrats, Turbulent Descent is undefeated at the Filly & Mare Sprint’s distance of seven furlongs. In her final prep for the Breeders’ Cup, she easily won the Test Stakes (GI) at Saratoga by nearly four lengths. The bay three-year-old, who has never finished worse than second in five starts, is coming into the race extremely well. Her last five works have all been bullet works at Hollywood Park. It would be great to see Blinkers On Racing Stable, a partnership, in the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle and it seems like there is a very good chance for that to happen.

The field turning for home in the
2010 BC Filly & Mare Sprint
Photo: Terri Cage
2. Pomeroys Pistol: Coming off a four-length victory in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (GII), Pomeroys Pistol recently worked 1:02.40 for five furlongs at Monmouth Park. The filly, by Pomeroy, finished second in two grade ones prior to winning the Gallant Bloom. She has only been off the board once this year, when she finished sixth in Eight Belles Stakes (GIII). This is slightly worrisome in relation to her hopes for the Breeders’ Cup, as the Eight Belles was a seven-furlong race at Churchill Downs, just like the Filly & Mare Sprint. However, the half-sister to stakes-placed D’cat’s Meow has not finished worse than second since. A win in the Filly & Mare Sprint would cap off a very successful year for Pomeroys Pistol.

3. Switch: Switch has become one of John Sadler’s only Breeders’ Cup hopes, as Zazu is out for the year with shoulder inflammation and Twirling Candy has been retired. After finishing second in the Filly & Mare Sprint last year, Switch impressed us with two spectacular wins in grade one sprints for fillies and mares. She then returned to route races and though she never finished worse than third, she never made it to the winner’s circle either. She returned to sprinting in her last start, the TCA Stakes (GII) at Keeneland. Having to travel very wide, the bay filly finished a disappointing but close third. Though a win in the race would have been appreciated, the filly is training well. On October 18, she turned in a 47.40 half-mile work at Keeneland. It would be wonderful to see the esteemed Calumet Farm, which unfortunately has been considered a has-been by many, earn a Breeders’ Cup win with this filly that they bred.

4. Tamarind Hall:  Everyone loves rags to riches stories and this filly is a great example of one. Of her twenty lifetime starts, she has run for a claiming price in half of them. The Florida-bred is based at Finger Lakes, which is not highly regarded on the national scene. After dominantly winning an allowance race at Finger Lakes, she was entered in the Bed o’ Roses Handicap (GIII) at Belmont Park. Dismissed at 15-1, Tamarind Hall won the grade three race by 5 ¼ lengths. She followed up that victory with a third in the Ballerina Stakes (GI) and a second in the Gallant Bloom to Pomeroys Pistol. Her most recent work came on October 18, when she worked a half-mile in 48.60 at Finger Lakes. If you love underdogs, she’s the one to cheer for.

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