Two fa­vorites ce­ment their po­si­tions

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Marty McGee Fol­low Marty McGee on Twit­ter @DRFMcGee

The re­sults from the two fi­nal preps for the $1 mil­lion Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last week­end likely clinched the or­der of fa­voritism for the Nov. 4 race at Del Mar.

Unique Bella won the L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita by three lengths Sun­day, one day af­ter Fin­ley’s lucky charm flashed ver­sa­til­ity in win­ning the Thor­ough­bred Club of Amer­ica at Keeneland by 1 3/4 lengths. Both pre­vailed as odds-on fa­vorites in ce­ment­ing their re­spec­tive sta­tus as the one-two fa­vorites for the seven-fur­long Filly and Mare Sprint.

Unique Bella was away a bit slowly be­fore dom­i­nat­ing her op­po­si­tion in the 6 1/2-fur­long L.A. Woman. It was the first start for the gray 3-year-old filly since she won the March 4 Santa Ys­abel af­ter also break­ing a tad slug­gishly. Ob­vi­ously a clean break would help when she faces a far more ac­com­plished field in the 11th run­ning of the Filly and Mare Sprint.

“She’s re­ally funny about the gate,” jockey Mike Smith told Santa Anita pub­lic­ity af­ter the L.A. Woman. “She ei­ther han­dles it very well, or not so well. She of kind of rocks back and forth and she weaves in there. You try and make her stand still, but if you try too hard she gets a bit ag­gra­vated. It’s a very touchy thing to have the gate guys deal with. They do a good job, though.”

Mean­while, trainer Bob Baf­fert last week de­clared Vale Dori from con­sid­er­a­tion for the Breeders’ Cup, leav­ing him with Con­stel­la­tion and pos­si­bly Fayp­ien as Filly and Mare Sprint starters.

From Canada, trainer Josie Car­roll said owner-breeder Ivan Da­los re­mains “on the fence” in re­gard to the Breeders’ Cup sta­tus of Ami’s Mesa, who was sched­uled to breeze over the Woodbine dirt train­ing track again Thurs­day or Fri­day. The 4-year-old filly went five fur­longs last Thurs­day in 59.60 sec­onds.

Most of the prospec­tive field was out for se­ri­ous breezes over the last week. In al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der, they were: By the Moon, a half-mile in 48.60 on Oct. 5 over the Belmont train­ing track; Ca­rina Mia, a halfmile in 49.20 on Satur­day at Belmont; Curlin’s Ap­proval, a half-mile in 48.20 on Tues­day at Gulfstream; Fayp­ien, six fur­longs in 1:13.20 on Mon­day at Santa Anita; High­way Star, three fur­longs in 37.80 on Oct. 5 at Belmont; Paulas­sil­ver­lin­ing, five fur­longs in 1:01.20 on Satur­day at Belmont; and Skye Di­a­monds, a half-mile in 51.40 on Satur­day over the Santa Anita train­ing track.

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