Two favorites cement their positions
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.