Euro fil­lies stronger than colts

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By Steve Andersen

DEL MAR, Calif. – Two trends have emerged in the decade-long his­tory of the Breed­ers’ Cup turf races for 2-year-olds: Dis­miss the Euro­pean fil­lies; fear the colts.

In the nine run­nings of the one-mile BC Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf, Euro­pean-based run­ners have won only twice. In the Ju­ve­nile Turf, six of the 10 run­nings have gone to run­ners from Eng­land or Ire­land.

Last year at Santa Anita, the New York-based run­ners New Money Honey and Os­car Per­for­mance won the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf and Ju­ve­nile Turf. U.s.-based 2-year-olds could sweep this year’s races again Fri­day.

The Euro­peans have a team of five run­ners in the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf and six in the Ju­ve­nile Turf. The fil­lies seem to be stronger, led by the two-time Group 1 win­ner Hap­pily and the Group 1-placed Septem­ber. They are trained by Ai­dan O’brien, who has yet to win the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf.

Hap­pily has beaten run­ners en­tered in both of Fri­day’s 2-year-old turf races. In her last start, Hap­pily won the Group 1 Prix Jean-luc La­gardere at a mile against males at Chan­tilly Race­course in France as the fa­vorite. Masar, who fin­ished third, is in the field for the Ju­ve­nile Turf.

Hap­pily has won four of her last five starts. Two starts back, she won the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes in Ire­land, with Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf op­po­nent Septem­ber in third.

Septem­ber is un­lucky not to have won the Group 1 Fil­lies’ Mile on Oct. 13 at New­mar­ket, Eng­land. She was beaten a nose by Lau­rens af­ter rac­ing in traf­fic a fur­long from the wire.

In June, Septem­ber beat males as the fa­vorite in the Che­sham Stakes at seven fur­longs at Royal As­cot on good-to-firm turf. The turf course will be firm Fri­day at Del Mar.

Juliet Ca­pulet, Made­line, and Now You’re Talk­ing are the other Euro­pean-based run­ners in the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf field.

Juliet Ca­pulet won her first stakes in her sixth start in the Group 2 Rock­fel Stakes at seven fur­longs at New­mar­ket. That’s the good news. The bad news is Juliet Ca­pulet drew post 13 in the 14-horse field. Frankie Det­tori rode Juliet Ca­pulet in the Rock­fel Stakes and has the mount Fri­day.

Made­line has yet to win a graded stakes. Now You’re Talk­ing has yet to win.

Made­line, trained by Roger Var­ian, was third in the Group 1 Cheve­ley Park Stakes at six fur­longs on turf Sept. 30 at New­mar­ket. The Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf will be her first start at as far as a mile.

“She seems like she’ll get a flat two-turn mile,” Var­ian said. “She’s got a lot of class.”

A win by Now You’re Talk­ing would be a shock. Trained by Joseph O’brien, Ai­dan’s son, Now You’re Talk­ing was fifth in the Cheve­ley Park Stakes, her only ap­pear­ance in a Group 1 in five starts.

An­other Euro­pean maiden, Goodthingstake­time, is on the also-el­i­gi­ble list for the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf. Trained by James Stack, Goodthingstake­time has been based in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia for more than a month, but has yet to start in this coun­try.

None of the six Euro­pean hope­fuls for the Ju­ve­nile Turf is a Group 1 win­ner. It has not been for a lack of try­ing. Five of them have run at that level.

Masar looks to have the best chance. Trained by Char­lie Ap­pleby for Sheikh Mo­hammed’s Godol­phin Rac­ing, Masar won the Group 3 So­lario Stakes at seven fur­longs on turf at Sandown Park on Sept. 2 and was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Hap­pily in the Jean-luc La­gardere. He can be fac­tor in the Ju­ve­nile Turf as a stalker.

Ap­pleby won the Ju­ve­nile Turf at Santa Anita in 2013 with Out­strip.

The Ju­ve­nile Turf will be the first Grade 1 race for James Garfield, who will be rid­den by Det­tori. James Garfield, the first Breed­ers’ Cup starter for New­mar­ket-based trainer Ge­orge Scott, won the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at seven fur­longs on turf Sept. 23 at New­bury Race­course for his first stakes win.

The Ju­ve­nile Turf be­came part of the plan for James Garfield af­ter a nose loss in the Group 2 Acomb Stakes at seven fur­longs Aug. 23 at York, Scott said ear­lier this week.

The Ai­dan O’brien-trained Men­delssohn, bought for $3 mil­lion at the 2016 Keeneland Septem­ber year­ling sale, was sec­ond to sta­ble­mate U S Navy Flag at 50-1 in the Group 1 De­whurst Stakes on Oct. 14 at New­mar­ket. Men­delssohn was last of seven in the Group 2 Cham­pagne Stakes at Don­caster in Septem­ber.

Beck­ford has been beaten in three con­sec­u­tive Group 1 races in Ire­land and Eng­land. He was sec­ond by a half-length in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at six fur­longs in Au­gust, and fifth be­hind U S Navy Flag as the 7-2 fa­vorite in the Group 1 Mid­dle Park Stakes at six fur­longs on turf Sept. 30 at New­mar­ket.

Beck­ford is the first Breed­ers’ Cup run­ner for Gor­don El­liott, one of Ire­land’s lead­ing steeple­chase train­ers. El­liott, 39, has won such prom­i­nent jump races as the Grand Na­tional and Chel­tenham Gold Cup in Eng­land in the last decade.

The Ju­ve­nile Turf is fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory for trainer Richard Fa­hey, who starts the long­shot Sands of Mali. Fa­hey was third in the 2015 Ju­ve­nile Turf at Keeneland with Birch­wood.

Sands of Mali won the Group 2 Gim­crack Stakes at York in Au­gust, but was last of 12 in the Mid­dle Park Stakes.

Ra­jas­inghe, an­other long­shot in the Ju­ve­nile Turf, won the Group 2 Coven­try Stakes at Royal As­cot in June and was third in the Group 2 July Stakes at New­mar­ket in July. Ra­jas­inghe was 11th in the Mid­dle Park, beaten six lengths by U S Navy Flag. Ra­jas­inghe is the first Breed­ers’ Cup starter for trainer Richard Spencer, who will fit the colt with blink­ers for the first time.


Juliet Ca­pulet, to be rid­den by Frankie Det­tori, will start from post 13 in the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf.

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