Every horseplayer has their favorite types of races. Personally, I’m a turf buff and, if you give me a juvenile maiden special weight, I’m in heaven. So, while some dread handicapping the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf, I’ll dive right in.
Recent wire-to-wire Jessamine winner Laragh (Tapit out of El Prado mare) is the lukewarm 7-2 favorite, which appears slightly inappropriate considering C Karma (8-1) soundly defeated her in the G3 Natalma before Laragh was switched from Mark Casse to John Terranova, and gained the services of Edgar Prado. Undoubtedly, Laragh was impressive over the firm Keeneland turf, but she also appears to be the perfect candidate to bounce.
C Karma (Exchange Rate out of Slick mare) is one of the most experienced runners in the field, having never finished out of the money in five races, albeit only one of those was on turf and all were at Woodbine. She put in a sharp 5f (1:00.09) on Saturday at Santa Anita so I won’t totally dismiss her chances, but I would have preferred more diverse prior competition.
I’m tossing Emmy Darling (8-1) who not only has never run a route, but also has no turf breeding or experience. Her appearance here rather than the Juvenile Filly seems a bit desperate. The European contingent—April Pride (12-1), Beyond Our Reach (15-1) and Heart Shaped (15-1)—don’t represent the best of the continent, with only two maiden wins between them. Renda (10-1), a Medaglia d’Oro filly purchased for a mere $11,000 at Keeneland’s 2007 September yearling sale, has never raced on turf (or any artificial surface) so I’m not sold on her. Eibar Coa is first-time up on Wayne Catalano-trained Sugar Mom (10-1) who comes in with a three-race win streak (the first in a 5.5f maiden claiming event), but I’ll let her beat me.
Canny jock Jose Lezcano returns to ride Maram (10-1) for Chad Brown, and this one intrigues me. Undefeated in two efforts, Maram is the daughter of the rather obscure sire Sahm (son of the first filly victress of the G1 Irish Derby in nearly 100 years—Salsabil) and the equally-uninteresting Quest for Fame mare American Dreamer. Her victory in the 8.5f G3 Miss Grillo over a yielding Belmont turf was part of a blanket finish that included two other entrants in the Juvenile Filly Turf—Freedom Rings (8-1) and Consequence (8-1). The major question about her is can she travel—she was not shipped early to acclimatize to the California heat. Ditto Freedom Rings.
However, there are two fillies here I particularly like—Saucey Evening (9-2) and Consequence (8-1). In juvenile races, I often find myself focusing on breeding, and both these fillies have lots of positives to recommend them.
Saucey Evening’s dam Jeweled Lady is a full-sister to multiple G1 winner General Challenge, and a 1/2 to G1 Oak Leaf two-year-old winner Notable Career. Her sire More Than Ready is throwing some excellent grass horses—notably in Australia, such as last season’s two-year-old champion colt Sebring and tough filly Augusta Proud. Her trainer Graham Motion is a master with turfsters (see Better Talk Now). After breaking her maiden first-out on a firm Colonial Downs’ turf course, Saucey Evening shipped to Del Mar where she finished a narrow half length back in second behind Streamin Heat in the 5.5f CTBA Stakes, before taking on the big girls in the 7f G1 Del Mar Debutante against the likes of Stardom Bound and Palacio de Amor who are entered in the BC Juvenile Filly. She came back from a disappointing seventh-place finish there to win the 8.5f California Cup Juvenile Fillies last out over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride. The switch back to grass and an eye-popping 3f workout (36.72) over Santa Anita’s turf course on Monday bodes well for her chances—as does the continued association with top jock Garrett Gomez.
My big obsession, however, is with Shug McGaughey-trained Consequence. If ever there was a filly born to win this race! After breaking her maiden first out at Saratoga, she finished a game fourth—just a 1/2 length behind winner Maram—in the 8.5f Miss Grillo. Both her races were over soft turf, so we’ll see if she can handle the rock-hard turf at Santa Anita, BUT….her dam Educated Risk was a multiple G1 winner (also trained by McGaughey), who finished second to Eliza in the 1992 BC Juvenile Fillies (As an interesting side note, and potentially fascinating twist, the dam of BC Classic entrant Tiago, Set Them Free, was the pace setter in that 1992 Juvenile Filly race).
Educated Risk is also a 1/2 sister to 1995 BC Distaff winner (and Hall of Famer) Inside Information. Consequence’s 3rd dam Clear Ceiling also produced G1 1000 Guineas winner Quick as Lightning, and the G1-placed turfster Infinite. Now THAT’S a pedigree for victory!
The DRF clocker pegged Consequence’s bullet 4f workout on Monday—46.18 (1/42)—the best of the day, noting she galloped out 5f in 58.14. With turf master John Velazquez up again, this chestnut El Prado filly looks a winner.