Juvenile Fillies: Big test out West
The pecking order of the West Coast's best 2-year-old fillies should become clearer on Saturday, when the Grade 1, $250,000 Oak Leaf is run at Santa Anita. The 1 1/16-mile race is the circuit's final prep for the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27. It will also be the first two-turn test for most of the race's expected starters, chief among them Set Play.
A daughter of Van Nistelrooy, she established her class earlier this month with a two-length win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante at seven furlongs. Trainer Pete Miller, who described Set Play as a big, strong filly, believes she will take to the two turns Saturday.
"I think she's going to love it," he said. "She's bred for it, and she acts and looks like a route horse. She's very rateable, and she finishes strongly in her sprints. She just acts like she wants to run on."
Brice Blanc has the mount in the Oak Leaf.
Rick Hammerle, racing secretary at Santa Anita, was looking for a field of nine for the race early Wednesday morning. Cry and Catch Me will be making her stakes debut. Trained by Bob Baffert, she won her maiden last out and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92. Izarra, a fast-closing third in the Debutante, is also expected to go, as are Tasha's Miracle and The Golden Noodle, a pair of stakes winners who were scratched from the Debutante.
Dill or No Dill has joined the stable of trainer Gary Contessa in New York after being purchased privately following a win against colts in the $50,000 Clever Trevor at Remington Park. Contessa said Dill or No Dill could make her next start in the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette at Belmont Park on Oct. 6. He said she is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup, but were she to run a standout race in the Frizette, she would come under consideration for the Juvenile Fillies.
Aside from the Oak Leaf, other races in the division Saturday include the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies at Turfway and the Grade 3, $250,000 Mazarine BC at Woodbine, led by Ontario Debutante winner Officer Cherrie.
Overseas, 2-year-old fillies will run in the Fillies' Mile at Ascot.
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For the first time, the winner of each of 25 selected Breeders' Cup Challenge races will automatically earn a start in the corresponding division of the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26 & 27 on ESPN. This year, "Win and You're In" ...
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