Connie and Michael to build on last
ARCADIA, Calif. - Count Santa Anita linemaker Jon White among those who were dazzled by Connie and Michael's rousing debut at Keeneland on Oct. 17. So impressed was White by Connie and Michael's front-running, 7 3/4-length score, that he installed her as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line behind Oak Leaf winner Blind Luck in Friday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.
White said he was impressed by the fact Connie and Michael beat 11 horses in her seven-furlong debut. The performance earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 95, which is the highest figure earned by any of the 12 fillies in the field.
"That kind of jumps out at you," White said. "Having seen it, it was such an impressive race. It looked like a filly with a lot of raw talent."
Connie and Michael, trained by Ken McPeek, drew post 6 and will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.
McPeek also will be represented by Beautician, the runner-up to Hot Dixie Chick in both the Grade 3 Schuylerville and Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga. Beautician is coming off a troubled fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades. She will break from post 4 under Robby Albarado.
Negligee, the upset Alcibiades winner, drew post 10, a draw that was slightly unsettling to her connections.
"I would have liked to have drawn a little more inside myself," said Matt Gatsas, president of Sovereign Stable, the partnership group that owns Negligee. "We're coming from off the pace, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem."
Always a Princess, the Oak Leaf runner-up, drew post 11, which likely means she will be sent away from the gate by Garrett Gomez. Always a Princess set the pace from the rail in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf and, aside from Connie and Michael, this race appears void of true speed.
Blind Luck, the Oak Leaf winner, lucked out at the blind draw, landing in post 3 when spots 8, 11, and 12 still had not been called. Blind Luck was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite, a price that reflects the wide-open nature of this race. In the 25 previous runnings, the highest-priced favorite has been 5-2.
The last three times the Breeders' Cup was held at Santa Anita, the winner of this track's Oak Leaf came back to win the Juvenile Fillies.
Blind Luck will seek to give trainer Jerry Hollendorfer his first Breeders' Cup victory.
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