The big news this week in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) division is not who's in, but who's out. Two of The Blood-Horse
top five choices for the Oct. 26 race will now be on the sidelines when the race is run.
Awesome Humor and Handpainted both have injuries that will keep them from competing on Breeders' Cup Day. Awesome Humor was ranked No. 1 and Handpainted No. 3 by The Blood-Horse
. Between them, they had won seven of eight starts when last week's rankings were compiled.
Awesome Humor was the leader of the division based on her four-for-four record. The Distorted Humor filly won two stakes at Saratoga, the Adirondack (gr. II) on Aug. 12 and the Spinaway (gr. I) on Aug. 30.
Trainer Elliott Walden reported Awesome Humor had an ankle chip in her right front leg and would be out of training for the remainder of the year. The timing was important because the future pool conducted by the Breeders' Cup on the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies occurred this past weekend. Wagering was suspended on Awesome Humor after Walden revealed the injury.
Handpainted took her three-for-three record in to the Sept. 21 Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine. The A.P. Indy filly finished second, and two days later, it was announced she had suffered a laceration that would require her to be removed from training for six to eight weeks. Handpainted closed at 30-1 odds in the future pool.
Once Awesome Humor was declared from the Junvenile Fillies, bettors hammered Storm Flag Flying down to a ridiculously low 7-5. Ranked No. 2 the previous week by The Blood-Horse
, the daughter of Storm Cat was a runaway winner of the Matron Stakes (gr. I).
Storm Flag Flying, trained by Shug McGaughey, will have her final prep in the Oct. 5 Frizette at Belmont.
In the future wagering, only one other filly ended up less than 10-1. That was Santa Catarina, who last week was ranked No. 4 by The Blood-Horse
. A fast-closing second in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I), the Unbridled filly is trained by Bob Baffert.
Bettors always favor horses who race on the major circuits and are trained by top conditioners, but just as The Blood-Horse
thought Canadian-based Handpainted was not being given serious enough consideration, it believes a diamond in the rough is surfacing in Florida by the name of Ivanavinalot.
Ivanavinalot, the first stakes winner for her sire, West Acre (by Forth Niner), ran her record to four-for-five with a victory this past weekend in the Brave Raj Stakes. All of her starts have come at Calder, her lone defeat in a race in which she hit the starting gate.
Owned by her breeder, Gilbert Campbell, Ivanavinalot is trained by Kathleen O'Connell. She has been ridden in all her starts by Manoel Cruz. Her final prep should come in the Florida Stallion Stakes on Oct. 12.
As always, the Europeans are mum on who might be coming, but you can bet there will be some shippers. One The Blood-Horse likes is Russian Rhythm, who has the breeding to be dangerous (Kingmambo--Balistroika, by Nijinsky II) and is in good hands--she is trained by Michael Stoute. She is three-for-three and has shown quality in her races.
Fab Five Contenders:
1. Storm Flag Flying/Shug McGaughey/Ogden Mills Phipps
2. Santa Catarina/Bob Baffert/Robert B. and Beverly J. Lewis
3. Russian Rhythm/Michael Stoute/Cheveley Park Stud
4. Ivanavinalot/Kathleen O'Connell/Gilbert Campbell
5. Atlantic Ocean/Bob Baffert/The Thoroughbred Corp.