Two California-based distaffers seeking to dethrone champion Groupie Doll in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I)—Sweet Lulu and Ismene—posted their final workouts Oct. 27 at Santa Anita Park.
Steve Beneto's Sweet Lulu, trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, handily worked a half-mile in :49. The late-developing daughter of Mr. Greeley is the least experienced pre-entrant in the seven-furlong Sprint, with only five starts this year at age 3 after being unraced as a juvenile.
Despite the late start, the chestnut filly has made up for lost time, with four wins and a second to her credit as she has zoomed from the maiden ranks to success at the top level of racing. After breaking her maiden in her career debut at Betfair Hollywood Park, Sweet Lulu reeled off successive allowance wins before shipping across country to compete against some of the best distaff sprinters in the Test Stakes (gr. I).
With Julien Leparoux aboard for the second time, the filly pressed the pace throughout before securing a game head victory. She comes into the Filly & Mare Sprint off a second-place effort to Close Hatches, one of the leading contenders for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), in the Cotillion Stakes (gr. I) at Parx Racing.
Hollendorfer purchased Sweet Lulu for $270,000 from the consignment of her breeder, Gainesway Farm, at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Ismene, a daughter of Tribal Rule bred in California by her owner, Stephen Ferraro, was timed in :58 4/5 for five furlongs in her Breeders' Cup final work.
Trained by William Spawr, Ismene has three wins and four seconds to her credit in nine starts. The Filly & Mare Sprint will mark the graded-stakes debut for the 4-year-old, who previously won the California Breeders Champion Stakes and Anoakia Stakes, both at Santa Anita.