Stronach Stable and Brian Allen's 3-year-old filly Buffythecenterfold got a lot of attention last year for her Playboy cover namesake, but the daughter of Capote has earned the respect of horse players for her accomplishments on the racetrack over the last two seasons.
'Buffy' ships to Calder Race Course from California for veteran horseman Mel Stute and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza as the probable favorite in the $300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) at six furlongs. Thirteen 3-year-old fillies go postward in the Summit of Speed feature.
She won graded stakes at Hollywood Park and Del Mar last year before finishing a disappointing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Arlington Park last fall. She has come back strong this year with sprint stakes victories in the Santa Paula at Santa Anita and Railbird (gr. III) at Hollywood, and was second going two turns behind Santa Catarina in her last outing in the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) on June 14.
Buffythecenterfold, who'll carry top weight of 121 pounds, spots her rivals between three and nine pounds.
Two challengers in the wide open Azalea are Bill and Vicki Poston's lightly-raced Angela's Love, who gets Jerry Bailey to ride, and Joseph Raffa's Calder-based Storm Flag, to be ridden by Gary Boulanger.
Angela's Love is a daughter of Not For Love who has won her only two career starts at Churchill Downs by substantial margins for trainer Dale Romans, both races last month. The Maryland-bred, purchased as a weanling for $50,000, scored by 6 ½ lengths in her debut on June 8 and by 4 ¼ in an allowance 11 days later.
Storm Flag represents one of the Calder home team horsemen's best chances in the 'Big Four' races at the Summit with a record of four wins and two seconds in six starts for trainer Richard Root. The daughter of Mountain Cat looked good winning the Toga Toga overnight handicap last out on June 8 by nearly five lengths and appears likely to set the pace.$300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III), 3-year-old fillies, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Ebony Breeze (KY), 118, Cornelio H. Velasquez
2. Crafty Brat (FL), 116, Manoel R. Cruz
3. All the Honor (FL), 114, Paul R. Toscano
4. Storm Flag (FL), 116, Gary Boulanger
5. Crimson and Roses (FL), 114, Eduardo O. Nunez
6. Buffythecenterfold (KY), 121, Victor Espinoza
7. Big League Lady (CA), 112, Jorge F. Chavez
8. Silver Lace (KY), 112, Eibar Coa
9. Littlemiss Sparkle (CA), 116, Michael J. Luzzi
10. Fabulous Brush (FL), 118, Patrick A. Valenzuela
11. Master Prospect (FL), 112, Roger I. Velez
12. Lady Stars (KY), 112, Julio A. Garcia
13. Angela's Love (MD), 114, Jerry D. Bailey