Well, if you want good stories, the results of the races this past weekend affecting the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) division couldn't have been more perfect.
In the big race, you had a filly produced from a previous Juvenile Fillies winner, and in the other two stakes for 2-year-old females, you had an expensive sale purchase and a filly that remained undefeated.
A few more weekends like this and the Juvenile Fillies could be shaping up as an exciting race at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.
This past weekend's activities must begin with the lone grade I race, the mile Matron Stakes at Belmont Park. Run over a track labeled good, the impressive winner was Storm Flag Flying. The daughter of Storm Cat crushed her competition, winning by an easy 12 3/4 lengths.
Storm Flag Flying has a leg up on her famous dam, My Flag, who won the 1995 Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park. My Flag, by Easy Goer, finished third in the '95 Matron and ran second in the subsequent Frizette Stakes (gr. I) before her winning run in the Juvenile Fillies.
Like My Flag, Storm Flag Flying is trained by Shug McGaughey, who indicated his newest star would also run in the Frizette as a final prep for the Juvenile Fillies.
Storm Flag Flying is another product of the Phipps breeding program, bred in Kentucky in the name of Phipps Stable and racing for Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps. His late father, Ogden Phipps, bred the first three dams of Storm Flag Flying. The second dam of the Matron winner is 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff winner and undefeated champion Personal Ensign (by Private Account).
Storm Cat has been a leading juvenile sire, but has never sired a Breeders' Cup Juvenile or Juvenile Fillies winners. His two Breeders' Cup winners are 1999 Classic (gr. I) hero Cat Thief and 1995 Sprint (gr. I) winner Desert Stormer.
At Turfway Park on Kentucky Cup Day, Atlantic Ocean won the Juvenile Fillies Stakes over Ruby's Reception and Jodys Deelite. The daughter of Stormy Atlantic brought a record $1.9 million earlier this year at the Barretts March 2-year-olds in training sale. She is owned by The Thoroughbred Corp. of the late Prince Ahmed Salman and is trained by Bob Baffert.
At Philadelphia Park, Big Score remained unbeaten in three starts with her eight-length win in the Kindergarten Stakes. The Grand Slam filly races for Jack Grunwald and is trained by Steve Asmussen.
This weekend, Handpainted goes for her fourth win in as many starts in Canada. The A.P. Indy filly, owned by John and Glen Sikura and trained by Josie Carroll, will be the choice in the Sept. 21 Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine.
The big weekend--for all Breeders' Cup divisions--is the first weekend in October. For juvenile fillies, Keeneland runs the Walmac International Alcibiades (gr. II), Belmont the Frizette, and Oak Tree the Oak Leaf (gr. II).
Those wanting a trip over the surface of the host track will consider the Arlington-Washington Lassie (gr. III) on Sept. 28.
Fab Five Contenders:
1. Awesome Humor/W. Elliott Walden/WinStar Farm
2. Storm Flag Flying/Shug McGaughey/Ogden Mills Phipps
3. Handpainted/Josie Carroll/John and Glen Sikura
4. Santa Catarina/Bob Baffert/Robert B. and Beverly J. Lewis
5. Russian Rhythm /Michael Stoute/Cheveley Park Stud