The last time the Breeders’ Cup World Championships was held at Santa Anita Park, fans were treated to the national coming-out party for Halfbridled, the 2-year-old who lived up to her tall hype and even taller stature while running away with the Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
This year’s rendition of the Bessemer Trust Juvenile Fillies is also long on local-grown talent in the form of Stardom Bound. While she may not size up to Halfbridled physically, so far her record does.
Having banged on the door in a pair of sprint starts earlier in the Del Mar meeting, Stardom Bound has since gotten the opportunity to air it out a bit in the seven-furlong Del Mar Debutante and two-turn Oak Leaf Stakes (both gr. I). Both efforts resulted in eye-catching victories on synthetic surfaces as she inhaled her rivals after coming from far off the pace.
Trainer Christopher Paasch picked out Stardom Bound for 85-year-old owner Charles Cono from the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March 2-year-old auction. They went to $375,000—the sale’s average was $143,262—for the filly from the first crop of Tapit.
Cono gets one last shot at Breeders’ Cup glory. He said he will disperse all of his Thoroughbred holdings by year’s end, and his budding star will go through the ring after the Breeders’ Cup at Fasig-Tipton’s select November mixed sale. While Stardom Bound stands out among the West Coast coners, she’ll have to motor past other talented fillies, including Dream Empress and Sky Diva.
Dream Empress impressed race fans at Keeneland Oct. 3 while taking the Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) under a very confident ride by Robby Albarado over the Polytrack. Dream Empress is owned by Livin the Dream Racing.
A partnership group based in Lexington and Louisville, Livin the Dream brings together 26 fun-loving shareholders of the Book 3 Keeneland September sale grad whom trainer Kenny McPeek picked out for $60,000. A chip in an ankle, which was a non-issue and was removed immediately after the sale, gave McPeek the insight to tell Kelly Colliver of Livin the Dream, “Don’t pass on this filly; without the chip, she’s a six-figure filly.”
She’s quickly earned six figures, and then some.
Based on their performance at Keeneland, expect the Livin the Dream team to offer their filly plenty of vocal and financial support.
Lacking the experience of a synthetic surface trip, but a proven quick study, Sky Diva powered her way to the Breeders’ Cup off her 3 3⁄4-length win Oct. 4 in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. Showing experience beyond her one start while rating down inside, she gathered momentum, perhaps a bit too soon, down the backstretch, backed off for a furlong or two, then came again to separate herself from the pack.
Sky Diva, owned by Puglisi Racing, is trained by Steve Klesaris, who came tantalizingly close to getting his first Breeders’ Cup win last year when Miraculous Miss ran second to Maryfield in the Filly & Mare Sprint.
The first Breeders’ Cup being run on a synthetic surface may throw some stats out the window, but to date, the one-turn-mile Frizette has been the strongest stepping-stone to Juvenile Fillies success, with five pulling off the double. Another three—Open Mind, Go for Wand, and My Flag—placed in the Frizette before annexing the Juvenile Fillies.
Four winners of the Oak Leaf won the Juvenile Fillies and juveniles winning or placing in the Alcibiades have accounted for five Breeders’ Cup wins.
Fourteen favorites have won the 24 runnings of the Juvenile Fillies, a higher-thanaverage 58% for stakes races in general. Six of those winners were odds-on, which is an unlikely scenario this year with the strength of winners from across the country.
Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) Pre-Entries:
Black Magic Mama
C. S. Silk
Palacio de Amor
Pursuit of Glory
Van Lear Rose
Black Magic Mama has second preference in the Juvenile Fillies Turf
Dave's Revenge has first preference in the Juvenile Fillies Turf
Dream Empress has second preference in the Juvenile Fillies Turf
Emmy Darling has first preference in the Juvenile Fillies Turf
Evita Argentina has second preference in the Juvenile Fillies Turf
Renda has first preference in the Juvenile Fillies Turf
Saucey Evening has first preference in the Juvenile Fillies Turf
View the Complete Pre-Entries for Breeders' Cup 2008