Indian Blessing 2-1 Choice in F&M Sprint
Champion Indian Blessing drew post position 5 and was installed the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a full field for the Sentient Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Oct. 24. That puts the front-running filly three outside another speedster, 12-1 Indyanne, in the seven-furlong event.
Fourteen distaffers were entered in the $1-million Filly & Mare Sprint. The draw for post positions fanned the early speed throughout the field. In addition to Indian Blessing and Indyanne, front-runners Dream Rush (20-1) and Dearest Trickski (15-1) drew post 7 and post 9, respectively.
“That’s perfect,” said Larry Benavidez, assistant for John Sadler, who trains Dearest Trickski. “The speed is inside of us.”
Bruce Headley drew post 1 with 20-1 Magnificience.
“Nobody wants to be on the rail and I’m there,” Headley said. “But she’s a closer, and at least it’s seven-eighths.”
Another closer, second-choice Intangaroo at 9-2, drew post 3.
“That’s a great post,” said Intangaroo’s trainer, Gary Sherlock. “I wanted to be inside because at Saratoga she relaxed real well inside. The jockey doesn’t have to worry about moving over and can just take hold of her.”
Alonso Quinonez rides Intangaroo, who in her last start captured the Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
But it is Indian Blessing, with John Velazquez slated to ride, who is likely to attract the most attention. Trainer Bob Baffert had cross-entered the 3-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie—Shameful, by Flying Chevron, in the Sentient Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I), but he elected to keep her with the filly and mares. Baffert will also saddle Midnight Lute, who will be seeking a second victory in the Sprint.
Indian Blessing won the 2007 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) for Baffert, capping a perfect three-for-three record that earned her an Eclipse Award. This year she has won five of seven races, with two seconds. Though most of her races have come over traditional dirt surfaces, Indian Blessing won the seven-furlong Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita over a synthetic surface earlier this year. In her only other start at the Filly & Mare Sprint distance, Indian Blessing crushed the Test Stakes (gr. I) field by seven lengths.
This is the second year that the Breeders’ Cup has offered the Filly & Mare Sprint. Last year at Monmouth Park, Maryfield won the inaugural running, which because of Monmouth’s configuration was contested at six furlongs.
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