Filly Sarafina Favorite for BC Turf
Date Posted: 10/31/2011 3:12:55 PM
Last Updated: 11/2/2011 8:22:04 PM

2009 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Midday runs on Saturday this year.
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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

 By Jackie Duke

French-based Sarafina appears the one to beat in the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.

Installed at 5-2, the multiple group-I winning daughter of Refuse To Bend heads a European-dominated field of nine in the 1 1/2-mile event. She breaks from post 2 under Christophe Lemaire in her first foray outside of France.

The other European favorites include the durable Midday, a 5-year-old Juddmonte Farm homebred who just got nipped in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), and Await the Dawn, most recently third to Midday’s second in the Juddmonte International Stakes (Eng-I) at York in August.

Coronation Cup (Eng-I) winner St Nicholas Abbey and St. Leger (Eng-I) third-place finisher Sea Moon round out the transatlantic quintet.

Of the four North American runners, Dean's Kitten looks most competitive, having lost to Cape Blanco   by a nose in the Oct. 1 Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. Injured during that race, Cape Blanco is headed to stud at Ashford Stud rather than the starting gate for the Turf.

Dean’s Kitten, a Ramsey Farm homebred trained by Mike Maker, brings a solid resume to Churchill, including a good third to Cape Blanco in the Arlington Million (gr. IT).

The other American contenders are Brilliant Speed  , the 2011 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner and Belmont (gr. I) third-place finisher; Stately Victor  , the 2010 Blue Grass winner who is winless this year; and Teaks North, a two-time grade I winner in 2011.

Missing from the field are Acclamation, winner of five straight in California and now sidelined with an injury, and Winchester, who was withdrawn from consideration Oct. 29.

The Aga Khan’s Sarafina is a three-time group I winner who has never been unplaced in 10 starts except for her seventh as favorite in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I). Unusual heat was blamed for her poor showing.

Before the Arc, she had won three straight races, including a neck victory in the June 26 Prix de Saint-Cloud (gr. I) over Cirrus des Aigles, the gelding who won the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

 

Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) Nov 5 4:45 PM
Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1. St Nicholas Abbey   Joseph P. O'Brien Aidan P. O'Brien 9-2
2. Sarafina   Christophe Lemaire Alain De Royer-Dupre 5-2
3. Dean's Kitten Ramon Dominguez Michael J. Maker 10-1
4. Stately Victor Mike Smith Michael J. Maker 30-1
5. Teaks North Javier Castellano Justin Sallusto 20-1
6. Await the Dawn Julien Leparoux Aidan P. O'Brien 7-2
7. Sea Moon   Ryan Moore Sir Michael R. Stoute 4-1
8. Brilliant Speed John Velazquez Thomas Albertrani 20-1
9. Midday   Tom Queally Sir Henry Cecil 4-1


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