F&M Turf: Marketing Mix Defends at Home
Marketing Mix, easy winner of the Sept. 29 Rodeo Drive Handicap (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park, hopes to hold the home track advantage against a European invasion in the $2 million Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) over the same course Nov. 2.
The 1 1/4-mile event, race 8 on the Breeders' Cup Friday card with an approximate post time of 3:48 p.m. PDT, drew 12 contenders Oct. 29. Watership Down Stud's British runner The Fugue was assigned 7-2 favoritism on the morning line, while Marketing Mix is the 9-2 second choice.
The Fugue, a sophomore daughter of Dansili trained by John Gosden, was second by a neck Aug. 23 in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) and won the Aug. 4 Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) by a length.
Marketing Mix, a 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro filly who races for Glen Hill Farm, has only one off-the-board finish in 15 lifetime starts and has won three of her past four starts in graded stakes. Her win in the Rodeo Drive at the Filly and Mare Turf distance came after a head loss in the Aug. 18 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park.
"The Filly and Mare Turf is always one of the better races on the Breeders' Cup card," trainer Tom Proctor remarked. "It's always very contentious, and the European horses seem real spectacular. They always come running with a good turn of foot, but our filly is a very nice mare and she's doing good."
The Aga Khan's French filly Ridasiyna is 4-1 on the morning line and comes off a strong 3 1/2-length victory in the Qatar Prix de l'Opera (Fr-I) at Longchamp Oct. 7. The 3-year-old Motivator runner rallied from well off the pace with less than a quarter mile to run to get the win, making amends for a fifth-place finish to Romantica in the Prix de la Nonette-Shadwell (Fr-II) Aug. 21 at Deauville. She won her first three starts by a combined 12 lengths and has two other stakes wins on her record for trainer Mikel Delzangles, including the Prix Chloe (Fr-III) in her start prior to the Nonette.
Darley's Nahrain, a 4-year-old Selkirk filly trained by Roger Varian, finished second by three-quarters of a length to 27-1 shot Perfect Shirl in the 2011 edition of the Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs. This year she returned to the U.S. and won the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) Sept. 29 at Belmont Park after competing in stakes company in England and Ireland in June, August, and September. Her best finish in Europe was a third, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths, in the Irresistible Jewel Blandford Stakes (Ire-I) behind fellow Filly and Mare Turf contender Up.
Up, an Irish-bred sophomore Galileo filly trained by Aidan O'Brien for Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, and Michael Tabor, comes off a sixth in the Sun Chariot Stakes (Eng-I) and makes her U.S. debut.
Trainer Chad Brown sends out Zagora, who was second to Nahrain in the Flower Bowl by half a length, just getting caught after inching clear at the eighth pole over yielding turf. Martin Schwartz's 5-year-old Green Tune mare won the July 25 Ballston Spa (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course one start before that.
I'm a Dreamer defeated Marketing Mix in the Beverly D., but then ran fourth in the Flower Bowl last time out. The 5-year-old Irish-bred Noverre mare runs for St. Albans Bloodstock and trainer David Simcock and will be making her third start in the states.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' and Gary Barber's In Lingerie will try a new surface for the first time in the Filly and Mare Turf, but has excelled over synthetic surfaces for trainer Todd Pletcher including a two-length victory last time out in the Oct. 7 Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. The 3-year-old daughter of Empire Maker is three-for-three on synthetics and also won the Black Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) on dirt earlier this year. She was second to top Ladies' Classic (gr. I) contender Questing in the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) and finished third behind that rival in the CCA Oaks (gr. I), both on dirt at Saratoga.
"Obviously we're trying a bit of a new dimension for her here by trying the turf for the first time, but we're hoping for her synthetic form to transfer to the grass," said Michael McCarthy, assistant to Pletcher.
Lady of Shamrock won the Aug. 18 Del Mar Oaks and the July 14 American Oaks (both gr. IT), but has not raced for trainer John Sadler since then. Still, the 3-year-old Scat Daddy filly has not finished off the board since October of 2011, when she was still working to break her maiden. Including an initial win in her third try for Hronis Racing last November, Lady of Shamrock has racked up a 6-1-1 record.
Stormy Lucy, a 3-year-old daughter of Stormy Atlantic trained by Frank Lucarelli for Frank Gaunt, was third in the Rodeo Drive and second in the Del Mar Oaks. She is still seeking her first graded stakes score.
Star Billing, a 4-year-old by Dynaformer who races for George Kriokrian and trainer John Shirreffs, completes the field. She was sixth last time out in the Sept. 29 Zenyatta Stakes (gr. I) on dirt, and was second by a neck in the Aug. 4 Clement Hirsch on synthetic at Del Mar. She won the Nov. 25 Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT) going a mile at Betfair Hollywood Park last year.
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