Juddmonte Farms' homebred Ventura overtook favored Indian Blessing in the stretch Oct. 24 and drew off to win the $1-million Sentient Flight Group Filly & Mare Sprint, the first Breeders' Cup race on the two-day World Championships card at Santa Anita.
This is part 1 of our annual Breeders' Cup longshot column, and you can bet there will be lots of bargains available this year, in what is without a doubt the most perplexing Breeders' Cup in history.
Dearest Trickski's road to the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint began late last year, when the Kalookan Queen Stakes at Santa Anita failed to fill. That pushed the filly into the grade I La Brea Stakes Dec. 29, and a victory there gave owner Tom Mankiewicz and trainer John Sadler grander ideas.
Bob Baffert will send out a pair of Breeders' Cup champions this weekend in Midnight Lute and Indian Blessing, hoping to repeat his strong 2007 World Championships.
Pacesetter Indyanne may scratch out of the Sentient Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint due to fever.
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. 21. That puts the front-running filly three outside another speedster, 12-1 Indyanne, in the seven-furlong event.
When it comes to the Sentient Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, the Oak Tree Racing Association board members can be forgiven a little partisanship. The hosts of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Oct. 24-25 should be impartial, but fellow board member Warren Williamson bred and owns Filly & Mare Sprint contender Tiz Elemental.
A race still searching for its identity, the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint has the potential to be many things.
A pair of six-furlong graded stakes events, the $300,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. III) for fillies and mares and the $250,000 Phoenix Breeders' Cup (gr. III), support the Keeneland program Oct. 4 that features a pair of grade I races.
Indian Blessing, who romped to a 6 1/4-length win in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park, is scheduled to leave New York for Southern California Sept. 23 to prepare for her next assignment in the Sentient Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Given a second shot at her rival Miss Macy Sue in the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes, Wild Gams turned the tables on the favorite with a track-record victory by a half-length at the second-year Pennsylvania track Sept. 13.
Miss Macy Sue and Wild Gams, a pair of graded stakes winners who finished one-two in the race last year, have been ticketed to go postward again in the second running of the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes Sept. 13.
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