Coming off a historic victory against the boys in the Sept. 20 Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), Ventura looks to be a powerful contender in the Nov. 5 Sentient Jet Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) as she attempts to defend her title at Santa Anita Park. But the Juddmonte Farms homebred will likely face some tough competition in doing so, as five other graded stakes-winning females were also pre-entered.
Included in the elite group are grade I victors Informed Decision, Seventh Street, and Game Face.
Ventura, a 5-year-old daughter of Chester House, has only raced four times this year, and was beaten a head by Informed Decision in one of those starts—the April 9 Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. I) over Keeneland’s Polytrack surface. But before that, the Bobby Frankel-trained Ventura further proved her affinity for Santa Anita’s Pro Ride surface when taking the Jan. 31 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) by a length.
Informed Decision, a daughter of Monarchos owned by Augustin Stable and trained by Jonathan Sheppard, could be Ventura’s biggest threat. Scoring a three-quarter length victory in the May 2 Humana Distaff Stakes at Churchill Downs in addition to her triumph over Ventura in the Madison, Informed Decision’s only loss this year came when finishing third to Music Note in the Aug. 29 Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Other grade I victors Seventh Street, a 4-year-old daughter of Street Cry, prevailed in this year’s Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) and Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I), but she has yet to be tried on a synthetic surface; while Game Face, winner of the Princess Rooney (gr. I) earlier this summer at Calder, finished fourth last out on her first attempt on Presque Isle Downs’ artificial track.
Other graded stakes winners Sara Louise, the last horse to beat superstar filly Rachel Alexandra, and Evita Argentina, who has raced all of her 11 starts on synthetics, are also viable contenders.
$1 million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. 1), fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up, Seven Furlongs (Pro-Ride)
Horse, Owner, Trainer
Allicansayis Wow, Mrs. P. Shanahan, Patrick L. Biancone
Evita Argentina, Halo Farms, Three Sisters Thoroughbreds, John W. Sadler
Free Flying Soul, Marsha Naify, Bruce Headley
Game Face, Zabeel Racing International, Todd A. Pletcher
Informed Decision, Augustin Stables, Jonathan E. Sheppard
Only Green, Wertheimer et Frere, Freddy Head
Sara Louise, Godolphin Racing, Saeed bin Suroor
Seventh Street, Godolphin Racing, Saeed bin Suroor
Silver Swallow, Gainesway Thoroughbreds, Bruce Headley, Irwin Molasky, Bruce Headley
Ventura, Juddmonte Farms Robert J. Frankel