House of Grace (left) and Smart Seattle finished noses apart in the Jessamine, run on the Polytrack at Keeneland.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

House of Grace (left) and Smart Seattle finished noses apart in the Jessamine, run on the Polytrack at Keeneland.
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Mathea Kelley

Juvenile Fillies Turf Tough to Decipher

Trainer Aidan O'Brien brings likely favorite Lille Langty to the states

If ever there was a mysterious race on the Breeders’ Cup card, it is the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Not only is there a distinct lack of horses and races in this division in North America, but the situation has been exaserbated this season as the two most prominent stakes races leading up to the race, the Miss Grillo in New York and the Jessamine at Keeneland, were both rained off the turf. This makes for a lot of guessing as far as which filly could pop up to take the one-mile test at Santa Anita.

Since it’s turf, we must always consider Europe first, and there is a Coolmore partnership filly, Lillie Langtry, who is the most accomplished in this division. The Danehill Dancer filly won the Debutante Stakes (Ire-II) at Leopardstown before running third in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I), both at seven furlongs. She has won three of her six starts and has never been worse than third for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

House of Grace nipped Smart Seattle by a nose in the Jessamine, run over Polytrack, for trainer Kenny McPeek. The Limehouse  filly broke her maiden by five lengths at Saratoga in her only other start. Both races were at 1 1/16 miles. Smart Seattle will also head to Santa Anita for trainer Graham Motion and owner Augustin Stable, along with Zilva from the same connections.

Smart Seattle finished second to Tapitsfly in the P. G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga, while Zilva went fourth in the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland on Polytrack. Motion said a decision would be made on both of them once they acclimated to California.

Tapitsfly, from the Dale Romans barn, followed up her Saratoga victory with a second in the off-the-turf Miss Grillo. Tapit’s progeny are doing well everywhere and must be considered.