Indian Blessing, the 8-5 favorite, led the 13-horse field on a merry chase in the $2-million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27, cruising to an easy 3 1/2-length, gate-to-wire victory.
Breaking from post four under Garrett Gomez , Indian Blessing shot right to the front in the 1 1/16-mile race and zipped through early fractions of :23.55 and :46.44 while being well clear of the field. Stalking the pace was A to the Croft, Smarty Deb, and Phantom Income. Indian Blessing remained clear after six furlongs in 1:10.61. On the turn, Proud Spell gathered momentum to get into contention, as did Backseat Rhythm, but they weren’t going to catch the winner. It marked the sixth consecutive time that the betting favorite has captured the Juvenile Fillies title.
Indian Blessing hit the wire over the sloppy track in 1:44.73. It was Gomez' third consecutive win on the card and his third time in a Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle.
“I didn’t warm her up too much today,” Gomez said. “The last time I rode her, she got real aggressive on me. She’s a very tactical filly, and you can put her where you want. The idea wasn’t to make the lead; it was just to get a good forward position, but once she made it up to the first turn, she was rolling so easy, I let her go.
“When we made it up to the far turn, she was really rolling and I let her go. When we turned for home, she leveled right out. She’s a nice filly.”
Indian Blessing, a Hal and Patti Earnhardt III homebred, came into the Juvenile Fillies off two strong wins but had never tested two turns. On Aug. 30, the daughter of Indian Charlie, out of the Flying Chevron mare Shameful, broke her maiden by 5 1/4 lengths going 5 1/2 furlongs. On Oct. 6 the dark bay won the one-mile Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park by 4 1/2 lengths.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Indian Blessing returned $5.40, $4.80, and $3.20. Proud Spell held second by a half-length and paid $8.80 and $5.80. Backseat Rhythm paid $9.60 to show. Tasha’s Miracle was four lengths back in fourth.
The 4-10 exacta returned $54.20 while the 4-10-7 trifecta was worth $243.
It was the second Juvenile Fillies win for Baffert, who sent out Silverbulletday to win the race in 1998. Finishing second that day was the Baffert-trained Excellent Meeting. With additional wins in the Sprint (Thirty Slews, 1992) and Juvenile (Vindication, 2002), Baffert now has four Breeders’ Cup wins.
“That was fun,” Baffert said. “I left it up to Garrett, but she’s a fast filly and she broke well. She’s a really talented filly, and we’ve always known it. She was out there by herself turning for home and E Z Warrior had just got caught in the last race, but (Gomez) kept her busy and she never tired.”
Cry and Catch Me, another Baffert-trained filly, was scratched earlier in the week.
It was the first Breeders’ Cup triumph for the Earnhardts.
Smarty Deb was fifth, followed by Clearly Foxy, Grace Anatomy, Zee Zee, A to the Croft, Izarra, Set Play, Irish Smoke, and Phantom Income.