The condition of Monmouth Park's turf course Oct. 27, with rain in the forecast for the middle part of Breeders' Cup week, is a major concern for horsemen with runners in the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Warren Williamson’s homebred Nashoba’s Key, made the 3-1 favorite in the 12-horse field, has never run on a grass course other than firm in her brief career. The unbeaten Silver Hawk filly’s last effort was a three-quarter length win in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT) over firm going at Oak Tree at Santa Anita Sept. 29.
Shadwell Stable’s Lahudood, a surprise winner of the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) Sept. 29 at Belmont Park would prefer firm going, according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The Singspiel filly drew post six.
“The closer to the rail the better, but six is fine,” McLaughlin said of the draw. “It beats anything outside of us. We don’t want it soft, so we hope the rain is minimal.”
Honey Ryder, a 6-year-old mare by Lasting Approval, can handle any kind of going. She won or placed 16 times in a 32-race career and has earned in excess of $2.3 million. Her last two starts over yielding going have resulted in victories including the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) in October 2005.
Even though she has not started since a sixth-place finish Aug. 11 in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington, she was made the 9-2 fourth choice and will break from post two.
“She runs well fresh so that was the thinking behind the layoff,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “She had a good race here in the United Nations (second-place finish in the grade I race July 7). This is going to be the last race before she goes home to be bred, so we were trying to figure out the way we could get here the best and we didn’t think that running in the Flower Bowl or another prep four weeks out would optimize our chances.”
Pletcher’s other runner, last year’s 3-year-old filly champion Wait a While, is pegged as the 4-1 third choice on the morning line.