Ouija Board Returns to Filly & Mare Turf as Favorite

European sensation Ouija Board drew post two and was made the 8-5 morning line favorite for the Nov. 4 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs, where she will face nine challengers, including 3-year-old sensation Wait a While and race veteran Film Maker.

Ouija Board gets the services of jockey Frankie Dettori, who has ridden her three times this season.

The 2006 edition of the Filly & Mare Turf marks the Ed Dunlop trainee's third appearance in the race, run this year at 1 3/8 miles. She won the event as a 3-year-old in 2004 and was second last year.

Dunlop said he "wouldn't be so bold" as to suggest Lord Derby's color bearer was a better horse this year than she was in her past two trips to America, but he added she has been much easier to train this season.

"She's a different type of horse than I have ever trained and everything she does she seems to improve on," the trainer said Wednesday morning prior to the post position draw. "The family improves with age, and I maintain she was a better 4-year-old than she was a 3-year-old. She's trained at the same standard this year as she did last year and the year before."

Ouija Board enters the Filly & Mare Turf off two English group I wins, the Prince of Wales and the Vodafone Nassau Stakes from seven starts on the year. Most recently she finished a neck shy of Dylan Thomas when she was headed at the wire.

Her win in the Prince of Wales was most impressive as it came against the boys, most notably the late Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Electrocutionist and Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) winner, David Junior, at Royal Ascot.

"This year she has had to run against colts a lot more than she has fillies. She has proved herself to be the best among them. It's a great story," Dunlop said.

While Ouija Board will have strong backing, she will face a tough challenge from the Todd Pletcher-trained Wait a While. The 3-year-old daughter of Maria's Mon enters the race with four consecutive wins, including grade I scores in the American Oaks and Yellow Ribbon.

"When it gets to this level, we just have to run our race," said Cody Richardson, farm manager for Allen Cohen's Arindel Farm, which campaigns Wait a While. "Being a 10-horse field we don't have to worry about getting stuck between horses. We are going out to challenge and just find out who's the best. Both Wait a While and Ouija Board come running."

Wait a While is listed as the 3-1 second choice and will have the services of jockey Garrett Gomez.

In addition to Ouija Board and Wait a While, another mare to watch is Film Maker, who is making her third appearance in the Filly & Mare Turf starting gate. Film Maker finished second, behind Ouija Board, in 2004, and was third last year.

"She has always been incrediably consistent," trainer H. Graham Motion said following the post position draw. "I think she is at the top of her game, but I thought she was last year, too. I can't honestly say there is a big difference (between her training this year and last). But, she is doing very well right now."

Film Maker drew post four and will be ridden by Edgar Prado. They are listed at 6-1 on the morning line.

"I don't think the post position is huge deal in these marathon races, but I would hate to be stuck outside," Motion said. "In these races it is all about settling early on and getting a good pace scenario."

$2 Million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT, Race 5, 1:55 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 3/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Dancing Edie (CA), 123, Corey S. Nakatani
2. Ouija Board (GB), 123, Lanfranco Dettori
3. Mauralakana (FR), 119, Julien R. Leparoux
4. Film Maker (KY), 123, Edgar S. Prado
5. Honey Ryder (KY), 123, John R. Velazquez
6. Quiet Royal (KY), 119, Olivier Peslier
7. Wait a While (KY), 119, Garrett K. Gomez
8. My Typhoon (IRE), 123, Robby Albarado
9. Satwa Queen (FR), 123, Thierry Thulliez
10. Germance (KY), 119, Christophe Soumillon