An interesting outsider for the Juvenile Fillies may be Bella Bellucci, an impressive maiden winner at Belmont Park on Sept. 9. The gray daughter of French Deputy, owned by Michael Tabor and trained by Neil Drysdale, is scheduled to run in Belmont's Astarita Stakes (gr. II) on Oct. 9 at 6 1/2 furlongs. "She worked well this morning going six furlongs comfortably," Drysdale said on Oct. 3. "We'll have to look and see how she runs (before considering the Breeders' Cup)." Bella Bellucci was off slowly in her only race, then made a powerful move to the lead after the opening quarter mile and won by 5 3/4 lengths.
Barry Irwin, the head of Team Valor, co-owner with Heiligbrodt Racing of Cashier's Dream, has already indicated the Oct. 6 Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park is his filly's Breeders' Cup. In other words, the Steve Asmussen-trained daughter of Service Stripe will be going all-out to win the 1 1/16-mile event as if the 2-year-old filly championship is on the line.Chances are, the title will not be decided until Oct. 27, when the World Thoroughbred Championships are run at Belmont Park and the Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner will be crowned the Eclipse Award winner, just as she has in 14 of the 17 runnings of this race. But Irwin has said he is not going to put up the $90,000 needed to supplement Cashier's Dream to the Juvenile Fillies. Apparently he is willing to take his chances in Eclipse Award voting if Cashier's Dream turns in a strong performance in the Frizette.Though she rated off the pacein her career debut in May, Cashier's Dream has been on the lead in every start since, winning four of five. Her lone defeat came at the hands of You in the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga, when she was defeated a neck after a stretch-long battle. You raced in second that day and trainer Robert Frankel indicated he wasn't going to have You volleying for the lead with Cashier's Dream if the fractions are fast in the Frizette.Both fillies will be stretching out beyond seven furlongs for the first time in the Frizette."I don't think the extra distance will be a problem," Frankel said of You, a daughter of You and I who has won 2-of-3 starts. "She's relaxed very well in the mornings. If Cashier's Dream wants to go :22 and :45 going a mile and a sixteenth, then all the more power to her."You has not raced since the Aug. 13 Adirondack, while Cashier's Dream came back to win the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) by six lengths on Aug. 31. "I've given her a little break and she's responded well," Frankel said. "I'm not just looking for one race from her, I'm looking for a career for her. She might be my next Kentucky Oaks winner. She's a sweet filly too." Frankel won this year's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with Flute, a favorite in the Distaff (gr. I).The Frizette will not attract a large field. The strongest rival to the top two probably will be Cherokee Girl, who won an allowance race going seven furlongs at Belmont on Sept. 19. She's won 2-of-3 for trainer Frank Alexander and owner J. Mack Robinson, who teamed up to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) with Cherokee Girl's sire, Cherokee Run. The filly is the first foal out of the Mr. Prospector mare, Race Artist, a grade III winner.Results from the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) on Sept. 30 did little to sort out the West Coast fillies. Pre-race favorite Habibti, the unbeaten winner of the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I), was scratched due to a fever. Tempera, who had been expected to enter the Oak Leaf, was kept out of the race by trainer Eoin Harty, who decided to trainer her up to the Juvenile Fillies. Bob Baffert now will do the same with Habibti. The Oak Leaf winner, Tali'sluckybusride, is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup and owners Ron and Susie Anson have no intention of running her.