Juvenile Fillies Preview: History Lesson

View a list of Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies pre-entries . . .

In the 16 previous editions of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), 10 of the winners had made their most recent start at either Belmont or Keeneland. This year, two undefeated fillies who last competed at those two racetracks appear headed for showdown at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.

That's not to say the Juvenile Fillies is a two-horse event; look no further than last year, when 32-1 Cash Run stunned Chilukki and Surfside on a speed-favoring surface at Gulfstream. And there's a filly from California named Notable Career who hopes to become the fourth to use Santa Anita as a springboard to success in the Juvenile Fillies, which lured 17 pre-entries Oct. 23.

She's a Devil Due, owned by Brian Griggs and Mike Goetz, won Keeneland's Walmac International Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) Oct. 15 in her first try around two turns. The Devil His Due filly, perfect in four starts, hopes to follow in the footsteps of the last three Juvenile Fillies winners (Cash Run, Silverbulletday, and Countess Diana), all of which used the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades as the steppingstone.

"She came out of the race fine, and stronger than she has come out of any race all year," trainer Ken McPeek said of She's a Devil Due, whose other stakes win came in the Sept. 9 Top Flight at Arlington. "I think she'll improve off of (the Alcibiades). We're in pretty good order."

The Top Flight was at six furlongs, and in midstretch, it appeared She's a Devil Due had little chance of catching the leader. But she did -- by a nose.

"That was the most impressive finish I've ever seen a horse put in, let alone a young horse," McPeek said. "She just has an incredible will to win."

Raging Fever, owned and bred by Edward P. Evans and trained by Mark Hennig, was scheduled to ship to Kentucky Oct. 23 from Hennig's Belmont base. Raging Fever, by Storm Cat, is five-for-five with two grade I wins (the Frizette and Matron Stakes) and a grade II victory in the Adirondack Stakes.

In the Oct. 14 Frizette, a one-turn test at 1 1/16 miles, Raging Fever rambled on the front-end as usual to win by a comfortable 1 3/4 lengths over longshot Out of Sync, who also appears to be peaking for the Juvenile Fillies.

"She came out of the race really well," Hennig said of Raging Fever, who has yet to negotiated two turns in a race. "I think it's easier to run two turns at a mile and a sixteenth rather than one turn at a mile and a sixteenth. She'll have more of a chance to relax. It could be more of a benefit."

Six winners of the Juvenile Fillies made their previous start at Belmont, so Raging Fever has history on her side.

Hennig, who watched the Alcibiades on television, said the winner ran well, as did Cash Deal, a D. Wayne Lukas trainee who sprung to the front, raced greenly in the lane, but still held for third beaten less than a length. Cash Run, also trained by Lukas, finished third in last year's Alcibiades off of an easy maiden tally.

Nasty Storm, second in the Alcibiades, was in the mix throughout at Keeneland and actually came again late to just miss in her first start around two turns for trainer Dallas Stewart.

Notable Career, owned by Golden Eagle Farm and trained by Bob Baffert, won the Oct. 8 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) by a handy four lengths. In that race she turned the tables on Cindy's Hero, who won the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) by 2 3/4 lengths over Notable Career.

Notable Career, by Avenue of Flags, won the one-mile Oak Leaf around two turns. Baffert won the 1998 Juvenile Filles with Silverbulletday at Churchill.

View a list of Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies pre-entries . . .