Countdown to the Cup, Part 4

Continued from part 3

The Sting of defeat turns F&M Turf into wide-open affair

One by one, they went down to defeat: Snow Polina and Happyanunoit in the Flower Bowl Handicap and Perfect Sting in the Galaxy Stakes. The result is now a free-for-all in the Filly & Mare Turf. But, considering the slow pace in the Galaxy over a speed-favoring turf course, Perfect Sting's second-place finish to a stubborn Tout Charmant was good enough to keep her atop the division. Tranquility Lake, with her front-running score over Spanish Fern in the Yellow Ribbon, should be a formidable foe, as should the runner-up. And we still don't know how Snow Polina managed to lose the Flower Bowl after opening a 4 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole. She's still a tough, consistent filly and should be right in the thick of things. The filly who came from the clouds to beat her, Colstar, looks to be heading for the F&M turf as well after her owner decided to put up the supplementary fee.

This is a good, solid group, but the one they may all have to fear is the European invader Petrushka, winner of the Irish Oaks in Ireland , Yorkshire Oaks in England, and Prix de l'Opera in France.

Others being considered are Perfect Sting's stablemate Collect the Cash, who upset the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, the German-bred Catelia, The Seven Seas, No Matter What, License Fee, and Pico Teneriffe.

Juvenile Fillies fever not exactly raging

Although Raging Fever will take a five-for-five record into the Juvenile Fillies, she certainly has not struck fear into the hearts of her foes in her last two starts. There is no doubt she is a very talented filly, but she nearly blew a seven-length lead at the eighth pole in the Matron Stakes, and held on to beat two Nick Zito-trained bombs in the Frizette, as the favorite Dancinginmydreams fractured her leg at the quarter pole.

What is most amazing about the Juvenile Fillies is that she still looks like a standout, except for the Bob Baffert-trained Notable Career, easy winner of the Oak Leaf Stakes. If Cindy's Hero is supplemented, she'll be very tough after having way too much to do in the Oak Leaf. She showed in the Del Mar Debutante just how talented she is.

The Alcibiades Stakes resulted in a close finish in slow time between the undefeated She's a Devil Due; Nasty Storm, who looks to be improving rapidly; and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Cash Deal, who was right there despite coming off only a single maiden victory in her career.

Stormy Pick, winner of the Spinaway and Sorority, probably will be given another chance after tiring to fourth in the Frizette. There is a question how far she wants to go, but she definitely still fits in with these fillies. We'll also have to wait and see if Zito runs both his fillies, Out of Sync and Western Justice, after their big efforts in the Frizette. Both fillies were running strongly at the end, suggesting they want more distance.

From Europe comes Freefourracing, winner of the 7-furlong Prestige Stakes at Goodwood; and La Vida Loca, a solid fourth in the recent group I Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp on Arc day for Aidan O'Brien.