Resurgent champion jockey Frankie Dettori will be aboard Judy the Beauty when the reigning champion female sprinter bids for a repeat win in the $1 million Twinspires Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.
The seven-furlong Filly & Mare Sprint attracted 14 entrants, including New York-based La Verdad, who is unbeaten in six starts this season. The race goes as the fifth race on Saturday's 12-race card, with an approximate post time of 1:25. p.m. EDT.
Dettori, based in Great Britain—where he is a three-time champion—has enjoyed a splendid year thus far, winning the Epsom Derby (Eng-I), Coral Eclipse (Eng-I), Irish Champion Stakes (Eng-I), and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) with Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) contender Golden Hornas well as the Prix de Diane (Fr-I, French Oaks) aboard Star of Seville, after his career looked to be fizzling three years ago. Trainer Wesley Ward has been a big supporter, and last year the rider provided him a first Breeders' Cup winner when guiding Hootenanny in the Juvenile Turf (gr. I). This year Dettori's collection of elite-level wins includes Ward-trained Undrafted in the Diamond Jubilee (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot.
Judy the Beauty, winner of last year's Filly & Mare Sprint by a head with Mike Smith and runner-up by a half-length in 2013, is winless in three starts this year but Ward believes the rider he's called a "magician" can pull out victory if anyone can. Most recently she was a troubled third in the Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. II) Oct. 3 at Keeneland for Ward, who also owns the 6-year-old mare.
Dettori is a Breeders' Cup veteran, having 82 previous mounts and 11 winners. He will pilot Judy the Beauty from post 11.
Lady Sheila Stable's speed-loving La Verdad ventures from New York for the first time in bidding for a seventh win from as many starts this year for trainer Linda Rice. She turns around quickly to the Filly & Mare Sprint from an Oct. 24 start at Belmont Park, where in a departure from her usual front-running style, she came from off the early pace and won the state-bred Iroquois Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths.
La Verdad has three graded victories this year: the Gallant Bloom (gr. II) and Vagrancy (gr. III) at Belmont, and Honorable Miss (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack. She will try for her first win at the top level under Jose Ortiz, who rides from post 7.
Stonestreet Stable's Cavorting is an imposing challenger, the 3-1 morning-line favorite who enters with three straight wins, including two in grade I events: the Longines Test (gr. I) at the Filly & Mare Sprint distance in August at Saratoga Race Course for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and most recently the six-furlong Prioress (gr. I) by three lengths Sept. 6 at Belmont. She will break from the far outside post with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard.
"She couldn't be doing better," McLaughlin said. "It's the first time facing older fillies and there's some tough ones out there, but she's doing well and we anticipate her running well."
Stoneway Farm's Stonetastic won the 2014 Prioress by 8 1/2 lengths before finishing fourth in last year's Filly and Mare Sprint after setting the early pace. She is the 5-1 second choice on the morning line after leading all the way and winning a Parx Racing allowance by an 15 3/4 lengths Sept. 1 in the second start off a long layoff. Paco Lopez has the mount from the 8 hole.
Trainer Simon Callaghan and jockey Gary Stevens have drawn a line through Taris' prep in the Oct. 4 L.A. Woman Stakes (gr. III), in which she was the outside horse in a four-way speed contest that set up a win by closer Ben's Duchess. Taris hung on for third in that race after entering off a victory in the Rancho Bernardo (gr. III) Aug. 16 at Del Mar.
In her lone career start at Keeneland, Taris waltzed to a nine-length score in the 2014 Lexus Raven Run Stakes (gr. II) run at the Filly & Mare Sprint distance.
New York-bred 4-year-old Artemis Agrotera has not run since finishing seventh in last year's Filly & Mare Sprint, but trainer Mike Hushion said his filly has trained brilliantly for the race, including three bullet workouts at Belmont since returning to the worktab in September.
Coming in with fees paid are Breeders' Cup Challenge winners TCA (gr. II) victress Fioretti, and Princess Rooney (gr. II) winner Merry Meadow.