Watch the 2019 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd November.
By Peter Fornatale
The second day of the Breeders' Cup kicks off with race four at Santa Anita, the thirteenth renewal of the Filly & Mare Sprint. Nine will go to post for a race that features a host of horses who know how to win.
Such comments don't really apply to Selcourt and Dawn The Destroyer, who have a sole win between them in 2019. Selcourt is at her home track but was well beaten in the Filly & Mare Sprint last year and hasn't run as fast this season. Meanwhile, Dawn The Destroyer has lost to four of the opponents she will face at this year's Breeders' Cup and has much to find on Beyer figures.
Heavenhasmynikki has only tasted defeat once from four starts this season but those victories have been at lower levels and this looks like too much of a step up, while Lady Ninja has yet to score at higher than Grade 3 level and was behind Danuska's My Girl on her penultimate start.
Danuska's My Girl had been having a promising season prior to her last run when only able to finish sixth of nine behind a couple of her rivals here, including the aforementioned Dawn The Destroyer. Spiced Perfection was the winner that day and looks to have strong claims than most despite drawing the outside post.
Spiced Perfection has two Grade 1 wins to her name, including in the La Brea over the Filly & Mare Sprint course and distance. Her only poor run this season was followed by a five month lay-off but she returned to the track in fine style to land arguably the best trial for the Filly & Mare Sprint, the TCA at Keeneland, last time. She should improve for that run and has excuses for her defeats this season, so could run well if able to overcome her draw, although her Beyers are a little short of the best in this field.
One of the most intriguing runners of the entire Breeders' Cup meeting this year is Bellafina. She looked a machine when winning the Santa Anita Oaks back in April and was sent off an odds-on shot for the Kentucky Oaks on her next start as a result. She was disappointing since then and things have only got worse since, well beaten twice after missing the break on both occasions. The key to her might be the return to Santa Anita, her base track where she is currently unbeaten in four runs. If returning here does spark a revival, she could surprise.
Bellafina's conquerer in the Grade 1 Test Stakes was likely favourite Covfefe, about whom I’ve written at greater length in the profiles section. She is a very fast horse who has twice run three-digit Beyers. She romped in a minor stakes race last time out and looks set to take plenty of beating. The draw may not be ideal. The inside paths have been deep on the dirt track for much of the meet. This will bear watching.
On paper, the horse most likely to serve it up to her is Come Dancing, who ran an eye-catching 114 Beyer in April and has only suffered one defeat since when trying to stretch out against the brilliant Midnight Bisou, who will go off favourite for the Distaff. Come Dancing has won one of the best trials for the Filly & Mare Sprint, the Ballerina, this season and set herself up perfectly for the Breeders' Cup with a win at Grade 2 level at Belmont last time out. She looks well drawn for her run style and looks likely to get a good trip, so a monster run looks on the card.
VERDICT: As much as I want to select Covfefe, concerns about the draw have me leaning to COME DANCING as the most likely winner in this race. My gut is that the pair have it between them and how the track is playing is likely to determine which one wins.