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
A small but select field is likely to head to post for this year's Juvenile Fillies with most of the market leaders coming into the race off the back of impressive wins on their most recent starts as is typical for this race. Until recently, the three best trials for the Juvenile Fillies had been the Chandelier (formerly the Oak Leaf), Alcibiades and the Debutante. However, the last two winners of the race contested the Frizette prior to their Breeders' Cup win and that race's reputation may be enhanced further still by Wicked Whisper.
It was impossible not to be impressed by the manner of her victory in the Frizette, flying along on the lead at a pace that seemed comfortable to her but far too taxing for her opposition, who were all in trouble a long way from home. Nudged out in the final furlong, Joel Rosario didn't need to resort to the whip, winning in hand and clocking a fine 87 Beyer in the process. That took her record to a perfect two for two and confirmed her status as a top-notch performer.
Whicked Whisper will obviously take some catching if allowed to do her own thing up front again, but could face some pace pressure. Two Sixty impressed when winning a minor Stakes by a wide margin last time out but it will be a surprise if she can match strides with Whicked Whisper, so perhaps the biggest danger to her dominance on the lead is the immensely talented Donna Veloce.
This is an extremely fast horse who has been lighting up the mornings with bullet works for a good while now. It was no surprise with her reputation and price tag that she was sent off a short-priced favourite for her debut at Saratoga and she could not have made a more striking impression, winning by nine lengths and clocking a sensational 91 Beyer in the process. This is obviously a huge step up in class and she will be going two turns instead of one, but she's bred to stay and if she can ration her speed she could be very difficult to stop.
One runner who has already completed this leap in distance, and grade, is British Idiom, another unbeaten with plenty to recommend her. Like Donna Veloce, she made a winning debut at Saratoga before taking the Alcibiades, one of the key trials for the Juvenile Fillies, by a whopping eight lengths. She was as impressive as the winning margin suggests that day, making a quick move at the top of the lane and devouring the Keeneland straight in a good time. Perfect Alibi, who will reoppose, finished in the runner up spot that day having already won the Grade 1 Spinaway but was made to look second rate, staying on well enough but simply unable to live with British Idiom's turn of foot.
Having won two of the three key Juvenile Fillies trials, Bast justifies her place at the head of the market. She looked to benefit from a pace collapse in the Debutante but showed abundant stamina to plough clear for a nine-length win, posting a strong 85 Beyer in a race that has worked out well. She was less impressive next time in the Chandelier but got the job run, possibly recoiling off that big effort at Del Mar but holding off Comical, who was well behind Bast in the Debutante but closed the gap to just a neck on more favourable terms. Comical has a bit to find but her attitude is excellent and gives her a short at the board.
VERDICT: It’s a very competitive race where I’ll give slight preference to BRITISH IDIOM who has shown that she can sit and finish. I think she’ll get the best trip of the prime contenders.