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
Newspaperofrecord's romp in last year's Juvenile Fillies' Turf further enhanced the home team's tremendous record in the race, taking the record of North American-trained runners to ten wins from 12 renewals. Evidently it is particularly difficult to bring a young filly over from Europe at this time of year for a race that, despite its value and prestige, is probably an afterthought for most European contenders.
The obvious place to start is Chad Brown. He has won four of the last five renewals of the race and three of those winners used the Miss Grillo Stakes – a race Brown has farmed in recent years - as a platform to Breeders' Cup Success. All of which suggests that the claims of Selflessly, who carries the same colors as last year's winner, must be taken very seriously.
Having shaped with immense promise on her debut over an inadequate trip, Selflessly showed she had learned a great deal from that experience when shedding her maiden tag in the Miss Grillo. She travelled up well there and lengthened nicely, probably not doing a great deal in the lead but finding enough to see the late surge of Crystalle. That was a solid, if unspectacular, effort but she doesn't look a patch on Newspaperofrecord.
Runner-up Crystalle could be the one to take out of that race, however. She was held up in last, well off the pace, and conceded first run to the winner, but she really surged home late on and looked a shade unlucky. She has been ridden with exaggerated waiting tactics on all of her starts to date but looks like she stays well and is probably hindered by that run style if anything. With that said, she has still been performing with huge credit despite not really having a strong pace to run at to date and could take off if getting a proper gallop to attack.
Crystalle holds a victory over Sweet Melania in a minor Stakes race at Saratoga, who emerged as the best horse at the weights that day and looked all over the winner with a furlong to go having travelled best of all.
Sweet Melania has since landed the Jessamine, a race that Rushing Fall won in 2017 en route to Juvenile Fillies Turf glory, and she could not have been more impressive. Making the running this time, she wasn't exactly hard pressed in front but absolutely exploded down the stretch, destroying her opposition and running a big speed-figure in the process. How fast she has to go early in the Juvenile Fillies Turf will obviously have an impact on her changes, but her rivals simply cannot afford to give her any rope.
Catch A Glimpse landed the Natalma before her Juvenile Fillies Turf win in 2015 and this year's renewal is likely to provide a pair of runners. In truth, the finish was pretty messy and it did not look a strong race on paper or visually. Abscond managed to scramble home in a tight finish having seen off reluctant odds-on shot Fair Maiden in the stretch before staying on to nail European-invader Walk In Marrakesh. Abscond impressed with her attitude but Fair Maiden looked to find the trip stretching her having run two huge figures over sprint trips prior. This time, the Beyer wasn't great.
Rounding out the likely home team is Sharing, who landed a minor Stakes at short odds on her most recent start. It wasn’t overly impressive visually or on the clock but she did finish up well and could be on the improve. Her trainer Graham Motion send out her mother, Shared Account, to upset the FM Turf years ago at a big price. I was impressed enough by sharing in Saratoga to consider her for this spot as far back as that.
As stated, European-trained runners have a pretty poor record in the Juvenile Fillies Turf but are strong on numbers this year if nothing else. Unfortunately, many of the European runners are totally unproven under the conditions that are likely to prevail on November 1st.
Shadn and Tango both come into the race off the back of six furlong, straight track wins on soft ground and it's questionable whether they will be able to replicate this form at Santa Anita, never mind find the required improvement. Of the pair, Tango seems the most likely, having plenty of stamina in her pedigree and coming into the race off the back of a six length demolition job in a Listed race at the Curragh last time. She simply powered away at the finish there, albeit from 80-rated horses, and looks to be coming good at the right time.
There was little between the pair that day but there's good reason to believe the form may be reversed. For one, Living In The Past looks a pure sprinter and doesn't look a good candidate to improve for a mile. Conversely, Etoile was having her first run for four months and is bound to improve plenty having not looked to handle the dip and getting a bit tired late on. Her dam was third in an Irish Oaks and she should improve further, although will definitely need to.
The two strongest Europeans on form at Daahyeh and Albigna. The latter comes here off the same prep that Flotilla had in 2012, the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp. She has looked a stayer more than once and that last run, while a career best, came in conditions that will be the polar opposite to what she will face at the Breeders' Cup. She is a worthy favourite on ratings and form, but doesn't appeal too much at current odds with question marks about the suitability of this test.
Daahyeh holds a verdict over Albigna, having beaten her in the Moyglare, and looks better tailored to the Juvenile Fillies Turf. The race has long been discussed as a target for her and that must be seen as a major positive. She is talented, game and consistent and looks to have pretty solid prospects of pulling one back for the away side.
VERDICT: Of the ones at the top of the market, I like Daayeh best but this might be a smart place to take a shot at a price. I’ll speculate on CRYSTALLE and SHARING, both widely available at double-digit odds as the two fillies impressed me in Saratoga.