2017 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf Preview and Picks

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D.S. Williamson

October 17th, 2017

Every year, one of the most exciting races during the 2-day Breeders' Cup Racing Festival ends up being the Filly and Mare Turf. This year should be no exception. Lady Eli, who finished second in the BC Filly and Mare Turf in 2016, is the presumptive favorite. It's doubtful she goes off more than 8/5 odds given her recent form and how she performed in last year's BC F&M.

But, this year's BC Filly and Mare Turf is loaded. Check out My top 4 picks, along with my favorite longshot, for the 2017 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

1. Rhododendron *AND* 2. Hydrangea

Two of three trained by master horseman Aidan O'Brien, Rhododendron barely beat Hydrangea in the Prix de l'Opera. Both are major contenders in this. I slightly favor Rhododendron. The reason is because she finished second to Enable in the Epsom Oaks. Enable beat Cloth of Stars and Ulysses in the Arc. Enable is the best grass horse in the world.

Although I've got Rhododendron on top, Hydrangea is no slouch. She beat Winter in the Matron Stakes before the second place finish in the Opera. If O'Brien doesn't run both, whichever horse he does run will be the key in all my Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf exotics.

3. Lady Eli

Due to reputation, it's hard to see Lady Eli going off at odds any higher than 8 to 5. Most believe she'll offer 2 to 1 odds. I don't. Even at 2 to 1 odds, she's a play against if Hydrangea and, or, Rhododendron enters. Don't get me wrong, Lady Eli is great. But she hasn't come close to facing horses like Hydrangea or Rhododendron. A Goodyearforroses, Quidara, Dickinson, and Roca Rojo aren't on the same level as O'Brien's two best BC F&M contenders.

4. Roly Poly

Her win in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes was nice. However, she finished 6th to Hydrangea in the Group 1 Matron. Roly Poly also hasn't run further than a mile. Her breeding, sired by War Front from a Galileo mare, suggests 1 1/4 miles is no problem. You never know if they want to go that far until they try it, though. If Aidan enters her, she's a must use in my mind. That's why she's on the list.

Top Longshot to Use - Birdie Gold

Don't sleep on the G1 Clasico Premio Pamplona winner. She stamped her ticket to the BC Filly & Mare Turf by showing the turn of foot often required to win the race. Not only that, but she appears to have great cruising speed and an uncanny ability to start a run, slow it down, and start a run again. That could come in handy in bulky fields.

The biggest reason to like her is that she was sired by Birdstone and is from a Touch Gold mare. This is no Peruvian runner without breeding. If she can hold her own, and it sure looks like she can, she's a must consider at could be up to 40 to 1 odds.