Alpha Centauri Seeks "Win and You're In" Berth to Breeders' Cup Mile

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

August 11th, 2018

First, she defeated fellow three-year-old fillies with complete authority. Then, she dismissed old rivals with equal disdain.

Now, on Sunday, the budding superstar filly #10 Alpha Centauri will attempt to defeat older males in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville racecourse in France. At first, it sounds like a challenging task. But if she bring her A-game, it’s hard to envision Alpha Centauri suffering a defeat in this one-mile turf test, which serves as a “Win and You’re In” for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.

Thus far this year, Alpha Centauri has been nothing less than a beast going a mile. After winning the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas (Ire-I) at the Curragh, she blew apart a quality field in the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at to win by six stunning lengths, then prevailed by 4 ½ lengths in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I) against older rivals.

The latter two efforts earned Alpha Centauri back-to-back 124 Racing Post Ratings, which tower over this field, and she was never remotely in danger of losing either race. Furthermore, the field for the Prix Jacques le Marois is lacking in any standout older males, to the extent that #11 With You—another three-year-old filly—is the clear second choice among British bookmakers. There’s no such thing as a “can’t lose” proposition in racing, but if you’re looking for the most likely winner of the weekend, Alpha Centauri seems like a good bet.

But since she’ll be a heavy favorite in the wagering, we’ll have to tackle the exotics if we want to make a meaningful wagering score. The above-mentioned With You, winner by three lengths of the Prix Rothschild (Fr-I) over this course and distance two weeks ago, is among the obvious candidates for a spot in the trifecta. #4 Accidental Agent also warrants respect off his upset win in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot, though his performance that day seemed to come from nowhere and it’s fair to question whether he can repeat it.

I’m more interested in #7 Intellogent and #8 Cascadian, who were separated by less than a neck when finishing first and second in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat (Fr-I) over this course and distance last month. Intellogent in particular is intriguing given that he was beaten just a length in the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I) going 10 ½ furlongs two starts back; the cutback in distance for the Prix Jean Prat seemed to do him good, and if he steps forward again on Sunday he can challenge for one of the top spots in the Prix Jacques le Marois.

Here’s how I would play the race:

$6 exacta: 10 with 7,11 ($12) $1.50 trifecta: 10 with 7,8,11 with 2,7,8,9,11 ($18)

Good luck!