Breeders' Cup Friday Best Bet
The three-year-old filly contingent enters this year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) seemingly underrated. None are of Untapable-like quality (2014 version) for sure, but then the older fillies and mares they’re facing aren’t Beholder-like either. The three-year-old that’s evolved into perhaps the best on the main track this season is I’M A CHATTERBOX (#1, 8-1), who exits an impressive win in the Cotillion (G1), a race also used by Untapable prior to scoring in last year’s Distaff. That came on the heels of a second in the Alabama (G1) where she chased a false pace set by Embellish the Lace, and a demoted second in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) where she drifted out late into Curalina after leading the whole way. That’s not necessarily her style, and there are several others she’ll likely be rating behind here. It’s also noteworthy she won her debut at Keeneland a little more than a year ago. If anywhere close to her 8-1 morning line price, she represents value.
ALICE SPRINGS (#3, 6-1) brings top-class formlines and a progressive profile for Aidan O’Brien, who’s arguably overdue for a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). The $925,848 Tattersalls October purchase was a late foal (born May 4), yet still won handsomely on debut in June. Third to subsequent Group 1-winning stablemates Minding and Ballydoyle in the Moyglare Stud (G1), she was a staying-on fourth to highly-regarded Lumiere and Breeders’ Cup rival Illuminate in the Cheveley Park (G1) down in trip to six furlongs. The stretch-out in distance could help Alice Springs to turn the tables on Illuminate, if she copes with the turning track. The daughter of Galileo comes off a romp in the lucrative Tattersalls Millions Two-Year-Old Fillies Trophy, which appeared as a confidence booster going in, and coming out signaled a real improver. Well drawn in post 3, Alice Springs figures to carve out a good trip with returning ace Ryan Moore.
I’m really liking the Mark Casse runners in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), and have already tabbed Conquest Daddyo as my Friday Longshot. For the Friday Best Bet, CATCH A GLIMPSE (#4, 5-1) has caught my eye. The chestnut lass dropped her initial start at Saratoga in a 5 1/2-furlong, off-the-turf maiden, but led every step of the way in an allowance next out going seven furlongs. She tried a mile over the good sod at Woodbine on September 12 and ended up romping in the Natalma (G2) by five lengths. That win for the Casse trainee garnered her a 98 BRIS Speed rating, and Catch a Glimpse has been working well at Keeneland.
HARMONIZE (#8, 7-2) in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) is my strongest opinion on the Breeders’ Cup Friday program. The Scat Daddy filly showed high speed in her debut but wound up being caught in the final strides, finishing a nose runner-up. She settled better in her next start, tracking the pace in second before accelerating impressively to the lead off the far turn, and recorded a four-length score in the P.G. Johnson S. at Saratoga. Shipping to Keeneland for her third outing, the October 7 Jessamine S. (G3), Harmonize dropped to the back of the 12-horse field at the start and traveled extremely wide on the far turn while circling rivals into contention, and she finished full of run to prove comfortably best by a neck. I love the versatility and improving form she’s displayed, and Harmonize appears to be thriving in a local setting she relishes. The talented filly can continue to show more in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.