French filly Azaelia drops in class for Valley View

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October 18th, 2016

Friday's $150,000 Valley View (G3) at Keeneland is its usual popular self. Fourteen three-year-old fillies, plus one on the also-eligible list, were entered for the 1 1/16-mile grass test, and a pair of former European mainstays figure to attract much of the attention.

Florent Geroux picks up of the mount on Azaelia, who makes her U.S. debut after having last run in the French Oaks (G1) at Chantilly in June. The daughter of Turtle Bowl finished an excellent fourth as a 53-1 chance following a runner-up finish in the Prix Vanteaux (G3), and it's safe to say she meets no one the caliber of the fillies ahead of her in the Oaks here.

La Cressonniere won the Oaks and wound up unbeaten in four starts this year. Unfortunately, an injury sidelined her prior to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1), where she probably would have been no worse than second choice. Oaks runner-up Left Hand went on to capture the Prix Vermeille (G1), while third-place Volta when on to grab more Group 1 black type with a second in the Prix Rothschild.

Another intriguing continental is Quidura, who won on debut at Baden-Baden, Germany, in her only start at two last September. Up the track in a Group 3 at Cologne in her final start overseas, the Dubawi filly debuted for trainer Graham Motion at Belmont Park on September 18 and promptly won a first-level allowance with a sub-:23 final quarter.

Motion has also entered Tin Type Gal, winner of the Miss Grillo (G3) at two and the Boiling Springs (G3) earlier this year. In two interim tries since the latter, the Tapit filly finished a closing fifth in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) and an even third in the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont.

Other graded winners in the field include My Impression, who romped to a 3 1/4-length score in the Commonwealth Oaks (G3) at Laurel last time, and Cheekaboo, who upset the Honeymoon (G2) at Santa Anita in June but has been unplaced in two recent outings, also in California.

Taking a step up in class after winning their first two outings on grass are allowance winners Linda and Triple Chelsea.

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