Happily, Rushing Fall head Juvenile Fillies Turf
A full field of 14 lines up in the first Breeders’ Cup race at Del Mar, the one-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, but it already looks like it’s about unbeaten U.S. filly Rushing Fall against Irish maestro Aidan O’Brien’s pair Happily and September.
Rushing Fall is the 7-2 morning-line favorite after a highly impressive victory in the Jessamine Stakes (G3) at Keeneland. The daughter of More Than Ready was near the tail of the field for most of the race but started looping her opponents on the final turn and strode away for an effortless victory.
It was an impressive victory for sure, but the opposition was nothing like what she faces at Del Mar.
O’Brien has had numerous successes around the world, but Happily broke new ground for him when she won the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1). It was his eighth success in the race, but the first with a filly. Third in that race was Masar, the morning-line favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
At her previous start Happily, a sister to classic winners Gleneagles and Marvellous, beat stablemate Magical in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1). In third position, 3 ¾ lengths further away, was another stablemate, September, who opposes her again at Del Mar. September subsequently finished a close and somewhat unlucky second to Laurens in the Fillies Mile (G1) at Newmarket.
Brown has a useful second string himself in Significant Form, winner of the Miss Grillo Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park from Best Performance and Orbolution. All three return for this race.
Also in single-figure odds on the morning line is Capla Temptress, now in the stable of Bill Mott, who comes into the race after winning the Natalma Stakes (G1) at Woodbine from Dixie Union, who reopposes her at Del Mar.
From Europe, it’s worth keeping an eye on Rockfel Stakes (G2) winner Juliet Capulet and Cheveley Park Stakes (G1) third-place finisher Madeline, while other North American hopes include Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes winner Ultima D.
If form plays out, expect Rushing Fall, Happily, and September to be prominent. But in a 14-horse field on a tight course anything can happen and luck will play a part, so it pays to play widely when considering exotics.