Legatissimo revives memories of 1000 Guineas winners in Breeders' Cup

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

October 17th, 2015

Legatissimo photo courtesy of Leopardstown via Twitter.

While reigning 1000 Guineas (G1) winner Legatissimo has had the Filly & Mare Turf (G1) on her radar for some time, the 2014 heroine of that Newmarket classic, Miss France, has lately emerged as a candidate as well. That makes it all the more timely to consider how notable 1000 Guineas runners have performed in past Breeders’ Cups.

As a mile contest, the Guineas has logically produced a few Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winners – Royal Heroine (1984) was second past the post in the 1983 Guineas, Miesque (1987-88) won the 1987 classic, and Six Perfections finished second at Newmarket before ending 2003 with a Mile score. Sonic Lady was third in the 1986 Guineas and filled that same position behind Miesque in the 1987 Mile.

But since the Guineas is contested over Newmarket’s stiff Rowley Mile, it’s not surprising that its winners have thrived over longer trips as well. Pebbles, the 1984 Guineas heroine, went on to beat males in the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Hatoof, who captured the Guineas in 1993, was only fifth in her Turf try as a sophomore, but she finished second a year later in the 1994 Turf.

As Hatoof’s example implies, several Guineas alumnae have found it harder to mix it up in the Breeders’ Cup as three-year-olds. Guineas winners Ravinella (1988) and Shadayid (1991) both finished seventh in the Mile in their respective years. Sayyedati (1993) tried the Sprint on dirt and checked in 12th, but did much better when third in the 1995 Mile as a five-year-old. Kazzia (2002), the only Guineas winner to line up in the Filly & Mare Turf (G1), could do no better than sixth.

Intercontinental, third in the 2003 Guineas, garnered the Filly & Mare Turf as a five-year-old in 2005, making her the only Guineas alumna to do so. But maybe there should have been two: recall that The Fugue, fourth in the 2012 Guineas, was also a luckless third in that year’s Filly & Mare Turf. She went on to finish second in the 2013 Turf.

There have been a few Guineas alumnae who have placed in the Filly & Mare Turf. Just the Judge, runner-up in the 2013 Guineas at Newmarket, finished third in last year’s Filly & Mare Turf. Misty for Me, 11th in the 2011 Guineas, was a fast-finishing third later that fall at Churchill. That built on the precedent of previous Aidan O’Brien trainees L’Ancresse and Yesterday, both unplaced at Newmarket, who went on to place second and third, respectively, in the 2003 Filly & Mare Turf.

You would have thought that there might have been a stronger Guineas connection to this race. Ironically, Guineas winners showed up in the Breeders’ Cup on a fairly regular basis during the pre-Filly & Mare Turf era, when their turf options required competing against males. Perhaps the increasing attractiveness of other fall targets for distaffers, both in Europe and the Far East, has played a role here.

So it’s good to see Legatissimo, and possibly Miss France, revive the Guineas-to-Breeders’ Cup trajectory.