Powell’s Picks for the Breeders’ Cup ‘WAYI’ Natalma
My Gal Betty (c) WEG/Michael Burns Photography
by Dick Powell
The Natalma Stakes (Can-G1) will be run at one-mile on the turf for two-year-old fillies at Woodbine on Sunday. The winner gets an automatic entry in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf (G1), but it has not been much of a path to success as only 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year Catch a Glimpse has won both races.
The Natalma, named after the immortal Northern Dancer’s dam, has been won by Mark Casse seven times in the past 12 years. He has a runner this year and I don’t like her.
The field of 14 is a bit unusual in that only six of them have ever won on the turf. With the Woodbine main track being the turf-like Tapeta, many of the horses in this year’s field have won on it and that’s close enough. Post position will not be that important since it will only be run around one turn.
STILLWATER COVE (#12) was part of the Wesley Ward brigade which invaded Royal Ascot in June. She broke her maiden by a nose on the dirt at Keeneland after opening up a big lead going 4 1/2 furlongs, then shipped to England.
Her turf workouts were solid but in the Albany Stakes (Eng-G3), Joel Rosario gunned her to the front on the far side and she quickly opened up four lengths in the six-furlong turf sprint. Rosario got her to relax a bit but, when he asked her for run again, it was not there.
Last out at Saratoga in a $100,000 turf sprint stakes, she relaxed beautifully and exploded in the stretch to win going away by almost two lengths. The daughter of Quality Road stretches out to a mile but the way she ran at Saratoga was a whole new ballgame. The early speed is there if Johnny Velazquez wants it but he can relax her down the backside and save energy for the stretch.
Roger Attfield sends out local favorite MY GAL BETTY (#8), who should be undefeated in three career starts. The first two came on Woodbine’s Tapeta, including a first-place finish in a $100,000 stakes where she was disqualified and placed third for bumping in the lane. Last out, she made her turf debut a winning one when coming from off the pace to win by more than four lengths going six furlongs on a yielding turf course. The daughter of Point of Entry is bred to go a lot farther than six furlongs and Attfield adds Lasix today for the first time – 23 percent when he does and the last 44 times show a flat-bet profit.
MINTD (#10) makes her American debut for new trainer Chad Brown. She broke her maiden two starts back at a lesser track in Ireland but bounced back with a good second behind Land Force, who has come back to win a Group 2 in England. Pete Bradley and Sol Kumin rarely miss on these type of imports and the daughter of young sire Olympic Glory adds Javier Castellano and Lasix for her first start in North America.
BOLD SCRIPT (#9) broke her maiden here by a nose going six furlongs when she stalked the pace and took over despite severe traffic problems. She came back and ran third behind My Gal Betty last out over yielding turf going six furlongs after being shuffled back from post 1 and draws much better today. The daughter of Speightstown looks to have enough gate speed to keep from being too far back and should be able to be one of the ones to make their first move turning for home.
ARTILENA (#7) rallied for second going 5 1/2 furlongs on the Tapeta after being bumped in her well-bet career debut. She came back on it in an off-the-turf event with only four runners but she won by 11 lengths in decent time. The daughter of Artie Schiller has drilled on the turf course with the dogs up in :59.60 and she should have no trouble with the switch to turf being out of dam by Arch. Eurico Da Silva rides back – 23 percent with his turf rides this year.
Stillwater Cove looks perfectly positioned for this and when she drew outside, it gave her a major advantage. Not sure where the betting money will show up so we’ll play it pretty straight from there.
#12 with #8, #10, #9, #7 with #8, #10, #9, #7 in trifectas.
#8, #10, #9, #7 with #12 with #8, #10, #9, #7 in trifectas.
#8, #10, #9, #7 with #8, #10, #9, #7 with #12 in trifectas.
#8, #10, #9, #7 in a small trifecta box in case #12 runs poorly.