By Emily Shields
Breeders’ Cup action on Saturday, November 7 action at Keeneland kicks off with the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), a seven furlong race that drew nine dazzling speedsters. Star-crossed filly Gamine drew second stall, and figures to be a heavy favorite as the 7-5 choice on the morning line.
Gamine has crossed the finish line first in four of five races, including the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes by almost 19 lengths, and the Grade 1 Test by seven lengths. But she was disqualified for a medication positive out of an Oaklawn Park allowance in May, and was third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) around nine furlongs last out. She was favored that day, but yielded after setting the pace. Bob Baffert trains the $1.8 million purchase by Into Mischief. John Velazquez will ride.
A strong field of challengers will face her. On the rail is Speech, a Keeneland Grade 1 winner in July trained by Michael McCarthy. Javier Castellano will ride the daughter of Mr Speaker, who is also multiple stakes placed and was fourth in the Kentucky Oaks. She could sit just off the pace and make a good move in the lane.
Venetian Harbor was an ultra-game winner here on October 17 in the Grade 2 Raven Run. The daughter of Munnings was once the leader of the division, winning the Grade 2 Las Virgenes in February by 9 ¼ lengths. She also broke her maiden by 10 ¾ lengths. Since then, she had run second in three consecutive races, incluing a pair of Grade 1 events. The Richard Baltas trainee has never been worse than second.
The popular Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress has been nothing but tough and determined her entire career. An earner of over $2 million, Serengeti Empress has also won races like the Grade 1 Ballerina and Grade 2 Azeri, and was nosed out by Bell’s the One in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff last out. Bell’s the One has drawn outside this field, and has won half of her 14 starts.
The second choice in the 2019 edition of this race was Come Dancing, who is back for more. Last year she won four stakes races, and this year has only won once, but htat was in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss last out at Saratoga. Carlos Martin is back at the helm of the daughter of Malibu Moon.
Horses such as Sally’s Curlin and Sconsin are both longshots in this race, but aren’t hopeless by any means. The latter is coming off a graded win at Churchill Downs over Kentucky Derby weekend. TVG is offering a money back special for the Breeders’ Cup, make sure to check it out before the big day!
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