2020 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

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The Filly & Mare Sprint is run around one turn at seven furlongs (about 1,500 yards) for the fastest females, 3-years-old and up.

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

Purse:$1,000,000Grade: 1
Distance: 7 FurlongsAge: 3+

BELLAFINA RETIRES - REDUCES FIELD TO 10

Aside from the retirement of Bellafina, there were few surprises when pre-entries for the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint were announced Wednesday, with the status of Frank's Rockette being one key as to how the $1 million race will shape up.

Frank's Rockette, winner of her last four starts, has the six-furlong BC Sprint as first preference over the seven-furlong Filly and Mare Sprint, primarily because the shorter distance more than offsets her having to race against males in the $2 million Sprint, according to trainer Bill Mott.

Meanwhile, the retirement of Bellafina means no more than 10 will contest the 14th Filly and Mare Sprint, with Gamine the likely favorite when trying to become the third straight 3-year-old filly to win it.

Simon Callaghan had hoped to run Bellafina in the Filly and Mare Sprint, but the trainer said the 4-year-old Quality Road filly had "come up with a very minor issue that will prevent us from running, unfortunately" and will become part of the broodmare band at Ashford Stud, where she will be bred early next year to Uncle Mo. She retires with seven wins and five seconds and earnings of more than $1.6 million from 18 starts.

Bellafina figured as one of the middling wagering choices if she had gone in the Filly and Mare Sprint. Bellafina is owned by Kaleem Shah and the Coolmore partners.

"She has given us many great days, and we hold some special memories," Callaghan said.

Gamine, a romping winner of the Grade 1 Acorn and Grade 1 Test, will be turning back from the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks for trainer Bob Baffert. She is scheduled to be flown to Kentucky on Sunday after being sent through her final pre-race workout at Santa Anita the previous morning. Three-year-olds have won the last two runnings of the Filly and Mare Sprint, those being Shamrock Rose (2018) and Covfefe (2019).

Other top contenders for the Nov. 7 Filly and Mare Sprint include Bell's the One and Serengeti Empress, separated by a nose as the one-two finishers in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff, and Speech, winner of the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland in July.

The others pre-entered are Come Dancing, Inthemidstofbiz, Sally's Curlin, Sconsin, and Venetian Harbor.

2020 Filly & Mare Sprint Field & Odds

Race 4 at Keeneland on Saturday, November 7 - Post 12:02 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Speech 6-1 Javier Castellano
122 Lbs
Michael McCarthy
2 Gamine 7-5 John Velazquez
122 Lbs
Bob Baffert
3 Come Dancing 8-1 Irad Ortiz, Jr.
124 Lbs
Carlos Martin
4 Inthemidstofbiz 30-1 Emmanuel Esquivel
124 Lbs
Cipriano Contreras
5 Sconsin 20-1 James Graham
122 Lbs
Gregory Foley
6 Venetian Harbor 8-1 Manuel Franco
122 Lbs
Richard Baltas
7 Serengeti Empress 3-1 Luis Saez
124 Lbs
Thomas Amoss
8 Sally's Curlin 20-1 Brian Hernandez, Jr.
124 Lbs
Dale Romans
9 Bell's the One 6-1 Corey Lanerie
124 Lbs
Neil Pessin

INTHEMIDSTOFBIZ

Inthemidstofbiz vaulted to the top of the horse racing game, building on a 4-year-old season that includes three wins in waver claiming, allowance and allowance optional claiming races. She used these as a springboard to victory in the Satin and Lace Stakes, an unlisted contest at Presque Isle Downs, where she sprinted to a clear lead soon after the start and held to 1 ½- length score.

The bay filly crowned this performance with an upset in Keeneland's Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2), a Breeders' Cup Challenge Series "Win and You're In" race for the Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). At 13-1 odds, she drew away in the stretch to win her graded stakes debut by 3 lengths. She gave trainer Cipriano Contreras his second career graded stakes victory.

Contreras has been on his own since 2016 after serving for decades as an assistant to Chicago-area fixture Michael Reavis. Under Reavis, he learned the claiming game, and he continues to excel at it.

"We got lucky today. She's getting better and better," Contreras said, who co-owns the horse with Andrew Knapczyk. "We claimed this filly (for $20,000 at Keeneland during the 2019 Fall Meet) and ran her for (a $16,000 claiming price) at Oaklawn. She started running better, and we took a shot. It worked out."

They had a chance to sell Inthemidstofbiz after the Satin and Lace, and Contreras is glad they turned down the offer.

"She's never run a bad race this year, and I said I want to hang on to her."

Jockey Martin Garcia was in the irons for the first time in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes.

"She's a great filly," he said. "When I asked her to go, she made it really easy."

Her name is a blend of father Fed Biz, a three-time contender in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and mother Midst. She was bred in Kentucky by J.D. Stuart and Mueller Farms.

SPEECH

With her triumph in the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland July 11, Speech solidified her status among the best of her generation. The daughter of a low-level runner, Speech symbolizes the belief that exceptional horses can come from unlikely sources.

Speech was bred by Gail Rice who sells the offspring of her small broodmare band. She saw pedigree possibilities in Speech's mother, Scribbling Sarah, a one-time winner, who closed her career in racing's bottom tier. She purchased her for $7,500 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton February mixed sale in Lexington, Ky. She opted to mate her to Mr Speaker in his first breeding season in part because her son-in-law, jockey Jose Ortiz, had won a Grade 2 race on the stallion.

"(Speech) was beautiful every day of her life," she said in a BloodHorse article posted July 16 regarding the filly's upbringing. "I think she knew she was something special."

Rice sold Speech as a newly turned yearling at the 2018 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s winter mixed sale. At the same Florida auction house the next year, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners paid $190,000 for her at the 2019 March 2-year-olds in training sale where she was cataloged under her original name of My Testimony.

Speech's trainer Michael McCarthy was born in Ohio and raised in Arcadia, California where he got his first taste of racing at Santa Anita. He was a longtime assistant to future Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher before establishing his own stable in Southern California in 2014 so he could be with his wife and young daughter year-round. One of his first starters was Illuminant, who became a Grade 1 winner for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. McCarthy's first Breeders' Cup appearance was 2018 when his five starters included Dirt Mile (G1) winner City of Light and Juvenile Fillies (G1) third-place finisher Vibrance.

Recent Breeders Cup' Filly & Mare Sprint Winners

Year Winner Jockey Trainer Time
2020 Gamine John R. Velazquez Bob Baffert 1:20.20
2019 Covfefe Joel Rosario Brad Cox 1:22.40
2018 Shamrock Rose Irad Ortiz Jr. Mark Casse 1:23.13
2017 Bar of Gold Irad Ortiz Jr. John Kimmel 1:22.63
2016 Finest City Mike Smith Ian Kruljac 1:22.37
2015 Wavell Avenue Joel Rosario Chad Brown 1:22.39
2014 Judy the Beauty Mike Smith Wesley Ward 1:21.92
2013 Groupie Doll Rajiv Maragh William Bradley 1:20.75
2012 Groupie Doll Rajiv Maragh William Bradley 1:20.72
2011 Musical Romance Juan Leyva William A. Caplan 1:23.47
2010 Dubai Majesty Julien Leparoux Jonathan Sheppard 1:21.66

What is the Breeders Cup' Filly & Mare Sprint?

The Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint is a 7-furlong (1408 m) Weight for Age stakes race for thoroughbred fillies and mares three years old and up. As its name implies, it is a part of the Breeders' Cup thoroughbred championships, the de facto year-end championship for North American thoroughbred racing, generally held in the United States (also held one time in Canada). The race is run on a dirt course (either natural dirt or a synthetic surface such as Polytrack).

The race was run for the first time in 2007 during the first day of the expanded Breeders' Cup at that year's host track, Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey. Beginning in 2009, this race is a Grade I event.

The 2007 race was held at a distance of 6 furlongs (1207 m) instead of the normal distance of 7 furlongs because of the configuration of the dirt track at Monmouth Park.

2020 BREEDERS' CUP RACE SCHEDULE

Breeders' Cup Race Grade Purse Date
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint II $1,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf I $1,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies I $2,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf I $1,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Juvenile I $2,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint I $1,000,000 November 7
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint I $1,000,000 November 7
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile I $1,000,000 November 7
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf I $2,000,000 November 7
Breeders' Cup Sprint I $2,000,000 November 7
Breeders' Cup Mile I $2,000,000 November 7
Breeders' Cup Distaff I $2,000,000 November 7
Breeders' Cup Turf I $4,000,000 November 7
Breeders' Cup Classic I $6,000,000 November 7

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