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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.
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.
Race 4 at Keeneland on Saturday, November 7 - Post 12:02 PM
|3||Come Dancing||8-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|6||Venetian Harbor||8-1||Manuel Franco
|7||Serengeti Empress||3-1||Luis Saez
|8||Sally's Curlin||20-1||Brian Hernandez, Jr.
|9||Bell's the One||6-1||Corey Lanerie
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.
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.
|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|
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.
|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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