2023 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf
The world's best female grass horses compete in this 1 1/4 mile race on the Santa Anita turf course for a $2 million purse.
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf
|1 1/4 Mile
The 2023 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf will be held at Keeneland on Saturday, November 5th. Bet & watch the race with OffTrackBetting.com (OTB) - US Legal Online Wagering.
IRISH AND FRENCH STARS HIGHLIGHT MAKER'S MARK FILLY & MARE TURF
OCT 25 - In the $2 million Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at 1 1/4 miles, the 3-year-old Warm Heart (IRE) has registered back-to-back group 1 scores in the Aug. 24 Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks (G1) and the Sept. 10 Qatar Prix Vermeille (G1) at ParisLongchamp for Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Westerberg, and trainer Aidan O'Brien.
In Europe, the John and Thady Gosden-trained 4-year-old filly Inspiral (GB) gained a free berth into the Breeders' Cup Mile when she won the Aug. 13 Prix du Haras de-Fresnay-le Buffard Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville for Cheveley Park Stud. Inspiral won her fourth career group 1 on Oct. 7 with a dominating 3 3/4-length win in the Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes (G1) at Newmarket.
Canada-based Fev Rover (IRE) won the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) at Colonial Downs and Oct. 8 E. P. Taylor Stakes (G1) at Woodbine for owner Tracy Farmer and trainer Mark Casse. For the U.S., Merriebelle Stable LLC's Didia (ARG) recorded a solid stretch-running victory over the Santa Anita course in the Oct. 7 Rodeo Drive Stakes (G2) for trainer Ignacio Correas IV.
2023 Filly & Mare Turf Field & Odds
Race 4 at Santa Anita on Saturday, November 4 - Post 3:10 PM
|In Italian (GB)
|Warm Heart (IRE)
|With The Moonlight (IRE)
|Win Marilyn (JPN)
|Fev Rover (IRE)
|Ignacio Correas, IV
|Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|Lumiere Rock (IRE)
|State Occasion (GB)
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Contenders
There were lofty expectations of In Italian (GB) right from the get-go. She is by Dubawi, indisputably one of the world's best sires, her dam is the Group 3 stakes-winning mare Florentina (AUS) and her maternal grandsire is the Australian multiple Group 1-winning and champion sire Redoute's Choice (AUS). When offered for sale as a yearling in England in 2019, owner Peter Brant signed the ticket for more than $600,000. She has rewarded his confidence with four Grade 1 victories and earnings in excess of $2 million through July. In her first 13 starts the Chad Brown-trainee never was off the board.
Unraced at 2, In Italian was on track for a big 3-year-old campaign in 2021 but caught pneumonia over the summer and went to the sidelines. She made it back to the races in January 2022 and lived up to advance billing. In Italian became a graded stakes winner in Gulfstream Park`s Honey Fox Stakes (G3) and three races later notched her first Grade 1score in the Diana Stakes while setting the Saratoga course record od 1:45.06 for the 1 1/8 miles in July. She then took the First Lady Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in October, and next out in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) she led all the way until Tuesday (IRE) caught her in deep stretch to defeat her by 1 length.
Her 5-year-old season has been sensational. She opened with another Grade 1 score in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April, and on June 9 she used her trademark blistering speed and front-running style to take the Just a Game (G1) at Belmont Park under regular partner Irad Ortiz, Jr. That win was especially meaningful for Brant, who owned Just a Game (IRE), the 1980 Champion Grass Mare. In attempting to defend her title in the Diana on July 15 she led for every step except the last one as her stablemate Whitebeam (GB) caught her at the wire and she lost by just a nose.
Another title defense was thwarted in her next start in the First Lady on Oct. 7 when she was caught in deep stretch by stablemate Gina Romantica to lose by a head as the runner-up.
Coolmore's homebred 3-year-old filly Warm Heart (IRE) displayed plenty of heart while fending off a stiff challenge from the fast-closing Free Wind in the 1 ½-mile Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks (G1) at York on Aug. 24. When Warm Heart prevailed by a head at the wire after the rivals' battle through the stretch, she earned her first Group 1 victory for trainer Aidan O'Brien and the Coolmore connections of Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith and co-owner Westerberg.
After finishing fifth behind stablemate Savethelastdance (IRE) and Bluestocking (GB) in the July 22 Juddmonte Irish Oaks (G1) at The Curragh on soft ground not to her liking, Warm Heart clearly relished the firm footing at York as she returned to the impressive form she showed when winning the 1 ½-mile Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot on June 22. Following her milestone win at York when she was ridden for the first time by James Doyle, O'Brien had high praise for the daughter of Galileo (IRE) and the Fastnet Rock (AUS) mare Sea Siren (AUS). He said that this filly is strong, has tactical speed, is very slick and loves fast ground.
She added to her resume Sept. 10 at Longchamps as she overcame a stumble at the start and rallied to prevail by a short neck in the 1 1/2-mile Qatar Prix Vermeille (G1).
It took Warm Heart three tries to graduate from the maiden ranks but she has proved she was worth the wait. She didn't make her first start until Nov. 4, 2022 at Dundalk and finished fourth in her only outing as a 2-year-old. She made her 2023 seasonal bow at Leopardstown on April 2 and put in a good runner-up effort. One month later Warm Heart returned to Leopardstown with a trip to the winner's circle and followed that up with another win in the Haras De Bouquetot Fillies Trial Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on May 20 at Newbury.
The Coolmore connections won the 2022 Maker's Mark Filly & Mare Turf with homebred Tuesday (IRE), who also was sired by Galileo, co-owned with Westerberg and trained by O'Brien.
With The Moonlight
The well-traveled and multiple graded stakes-winning With The Moonlight (IRE), who has competed in England, Dubai, America and Canada, will carry the colors of Godolphin, the powerful global racing and breeding operation, in the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Her owner/breeder and trainer Charlie Appleby have high hopes this 4-year-old daughter of Frankel (GB) and the Dubawi (IRE) mare Sand Vixen (GB) can deliver a second victory for the connections in this event. Godolphin and Appleby won the 2017 Filly and Mare Turf with the homebred Wuheida (GB).
The connections have taken their time with this filly, running her just three times for two wins in weight for age races in England during her juvenile season before closing the year with a third-place finish in the Montrose Fillies Stakes.
In 2022 she ran another three times in England and won the Pretty Polly Stakes, but it was when she came to America that With The Moonlight really began to shine brightly. In June she was second in the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (G1) and used the race as a springboard to victory in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3) in early August. Two weeks later she completed her sophomore campaign as the runner-up in Saratoga's Lake Placid Stakes (G2).
She resurfaced at Meydan in February of this year as a star of the Dubai Winter Carnival, winning two Group 2 stakes -- the Cape Verdi and the Balanchine. In April she returned to the U.S. for Keeneland's Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) and was runner-up by 3 lengths to In Italian (GB). From there it was back to Newmarket with a sixth-place finish in the Howden Dahlia Stakes (G2) in May, and then she crossed the pond again to run in Belmont Park's New York Stakes (G2).
Though Appleby had pointed her to the New York since February he had to scratch her for a medical issue and take her home to the U.K. With The Moonlight returned to North America for the E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1) at Woodbine in Canada on Oct. 8. Though she finished well in the 1 ¼-mile test to be second to Fev Rover (IRE), she never threatened the winner that day.
Her detractors thought the 2022 Canadian Horse of the Year and Sovereign Award-winning 3-Year-Old Filly was past her peak when she turned in three runner-up performances in her first three starts of 2023 in the Belle Mahone Stakes (G3), the Nassau Stakes (G2) and the Dance Smartly Stakes (G2) at Woodbine.
Then Moira silenced the chatter. In making her fourth effort of the season she displayed a dazzling return to her best form in the Canadian Stakes (G2) on her home course on Sept. 9. Under Rafael Hernandez the daughter of Ghostzapper and the Unbridled's Song mare Devine Aida crushed a strong field that included Grade 1 winner Fev Rover (IRE) by rallying from the back of the pack and then accelerating to the wire while lengthening her lead with every stride. Her margin of victory in the race at about 1 1/8 miles on turf rated "good" was 6 1/4 lengths.
In the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor on Oct. 8 at Woodbine, things were reversed in the 1 ¼-mile test as Moira could do no better than third in finishing 4 lengths behind the victories Fev Rover.
Moira, who was a $150,000 yearling purchase by the partnership of X-Men Racing, Madaket Stables and SF Racing, showed her class from the start. In her first effort as a 2-year-old she captured the Princess Elizabeth Stakes by 4 ¼ lengths and then took second in the Mazarine Stakes (G3) for trainer Kevin Attard.
In her sophomore season she was spectacular, going three-for-three at Woodbine in the Stella Artois Fury Stakes, the Woodbine Oaks and then the Queen's Plate in which she beat the boys. Next when stepping up into Grade 1company in the E.P. Taylor Stakes, Moira had a nightmare trip and was disqualified from second and placed eighth. She ended her 2022 year with a fifth-place finish in the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Keeneland, which was the only time in her career the millionaire has raced anywhere other than at Woodbine.
She was the pride of Japan on Dec. 11 when she provided the high note for her native land's large contingent of runners on the Longines Hong Kong Intenational Races Day by upsetting the field in the Hong Kong Vase (G1) and in the process became the first mare to win this prestigious race at Sha Tin Racecourse since 2009.
Owned by Win Co. Ltd., the then 5-year-old Win Marilyn (JPN) overcame a pedestrian pace, rallied from the back of the pack, and stormed down the lane while outkicking the field to prevail by 1 ½ lengths in the 1 ½-mile turf test. The Takahisa Tezuka trainee sealed her first Group 1 success, as well as her first victory in five 2022 races, in style and gave credence to his opinion that this is her optimum distance. Going a mile and three-eighths, she dead-heated for second in the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Hanshin and was the runner-up in the 2020 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse going a mile and a half.
Throughout her career the daughter of Screen Hero (JPN) and Cosmo Cielo (AUS) by Fusaichi Pegasus has shown consistency. She is a three-time Grade 2 winner, having proved victorious in the 2021 Sankei Sho All Comers Stakes and the Nikkei Sho Stakes, both at Nakayama Racecourse, and the 2020 Sankei Sports Sho Flora Stakes at Tokyo.
From the start she proved her talent, winning the 2019 Newcomer Comer Stakes at 1 ¼ miles at Nakayama in her first outing. After Win Marilyn became a G1 winner her value as a broodmare skyrocketed and it was thought she would be retired. But her owner and trainer unanimously decided to bring her back for her 6-year-old season. This year she has raced three times. In the March 25 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) at Meydan she finished sixth and in the Sapporo Kinen (G2) Aug. 20, she finished ninth. On Sept. 24, she finished ninth of 15 beaten 5 1/2 lengths going 1 3/8 miles at Nagayama in the Sankei Sho All Comers (G2).
Inspiral (GB) won six of her first seven starts for owner/breeder Cheveley Park Stud and has continued on at the top rank of competition, weaving her personal history firmly into the centuries-old fabric of British racing.
The 4-year-old daughter of Frankel (GB), trained by the father-son partnership of John and Thady Gosden, inspired a lot of confidence with her first start, rallying from a poor beginning to win easily in June 2021 at Newmarket. That was followed by open-lengths scores in the Star Stakes at Sandown, the May Hill Stakes (G2) at Doncaster and the prestigious bet365 Fillies Mile (G1) at Newmarket in her 2-year-old finale.
She won her second Group 1 in her first start at 3, winning the Coronation Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot by 4 3/4 lengths, then suffered her first defeat, and the only one not attributable to soft turf, with a second in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (G1) in July.
Good-to-soft going saw her finish sixth in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1) at Ascot to end 2022. She then finished second by a neck in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) back at Royal Ascot and was victimized again by the course conditions in the Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1) Aug. 2 at Glorious Goodwood.
Any doubts occasioned by that were laid to rest just 11 days later when Inspiral landed a smashing repeat victory in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville on turf that regular rider Frankie Dettori said was much more to her liking.
"She's proven on top of the ground, she's proven on good ground and she's proven on good to soft ground, but heavy ground she doesn't like," Racing Post quoted Chris Richardson, managing director of Cheveley Park Stud, after the Jacques le Marois triumph.
He noted the Jacques le Marois "was a 'Win and You're In' for the Breeders' Cup Mile so that's something to think about and a decision Mrs. Thompson (Cheveley Park co-owner Patricia) will make."
Eight weeks after the Jacques le Marois victory, Inspiral returned with a flourish at Newmarket on Oct. 7 and delivered a geared-down 3 ¾-length victory in the Sun Chariot Stakes (G1) going a mile.
Inspiral's pedigree embodies the history of racing in England and of Cheveley Park, where all of the filly's first three dams were bred.
Cheveley Park Stud is the oldest in Newmarket, the center of British racing, with buildings dating to the 1500s. Cadland, the 1828 Epsom Derby winner (in a runoff after the race was called a dead heat), was an early entry in the long list of equine stars bred at or owned by Cheveley Park.
Cheveley Park Stud won the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita in 2016 with homebred filly Queen's Trust (GB).
She was French Classic-placed this year when owned by Ecurie Waldeck and partners and trained by Christophe Ferland in her native land. Then a change in connections, competition, and scenery did the trick for 3-year-old French-bred Lindy.
After going undefeated in three 2022 outings during her juvenile campaign at racetracks in the French provinces Lindy returned for her sophomore season in April and was stepped up into the graded stakes ranks at the premier French venues. In April and May she achieved runner-up status to star French filly Blue Rose Cen (IRE) at Longchamps in the Prix de la Grotte (G3) and the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (G1), respectively. Then in June Ferland tried her in the Prix de Diane Longines (G1), which is considered the French Oaks, at Chantilly but this time she came home in eighth place behind her nemesis Blue Rose Cen.
After that effort, Lindy was sold privately to Everest Racing and sent to American-based trainer Brendan Walsh, who had her primed for her stateside debut with Tyler Gaffalione in the irons. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite in an allowance race at Kentucky Downs on turf rated as "good" on Sept. 7, Lindy did not disappoint her new connections and her backers. Her encore was a runner-up finish to Mawj (IRE) who is a major contender for the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile, in Keeneland's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1), which was contested on good turf at 1 1/8 miles, on Oct. 14. Under Gaffalione, she lost by only a rapidly diminishing half-length.
Lindy is by Le Havre (IRE) out of the Rock of Gibraltar mare Llanita (GB).
It took the European import Fev Rover (IRE) some time to understand North American racing according to her trainer, Mark Casse, but with her gate-to-wire win in the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) at 1 3/16 miles at Colonial Downs on Aug. 12 she went right to the head of the class. The win was the first top-level score on her extensive resume and it rewarded owner Tracy Farmer's confidence when he purchased her for $971,704 at the Tattersalls December 2021 Mares Sale and sent her across the Atlantic Ocean.
The daughter of Gutaifan (IRE) and Laurelita (IRE) by High Chaparral (IRE) ran her first 10 races in Europe and was an accomplished runner at ages 2 and 3, winning two stakes, including the Shadwell Prix du Calvados (G2) in August 2020. Her most impressive European effort was a third-place finish in the Qipco One Thousand Guineas (G1) in May 2021 at Newmarket. She completed her overseas assignments with a fourth-place finish in the Bahrain International Trophy (G3) in the country of Bahrain in November of that year.
Fev Rover made her first start for Casse in July 2022 at Woodbine in Canada, running second in the Dance Smartly Stakes (G2). Next out she won the Canadian Stakes (G2) and finished her season with a third-place finish in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1) at Woodbine. In 2023 she has really come into her own, taking the 1-mile Nassau Stakes (G2) at Woodbine in her seasonal bow before heading to America for the 1 1/8-mile Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on July 15. Despite being fractious at the gate, she finished a strong third in the Diana behind Whitebeam (GB) and that filly's stablemate In Italian (GB).
Following her victory at Colonial Downs, Fev Rover returned to Woodbine on Sept. 9 for the Canadian Stakes (G2) going 1 1/8 miles and finished fourth beaten 6 1/2 lengths. Fev Rover remained at Woodbine and returned to top form with a 2 ¼-length victory on Oct. 8 in the 1 ¼-mile E.P. Taylor (G1).
Tepin, the 2015 Mile victress and two-time Champion Grass Mare (2015-2016), is among Casse's six Breeders' Cup winners. "Tepin was kind of a bull and she is a bull as well," Casse said of Fev Rover. "Fev Rover still has a lot to prove but the one similarity is that they both thrive on racing. She is the real deal."
Seven was the lucky number for Didia, the Argentine-bred mare who won seven consecutive races in her native land and the U.S. before her streak was snapped June 9 in the $600,000 New York Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park when she stepped up into top-level company and stretched out to 1 ¼ miles for the first time in the United States. The Ignacio Correas IV-trainee was beaten only three-quarters of a length in her runner-up finish.
Away from the races for four months, Didia left her home base at Keeneland to head west to Santa Anita for the 1 1/4-mile Rodeo Drive (G2) on Oct. 7. She made the trip worthwhile by scoring by 1 ¾ lengths as the favorite.
The Merriebelle Stable's colorbearer was imported to America after she finished her 3-year-old season in 2021 in her native land with three consecutive wins that included two Group 1 events. Once stateside, she picked up right where she had left off with a trip to the Colonial Downs winner's circle in allowance company in July 2022 and followed that with a victory in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Old Nelson Stakes on the same turf course in August. But her season was cut short when she developed an illness that thwarted plans to compete in stakes competition at the Keeneland fall meet.
In 2023 the daughter of Orpen, who is a son of Hall of Famer and two-time Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) winner (1992-93) Lure and is out of the Rainbow Corner (GB) mare Delambre (BRZ), returned from a seven-month layoff in March and continued her winning ways. Didia took the Tom Benson Memorial Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at the Fair Grounds and then capped her comeback with her first U.S. graded stakes score in the $300,000 Modesty (G3) at 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs May 5.
The British-bred McKulick's powerful rally down the stretch to win the 1 ½-mile Glens Falls Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on Aug. 3 was sweet for owner Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables, and for trainer Chad Brown it was the icing on the cake.
Brown got his start working for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel and when he opened his own stable his first and only employee was Mary McKulick. Brown always wanted to train a promising horse named after Mary and this filly is the first offspring of super sire Frankel (GB), who is named after the late trainer, that Brown picked out at the Tattersalls 2020 Yearling Sale. After Klarman paid $245,369 for the filly he generously gave McKulick her name. Mary McKulick died in 2020.
The filly did her namesake proud in winning her first race at Saratoga in August 2021 and though it took four more tries and 11 months to get back to the winner's circle she did it in grand style. McKulick was the star of the 2021 New York Fillies Triple Turf Series, taking both the first and third legs in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) at 1 ¼ miles in July and the Jockey Club Oaks (G3) at 1 3/8 miles in October, respectively. In the middle leg, the 1 3/16th miles Saratoga Oaks Invitational Stakes (G3) in August, she ran a strong second. McKulick wrapped up her sophomore season with a subsequent runner-up finish in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in October.
McKulick, whose dam is Astrelle (GB) by Makfi (GB), returned from a seven-month break in May to be fifth in the Modesty Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs and then was third behind her Klaravich Stables-Brown stablemate Marketsegmentation in the New York Stakes (G1) at 1 ¼ miles in June at Belmont Park. Following her Glens Fall victory, McKulick was back in action Sept. 2 in the 1 3/8-mile Flower Bowl (G2) and finished second.
McKulick returned to the winner's circle Oct. 7 when she cruised to a 2-length victory as the heavy favorite in the Waya (G3) run over a yielding course at Aqueduct going 1 3/8 miles.
She had been the model of consistency while dancing every dance this season in Group stakes company, and then in her sixth start of 2023 Lumiere Rock (IRE) finally was rewarded with the first victory of her 3-year-old campaign.
Trainer Joseph O'Brien knew the daughter of Saxon Warrior (JPN) out of Last Gold (FR) by Gold Away (IRE) had plenty of heart but decided to give her something extra, so he made a change to her equipment before he sent her postward for the Moyglare Jewels Blanford Stakes (G2) at the Curragh at 1 ¼ miles on Sept. 10. While wearing cheekpieces for the first time she was keener, so jockey Dylan Browne McMonagle guided her to the lead just 2 furlongs into the race and no one could catch her from there as she drew off to a 3-length win and notched her best career performance.
Three weeks later, Lumiere Rock returned to the races in the Prix de l'Opera Longines (G1) at Longchamps where she was prominent early in the 1 1/4-mile race before settling for third beaten 1 1/4 lengths.
As a juvenile Lumiere Rock went winless in three maiden efforts but then broke through in her final start of the year with a Grade 3 score in the Staffordstown Stud Stakes at the Curragh in October. Owner Michael O'Flynn bought her as a yearling for the bargain basement price of $78,673 and she has earned in excess of $300,000.
After State Occasion (GB) posted a statement win in the 1 ¼-mile British EBF 40th Anniversary Upavon Fillies Stakes at England's Salisbury Racecourse in August, a delighted Ralph Beckett exclaimed that his 5-year-old charge had set herself up for a big autumn campaign. Following a fourth next time out in the Royal Windsor Weatherbys Global Stallion Winter Hill Stakes (G3) she was stepped up to the prestigious 1 1/4-mile Prix de l'Opera (G1) at Longchamps on Oct. 1.
On a course rated good to soft that day she stayed on under Rossa Ryan to finish fifth but was beaten a total of only 2 lengths. Beckett was encouraged by her performance and said this is a mare who relishes fast ground so she should appreciate the conditions at Santa Anita.
The daughter of Iffraaj (GB) out of Forest Crown (GB) by Royal Applause (GB) also is coming into the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) relatively fresh. Her race at Longchamp was just her fourth of 2023, including the Middleton Fillies Stakes (G2) in which she finished fourth in May. Beckett explained her three months away from the races was because of an illness coupled with the fact that it rained all summer in England, so the course conditions were anything other than firm.
State Occasion competed in seven races in England in 2022, winning three, and her best outing was her 2-length victory in the 1 5/16-mile Heritage Handicap at York in August. During her 3-year-old season in 2021 she competed four times in the handicap ranks with one second and three thirds. Her juvenile campaign in 2020 also included four efforts and it concluded with a win in the 1-mile Nursery Handicap at Kempton Park that October.
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What is the Breeders Cup' Filly & Mare Turf?
The Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1) is a relative newcomer as it is the only existing series in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races that was not a part of the original seven Breeders' Cup races group begun in 1984.
In July 1998, the Breeders' Cup board of directors voted on the decision to fill an obvious gap in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships lineup by creating this $1 million series for fillies and mares. The first Filly & Mare Turf was held in 1999 at Gulfstream Park.
Until that time, the female turf division had no definitive championship race, and distaffers were forced to race in open company. The audacious misses had to settle for competing against their male counterparts in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) and the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1). Back then, the ladies already more than held their own at the Breeders' Cup races, beginning with Royal Heroine (Ireland). She was the only filly in the field when she triumphed in the very first running of the Mile in 1984, and in the process, set a new course record at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California.
Following Royal Heroine's footsteps, Miesque snagged back-to-back wins at the Mile in 1987 and 1988, while Ridgewood Pearl (Great Britain) captured the 1995 running, moving the Mile championship for the misses up to four of the first 12 runnings. The females performed just as well in the Breeders' Cup Turf, notably, with Pebbles (Great Britain) who took the 1985 running and Miss Alleged who triumphed in 1991.
The Filly & Mare Turf was first run in 1999 at 1 3/8 miles, owing mainly to Gulfstream Park's grass course configuration, and was again contested like so in the following year. Come 2001, the distance was then shifted to 10 furlongs.
Ever since the initial running in 1999, the newer series has fulfilled its intended purpose. Phillips Racing Partnership's Soaring Softly snagged an Eclipse Award as champion turf female with a three-quarter-length victory on that first year.
In 2000 at Churchill Downs, Stronach Stable's Perfect Sting won by the same margin, 3/4 length, over Tout Charmant. Perfect Sting was subsequently voted champion turf female.
The Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1) was first run in 1999 at 1 3/8 miles, but the distance was then shifted to 10 furlongs.
European interests in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf eventually broke through in 2001 at Belmont Park, when Juddmonte Farms' French-based Banks Hill (Great Britain) won by 5 1/2 lengths. That year, the Filly & Mare Turf was run at 1 1/4 miles for the first time, which is its prescribed distance when course configurations permit.
In 2003, the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf may have finally put the overseas runners at the fore of the Breeders' Cup map as European-trained horses swept the first three positions and European-bred horses bagged the top five. 3-1 favorite Islington stalked the pace in sixth early under Kieren Fallon, then at the top of the stretch came on strong and duelled with 47-1 shot L'Ancresse down the stretch to win by a neck in a time of 1:59. It was 2 ½ lengths back to 14-1 shot Yesterday while England-bred Heat Haze finished fourth.
2004 continued the European streak when race favorite Ouija Board of Great Britain won the championship at 0.90 odds with jockey Kieren Fallon. The runnerup was Film Maker at 16.50 odds with jockey John Velasquez while third place went to Wonder Again at 10.70 odds with jockey Edgar Prado.
Recent Breeders Cup' Filly & Mare Turf Winners
|Loves Only You
|Sir Michael Stoute