Competitive Group Ready to Step Up in Pocahontas Stakes
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
Article Courtesy of Aaron Halterman of the Racing Dudes
A solid field of nine 2-year-old fillies is set to contest Saturday’s running of the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. The race serves as the season’s first Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event for the Juvenile Fillies.
The Pocahontas has drawn a field of exciting prospects, and the standout seems to be the Brad Cox-trained British Idiom. This daughter of Flashback was an impressive debut winner at Saratoga last time out in a maiden special weight, disposing of her competition by 3 1/2 lengths while showing solid speed out of the gate. Her workouts leading up that race were impressive, and they seemed to have continued after, with two recent solid works over the local surface at Churchill Downs. Last year, Serengeti Empress won this race.
The winner of the Pocahontas Stakes will receive an automatic position in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
Here is a look at the full field:
#1 Shadilee – This filly will take the big jump from the maiden claiming ranks to graded stakes company in this spot. Last time out, she made her debut in a $75,000 maiden claimer at Saratoga, where she dominated her competition for a 3 1/4-length triumph. The margin of victory suggested that she could have been competitive in a straight maiden special weight and her speed figure should make her competitive here.
#2 His Glory – After breaking her maiden at Indiana Grand, she has competed in two straight stakes events. The first came at Saratoga in the Schuylerville Stakes (G3), where she was a non-threatening seventh, but then she ran an improved third in the Ellis Park Debutante Stakes. If she can continue to improve here, then she’ll have a shot.
#3 Portrait – Her debut effort at Ellis Park was a losing one, but she woke up in a big way last time out, winning a maiden special weight by 12 1/2 lengths. She was much more professional right from the start in that second effort, securing solid early positioning before pouring it on down the lane. Trainer Brad Cox seems to have found out how to get the most out of this filly.
#4 Lazy Daisy – This west coast shipper will come to Churchill Downs in her second start against stakes company. She was a winner on debut at Del Mar in a maiden special weight, then ran fourth last time out in the ultra-tough Del Mar Debutante (G1). She was several lengths behind the winner in that spot, but she only missed second by a 1/2-length. Her pedigree suggests that she could like the added distance here as she stretches out to two turns.
#5 Blood Curdling – It was nice to see Colonial Downs open back up for racing, and this filly took full advantage, shipping there to win a maiden special weight on debut by an eye-popping 11 lengths. That remains her only career start to date, and it’s unknown how Colonial Downs form transfers to other tracks like Churchill Downs. She showed a lot of talent in that debut, though.
#6 Morning Gold – Horses competing at Saratoga face elite competition at every level, which is where she spent her summer. She was second on debut before breaking her maiden in her next start, but both races were on the turf, so how she reacts to the dirt is yet to be seen. However, the fact that she has a win at this race’s distance is noteworthy, so if she can handle the surface, then she will have a shot to win.
#7 British Idiom – Though she has just one race under her belt, it was an impressive maiden special weight win at Saratoga, giving connections and handicappers a reason to get excited about her. She was hyped before that debut, so it was no surprise to see her romp home to a 3 1/2-length victory. Based on that effort. she looks to be trending in the right direction, and her breeding indicates that she should be able to negotiate stretching out in distance.
#8 Lotta Ott – Steve Asmussen’s 2-year-olds usually improve greatly from start one to start two, and that is exactly what Lotta Ott did at Saratoga this summer. In her debut, she was fourth, then won a maiden special weight by a head at second asking. With a distance pedigree on her side, expect even more improvement as she stretches out to two turns.
#9 Addilyn – This filly ships in from Gulfstream Park after breaking her maiden at third asking last time out. The stretch out in distance to 7 furlongs in her last start could have been the key, as she was a close second in her two starts prior while going shorter. Now, she’ll get to go two turns for the first time, which could make her dangerous.
The Pocahontas Stakes serves as one of three Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events this Saturday. Churchill Downs will also host the Iroquois Stakes (G3) for the TVG Juvenile, while Woodbine hosts the Woobine Mile (G1) for the TVG Mile. On Sunday, the action resumes at Woodbine with the running of the Natalma Stakes (G1) for the Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Summer Stakes (G1) for the Juvenile Turf. The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue on September 21 at Parx with the running of the Cotillion Stakes (G1). That race will be a “Win and You’re In” event for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
For more coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, head over to racingdudes.com.
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