Overdrawn Field Vies for Breeders’ Cup Spot in G2 Jessamine Stakes
Courtesy of Aaron Halterman of the Racing Dudes
An overdrawn field of 16 is set to contest this year’s running of the Grade 2, $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland Race Course. The event serves as a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” event for the Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 3 at Churchill Downs. Shipping south for the race is My Gal Betty, who has been great in four starts at Woodbine this season. She finished first three straight times before running a close second last time out in the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes. She drew post 13 for this race and receives the services of a new rider in Javier Castellano.
The winner of the Grade 2 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes will receive an automatic position in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf this fall at Churchill Downs. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the person who nominated the foal or racehorse. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based internationally.
Let’s take a look at the full field:
#1 Lucky Girasol – This filly will be making her ninth career start in a very short amount of time. Her lone victory came three races back against maiden claiming company on the Ellis Park dirt. That earned her a shot against stakes company in her last two starts, where she failed to make much of an impact at big odds.
#2 Zalia – Kentucky Downs runs solid maiden special weight races for huge purses of $130K during their annual meet. As a result, the winners of those races are usually pretty talented, which could be the case with this filly. She won her debut there by 4 1/4 lengths, earning her a shot in this tough race. Her pedigree suggests that stretching out in distance will be something that she enjoys.
#3 Speedy Solution – It is never easy to win a maiden special weight at Saratoga, which is exactly what this filly did. In just her second start, Speedy Solution came from several lengths behind to pass her rivals late in the stretch and win by a 1/2-length. That maiden special weight win was at 1 1/16 miles, which is the same distance as this event.
#4 Concrete Rose – She has just one race under her belt, which came in a maiden special weight at Saratoga going 5 1/2 furlongs. In that race, she fell behind while looking a bit sluggish before making a strong rally to win by 1 3/4 lengths. The win was impressive, especially since she is likely to be stronger when going two turns, which is what she will be trying here.
#5 Lightscameraaction – It took a while for this filly to get going. She lost her first three starts before breaking her maiden going one mile in a maiden special weight at Ellis Park. After that victory, she shipped to Kentucky Downs for the $400K Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies Stakes, where she finished a solid second. She tried the dirt once more in the Grade 2 Pocahantas Stakes at Churchill Downs but was a well-beaten third.
#6 Pakhet – This daughter of Cairo Prince ships to Kentucky after breaking her maiden last time out at Belmont Park going 1 1/16 miles in a maiden special weight. In her debut race at Saratoga, she also put in a solid performance, finishing second by a nose at odds of 6/1. Her pedigree suggests that she will be strongest when running long, which should be to her benefit in this spot.
#7 Princesa Carolina – After a poor debut on the dirt, Princesa Carolina switched to the turf for the first time and won by 3/4 of a length. That win at Saratoga in a maiden special weight going 1 1/16 miles, which should be the type of distance where she shows her best effort. Saratoga is known for producing several quality 2-year-olds each year.
#8 City Diva – Since moving to the turf, this filly has shown a lot of improvement. Two races back, she broke her maiden in her turf debut, which came in a maiden special at Ellis Park. That race was a springboard to the $400K Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Kentucky Downs, where she finished third. The turf has proven to easily be her best surface.
#9 Moravia – She will be making her United States debut here after running four times in Ireland to start her career. Her European form has been impressive, with a win two races back in a maiden special weight before finishing second in the Group 2 Jockey Club of Turkey Silver Flash Stakes last time out. How she will handle the United States style of racing is the biggest question that she must answer.
#10 Fierce Scarlett – The always-dangerous Chad Brown has been winning turf races in bunches lately, which is no surprise. He dominates races like this year after year. Here, he brings in trainee Fierce Scarlett, who impressively broke her maiden last time out at Belmont Park by 4 ½ lengths. That win came at the same distance as today’s race, which is where she is most likely to excel.
#11 Irish Willow – Switching to the turf did this filly a world a good after a poor debut race on the dirt. Last time out at Ellis Park, she stalked the early pace in a mile-long maiden special weight before taking over in the stretch to win by a length. She gets a little extra distance here, which should not be a bad thing.
#12 Espresso Shot – This horse is a bit interesting. She lost her career debut on the turf at Saratoga, then won last time out in an off-turf event at Belmont Park. Her connections wanted to run her on the turf that day, which is a good sign that it is her best surface, but she showed solid talent on the dirt. This race will go a long way in suggesting what surface suits her best.
#13 My Gal Betty – She started her career with a flurry of wins, all of which came at Woodbine, including a score in the $100,000 Catch A Glimpse Stakes. Last time out, she moved up in class for the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes and finished a fast-closing second. That race proved that she belonged with top notch company. How she handles her first race away from Woodbine is the major unknown coming into the race.
#14 Monkeys Uncle – She draws a less-than-desirable post position for her first start away from the Mid-Atlantic. However, she is a perfect two-for-two coming into this spot, including a $100K stakes win at Laurel Park last time out. She will need to use her speed early to get a solid position heading into the first turn.
#15 No Mo Temper – If she draws into the race, then she will fit in well with this group from a numbers standpoint. Last time out, she broke her maiden at Churchill Downs by 1 1/4 lengths after she contested a hot pace and held on down the lane. Those tactics could have an impact on this race in a major way from a pace standpoint.
#16 Bella Laura – This filly showed solid improvement in her second career race, which came last time out at Churchill Downs. After a lackluster debut, she improved greatly in her next start, winning by 4 1/2 lengths. She will need some luck to draw into the field here, though, as two horses will have to scratch.
The JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes is the final race of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events. After this, it is on to the actual Breeders’ Cup, which will be held on November 2 and 3 at the historic Churchill Downs. Friday will highlight the 2-year-olds with five Juvenile Breeders’ Cup events. The action comes continues on Saturday with nine more Breeders’ Cup Races, including the Grade 1, $6 million Classic.
For more coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, head over to racingdudes.com
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