Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf Trends
A turf race over varying middle distances – Santa Anita’s interpretation is a mile and a quarter – and one in which the spoils have been shared between Europe and America since the start.
While the first two renewals of the FM Turf stayed Stateside, the wily and brilliant Andre Fabre snaffled the prize with brilliant Banks Hill back in 2001.
Since then, four more FM Turf’s have headed on the plane to Europe, meaning the US hold sway 9-5 currently. But here’s a thing: since the first two FM Turf races, four of the seven US-trained winners – including last year’s victor, Zagora – were ex-French racers.
This race, as well as the Mile, very much suits the quick-slow-quick style of racing prevalent in France, and it is little surprise in that context that the ex-French angle has such merit.
13 of the 14 FM Turf winners have had between four and seven prior starts that season. The other, Starine, had three. Don’t accept an under-raced filly or mare in this slot, as they likely won’t have the turbo burners to adequately accelerate at the business end.
Of the US winners of this race, eight of the nine ran first or second last time. Of the Euro’s, all five were placed in Group 1 company on their previous start.
One point to keep in mind, which is not really a trend as such, is that this – along with the other turf races – can often lead to an upset winner. Hard luck stories abound on the tight inner turf track, and plenty of fancied fillies have been sunk by a troubled trip. The Fugue and Ridasiyna last year were the most recent casualties.
All fourteen Filly and Mare Turf winners were aged between three and five, with all of the nine US winners aged four or five.
Key Prep Races for the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf
European raiders tend to exit one of the Irish Champion Stakes, Prix de l’Opera or Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Domestic winners have usually prepped in the Beverly D, Flower Bowl, or Rodeo Drive (previously Yellow Ribbon) Stakes.
This year, Sir Michael Stoute’s Dank won the Beverly D with a withering late run to put nearly five lengths between herself and the rest. She’s not raced since that mid-August engagement.
The Flower Bowl served up a three way go between Laughing, Tannery and Mystical Star, with just three-quarters of a length between them at the line. Tannery made up the most ground late on, but the likelihood is that this was not a strong trial.
And it was another close finish in the Rodeo Drive Stakes, where Tiz Flirtatious just got up from Marketing Mix, with the game front-runner, Vionnet conceding only in the last few yards. Of the three, clear preference would be for Tiz Flirtatious.