by David Crone
It can be argued that no Breeders’ Cup race has produced more complete busts over the past decade than the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The race has churned out a number of fillies that looked set for utter stardom, only to fall flat on their faces and never come close to living up to the hype. Horses like Stardom Bound, Storm Flag Flying, and Folklore had people expecting greatness, but delivered very little.
But, the 2011 crop seems to have some fillies with some serious potential. And, standing clearly at the top of that list is the Steve Asmussen trainee, My Miss Aurelia.
My Miss Aurelia earned her spot as early Juvenile Fillies favorite with a dominating win over another top contender for this race, Stopshoppingmaria, in the Grade I Frizette Stakes at Belmont. That victory was the third win in three starts for My Miss Aurelia, and the undefeated daughter of Smart Strike, seems a very tough favorite for the Juvenile Fillies. The one knock on her is that she has a pedigree that suggests two-turns might not be her forte. My Miss Aurelia’s dam, My Miss Storm Cat, was a stakes winning sprinter by a sire, Sea of Secrets, who produced mostly sprinters. While her sheer talent may very well be enough to help her find the winner’s circle on Breeders’ Cup weekend, her pedigree offers a glimmer of hope to all those handicapper’s out there looking for a reason to find a longshot.
Second to My Miss Aurelia in the Frizette was Stopshoppingmaria who comes to the Breeders’ Cup with a record of just one win in three starts. The common link in her two losses? Both came at the hooves of My Miss Aurelia who beat her in a maiden race at Saratoga and again in the Frizette. Todd Pletcher is tough to knock in Juvenile races, so there is always a chance that she could turn the tables in Louisville.
The second choice in the Juvenile Fillies could very well be Tony Dutrow’s Grace Hall who was somewhat surprisingly sent to the Blue Hen Stakes at Delware for her final Breeders’ Cup prep instead of the Grade I Frizette. While you could interpret this as simply choosing a softer spot, I think many will see this as Dutrow giving his filly a start around two-turns, thinking that the two-turn effort would give her a more solid foundation heading to Churchill Downs than the one-turn Frizette would have.
The top west coast contender is undoubtedly Weemisfrankie. The California invader is undefeated in three starts, including impressive wins in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante and Grade I Oak Leaf. The filly is sure to attract a lot of money from casual gamblers due to her connection. One of her owners is MTV star Rob Dyrdek, and sentimental types will love that she was named after a recently deceased friend of the owners. All of these factors lead to her being a probable underlay in her first start outside of Southern California.
Awesome Belle will try to emulate last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, Awesome Feather, by coming out of the My Dear Girl at Calder to take the Juvenile Fillies at Churchill. In fact, not only is she coming out of the same race as Awesome Feather, she is also by the same sire, Awesome of Course. The similarities are pretty striking, but Awesome Belle will offer a much higher price than Awesome Feather’s 4/1 last year.
Other contenders include Candrea, runner-up to Weemissfrankie in the Oak Leaf, Miss Netta, third place finisher in the Frizette, horribly named Putthebabiesdown who ran third in the Alciabides, and Arlington Washington Lassie winner Rocket Twentyone.
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