Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breeders' Cup Top 10 - FM Turf

Filly and Mare Turf Top 10- June 25

1. Forever Together
2. Pure Clan
3. Gozzip Girl
4. Look Here
5. Acoma
6. Rainbow View
7. Cocoa Beach
8. Rutherienne
9. Well Monied
10. Cuis Ghaire

Unlike the male equivalent I do not have a significant bias towards Europeans for this race. The European older female ranks are often somewhat lackluster so in general the biggest danger will come from the sophomores. Unfortunately for Breeders' Cup officials the two best middle distance sophomore fillies in Europe are not nominated, seem to prefer softer ground and run for connections that are not exactly eager to ship. Stacelita and Sariska look like very nice fillies indeed but I consider both highly unlikely to run. So much so that neither are included in my top 10.

Top ranking goes to the defending champion Forever Together. I know she is coming off a loss and hasn't yet hit the heights of last year but she'll be patiently primed for a big effort when it counts. I also have a theory on her that she is not as good in one turn races or on deep courses like Belmont, Woodbine or Arlington. Her three efforts on the first two tracks mentioned seem to bear witness that she just doesn't have the same kick on deep courses. That's something to keep in mind if she goes to the Beverly D. If that course if soft at all I'd consider her vulnerable. But Santa Anita's rock hard golf green is right up her street and I think she does still have the swagger that saw her rocket from the back in the Diana and FM Turf. I actually think that it might be a bit easier for her this year. Wait A While was a very serious firm ground horse, I don't see any American fillies at the moment who are of that quality.

Pure Clan found herself outclassed in this race last year but with another year's experience under her belt I think she has a great chance. It's very hard for an American 3yo filly to win this race so I don't blame Pure Clan for finding herself in above her head. Her record on Turf is very solid and I think she does handle 10f very well. An interesting little fact about the FM Turf is that repeat runners have done very well. In just 10 runnings a full 10 horses have won or finished in the frame on their second or third attempt in this race. So watch for quality horses that are returning. Pure Clan is a bit light speed figure wise. Generally I like to see the capability to run triple digit figures but she has plenty of time to improve and this group seems a touch weak.

I know I said it's a very difficult race for 3yo's to win but I actually have four 3yo's in my top 10. Two of them are from America and Gozzip Girl is actually my #3. She is 5-4-0-1 on the grass and her last three turf Beyer figures were 95, 90 and 91. Those aren't the kind of numbers that blow you away but we're not even in the second half of the year yet. There have only been 3 entrants in the FM Turf that have achieved a 95 or greater Turf Beyer figure before July of their 3yo year. Perfect Sting, Tout Charmant and Tranqulity Lake all equalled the feat and the first two made up the exacta in 2000. Gozzip Girl is classy and versatile with the ability to adapt to any pace. If she continues to improve she'll be very tough. I would like her to face older horses at least once before the BC though. I think that experience is invaluable.

Well Monied is the other American 3yo I have on my list and she is not as impressive figures wise but visually there is hardly anyone more impressive than this striking gray. Since breaking her maiden she's been a very tough horse to handle. Being based in California she will be familiar with the course. I expect her to do very well in the summer grass stakes for fillies. She has a very high cruising speed.

Look Here is the top European hope in my opinion. Although she is not nominated to the race she would first or second choice if she came. She won the Oaks last year and was a tight third in the G-1 Coronation Cup against males on her seasonal reappearance. I was always rather unimpressed with her physically but she's a runner.

Acoma and Cocoa Beach are the only Graded Turf Stakes winning females that are also undefeated on the grass, that I'm aware of. They check in at #5 and #7. Until this past weekend I was going to put Cocoa Beach as high as second but she was horrendous in the slop at Belmont and she had previously done well under those conditions. Hopefully it was just a bit of rust. Cocoa Beach is well suited to this race but the biggest threat to her participation is the fact that she's also very good on the main track. Acoma is also quite proficient on all surfaces, I think both of these fillies could do well in the Ladies Classic but they also might show up here where they rate an excellent chance. Acoma is 3 for 3 on grass and most recently claimed the scalp of Pure Clan and Tizaqueena at Churchill. She's got a very quick turn of foot and while the distance may be a problem I don't think 10f at Santa Anita is quite as sapping as 10f at Woodbine or Belmont.

Rainbow View runs for the same ownership as Forever Together, the Augustin stable is mob handed with Winter View and Fantasia as well but Rainbow View is the second best in this stable. She was a dominant 2yo in Europe but has found the transition to 3yo company a bit more difficult. She has been 3rd in a G-1 mile event and was 4th in the Oaks while appearing not to stay. She has not performed poorly at all but she does seem just short of championship class on European courses. My feeling is that a switch to North America and the 10f distance will both be perfect for her. She's a classy horse with lots of room to still improve.

I'm not sure what to do with Rutherienne, part of me thinks that she is just the same type of horse as Criticism. A consistent horse that will win a lot of races but probably could do no better than run third when all the best talent in the division is assembled. They run the same figures nearly every time and although their average performance is at a very high level they don't seem to have that one big effort in them. It usually takes the capability to run a brilliant race to win a BC event. Rutherienne does get included in my list though because after an unbelievable run of 6 third place finishes and a second she finally got back into the winners circle. Breaking through that mental block may have a nice positive impact on her and we just may see her take her game to the next level. She will likely hang out at Woodbine for much of the year with a foray to Arlington for the Beverly D so it's possible that she could win a bunch of races without being in the limelight too much. Woodbine has a solid grass program though so don't underestimate the form.

The last horse on my list is a European filly named Cuis Ghaire (pronounced Cush Gaar-uh) She has a bit of a spotty record but the one constant is explosive form on firm ground and terrible form on soft ground. She simply does not run a step on soft ground but the only horses to beat her on firm ground are Ghanaati, the current top filly in Europe and Rip Van Winkle, a highly touted colt from Ballydolye. I don't know if connections would consider sending her but she's the right type.

1 comment:

dustino140 said...

Pure Clan is your Beverly D winner - heard it here first