Breeders Cup Picks: Filly & Mare Sprint
The day we have all waited for has arrived. 9 Breeders’ Cup races on a 12-race card at The Great Race Place. What else can you want?
The first Breeders’ Cup race to kick things off is the $1 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old and up, fillies & mares, on the dirt. The field of nine is slated as race 4 with an approximate post time of 2:55 p.m. ET.
#1, Covfefe, Joel Rosario, 2-1
The morning-line favorite, Covfefe, will be making her eighth career start (5-0-1) and is 4-0-1 in five starts this year, including two straight, four of her last five and in the money in five straight races for trainer Brad Cox. Two back, she posted a ½ length win over Serengeti Empress and today’s entrant Bellafina in the Grade 1 Longines Text Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 3 and then followed up with an impressive eight length win in the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs on Sept. 21. A lot has been made recently that because she drew the dreaded rail, her hopes could be dashed right from the start. I don’t buy it because she has already proven she has won from the rail twice in two career starts. Joel Rosario is back on the mount after a race absence and guided her in the Test, so that’s a huge benefit. This will be her first trip out West, so we will see if that plans into anything. I doubt it though. The pick.
#5, Lady Ninja, Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1
Experience and familiarity with the track are two huge assets going for Lady Ninja. She makes her 23rd career start (8-4-4) today and is 4-1-2 in seven starts this year. This will be her 13th start at Santa Anita, where she is just dominant (6-3-1), winning two straight, three of her last four and four of her last six races! Her last two starts have been her first two graded stakes, as she finished third in the G3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 11 and bounced back with a nose win over Selcourt in the G3 L.A. Woman Stakes here on Oct. 5. This will be her first Grade 1 event. Drayden Van Dyke was on board for both of those and is back today in the saddle. There is a lot to like here. Runner-up.
#9, Spiced Perfection, John Velazquez, 4-1
Spiced Perfection will be making her 19th career start (8-5-2) today and her sixth straight in a graded stakes (3-1-0), where she has won two of her last three races. She comes into today with a head win over Dawn the Destroyer in the G2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 5. She also has raced extremely well here (2-2-2) in seven career starts. Her last start here was a 1 ¼ length win over Hot Autumn in the G1 La Brea Stakes on Dec. 26. John Velazquez gets the mount this time for trainer Peter Miller. Another dangerous horse to contend with. Contender.
#6, Bellafina, Flavien Prat, 6-1
Bellafina is making her 11th straight graded stakes start and fifth straight Grade 1 appearance. Last time out, she finished a disappointing fourth in the $1 million G1 Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing on Sept. 21. This will be her fifth career start at Santa Anita where she is a perfect 4-for-4, highlighted by an impressive 5 ¼ length win in the G1 Santa Anita Oaks on April 6. Flavien Prat has been aboard all of her races including today. I think the home cooking will do her some good and she will make a big improvement over her last three starts. In the mix.
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