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The Fight for $4 Million

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 9/29/2010 2:53:03 PM

The final two $2 million Breeders’ Cup tests on Friday November 5 at Churchill are the Juvenile Fillies at a mile and a sixteenth and the Ladies Classic at 9 furlongs.

I was lucky enough to be present to watch Outstandingly win the inaugural Juvenile Fillies in 1984 at Hollywood Park and some other monsters that won this race include Go for Wand, Phone Chatter, Sweet Catomine and last year’s heroine She Be Wild.

Of the races run at Churchill, Open Mind took the 1988 running as D. Wayne Lukas swept the trifecta as his trainees Darby Shuffle and Lea Lucinda ran 2nd and third.

Three years later Pleasant Stage came from dead last under the great Eddie Delahoussaye to get up by a head at a fat 5-1.

Four years ago Dreaming of Anna controlled the pace and the outcome as the chalk for Wayne Catalano but even though this gal paid 5-2 she set off a 5,18 and 21-1 reaction that produced a $9,300 superfecta.

R Heat Lightning and Tell a Kelly are the leading contenders this year while Wickedly Perfect, a winner of the Grade 3 Sorrento, has only lost once and that was a 2nd. Expect a full field, an honest pace, and don’t be afraid to take a swing at a price on a horse that is drawn well and has tactical speed.

The Ladies Classic, previously named the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, has a long history of superstars on the roster.

Princess Rooney took the first running. Life’s Magic and Lady’s Secret won back to back for Lukas. Bayakoa took consecutive runnings while Inside Information, Azeri and the great Zenyatta all won this event.

Last season, Life Is Sweet spotted the field over 17 lengths coming from left field to win going away at a juicy 8-1.

The first Churchill Downs Ladies Classic in 1988 was won by the great-unbeaten Personal Ensign. She made it 13 in a row by closing from mid-pack to get up by a nose over Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors.

Three years later Dance Smartly was coming off a win at Woodbine to cash going away as the prohibitive 1-2 chalk.

This decade kicked off with Spain’s 55-1 shocker when she got a dream trip after being saddled by Lukas. Four years ago Round Pound was much the best paying nearly $30 for trainer Mike Matz, who conditioned the great Barbaro.

This year, with Zenyatta aiming for the Classic against the boys again, the race is wide open.

Rachel Alexandra may not be the same horse she was in the past but she will be a force in the Ladies if connections decide to go that way.

Persistently was clever winning the Personal Ensign but would not be shocked if she refrains from the Cup while Blind Luck, who is a double Grade 1 winner this year, makes her own luck.

Evening Jewel has posted gem after gem all year. She will be the sentimental favorite of many as her owner recently passed away. Consistency is her calling card as she has won 4 of 7 this year and ran second in the other events. Fresh from a game win in the Del Mar Oaks, she figures to be a handful.

Other logical contenders at this point include Life at Ten, Malibu Prayer, Devil May Care and Crisp.

Stay tuned as things develop.

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