Once billed as a thrilling two-horse showdown, the November 2 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita is now shaping up to be a one-horse procession. Or is it?
The withdrawal of Magical due to an illness leaves #2 Sistercharlie as a clear standout in this 1 1/4-mile turf test. On every level, Sistercharlie boasts the best resume. Conditioned by top turf trainer Chad Brown, the daughter of Myboycharlie hasn’t tasted defeat in her last six starts, all of them Grade 1 events. Most notably, Sistercharlie won the 2018 Filly & Mare Turf by a head over the high-class Wild Illusion, the culmination of a near-perfect Eclipse Award-winning campaign.
Sistercharlie remains in top form this season. Aided by pacemaker #6 Thais, Sistercharlie has swept to victories in the Diana Stakes (G1), Beverly D. Stakes (G1), and Flower Bowl Stakes (G1), the latter over the same 1 1/4-mile distance as the Filly & Mare Turf. Even better, Sistercharlie is lightly-raced this year and enjoyed an easy prep in the Flower Bowl, which featured a very slow early pace. Essentially, Sistercharlie just galloped along for the first six furlongs and only sprinted for a half-mile or so, setting her up for a peak effort at Santa Anita.
Sistercharlie looms as a clear standout among the North American fillies and mares, though more than half of her rivals are based overseas and will provide new challenges for the favorite to conquer. A few of them actually appear quite formidable. #1 Iridessa, for example, is a three-time Group 1 winner with the stamina to win the 1 1/4-mile Pretty Polly Stakes (G1) and the speed to win the one-mile Matron Stakes (G1). Her speed in particular could play well over the tight-turning, short-stretch turf course at Santa Anita.
For the same reason, #4 Billesdon Brook could be dangerous. Upset winner of the 2018 1,000 Guineas (G1) going a mile at Newmarket, Billesdon Brook has been in strong form this season and actually defeated Iridessa in the one-mile Sun Chariot Stakes (G1) on October 5.
But the most fearful European shipper might be the up-and-comer #12 Fanny Logan. Granted, this three-year-old daughter of Sea the Stars has never even competed in a Grade 1 race, but she’s improved steadily throughout the summer, recording four consecutive victories at four different racecourses. Racing for the high-profile team of trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori, Fanny Logan most recently prevailed by a length in the 1 1/4-mile Pride Stakes (G3) at Newmarket,
Fanny Logan needed some time to lengthen her stride in the Pride Stakes, so it’s possible she’s a grinder lacking the turn-of-foot needed to excel at Santa Anita. But at 15-1 on the morning line, this promising filly is worth including based on her connections and winning tendency.
With Sistercharlie looming as a probable short-priced winner, the Filly & Mare Turf isn’t the most appealing race for playing vertical exotics. Since it could be tricky to spread deep and still make a meaningful profit, let’s play boldly, keying Sistercharlie for first and second in the trifecta while using only Iridessa, Billesdon Brook, and Fanny Logan underneath:
- $3 trifecta: 2 with 1,4,12 with 1,4,12 ($18)
- $2 trifecta: 1,4,12 with 2 with 1,4,12 ($12)
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Entries
|PP||Horse||Trainer||Morning Line Odds||Jockey|
|1||Iridessa (IRE)||Joseph O’Brien||8-1||Wayne Lordan|
|2||Sistercharlie (IRE)||Chad C. Brown||8-5||John Velazquez|
|3||Fleeting (IRE)||Aidan P. O’Brien||6-1||Ryan Moore|
|4||Billesdon Brook (GB)||Richard Hannon||10-1||Sean Levey|
|5||Mirth||Philip D’Amato||20-1||Mike Smith|
|6||Thais (FR)||Chad C. Brown||30-1||Manuel Franco|
|7||Vasilika||Dan Ward||8-1||Flavien Prat|
|8||Castle Lady (IRE)||Henri Alex Pantall||8-1||Mickael Barzalona|
|9||Villa Marina (GB)||Carlos Laffon-Parias||8-1||Olivier Peslier|
|10||Mrs. Sippy||H. Graham Motion||8-1||Joel Rosario|
|11||Just Wonderful||Aidan P. O’Brien||20-1||William Buick|
|12||Fanny Logan (IRE)||John H.M. Gosden||15-1||Lanfranco Dettori|