Breeders' Cup International Scouting Report: Peaceful

December 31st, 2020

As a near-miss third in a French Oaks (G1) that has stood up well over the season, Peaceful can claim a piece of form even stronger than her Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) win. But the Coolmore homebred also has to rebound from the worst race of her life for O’Brien, who’s 0-for-14 in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The Galileo filly is out of multiple French stakes scorer Missvinski, the runner-up in the 2007 Prix d’Astarte (G1). By Stravinsky, Missvinski comes from the immediate family of top-level transatlantic performer Cacoethes. She’s also the dam of multiple Group 3-placed stakes winner Easter, a full sister to Peaceful, who flopped in Keeneland’s First Lady (G1) in 2015.

A 10-1 chance on debut at Leopardstown last August, Peaceful didn’t live up to her name when fretting in the gate, and jockey Seamie Heffernan gave her an easy time in ninth of 14. Peaceful was odds-on when next appearing in a mile maiden at Thurles, and she was in a much better frame of mind. Matching strides for the early lead, she opened up readily on the yielding ground in a seven-length romp.

Peaceful met worse going in last November’s Montrose Fillies’ S. at Newmarket, where the heavy course likely sank the 3-1 favorite. But she put up an admirable effort to stay on late, and her final lunge came up just a neck shy of the 20-1 debutante Born With Pride.

Not seen again until the June 13 Irish 1000 Guineas on good-to-firm at the Curragh, Peaceful parlayed her tactical speed into a classic success. She attended the pace and cleared away before the deep-closing Fancy Blue could arrive on the scene.

Fancy Blue exacted revenge in the French Oaks under an inspired ride by Pierre-Charles Boudot, who had her up close tracking Alpine Star. Peaceful, in contrast, was reserved a little further back after trying to over-race early.

Although she gained well in the stretch, Peaceful couldn’t peg back such stout opponents as Fancy Blue and Alpine Star, and she finished third in the tight photo. Although I thought the about 1 5/16-mile trip was always going to suit the top two more, perhaps Peaceful would have appreciated more positive tactics.

The French Oaks was a terrific race, with Fancy Blue going on to win the Nassau (G1) and Alpine Star placing second in both the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) and Prix de l’Opera (G1) (to Tarnawa). The close fourth Raabihah was a creditable fifth in the Arc; Oaks fifth Magic Attitude floored them in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1); and even sixth-placer Ebaiyra came back to land the Prix de Pomone (G2).

Peaceful resumed from a summer holiday back at a mile in the Matron (G1) at Leopardstown. Well placed in third behind a longshot front runner, she rallied in the stretch only to be passed in turn wider out by the flying Champers Elysees. At least Peaceful “won” the rubber match with Fancy Blue, who as in the Guineas, gave her too much of a head start.

Back at Newmarket for the Sun Chariot (G1), Peaceful was prominent early but struggled at the decisive stage, and Ryan Moore eased her home in last. O’Brien characteristically second-guessed himself for not withdrawing her on account of the heavy ground, but as with many of his self-criticisms, it’s not very fair. After all, she nearly won the Montrose over the same track, trip, and ground, and there was every reason to think she’d put in a creditable effort even in sub-optimal conditions. The stewards’ report noted that the veterinary officer found no abnormalities postrace.

The Breeders’ Cup has long been on the radar for Peaceful, O’Brien said last week, and added that she’d “go forward” with a good post. She’d be a prime threat if in her characteristic form, but her Sun Chariot debacle leaves a question mark.