Breeders' Cup International Playbook -- Juvenile Fillies Turf


The Mackem Bullet
Society Rock - Elkmait, by Trade Fair
-- Dam Elkmait finished last in her only attempt over ground labeled worse than good
-- Sire Society Rock never had a GB/IRE winner over heavy going and his progeny won 7% (3-from-45) over soft going

A high-profile private purchase for leading Japanese owner Katsumi Yoshida, The Mackem Bullet has already far exceeded her relatively inexpensive initial purchase price. On a positive note, she's genuinely improved for each run in her career thus far. In the past, she's had issues getting out of the gates on time and while she appears to have put that behind her, it's worth noting given an American style race will put that ability of hers under more pressure than ever before. Her performances in England have been good, but this crop of two-year-old fillies has appeared below par from the start, which has to leave a slight pause for concern, as does the possibility of a rain affected track given she's thrived over firm going to date.

Lily's Candle
Style Vendome - Golden Lily, by Dolphin Street
-- This will be jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot's third start in the US (best finish 5th)
-- Sire Style Vendome never won over a surface listed worse than "good to soft"

Lily's Candle has done well for the most part, having won three of her five career starts to date and justifying her decently priced purchase at the Arc sale earlier this year. Now owned by Martin Schwartz -- who is one of the best in the business at spotting French talent (fillies and mares specifically) whose form will transfer to the US -- she warrants respect off of that alone. We detailed in the Juvenile Turf version of the playbook, however, that the Prix La Rochette rarely turns out to be a strong race formwise and she was soundly defeated there. Her G1 Marcel Boussac victory was nice, but she'd have to be ridden for luck in a large field to replicate that performance and even then, it's still probably not good enough to best this group.

Just Wonderful
Dansili - Wading, by Montjeu
-- Sire Dansili has had 21 Breeders' Cup starters and two of them won (Dank, Queen's Trust)
-- Trainer Aidan O'Brien has an 11: 0-2-1 record in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf
-- Just Wonderful's dam Wading also won the G2 Rockfel Stakes (2011)

Progeny of Dansili have had well documented success in America, but that's typically because they want firm turf which she's unlikely to get here. Just Wonderful has loads of ability, but has been as green as the grass she's been running on. She often wanders and looks quite lost when asked to quicken and her head carriage while under a drive can be very high. Add that to the fact she'll likely be an underlaid price given her connections (who've historically struggled in this race) and we'll look elsewhere for now. Once her quirks are sorted, she'll be a force to be reckoned with, but her lack of professionalism is unlikely to be sorted this quickly.

Frankel - Vital Statistics, by Indian Ridge
-- Trainer Kevin Ryan has had two US starters and neither hit the board.
-- Progeny of Frankel in GB/IRE have won 51% (53-of-104) of their races from 7f-9f. 

On brief glance, she looks a bargain buy as far as Frankels go, but a deeper dive shows East was not only the Goresbridge Breeze-Ups topper, but she set the record as the highest priced purchase ever out of the sale (see breeze here). Typically, I'd have slight concern about a Frankel over soft ground (it was well documented he was best over good ground), but she won her debut over soft albeit in a modest event at Hamilton. In only her second start, however, she stepped right into G3 company and soundly defeated a field which included listed winner Pure Zen. Generally speaking, I think the western European two-year-old fillies have been underwhelming this year, but she won that like a good horse should. Her 20-1 morning line price is a pipe dream to put it mildly, but her price should nevertheless be big enough to justify any form queries. It's rare that a European with this much upside winds up at the Breeders' Cup and she should be taken very seriously despite the tricky gate.
VERDICT: Use in all multi-race wagers, key in verticals

Photo by Lee Burchfield

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