Well Built Looks to Take BC Fillies and Mares

BC Fillies & Mares Turf – Grade I
DMR   Race #12   1 1/8m   Turf   Graded Stake
Purse $2,000.000  For Fillies And Mares Three Years Old And Upward.

This is the 15th running of this great race and there are one or two interesting things to look at historically. The three year olds have won half of the runnings giving them a statistical advantage but rather surprisingly it was an older horse who bucked the growing trend last year by stopping the three year old domination in its tracks. That horse was the great Attraction who has since been retired as that race was her last great run but she remains one of the very few horses to win two BC’s the other being in this race as a three year old. Despite Attractions great victory i still think the younger generation has an advantage but despite the stats most three year olds with ability tend to go the dirt way before turning to grass so the older more established turfers can have a decent chance to turn them over. A final less significant fact is that R Bejarano has had three wins from the saddle in the race, strange when you consider his strengths are listed as dirt and two year olds but it goes to prove any rider can win this race as long as they have a 10% next to their name.
Here are the runners for this years great race:

1 Commanding Faith, trained by Crocker Cgs
She came into this season a maiden with a very high reputation one which her trainer believed so much that she went into the grade three Providencia Stakes still a maiden. She tried to make all the running in that race and nearly pulled off a shock win as she only got collared close home finishing second by a half length. After a second in the ungraded Valentine Stakes she then went into The Honeymoon still a maiden but with two good runs in black type company behind her, A small field saw her finally break the duck with another good front running display winning by a length in that grade two race. Whilst she had run two great races in graded stakes company by front running i dont think that is her best position and that was shown to good effect when she tried to make the running in the Grade One Diana next time out. Going far too fast she weakened in the second half of the race to end up seventh which wasnt a bad run but it clearly showed her frailty when going too fast too soon. She came back from that to run a good third in the DMR Oaks and then second in the Canadian but probably ran a career best race in her last start before today. She did a complete 180 as far as tactics were concerned in the Taylor Stakes going right out the back and then storming home late to be third beaten a length by Congratulations, I guess the toughest thing for her owner today will be how to instruct her to run as she hasnt really settled on her best tactics yet but atleast this draw gives them options.
Last work: 59 breezing the five furlongs on this track.

2 Heartland, trained by TwinTowersRacing
A pretty ordinary two year old she won a couple of little races but wasnt considered much more than claiming class. That was the same story at three and eventually she got claimed for just $12.50 in June last year. Then came that wonderful HRP transformation, without any change in adds, jockey, surface or distance she went from claimer to grade one winner in two months, something that happens at HRP all too often. So this was either a bit of well deserved luck for the new owner or a brilliant piece of training but either way this horse became a top filly very quickly. That first grade one win was in the DMR Oaks but though she ran well in her remaining races as a three year old she failed to win another race. And so came her four year old season and once again we faced a vastly contrasting set of form figures. She started the season with three straight graded stakes wins culminating in the grade one Wiley where she beat Devil Wears Prada and Command And Conquer and things were looking very good. Then came a fourth in the Just A Game which wasnt a bad run but things then went from bad to worse as quickly as she went from claimer to grade one winner. In her last three starts she has only beaten two horses home and in her last start was beaten 15 lengths into sixth place. So what went wrong? and how do we rate this horse for this championship race? It would be impossible to pick her on those last 3 efforts but her early season form was good enough to get into this race and a decent draw must help. I can’t see how she can rescue her season however and will be looking elsewhere.
Last work: a surprisingly good 1.10 and 1 on the CD track going six furlongs

3 Condottieris Fox, trained by Hawaiian Shirt Guy
Just a fair two year old she burst onto the scene late in her three year old season when coming from relative obscurity to win the QEII. Since then she has been a regular on the graded stakes circuit and showed her versatility as a four year old when taking the KD Ladies Sprint. Her biggest issue has always been consistency and that has cropped up again this year although it has been arguably her best season yet. A winner over a mile and a half first up in the La Prevoyante handicap she then took the Royal Heroine and the NY around some strong placed efforts and looked to be in a good frame of mind but her last three races have seen that inconsistency pop up again. A poor effort in the Beverly D was followed by a gutsy win in the KD Ladies Turf and then most recently she flattered in the soft ground to end up a distant third in the Flower Bowl.
There is no doubt she is a good sort and she certainly has the ability to run a big race but her in and out form does tend to make you wary.
Last work: 58 and 3 breezing the 5 at BEL

4 Good Line, trained by Mb Stables
Broke her maiden at the free track and hasnt been out of stakes company since. She took the Herecomesthebride Stakes on her way to a famous win in the BEL Oaks where she beat General Belle and Eastern Sky and at that point in her career she looked like the best turf three year old around. Since that massive win she has been a little disappointing by her own high standards keeping on for fourth in the Beverly D, this time being beaten by Eastern Sky and then running a distant fourth in the Flower Bowl on soft ground. Taking a look at those last two starts we can make a case that she had excuses and if that is the case she would have a great chance in this race. In the Beverly D there seemed to be a slight bias to outside gates and she was drawn two and in the Flower Bowl the soft ground gave us the usual strange result. So if you ignore those last two starts we have the BEL Oaks winner with a great draw working as well as ever, a combination that is hard to ignore.
Last work: 46 and 3 breezing four furlongs on this track.

5 Pip Kadabra, trained by Chili King Stables
She didnt run as a two year old and was only average at three but unlike many four year olds has found improvement this year and is a solid chance. The first signs that she was heading towards the top came in the Very One where she grinded out a half length win and she followed that up with another game win in the Sheepshead Bay. She then took on grade one company for the first time in the Just A Game and managed a close third running on nicely over an inadequate trip. She again ran on late to be a close fifth in the Diana and then looked a nailed on certainty over a longer trip in the Glen Falls Handicap but was catapulted into the lead by the outside speed push and weakened to be second. That run can be put down entirely to the wide draw and she bounced back to form with a very easy win in The Flower Bowl last time putting her right into this race. The ground was wet in the Flower Bowl but she is certainly not just a wet tracker and with a very nice draw today she must rate a big chance.
Last work: 1.11 flat breezing the tracks 6 furlongs

6 Devil Wears Prada, trained by Axeman
This grand old six year old has been at the top of the game since her three year old days when she took the grade one CCA Oaks and was fourth in the BC Ladies Classic. After a good four year old campaign she was coming up a little short on the dirt only gaining a single season win and it was decided to have a go at turf. She didnt take to it straight away but eventually the form began to return and after a win in The Dowager as a five year old she has stayed on the grass and flourished as a six year old. A close second in the Wiley and a great win in the Gamely were career best performances but she didnt stop there finishing courageous thirds in The Diana and The Beverly D as well. Her last start was a strange one where she got stuck in traffic and could only finish twelfth in The Rodeo Drive but i am happy to write that off as she is capable of much better. A very winnable draw give this veteran a great chance.
Last work: 59 and 2 breezing five furlongs on this track

7 Wicked Heat, trained by Easy Money Stables
Another daughter of Commanding she was a top two year old finishing a close third in the Juvenile Fillies and then became a champion three year old winning the KYO and the BC Distaff. All of those efforts were on dirt and i doubt she would have ever been considered for the turf had her form not taken a turn for the worse as a four year old. She just didnt fire in the early part of this season, failing to make the top three in any of her races and it looked like it was time for her to go to the breeding shed. Many trainers would have done exactly that but EasyMoney Stables decided to try just one more thing with their champion and boy did it work as she took the Matchmaker by a nose and then backed that up with a head win in The Rodeo Drive. Both those wins saw her go over the 100 speed figure again and for whatever reason the grass has certainly relit the fire that saw her a champion before.
Last work: a brisk 1.08 and 1 on the downhill six furlongs at SA

8 General Belle, trained by Mb Stables
Probably not the stables first string but she has some good form to her name and she wouldnt be out of the reckoning. A good two year old she won the Miss Grillo before a decent run for seventh in the BC Juvenile Turf made her a strong chance at three year old honours. She began well as a three year old taking the Sweetest Chant and the FL Oaks as well as the all aged Gallorette Stakes making her among the favourites for the BEL Oaks. She ran a solid race that day being beaten a length by her stable companion Good Line but she had every chance that day and didnt seem to see out the trip an opinion that was confirmed in her next start over a mile and an eighth. That was in the Lake Placid where she made the running but couldnt keep up the gallop to the line finishing second to Sassy One. In her last start in the First Lady she again looked a little weak at the end finishing sixth and the fact remains she has been unable to win above grade three at a route trip.
Last work: 58 and 3 breezing 5 furlongs here at DMR

9 Well Built, trained by Team 7 Illusions
This filly has shown remarkable improvement since being claimed from her maiden win back in February. Golden Stables claimed her that day and then trained her to win four of her next five races, two of them being graded stakes. The first graded stakes win was in the grade three Pucker Up Stakes where she dug deep for a game half length win but her next win in the Mabee Stakes was infinitely more impressive. Sauntering clear after running just off the speed she beat Devil Wears Prada by three lengths and was beginning to look like a grade one winner in the making. strangely Golden Stables chose this moment to sell her and the lucky buyer was Team 7 Illusions who paid $257 for her, a fair price but it was made to look cheap in her next start. That next start and the one that put her into this field was the grade one QEII Challenge Cup and she did what every owner loves to see and paid back all of her purchase price in one hit.
So here we have a filly with a 6 from 8 win record this year and three graded stakes wins who loves turf and will stay this trip. Not too much of a down side here except when you consider the proximity of her last start. Not many horses have run just three weeks before their BC wins but i do feel that she won that last race with such authority that it didnt take too much out of her and i dont think it will effect her chances today.
Last work: a brisk 34 and 1 breezing the 3 furlongs on this track

10 Typical Rich Girl, trained by Smokey Stover
Unbeaten in three as a two year old including an ungraded stakes race she began her three year old career in fine shape taking The Appalachian and the Nassau Stakes by the end of spring. Though she has failed to win since then she has taken on top company and run very well. She ran from a wide gate in the KD Ladies Turf but still managed to get within a neck of Condotierris Fox and then ran a career best in her last start in the Grade one First Lady. Again taken off the pace she ran on strongly to be beaten a length by Command And Conquer and whilst that and many of her starts have been over the mile she always races like she will stay this sort of trip. The draw wont make it easy for her but her last work had BC winner written all over it.
Last work: 1.34 and 3 ridden handily over the SA turf mile


11 In Z Balance, trained by Diablo Diablo
This five year old has come a long way since being beaten in a claimer as a three year old. Lightly raced in her early days she only had four starts before turning four but certainly benefitted from that patience winning the Ballston Handicap at the end of the season. Unlike most er improvement continued as a five year old starting with a game win in the Santa Ana Stakes from Condottieris Fox and then running very well in top company. Fourth in the Wiley was followed by a one length second in the Gamely behind Devil Wears Prada but she beat that mare later on when second to Eastern Sky in The Beverly D. Her last start was in the Rodeo Drive where she made ground but was stuck in the traffic when only tenth and that ru can easily be excused by her trip. It is hard to place her in this field as she has beaten some of the favourites and also been beaten by them but she has proved she can and that may be important. A nasty draw will make it tough as she will have to be 10% better than her best to win but she has a punchers chance.
Last work: 1.35 and 1 over the SA turf mile ridden handily

12 Darkest Days, trained by Mb Stables
Yet another daughter of Commanding she was building a great record before a recent blip brought her back down to earth. She started a four race winning streak in the Golden Poppy and then took the Eatontown before a stunning head win in the United Nations at grade one. She won that race at a time when the three year olds were dominating the graded stakes races and quickly went again to take the Diana just three weeks later. That winning streak was just huge and she was heading towards this date with greatness with her head held high but she was bounced back down to reality recently when seventh in the Rodeo Drive. Now the reason for her failure could be that she had been rested after the Diana and needed the run or it could be that the three year old weight allowance was being trimmed and the older horses were catching up, whichever you choose to believe she has something to prove today from a very difficult draw.
last work: a nippy 34 and 1 breezing the 3 furlongs here at DMR

13 Eastern Sky, trained by Maxmillion Farm
The three year olds burst onto the scene pretty early this season but this filly didnt get in on the gold rush until after the big three year old races. She qualified for the KYO on the dirt and ran pretty well to be fifth but she has become twice the filly since being switched to turf. She ran a soldi race in the BEL Oaks to be third and then took full advantage of the weight allowance to take the grade one Beverly D after making most of the running. She had plenty of good horses that are in this field behind her that day and didnt stop there going on to win the Sands Point before her last start in the Flower Bowl.  Run on soft ground she ended up second to Pip Kadabra in that race but i am not entirely sure she was suited by the ground and i am sure she will get closer to that filly today. This draw will make it very hard for her as there isnt much between them all and the draw will make a difference but she won the Beverly D from a wide gate and if she gets a soft lead could be hard to peg back again.
Last work: 1.22 and 2 ridden handily over 7 at SA

14 Command And Conquer, trained by John Henry
She was another that went on the KYO trail early in her career but after only managing ninth in that race she was switched to turf and hasnt looked back. Her first run on the grass was in The Regret which she won by a nose but she was then sold to her current owner for $600 and went off the boil for a long time. whether it was the change of trainers or just a flat spot in her career she struggled for the rest of her three year old career and didnt really come back to form until recently. A clear cut win in The Hillsborough back in March started her on this BC trail and after super place efforts in the Wiley and The Just A Game and a blip in the Beverly D she then hit her stride last time out with a devastating win in The First Lady. Thundering through from the back she was super impressive in winning that race by a length and comes here in probably the best form of her life. She had Typical Rich Girl and General Belle behind her that day and was drawn 8 which may give us a clue for her chances today. Impossibly wide this time she will have to pick her way round the entire field to win but she has proved she can do it once so who can say she cant do it again.
Last work: 58 and 3 breezing the 5 furlongs on this track

Tropics has been thereabouts in the top races and did win the Just a Game so would have a decent chance if drawing in. The DMR oaks winner Nothing Given looks pretty unlucky not to be in here as she would have a great chance if she made the field. The great mare Volare has little chance of getting in but would always rate a chance in any race she runs in.

Like all these championship races it is really hard to separate them on form alone. Well Built is certainly the filly of the moment and will be a popular pick but if you are looking for longer odds then i wouldnt be writing off the chances of Good Line, Pip Kadabra or Wicked Heat. The draw may prove too tough for Eastern Sky and Command And Conquer but they would rate chances with some luck in running.

Categories: BC 2017, Grade I, Races, STAKES ARTICLES, THE BREEDERS CUP

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