Ice Crystal Looks to Give Rivals the Slip in BC Filly & Mare Turf

The 19th Running of the G1 BC F&M Turf

November 6, 2021 17:55

DMR Race #15 $2,000.000 13/8 Turf 

3YO+ Filles and Mares 121/124 Lbs

Track Record-2:10.87 (Fire-2012)

Stakes Record-2:11.09 (A Little Oblivion-2021)

The $2,000.000 G1 BC Filly and Mare Turf will go as Race #15 at DMR on Saturday and the 11-furlong race has a lot more riding on it than just the purse.  The race will almost assuredly determine the HRP Turf Female victor and could possibly factor into the decision of who wins the HRP Older Female award at season’s end.  Smokey Stover has pretty much had stranglehold on the division as his runners held six of the top fifteen spots on the leaderboard for this event.  Interestingly, that conditioner chose to go with Forbidden Blush, Number Nine, and Ice Crystal.  The latter would have been on the AE list so you have to assume that filly is ready to fire her best.  While Smokey Stover has a strong starting hand, the other ten conditioners that are represented in the field know that it is a horse race and anything can happen.  Mb Stables didn’t buy Proud Eights just to win the G3 Waya and he got Hawaii County into the race as well.  Zalinda, winner of three straight and five of her last six, drew the rail for ThresholdClassic Princess, from the barn of Maxmillion Farm, was near flawless over the summer and early fall at WO.  The field for this race is so strong that is just as likely that we haven’t even gotten to the winner yet.  In short, this is a championship-deciding race by any measure you apply.

Team 7 Illusions (2006, 2018) and Mm Racing (2014, 2016) are the only conditioners to win this race on two occasions, but jockey R. Bejarano (2012, 2014, 2016, 2020) has won this event four times.  Of the eleven barns represented, only Mb Stables is trying to win for a second time.  Unlike the G1 BC Distaff this race has been kinder to older mares as 5yos and 6yos have combined to win five renewals.  Who gets the purple blanket draped over them after the wire is anyone’s guess, but we’ll take a stab at it as we meet the field for the G1 BC Filly and Mare Turf:

 1    Zalinda (Threshold/J. Bravo 124): 5yo mare has been a model of consistency this season as a winner in all but one of her six starts.  Has handled each step up the class ladder in her last three while taking an ungraded event, the G2 Yellow Ribbon, and G1 Flower Bowl to cement her status as a “player” in here.  She has won from anywhere in the field going just about every distance available.  Probably didn’t need the rail to factor in this, but it definitely should not hinder her chances in any way.  Obviously a strong win contender.

 2   Number Nine (Smokey Stover/S. Ryan 124): As mentioned in the opening, her conditioner has a strong hand for this and she doesn’t have to take a back seat to anyone in her barn…or anyone else’s.  Legitimate threat to take them all the way around, she can get to the front and keep going.  For whatever reason, she didn’t fire in her last effort prior to changing hands but, otherwise, there don’t appear to be many cracks in her form.  Seems to be pretty straight-forward with this gal: get to the front and improve position.   

 3    Proud Eights (Mb Stables/C.J. Hernandez 124:) Classy mare brought a hefty price to change hands prior to her winning G3 effort last out.  Obviously the conditioner wanted to give her a test drive and the pilot from that race worked hard to secure the mount for this.  Will be interesting to see how she tackles this assignment as that last run was a departure from what we normally see from her.  Does she again spot the leaders some five lengths or does she try to take it to them from the jump?  Rest assured, her trainer has a plan for her and good luck to anyone who tries to make a career beating his runners in these types of races.  Big chance. 

 4    Amalfi (D J C Racing Stables/J.A. Vargas Jr 121): First of five sophomores in here, this lass only has three turf starts in her career, but she has a G2 win to go along with two G1 placings in her latest two runs.  Prior to trying the lawn, she was a graded dirt winner going 6f, but this grass game going long seems to suit her just fine.  Last two efforts were both at 9-furlongs so she has to run a quarter-mile farther than she ever has for this.  The extra ground is a legitimate question that she will have to answer, but there is no doubting her talent.  Maybe she proves otherwise, but don’t feel she bests these at this trip. 

 5    Fangs Of The Storm (Arindel/Mar. Garcia 121): Sophomore faced elders a lot sooner than many would have expected, but she ran a respectable fourth in that G1.  Has stayed with her own age group in her last three and  has been right there all three times.  In the money in eight of her nine races this season, she was flying late going this trip in her latest prep.  Maybe she doesn’t win as often as you’d like, but you could do a lot worse than putting your money on her nose.  

 6    Ete Creek (Gdp Inc/D.E. Centeno 124): 4yo had a bit of a tough season before the KEE G1 victory that propelled her to this spot.That race was over a flat mile, but she took a G3 that was only a sixteenth shorter than this trip back in February.  Being in the inner half of the field can only help her chances, but fell like she’s a tad too inconsistent with her winning efforts to be able to fully endorse in this spot. 

 7    Forbidden Blush (Smokey Stover/Mario Gutierrez 124): Barn’s second entrant has been a money-making machine, but has found this level to be a bit elusive.  Since the AP effort vs the boys she has been right there in three straight G1’s, but yet to snag one.  Still, she’s going to run her race and she will stay the course.  Strange to say seeing as how she was the barn’s leader in points for this event; however, feel like she may be the third likeliest winner from her own barn.  Taking a stand against. 

 8    Hawaii County (Mb Stables/L. Saez 121): Barn’s second runner is not as accomplished as her stablemate, but she raced her way into this spot.  October 16 win at KEE was her first G1 and a career-best effort.  If she can replicate that here, she could have a chance.  The problem is that she’s only won back-to-back races one time in a 15-race career.  Hard to forecast that changing against this field, but she’s not hopeless either.

 9    Ewa Beach (The American/F. Prat 124): Two wins and three third-place efforts in six races this season secured her position in the starting gate.  Did the majority of her damage in 8/8.5 furlong races, but maybe the off-going was her undoing in her one attempt going further.  Even if you were to forgive that effort, you’re still gambling that she will be better going this far.  Too many unknowns for a field of this caliber.

10  Hash Tag Hash (Fractious/S.X. Bridgmohan 124): 4yo used a G1 win and a pair of second’s in G2 events to punch her ticket for this.  Has been beaten in four of her last five though and needs to find a reversal of form.  She is another going quite a bit further in this than she has ever gone.  Can’t ignore the recent form and questionable at the distance.  Pass.

11  Classic Princess (Maxmillion Farm/D. Davis 124): 4yo changed-hands for $125.000 in June and has been a terror on the track since.  Three wins and two places from five starts for the new outfit, all but one at the graded level.  Last three at WO were excellent efforts and has a style that will keep her close early.  While the talent is undeniable, the worst race since the purchase came in her only attempt going this trip.  Still, she’s one of the one’s and would be shocked if she didn’t run well on Saturday.  

12  Maggie Greene (The Sidley Stud/E. Jaramillo 124): The champ is here!  Last year’s champion returns to defend her crown, but the path she took to get here is much different this year.  As a 5yo, she competed in three consecutive G1’s before claiming divisional championships with her win in this race last year.  This year, she has not faced G1 foes a single time.  Read into that what you will, but the opinion here is that this race was always the goal.  When you are a 6yo defending champion, it’s ok to leave a little tread on the tires if you can still reach your final destination.  Queens don’t just hand over their crowns and expect her to fire whatever shot she has left. 

13  Ice Crystal (Smokey Stover/T. Gaffalione 121): Your author is no expert on these kinds of races (check the stats page if you’d like); however, his money will land squarely on the nose of this filly.  Not going to hold the KEE G1 effort against her as she is much better going this trip than she is going the flat mile and that race always felt like an attempt to grab enough points to run here.  The conditioner had multiple options with more assured involvement in the race, yet this gal is the one he wanted to get in here.  Not thrilled about the post, but her style isn’t necessarily compromised by starting out here.  She will be hard to find early, but you will hear from her late.  The selection.  

14  Yankee Stadium (Iolaus Racing/J. Lezcano 121): Outside filly is the most light-raced horse in the field, but she comes in riding a wave of positive momentum.  A winner of three straight, she went from the N1X level to the G1 level in back-to-back races and was in front at almost every point of call.  Biggest knock on her is where she will start from.  Better to have the horse and a bad post than to have the post and a bad horse.  Think she is involved from the time the gates open and may be in front when they reach the top of the lane.  Another with a strong case for where to put your money.

Final Analysis: Ice Crystal didn’t have to get in this race.  The fact that she is here is enough to make her the top selection.  They’ll hit the wire 13-3-11.  Congratulations to everyone in the field for making it to this point and good luck in the G1 BC Filly and Mare Turf.

Categories: BC 2021-2022, Grade I, Races, STAKES ARTICLES, THE BREEDERS CUP

%d bloggers like this: