BC Fillies And Mares Sprint Looks to Crown Its Next Champion

BC Fillies & Mares Sprint (Grade 1)- $1,000.000 Purse
SA- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
November 4, 2023

Congratulations to the trainers who were able to successfully qualify a runner into any of the BC races that will be taking place this weekend. In this preview, we will take a look at the 17th running of the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint as a field of fourteen looks to add their name to a list that contains the likes of Darling Harbour, Blonde Dynamite, and Avery Island. 2007 was the first year that the race was run, appearing as a six-furlong race at MTH and did not officially carry a Grade 1 designation at that time. A year later, the seventh furlong was added to the distance, and in 2009, it was finally a Grade 1, officially. The purse for the race has been constant through time at $1,000.000. In 2022, Wood Duck Stables won their first BC race here in the Fillies & Mares Sprint when Oceanus came from behind to win by a length. She is still active though winless in 2023. Perhaps her dam’s name is coming true for her on track, but perhaps she comes storming back at some point, too. Other recent winners include Slckmoment Laga (2021), La Marseillaise (2020), and Eros (2019). Let’s meet our field this year!

#1- Up She Flew (Riggins Racing, ridden by L Saez)- May have struggled in her last race, placing only fifth of seven in the Grade 3 Dogwood, but she was flying high before that. Two months ago, she had no problem handling the slop at SAR in the Grade 1 Ballerina, coming from the middle of the pack to go on and win by two lengths. That officially punched her ticket here to the BC, so the trainer didn’t have to worry too much after the Dogwood result other than the agony of losing a race. I don’t really like her SRF there, but her works have remained steady to the point where I am going to focus on her performances before that.

#2- Christina G (Mb Stables, ridden by T Gaffalione)- A length away from coming in here with a chance to do what Point To Royalty did, and that’s win this race two consecutive years. However, she was second last year in what was actually her third crack at the race. Previous efforts saw her place 10th in 2020 and 8th in 2021, so if she keeps improving, there’s only one spot left to climb. Even though she has only one win in 2023, all of her races have been good, and in fact she has not finished outside of the top four since July 2022, and only that one time since the end of 2021. That level of consistency seems to mean more in a race like this, and I like that she is able to be successful with seemingly different tactics (recent trend, anyway).

#3- Last Lady (Lindeman Prairie, ridden by J R Velazquez)- To summarize, the trainer posted that he did not seem that optimistic about Last Lady’s chances, and wishes this race was held in the spring. Is he being too hard on his mare, though? In April, this one ran a great race, picking up the win in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison while earning a 100 SRF, then right after that was second in the Grade 1 Derby City, beating some of the same horses she topped in the Vinery Madison. But that was when the trainer wishes the race was. She’s only run once since, an open allowance at SAR in August where she was fourth of four. The works have slowed, and on October 21st, the trainer surely let out a groan. He may be right about her chances, but it’s the BC and we can all hope!

#4- Parade Leader (Fractious, ridden by M Franco)- In July, Parade Leader picked up the win in the Grade 3 Victory Ride, which at the time was her second consecutive win. Since then, she’s gone back and forth with good and not so good results. In September, she was second in the Grade 2 Prioress, and that is the type of effort that shows she is still more than capable of stepping up and pulling this race off. However, the two races that surround that is why she will probably one of the bigger prices on the board. At the TC of America at KEE, she wasn’t bad when looking at that race in itself, but I’d want to come in here a little stronger. Fortunately, she has the Prioress as a recent performance, too.

#5- Baptisted By Fire (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by D Van Dyke)- In other races, it would not be a red flag, but in the BC, when a horse has only once since May, it’s different. She had a great run to start the year, with good head-to-head performances against Last Lady. But Lindeman Prairie wishes the BC was in the spring for his horse, and I have to think that Mo Mentum Farm is feeling the same way about his. The one race since May was an allowance at PRX, and she was fourth of five there, beaten by three lengths in mid-September.

#6- Eight Seconds (Wood Duck Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- The trainer will be looking to go back-to-back in this race, and Eight Seconds is the one their hopes will rest on. The three-year-old has been running against WV-Breds for more than half of her seven career efforts but has also had no issue stepping up against unrestricted company. Of course not, since she was able to qualify here, and the race that did that was the Princess Rooney down at GP on the last day of September. There, she ran with the leader and was the best in the stretch to score a 101 SRF, so she’s running as well as you’d want from a BC horse right now. There are horses with greater name recognition here, but this filly can hang with them. May be peaking at the right time.

#7- Siouxbiscuit (Mb Stables, ridden by Ru Silvera)- With four wins and four places in twelve career starts, you would think that this filly was highly consistent. However, when she does not finish in one of those positions, she’s nowhere to be seen at the finish and the problem is, those results seem to come out of nowhere. But, to focus on the positive, her last two races have been outstanding, winning the Grade 3 Dogwood and placing second in a photo at the Grade 1 Test. “Second in a photo” is also true for two other races this year, missing the head bob at the wire in the Fantasy and the Eight Belles. All of that makes Siouxbiscuit a great option in this field, but what if the Victory Ride side of her shows up?

#8- Starship Twister (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by A Beschizza)- Fans of Last Lady and Baptisted By Fire can look at her for motivation. She was also good over the spring and was third to those exact two horses in the Derby City Distaff. Then, she struggled. By the way, was there something in the water at the Derby City Distaff that made horses struggle after it? Unlike those two, Starship Twister kept being entered into races, and returned to form at the $300.000 Open Mind at CD in September, winning it, before a respectable fourth place (beaten by less than a length) in the Grade 2 Beldame. She’s back, and the veteran six-year-old should not be disregarded here.

#9- Smokin Cara (Alydar Stables, ridden by G W Corbett)- After being taken off the KYO trail, Smokin Cara has been smokin’ the competition, with three wins in five starts. The stretch started with a victory in the $125.000 Star Shoots and then the same finish in the Grade 3 Miss PS. Throw out the Victory Ride (which wasn’t really that bad, anyway), then you get the two races that brought her to the BC: finishing second in the Grade 3 Dogwood before winning the Grade 2 Raven Run two weeks ago. That fact might make it a little difficult for her, because there’s only one other horse in here on short rest, and even with that one it’s arguable that it should be considered that. Regardless, she likes to come from behind, so everyone needs to be looking for the nine in the stretch.

#10- Lady Sammyantha (The Sidley Stud, ridden by D E Centeno)- This will be the second time that this five-year-old mare has run in the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint, but you have to go back to 2021 for her previous run. That year, she did what Smokin Cara is doing now, running in the BC two weeks after winning the Raven Run. She ran fifth that year. A slow start doomed her from returning in 2022, but this year she has been resurgent and comes here off of consecutive victories. In September, she was at PID and won the PID Masters Stakes (Grade 2) and punched her ticket here officially by winning the Grade 2 TC of America at KEE last month. Throw out the recent mile-plus races of her, and her past performances look even better.

#11- Spring Street (High Voltage, ridden by P Lopez)- Started the year running well, but then hit a rut starting in April. It has not been all bad since then, however, and because of that she was able to find her way here to the BC. She can thank her performance in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney in late September, where she was second to Eight Seconds, for getting her here. She can also thank another Eight, the Eight Belles, as that was her biggest win of the year. Perhaps she can successfully follow up her performance at the Princess Rooney, and she did work nicely here on the 27th. I feel as though my virtual money is safer elsewhere.

#12- Nolo Contendere (Riggins Racing, ridden by P Husbands)- Back in May, Nolo Contendere took the top spot in the Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap, which may have been the last time she won a race, but it set off a string of positive results with three runner ups in a stretch of four races. That was highlighted by the Grade 3 Seaway Stakes at WO, but she was then entered into the Princess Rooney on just thirteen days of rest. Often, we will see it not matter that a horse had limited rest, but then you see this, which was a poor performance directly from the starting gate. Fortunately, she has not been run since then so we should be able to see the better version of her here.

#13- Sigatoka (Bears Stable, ridden by A J Juarez Jr)- Picked up in the December 2022 auction for $1.780, I am going to guess that Bears Stable was not thinking that he just bought a BC runner that day. Sigatoka showed her worth right away, going on a five-race winning streak that began modestly with a pair of wins at FON, and culminating with the Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes at LA, where she beat a couple that she sees again here. While she failed in The Test, she mastered the PID Masters Stakes with a respectable third and won the ONT Fashion Stakes three weeks ago. Now, this cheap auction purchase makes us all wish we put a couple bucks down on her on that December day.

#14- Devils Bride (Fractious, ridden by F Geroux)- The field being drawn on Halloween did not help Devils Bride, as she draws the outermost post here. She’s looked good nearly every time she has been on the track this year, even if there are a few races where she did not manage to get a piece of the purse. She won twice, but she passed her Test, winning that Grade 1 at SAR by a nose, and then followed that up with a good looking third in the Grade 2 Prioress. Let’s face it, winning back-to-back graded races at SAR would be quite an achievement for anyone, so nothing wrong there. The Princess Rooney is not a career highlight, but even that still earned a 99 SRF. If I had to pick one of the two Fractious horses here to win, it would be her.

Prediction: 6-10-2-14

— NS


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