By: Eric DeCoster
Race #6: The Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Turf – 1 3/16 Miles) 3 YO+ Fillies & Mares
Purse: $2 Million
A contentious Filly & Mare Turf is set for this Saturday, with some excellent runners from across the world set to take part in this event. The European form is extremely strong heading into here but is well met by a trio from the Chad Brown as he shoots for his fifth win in this race. #3 Nashwa (5/2 ML) is the morning line choice and is very likely to go off favored on the heels of a very strong campaign. She put together back-to-back Group 1 scores over the summer and has consistently held good form among her division’s best. Last time out she set the pace in an absolute bog at Longchamp and looked a winner at points down the stretch before getting run down by a big price winner. #4 Above the Curve (9/2 ML) was only a nose off that chief rival in the Grade 1 Prix de l’Opera on that day, and prior to that won two group stakes, including the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary in May. For all the love Nashwa has received in the lead up to this race, Above the Curve really doesn’t seem that far off of her (if at all) and seems a very strong contender at a better price.
The Chad Brown team is led by two time Grade 1 winner, #11 In Italian (7/2 ML). This hard trying and consistent type has rattled off her scores in front running fashion and has beaten high quality fillies in each start. However, the Grade 1 First Lady was handed to her on a silver platter and she will certainly have to answer with likely other speeds to her inside in #2 Going to Vegas (20-1 ML) and potentially #1 Lady Speighstpeare (20-1 ML). I wonder if #9 Rougir (12-1 ML) is finally figuring things out after struggling in some recent starts for Chad Brown. Her victory in the G1 EP Taylor S. at Woodbine last time out showed the glimpses we saw in her Chad Brown debut and her excellent European form at three. She was able to close ground well and finished up sharply to prevail over #12 Moira (10-1 ML). I understand the respect coming in for that runner and also understand she did get her back end knocked from her in the EP Taylor, but I also feel that Rougir was the better of the two on the day and think she’s a better look at what could be a nicer price.
The final contender worth noting is #5 Tuesday (8-1 ML), the winner of this year’s Group 1 Epsom Oaks. You couldn’t have been more impressed with how she locked horns with top filly Emily Upjohn on that day, but unfortunately she has slipped on form since. However, I do think she’s found excuses in her four starts since. The G1 Irish Derby was a tough go against the boys, the G1 Yorkshire Oaks she was only a length off of the future Arc winner, the G1 Prix Vermeille was a no passing zone behind some lone speed, and the G1 Prix de l’Opera she found herself a little too close when pressing Nashwa and fading over the tough ground. With a clean run over a distance that she should enjoy, she might play and will be one I use.
The Choice – #9 Rougir
This year’s Filly & Mare Turf is extremely wide open for all the right reasons. There’s plenty of talent from both sides of the pond and many of the top contenders can also be viewed as a realistic winner. In my eyes, Rougir is moving back in the right direction after a rough summer and I think Chad Brown has her in the form to win this race. That being said, I will certainly be including the three runners exiting the Prix de l’Opera, as I think they’re each of the quality to win a Breeders’ Cup race and should all be firing late.