A Look At The BC Preps
Summer, Natalma potentially key Breeders' Cup preps
After Pluck (More Than Ready) paid $14.80 and More Than Real (More Than Ready) $29.20 following their respective Breeders' Cup juvenile turf victories at Churchill Downs last fall, one of the lessons gleaned was to respect Woodbine form. The preps used by the pair, the $250,000 Summer S. (Can-G3) and $200,000 Natalma S. (Can-G3), will be renewed Saturday at the Toronto course and could provide crucial insight into the upcoming Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on November 5 and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) on November 4.
Todd Pletcher, who trained Pluck last season, should have the favorite in the one-mile Summer in FINALE (Scat Daddy). After earning minor checks in two appearances on dirt, Finale elevated his game dramatically when switched to the turf. After a 5 3 /4-length maiden tally going six furlongs at Belmont, Finale secured black type with a 10 1/2-length domination of the Continental Mile at Monmouth Park on August 20.
The only other previous stakes winner in the Summer is MAKING AMENDS (Repent), who captured the restricted Clarendon S. in his career debut. Subsequently third in the Vandal S., he finished a distant fourth in a course-and-distance allowance prep on August 26 in his turf bow.
Second in that allowance prep was MARITIMER (Stormy Atlantic), a leading candidate for second choice behind Finale. The Sid Attard trainee won at first asking and ran second in the Vandal prior to his solid turf debut. Attard will also saddle JOMELO (Giacomo), a turf debut winner going six furlongs in early August.
Other recent maiden winners that figure to factor are the Steve Asmussen-trained DADDY NOSE BEST (Scat Daddy), who rallied from far back to win by a half-length at Saratoga late last month; the Ian Black-trained EXCAPER (Exchange Rate), a 3 1/4-length victor on the Woodbine Polytrack at first asking; and Arlington turf graduate BURN THE MORTGAGE (Kitten's Joy), who goes for Wayne Catalano. The field is rounded out by SECRET CONSULTANT (War Front), who's been unplaced in all four starts to date.
Northern Passion (yellow hat) just missed by a half-length in the Ontario Debutante last out (WEG/Michael Burns Photography)
The one-mile Natalma, which More Than Real ran second in a year ago, attracted a much larger group of 13 fillies. Pletcher will saddle recent Saratoga graduate ST PANCRAS (Scat Daddy), a daughter of Matron S. (G1) heroine Marylebone (Unbridled's Song), but quite a few of her rivals could just as easily vie for favoritism. Among these is the undefeated HARD NOT TO LIKE (Hard Spun), who defeated males, including Maritimer, in the aforementioned August 26 allowance.
In what should be a fantastic betting race, last-out maiden scorers SKY DREAMER (Sky Mesa), WELCOME DANCE (Henny Hughes), SPIRITED MISS (Sky Mesa), QUALITY LASS (Exclusive Quality), EVIL KITTEN (Kitten's Joy), STEPHANIE'S KITTEN (Kitten's Joy) and DAYATTHESPA (City Zip) are all deserving of attention. Spirited Miss, in particular, has a family link to the race as her dam, Little Hussy (Horse Chestnut [SAf]), was third as the favorite in the 2004 edition of the Natalma.
Other potential players include NORTHERN PASSION (First Samurai) and RUNFOR RO (Afleet Alex), second and third, respectively, in the Ontario Debutante on Polytrack last time. ANNA SOPHIA (Oasis Dream [GB]), a debut winner on dirt at Belmont, likely bled when trailing home last in the Adirondack S. (G2) last time. She adds Lasix for the Natalma and is regally bred for the turf, descending from multiple Irish champion Park Express (Ire) (Ahonoora).