Breeders’ Cup Picks & Previews: Filly & Mare Sprint, by Bobby Raposa

Breeders’ Cup Race Previews and Picks

Juvenile Fillies

by Bobby Raposa


All week long on Danonymous Racing, we’ll have picks & analysis for all 13 Breeders’ Cup races from the Danonymous cast. We’ve got Bobby Raposa covering an excellent running of the Filly & Mare Sprint. Good luck to everyone playing along!


2016- Finest City 

2015- Wavell Avenue 

2014- Judy The Beauty

2013- Groupie Doll 

2012- Groupie Doll 


This year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint is slated as the sixth race on Del Mar’s 12 race card, and is headlined by three-year-old filly, Unique Bella, who will be facing Grade 1 competition for the first time in her career, including Paula’ssilverlining, By The Moon and defending champion, Finest City, who is seeking to become the second horse to win the title in consecutive years. Some other standouts looking to take home the title of Filly & Mare Sprint champion include, morning line second-choice, Skye Diamonds, Carina Mia and Highway Star, amongst others.  


Post time for this race is set for 4:14 p.m. ET.


The Field:

Number Horse Jockey Trainer M/L Odds
1 Carina Mia Javier Castellano Chad Brown 12-1
2 Paulassilverlining Jose Ortiz Chad Brown 8-1
3 Curlin’s Approval Lius Saez Happy Alter 20-1
4 Finest City Corey Nakatani Ian Kruljac 12-1
5 Bar of Gold- Irad Ortiz Jr. John Kimmel 30-1
6 Proper Discretion Kent Desormeaux Philip D’Amato 30-1
7 By The Moon Rajiv Maragh Michelle Nevin 12-1
8 Constellation Flavien Prat Bob Baffert 15-1
9 Finley’sluckycharm Brian Hernandez Jr. W. Bret Calhoun 6-1
10 Highway Star Angel Arroyo Rodrigo Ubillo 15-1
11 Unique Bella Mike Smith Jerry Hollendorfer 9/5
12 Sky Diamonds Tiago Pereira William Spawr 5-1
13 Princess Karen Julien Laparoux Jeff Bonde 20-1
14 Ami’s Mesa Luis Contreras Josie Carroll 20-1


Breaking down the field:

  1. Carina Mia (12-1) – This four-year-old filly won the Shine Again Stakes by half a length as the heavy 1/2 favorite at Saratoga during the summer. Since then, she has finished third to By The Moon in the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes and was hunted down by Highway Star in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap. She has faced top-level competition throughout her career and it will be no different in this spot. She needs her best form to hit the board here.


  1. Paulassilverlining(8-1) – This five-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper started off her 2017 campaign with three straight victories, including two Grade 1’s. However, recently, she was fifth in the Grade 1 Ballerina. Trainer Chad Brown gave her some time off and her works seem to show that she is ready to go.


  1. Curlin’s Approval (20-1) – If the Breeders’ Cup was hosted by Gulfstream Park this year, it would be tough not to use this horse on top, as she has seven career victories in 10 starts there. But that’s not the case and when leaving Gulfstream, this four-year-old filly hasn’t finished better than sixth. She will need to bring her talents from her home track in order to contend with this field.


  1. Finest City– Finest City upset this race last year at the same price. She kicked off 2017 with a win in the Grade 2 Santa Monica, along with two second-place and third-place finishes. She heads into this race in better form than last year. Given the field, she could go off a little higher than her morning line odds, which will get the attention of some bettors. She has the ability to win it again.


  1. Bar of Gold (30-1) – Bar of Gold comes into this race off a sixth place finish in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland. Her other 2017 Grade 1 start came back in June in the Ogden Phipps, where she finished a distant seventh. The cutback in distance should help, but given the talent she is up against, this five-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro seems to be a bit out-classed.


  1. Proper Discretion (30-1) – This four-year-old daughter of Discreetly Mine enters this race for Loooch Racing Stables coming off of back-to-back victories at Thistledown. She has early speed, but with the class of this field, it will be tough to hang on.


  1. By the Moon (12-1)– By the Moon has had a nice 2017 season up to this point. She has three wins in four starts, including a win in the Grade 1 Ballerina over Highway Star and Carina Mia last time out. She is skilled enough to win this race and her morning line odds of 12-1 are a steal.


  1. Constellation (15-1) – This four-year-old filly has had four starts this year and has finished second all four times, including two straight to morning line second-choice, Sky Diamonds. She is a solid horse, but given her past performances, she’s a cut below the rest. She will be making her first start for Bob Baffert.  


  1. Finley’sluckycharm (6-1)– Finley’sluckycharm has had four wins this year in five starts, with her only loss coming in a strong second-place effort to Paulassilverlining in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga. Having won nine of 12 starts throughout her career, there’s no question she has the talent to win this race.


  1. Highway Star (15-1)– Highway Star comes into this race off a win last time out in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park. She has raced from lengths of 6 ½ furlongs to 1 1/16m this year. However, when it comes to the 7-furlong distance, she has three victories in four lifetime starts, something to keep in mind when going over the race.   


  1. Unique Bella(9/5) – Had she not been injured and ran in this year’s edition of the Kentucky Oaks, this three-year-old daughter of Tapit would have been the huge favorite. She was so dominant that there were talks of her entering the Derby instead, something that the horse racing community hasn’t seen since 2010 when Devil May Care finished 10th. She scored a win in her first start back in the Grade 3 L.A. Woman Stakes and has been training well. If she pulls of the victory, she will be the first 3-year-old do so in this race’s history.


  1. Skye Diamonds (5-1)– Sky Diamonds has won five of six starts this year, including the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap back on August 13 at Del Mar. She was dominant at Saratoga, but also really seems to like the Del Mar surface. This four-year-old filly is a serious contender.


  1. Princess Karen (20-1) – Princess Karen has had six starts in 2017 with a record of 6-2-1-0. In her most recent race, she finished second to Unique Bella in the Grace 3 L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita. She will need a lot to go her way in order to hit the board.


  1. Ami’s Mesa (20-1) – This four-year-old filly has won six of her seven career starts and is a perfect four-for-four at this distance…on synthetic. She comes into this race having won four straight races. With all that being said, the obvious question is if her success can translate to the dirt.


Unique Bella is clearly the most likely winner, if she can return to her old form. But, since she is listed at 9/5 coming off one start after a long layoff, I will play against her. However, she is a must-use in all exotics and multi-race wagers.  


Picks: $2 boxed superfecta of 7, 12, 11, 10


As always, good luck!


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