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Sweet Melania Looks to Fend off Europeans in Juvenile Fillies Turf

Sweet Melania Looks to Fend off Europeans in Juvenile Fillies Turf

A field of 14 fillies will contend this year’s running of the always-competitive Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. A solid mix of American and European runners have entered this event, which will go off as race eight on Friday, November 1, at Santa Anita Park. They will all be going 1 mile for a piece of the $1,000,000 purse.

The full field from the rail out includes:

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#1 Living in The Past – This European shipper will look to rebound from a fifth-place effort last time out in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (G1) at Newmarket. Before that, she had won two of four starts, including the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes (G2) at York.

#2 Croughavouke – After two starts in Europe, this filly shipped to the United States during the summer and made her North American debut in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes. She was second in that start, then just missed again last time out in the Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Her racing experience here will give her an advantage over the other Europeans.

#3 Shadn – She has hit the board in five of her six career starts, including three wins. Last time out, she picked up a victory in the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte (G2) by a head when running 6 furlongs. This will be her first start going longer than 7 furlongs.

#4 Abscond – At odds of 9/1, Abscond won the Natalma Stakes (G1) at Woodbine over a field of several familiar rivals in this spot. She also broke her maiden on debut at Ellis Park before finishing second to Kimari in a turf sprint at Saratoga.

#5 Daahyeh – The European sensation will try her hand on this side of the globe after winning the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes (G2) at Newmarket. She has never finished worse than second in five career starts and picked up a victory at Royal Ascot this summer in the Albany Stakes (G3).

#6 Unforgetable – She will ship to the United States for trainer Joseph O’Brien after running fourth over a synthetic surface last time out at Dundalk. The move back to the grass should help her; she has hit the board in three of four turf starts.

 #7 Crystalle – After crossing the wire first in her debut, she was disqualified and placed second for interference in the stretch. That did not stop her connections from trying a stakes race next, and Crystalle rewarded their confidence by winning the P. G. Johnson at Saratoga. Last time out, she closed strongly but came up just short in the Miss Grillo Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.

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#8 Tango – Trainer Aidan O’Brien brings this horse to the United States after winning a smaller stakes event at Curragh last time out by 6 lengths. That was her second victory in eight starts. She had struggled in stakes races before that effort, so it’s possible that her lightbulb clicked at the perfect time.

#9 Albigna – This European shipper will look to make it two wins in a row after taking home the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac-Criterium des Pouliches Stakes (G1) at Longchamp last time out. She has won three of four lifetime starts, with her other highlight win coming at Curragh in the Airlie Stud Balanchine Stakes (G2).

#10 Fair Maiden – She burst onto the scene with a blowout score at Arlington Park, which led to another easy victory at Woodbine in the Catch a Glimpse Stakes in her turf debut. After those two efforts, she tried her hand at graded company and finished third by a neck in the Natalma Stakes (G1).

#11 Sharing – This filly has improved lately, winning her last two starts. After breaking her maiden in an off-turf event at Saratoga, she then shipped to Laurel Park to win the $200,000 Selima Stakes over a solid field. The step up in class is her biggest question mark.

#12 Sweet Melania – The Todd Pletcher trainee could end up being the favorite in this spot after a 5 1/2-length wire-to-wire score in the Jessamine Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. She has won two of three since moving to the turf, with her only loss coming by a neck in the P. G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga. Her early speed will play a major part in this event.

#13 Selflessly – Trainer Chad Brown has had plenty of recent success in this event, picking up recent wins with Newspaperofrecord, Rushing Fall, New Money Honey, and Lady Eli. This year, he brings Selflessly, winner of the Miss Grillo Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park as a maiden. She is not as flashy as some of Brown’s prior winners, but she could still prove to be a factor based on her trainer’s history.

#14 Etolie – This filly will look to shake off a tough loss last time out in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (G1), where she finished eighth. However, that tough field only defeated her by 5 1/2 lengths. She broke her maiden on debut at Naas in the Coolmore Stud Irish E.B.F. Sprint Stakes (G3). Trainer Aidan O’Brien would not make the trip with her if he did not think that she was classy enough to run here.

American-based horses have had great success in this race over the years, a trend that several runners will look to continue. However, the European contingent has come up strong this year, with several quality horses shipping in for the event. Look for this race to have a close finish that will provide a solid payout to bettors who can correctly handicap this group.

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