Updated on 09/17/2011 11:18PM

BC F&M Turf: Ouija Board, still in need of a prep, may run in Flower Bowl


With a final round of crucial preps set for the weekend of Oct. 1-2, the picture for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf Oct. 29 at Belmont Park still has some crystallizing to come.

Perhaps the most compelling prospect for the 1 1/4-mile turf race is Ouija Board, if only because the British filly won this race last year at Lone Star Park as the odds-on favorite. Now 4, Ouija Board has had nothing but trouble this year, and her chances of a repeat are very much in jeopardy unless she can suddenly return to top form in what will be her lone prep race.

In her lone start this year, Ouija Board was virtually eased in the Group 1 Prince of Wales Stakes at York in mid-June. Since then, trainer Ed Dunlop has attempted to get her back on target, initially by pointing her to the September Stakes at Newmarket two weeks ago, but she failed to pass an endoscopic examination several days out and was withdrawn from the Group 3 race. Then Dunlop tried to make the Group 1 Prix de Vermeille last weekend at Longchamp, but again the filly dropped from consideration when the trainer said she wasn't quite ready. Dunlop has said he now may ship Ouija Board to Belmont Park for the Oct. 1 Flower Bowl, a race for which quite a few other Filly and Mare Turf contenders are being pointed.

Indeed, in no small part because it will be run under identical race conditions four weeks before the Breeders' Cup, the 1 1/4-mile Flower Bowl is shaping up as easily the deepest and most important prep.

The lengthy list of possible starters in the Flower Bowl includes Melhor Ainda, the Bobby Frankel-trained 3-year-old standout; Angara, the Beverly D. winner who ran fifth behind males last weekend in the Man o' War at Belmont; either or both of the Bill Mott-trained duo of Sand Springs and Wend; Wonder Again, third behind Ouija Board in the BC Filly and Mare Turf last year; Latice, an Irish-bred who was sharp in winning her U.S. debut for Jonathan Sheppard in the restricted Waya Stakes last month at Saratoga; and Honey Ryder and Film Maker, the one-two finishers in the recent Glens Falls Handicap at Saratoga.

Frankel, as usual, is the trainer with the strongest hand as this race approaches. Not only does he train Melhor Ainda, but also Megahertz, who figures as a solid favorite in the major Southern California prep, the 1 1/4-mile Yellow Ribbon on Oct. 1 at Santa Anita.

Two other top-class Frankel fillies are unlikely for the Filly-Mare Turf but could run in the BC Mile - Intercontinental and Alinghi.

Luas Line, a highly impressive winner of the Garden City BC last weekend at Belmont, will go straight to the Filly and Mare Turf.

In Europe, the major prep for the Filly and Mare Turf is the Oct. 2 Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp. Alexander Goldrun is the likely favorite, but is not being pointed to the Breeders' Cup.

Some European horses who are under consideration for the Breeders' Cup are Cassydora, Gorella, Argentina, Virginia Waters, Pride, Red Bloom, and Gonbarda.

Filly & Mare Turf
3-year-olds & up, fillies & mares, 1 1/4 miles (turf). Purse: $1 million.

1ShawandaA. de Royer-Dupre3-1
Seeks sixth straight win in Arc; if she comes, she'll be formidable
2Melhor AindaR. Frankel4-1
Proved she's as good as elders when an unlucky third in Beverly D.
3MegahertzR. Frankel6-1
Fast-closing second in Beverly D. showed she can ship successfully
4Luas LineD. Wachman8-1
It's this or the QE II; it should be this off how she won the Garden City
5AngaraP. Biancone8-1
Upset the Beverly D.; her form is darkened from attempts vs. males
6PunctiliousS. bin Suroor2-1
Yorkshire Oaks winner ran well when she shipped to Canada last fall
7Ouija BoardE. Dunlop6-1
Odds-on winner of this last year; her one race this year was dreadful
8Wonder AgainJ. Toner12-1
Was an excellent third in this last year, but has not inspired this year
9WendW. Mott12-1
Lost on turf for first time in Beverly D.; will have to do better than that
10Sand SpringsW. Mott15-1
She just may be able to handle the distance since she's in career form

The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.