10/22/2002 11:00PM

BC options aside from chalk club


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Do you like Storm Flag Flying in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies or Azeri in the Distaff?

Join the club - a rather big club. That pair, and some of the other favorites are legitimate and stand a strong chance of winning their Breeders' Cup races.

But little or no value is present, and that is difficult to accept as these horses face the toughest tests of their lives.

With that in mind, who are some of the Breeders' Cup horses that might slip past the betting public and pull off upsets at overlaid prices? Here's a quick look.


Farda Amiga has won the two most important races for 3-year-old fillies - the Kentucky Oaks and the Alabama Stakes - yet somehow she will be only the third most popular 3-year-old in the race behind Take Charge Lady and Imperial Gesture.

Yes, she does lack the lofty Beyer Speed Figures those rivals possess, and she has been campaigned rather sparsely this year. But she won the Alabama off a lengthy layoff, and her freshness leading up to the Distaff is by design. She is attractive at odds of 6-1 or longer.

Juvenile Fillies

Storm Flag Flying has been spectacular in every start and should win this race by open lengths. But what is appealing about betting a Breeders' Cup horse at 4-5?

Ivanavinalot has run some sensational numbers on the sheets, while beating good Florida horses like Puxa Saco, who won the Anoakia Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita.

All the speed in this race, however, makes an off-the-pace type like Composure the main threat to Storm Flag Flying. An easy winner of the Oak Leaf, she keeps improving with every start and should relish 1 1/8 miles.


Good Journey has won four consecutive races for Wally Dollase - an outstanding trainer, particularly in graded stakes. He is very good at having his top horses primed for the richest and most important races, and his preparation of Good Journey this year has been fantastic.

Good Journey beat 12 opponents in the Atto Mile, which is consistently the deepest Breeders' Cup Mile prep run in North America.


Bonapaw, perhaps because of his humble beginnings, will not receive his proper due. But he has speed, class, and heart - three elements that combine to make a great sprinter.

Additionally, he has the home-track edge. Based at Arlington throughout the summer, he is perfect in two starts there.

Filly and Mare Turf

Islington was beaten two lengths when fifth in the Arc de Triomphe, Europe's best distance race. Although no Arc winner has won a Breeders' Cup race, three horses have exited it to win the Turf. Winning the Filly and Mare Turf would seemingly be an easier task.

In most years, Islington would be the favorite. But the strength of Golden Apples and Banks Hill should ensure a price.


Sky Mesa is my choice to win this race and, hopefully, people have jumped off his bandwagon on the heels of a slow Breeders' Futurity victory and a 1:05.60 five-furlong workout.

If he is too short a price, Hold That Tiger could become interesting as a value play from across the pond. A winner of 3 of 4 in Ireland and France, he has a pedigree that suggests he should be as good, if not better, on dirt.

Being a Storm Cat half-brother to Belmont winner Editor's Note, he is bred to handle the stretch out to the Juvenile's 1 1/8-mile distance.


The Europeans appear likely to win this race, with High Chaparral being the probable favorite. But he isn't the only quality foreigner in the race.

Golan, winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, is ultimately being pointed for the Japan Cup later this year. But there is too much money and prestige at stake in this race to consider the Turf a prep. He has been sharp this year while carrying 131 pounds and more, and is a specialist at 1 1/2 miles.


Harlan's Holiday has been skillfully prepared for the Classic with two preps and seems ready to peak. Whether or not he is good enough remains to be seen, but he performed well in defeat when finishing third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont. Although he grew weary late, he took the worst of things when pressing the pace along the inside of a drying-out track. If he improves as expected, he may challenge at a price.