10/10/2012 4:41PM

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf: Lady of Shamrock will avoid travel, train up to big race

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Benoit & Associates
Lady of Shamrock, shown winning the Del Mar Oaks, will train up to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Lady of Shamrock, winner of the Grade 1 American and Del Mar Oaks, hasn’t left California this year, and with just three weeks to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 2, trainer John Sadler wasn’t ready to begin with Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.

Instead, she will train up to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, with his feeling being that this will leave her better prepared for the Filly and Mare Turf, rather than going through racing and traveling back and forth from California to Kentucky.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: DRF top 10 lists, video replays, latest news]

Despite her absence from the Queen Elizabeth II, Sadler pronounces Lady of Shamrock in top condition.

“She worked Sunday,” he said, referring to a six-furlong move in 1:15 on the Santa Anita main track. “And she’ll work six or seven furlongs this Saturday.”

Although not a Win and You’re In Challenge race winner, Lady of Shamrock is assured of making the field, even if it oversubscribes, by virtue of the 28 graded stakes points she amassed this year. That is among the highest of the female grass horses in training, and graded stakes points are one of preference criteria for entry into the race.

The only thing she hasn’t done in 2012 is face older mares, but a start in the Queen Elizabeth II would not have changed that. The race is restricted to 3-year-old fillies.

Meanwhile, another 3-year-old filly, In Lingerie, could make an appearance in the Filly and Mare Turf, despite not having raced on the grass. Winner of last Saturday’s Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland, she is a multiple winner on Polytrack, a surface on which some turf horses show an affinity.

Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, the partnership that co-owns the filly with Gary Barber, said they are keeping the Filly and Mare Turf under consideration, along with the Ladies’ Classic.

She was shipped from Keeneland to Santa Anita on Tuesday and is preparing for the Breeders’ Cup, with her specific Breeders’ Cup race to be determined in the weeks ahead. She could be cross-entered in both races, Wellman said.

Two major stakes on tap this weekend that could generate Filly and Mare Turf starters include the Queen Elizabeth II, a race headlined by Stephanie’s Kitten, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, and Sunday’s Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor stakes, a Win and You’re In race expected to draw a top-class international field.