10/04/2017 3:20PM

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf: Two key preps in First Lady, Flower Bowl

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Lauren King/Coglianese Photos
Dickinson will run in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday.

The final two Win and You’re In qualifiers for the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf are this weekend, with Keeneland staging the Grade 1 First Lady on Saturday and Belmont following on Sunday with the Grade 1 Flower Bowl.

Although the two turf races have divided up some of the stars of the division, each race serves a niche, with the First Lady being run at a mile and the Flower Bowl more of a stayer’s race at 1 1/4 miles. Next month these fillies and mares can meet at middle ground when the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf is contested at 1 1/8 miles, the shortest distance in the race’s history.

Due to the one-mile distance of the First Lady and Dickinson’s proven effectiveness over the Keeneland grass, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has shipped the New York-based horse south to Keeneland, where she will be joined by fellow Northeastern shippers Roca Rojo, Zipessa, and Hawksmoor.

Roca Rojo ships from Belmont, while Zipessa and Hawksmoor are headed south from the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.

Dickinson and Roca Rojo were a neck apart when they last raced Aug. 26 in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga. Dickinson set the pace before finishing second by 1 1/2 lengths to Lady Eli, while Roca Rojo rallied to grab third after being keen behind a slow pace and experiencing traffic issues.

Although there is more pace in the First Lady, that shouldn’t compromise Dickinson, who used stalking tactics to edge Lady Eli in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April.

Regardless of whether Dickinson gets a fees-paid Breeders’ Cup berth by winning the First Lady, she will target the Filly and Mare Turf if she performs well, McLaughlin said.

One First Lady contender who is unlikely for the Breeders’ Cup is Dona Bruja, who was not made eligible and would need to be supplemented.

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The Flower Bowl also has plenty of star power, with Dacita and Grand Jete expected to start for trainer Chad Brown, and Man o’War winner Zhukova invading from Ireland for trainer Dermot Weld.

Dacita and Grand Jete are unraced since the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington on Aug. 12, when Dacita won by a half-length over a troubled Grand Jete, who finished in a dead heat with Dona Bruja for second.

The First Lady and Flower Bowl come a week after two other Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf qualifiers. Avenge, last year’s third-place finisher in the Filly and Mare Turf, won the Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita, and Rhododendron won the Prix de l’Opera at Chantilly in France.

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