09/09/2013 3:55PM

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf: Europeans are likely the ones to beat


Regardless of whether The Fugue, winner of this past Saturday’s Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes competes in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf Nov. 2, or is instead raced against males in the $3 million Turf that same day, a European seems likely to be the Filly and Mare Turf favorite.

In addition to The Fugue, Great Britain-based Dank is under consideration for the race, and she already humbled many of North America’s best turf mares with a 4 1/4-length romp in the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Aug. 17, a race that earned her a 108 Beyer Speed Figure.

The strength of these individual performances, along with their overall form, has left overseas punters backing the duo at British bookmaking shops. As of Monday, The Fugue was 7-4 odds in ante-post wagering, what Americans call future-book wagering, for the Filly and Mare Turf, and Dank was 9-2, according to Adrian Beaumont of the International Racing Bureau.

Working in favor of the Americans is that some will have the home-course edge at Santa Anita, where the Breeders’ Cup will again be hosted this year.

Leading U.S. contenders Marketing Mix, Tiz Flirtatious, and Lady of Shamrock are graded winners at Santa Anita. Marketing Mix also was second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf last year behind Zagora, finishing in front of The Fugue, who experienced a troubled trip in which she was late to find running room and finished third.

Marketing Mix, most recently fourth as the favorite in the Aug. 17 Beverly D., is expected to seek to rebound in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes on Sept. 28 at Santa Anita, a race that could also draw the California-based Tiz Flirtatious and Lady of Shamrock.

Across the country at Belmont that same day, the top East Coast runners will complete in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl. Both Sept. 28 races are Win and You’re In Challenge races for the Filly and Mare Turf, and are contested at the race’s distance of 1 1/4 miles on grass.

This Sunday, another fees-paid Win and You’re In berth to the race is up for grabs in the Canadian Stakes at Woodbine, a 1 1/8-mile grass race that should attract Solid Appeal, who won the Dance Smartly and Nassau Stakes there before fading to sixth in the Beverly D. after chasing the early leaders.

Although Saturday’s Grade 1 Garden City Stakes at Belmont is not a Win and You’re In race, it, too, is expected to draw some elite grass fillies of the 3-year-old variety.

Emollient, winner of the Grade 1 American Oaks at 1 1/4 miles this summer, is the race headliner.