11/01/2017 5:26PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: Casse takes three shots

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Alcibiades winner Heavenly Love (above) is probably Mark Casse’s best shot at upsetting Moonshine Memories.

DEL MAR, Calif. – It shouldn’t take long at all for the Breeders’ Cup crowd and a worldwide television audience to start getting into an upbeat rhythm Saturday.

The first of nine straight Breeders’ Cup events, the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, might well be one of the deepest races on the program and will set the tone for an unforgettable day.

“It’s a terrific race with a lot of depth, no doubt,” said Mark Casse, who has three of the 13 starters in the Grade 1 Juvenile Fillies. “All of our horses have been training very well, and we like them – but I’m sure that’s what you’ll hear from most everybody else involved.”

Heavenly Love (post 1, Julien Leparoux), a last-out winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland, probably rates the best chance of a Casse trio that also includes Gio Game (post 4, Manny Franco) and Wonder Gadot (post 11, Patrick Husbands). None, however, figures to take as much mutuel action as Moonshine Memories, whose 3-for-3 record includes a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 1 Chandelier at Santa Anita last out at the same 1 1/16-mile distance as the Juvenile Fillies.

Moonshine Memories, with Flavien Prat to ride, will break from the middle of the gate in post 7 as the lukewarm 7-2 favorite on the track morning line.

“We should be able to get a good early position, I would hope,” said Simon Callaghan, who trains Moonshine Memories for Bridlewood Farm and the Coolmore team. “The filly is doing very well, and we are hoping for her best effort Saturday.”

BC Juvenile Fillies runners Alluring Star (post 9, Joe Talamo) and Piedi Bianchi (post 8, Mario Gutierrez), were the respective second- and third-place finishers in the Chandelier.

The Bob Baffert-trained Alluring Star set the pace in the Chandelier.

“If our filly moves up off the Chandelier like we think she will, she could be right there,” Talamo said. “She’s only had two career starts, and there’s room for improvement.”

The rail draw for Heavenly Love may be a factor in her settling in as second wagering choice. That role might have fallen to Separationofpowers, winner of the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park last month, but she drew the outside post (13) in the two-turn race.

“We will do our best to work out a trip,” said Jose Ortiz, who has a return call on Separationofpowers from trainer Chad Brown.

Gio Game was an easy maiden winner on the same Keeneland card when Heavenly Love won the Alcibiades. Gio Game is owned by John Oxley, and Heavenly Love is owned by John’s wife, Debby. It is believed to be the first time horses will compete against each other in the same Breeders’ Cup race for husband and wife.

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Wonder Gadot, winner of the Grade 3 Mazarine on the Woodbine synthetic, is owned by MGM Studio head Gary Barber, who named the filly for Gal Gadot, the former Miss Israel who starred in the blockbuster movie “Wonder Woman.”

Wonder Gadot has never run on dirt.

“She’s our wild card,” Casse said. “She’s given every indication she’ll run well on the dirt, but you never know until you try them.”

Princess Warrior (post 3, Brian Hernandez Jr.) might be the sleeper of the field after finishing second as the favorite behind Heavenly Love in the Alcibiades. Trainer Kenny McPeek is confident the filly will make her presence known.

“I can’t tell you how much she’s impressed me in such a relatively short time,” McPeek said. “We’d love to have some racing luck.”

Three of the last four Juvenile Fillies winners were huge longshots, giving hope to the rest of the lineup. Completing the field are Tell Your Mama (post 2, Kent Desormeaux), Blonde Bomber (post 5, Jose Lezcano), Stainless (post 6, John Velazquez), Maya Malibu (post 10, Javier Castellano), and Caledonia Road (post 12, Mike Smith). Of those, Caledonia Road might have the best chance after finishing second to Separationofpowers in the Frizette in just her second start.

Those recent longshot winners were Ria Antonia (32-1 in 2013), Take Charge Brandi (61-1 in 2014), and Champagne Room (33-1 in 2016).

First post Saturday is 10:10 a.m. Pacific, with the BC Juvenile Fillies set for noon as the fourth race. The Juvenile Fillies is one of the original seven Breeders’ Cup races first run at Hollywood Park in 1984.