10/24/2012 3:53PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: Only nine pre-entered - and five are cross-entered

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Undefeated Executiveprivilege has been the odds-on favorite in all five of her career starts.

The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies could go with its shortest field in history Nov.  2 at Santa Anita, as five of the nine horses pre-entered Monday were cross-entered in other BC stakes.

Executiveprivilege, Dreaming of Julia, and Spring in the Air, who accounted for the three Win and You’re In preps for the Juvenile Fillies, were among those pre-entered. The list also includes Beholder, Kauai Katie, Sweet Shirley Mae, and Almost An Angel, all of whom were cross-entered in the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint against colts Nov. 2, and Renee’s Queen, who was cross-entered in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 2. Broken Spell, the runner-up to Spring in the Air in the Grade  1 Alcibiades, rounded out the pre-entries, which were released by the Breeders’ Cup on Wednesday.

The Juvenile Fillies, a mile and a sixteenth race that has been run annually since the inaugural Breeders’ Cup in 1984, had its smallest fields in 1993 and 1995, with eight starters in each of those years. The shortest field size in BC history is six starters, which the Distaff – now the Ladies’ Classic – had in both 1987 and 1996. The second smallest BC field size is seven horses, which has happened six times in either the Distaff or the Turf.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Pre-entered fields with odds and comments]

It appears several factors have led to less participation in this year’s Juvenile Fillies, a division that has averaged a robust 11.75 horses a race in 28 runnings. The addition of the Juvenile Fillies Turf to the BC in 2008 and the creation of the Juvenile Sprint in 2011 have allowed more horses and people to participate in the World Championships but may now be starting to cannibalize the Juvenile Fillies.

Trainer Wesley Ward has listed the Juvenile Sprint as the first preference for both Sweet Shirley Mae, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Spinaway, and Almost An Angel, who was sixth in the Alcibiades. Ward is not bound by his preferences, and as of Wednesday no decisions had been made on the direction to be taken with the horses, both of whom are owned by Ice Wine Stable.

“I wanted the option to look at both races,” Ward said. “More likely than not, I’ll split them apart because they are owned by the same stable.”

Stonestreet Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher also have two horses pre-entered in the Juvenile Fillies: Grade 1 Frizette winner Dreaming of Julia and multiple Grade 2 winner Kauai Katie, whose second preference is the Juvenile Sprint. The connections of Beholder, meanwhile, have listed the Juvenile Sprint as their first preference while Renee’s Queen has the Juvenile Fillies Turf as her second preference.

If all of the horses run in their first preference, and Ward opts to start one of his horses in the Juvenile Fillies and one in the Juvenile Sprint, the Juvenile Fillies would have a field of seven. In contrast, there were 10 pre-entries in the Juvenile Sprint and 18 in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Another factor that has limited the juvenile Fillies field this year is a new Breeders’ Cup policy that calls for 2-year-olds to race without Lasix. Last week, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer told Daily Racing Form that Scarlet Strike, runner-up to Executiveprivilege in the Grade  1 Chandelier at Santa Anita, would not go because of the ban on Lasix. And earlier this month, Peter Miller, who trains Miss Empire, the third-place finisher in the Chandelier, told Daily Racing Form the no-Lasix policy left him inclined not to run 2-year-olds in this year’s BC. Miller did not pre-enter any 2-year-olds on Monday.

Lasix is a diuretic that is legally used in North America on race day to prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging, or bleeding from the lungs. To ask a 2-year-old accustomed to racing on the medication to come off of it for the most strenuous race of his or her young career is now a significant decision facing owners and trainers for the first time in Breeders’ Cup history.

Another factor that could be contributing to the smaller list of Juvenile Fillies pre-entries is the strength of Executiveprivilege’s form. She has been an odds-on favorite in all of her five career starts and has won them all, including two Grade 1 races. Executiveprivilege is also based at Santa Anita.

Final entries for the Breeders’ Cup races are Monday.