Updated on 10/12/2012 2:04PM

Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic: Grace Hall added to already-deep field

Linscott Photography
Trainer Tony Dutrow confirmed on Wednesday morning that Indiana Oaks winner Grace Hall would go to the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

Grace Hall needed a big performance to justify returning to the big stage. She delivered at Hoosier Park.

A romping victory Oct. 6 in the Grade 2 Indiana Oaks marked a welcome rebound for Grace Hall in her first start since finishing nowhere as the even-money favorite Aug. 18 in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga.

Trainer Tony Dutrow can now look to the West.

“We’re hoping to get to the Breeders’ Cup, that’s what we humans are thinking,” Dutrow said Wednesday. “But Grace Hall will have a say. If we’re seeing the same Grace Hall that we are accustomed to seeing, then we’re going to California.”

Grace Hall joins an outstanding field of seven runners expected for the Ladies’ Classic. All seven are Grade 1 winners, including three Eclipse winners – Royal Delta, champion 3-year-old filly of 2011, along with undefeated Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia, champion juvenile fillies of 2010 and 2011, respectively.

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

Questing, Love and Pride, Include Me Out, and Grace Hall complete the probable field. Two additional Grade 1 winners will cross-enter – In Lingerie in the Filly and Mare Turf and It’s Tricky in the Filly and Mare Sprint. While a final decision is on hold, In Lingerie and It’s Tricky are likely to run in the other races.

In Lingerie won the Oct. 7 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland, which is a Win and You’re In race for the Ladies’ Classic. However, trainer Todd Pletcher already has targeted the Ladies’ Classic with Love and Pride and could redirect In Lingerie to the grass race.

Although In Lingerie has never started on grass, Pletcher does not see surface as an issue for the Empire Maker filly.

“She’s versatile, handles dirt and synthetic, and makes you think she’ll handle turf,” he said.

Love and Pride was ridden to victory by Martin Garcia in the Zenyatta Stakes; John Velazquez rode her to victory in the Personal Ensign and would likely regain the mount for the Ladies’ Classic if In Lingerie runs on turf. Riding assignments are unconfirmed.

As for Grace Hall, she is no stranger to the big time. She won the Grade 1 Spinaway and was second in the BC Juvenile Fillies, and this year finished third as the Kentucky Oaks favorite. After a facile win in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks, Dutrow sent her to Saratoga for a showdown with Questing and In Lingerie in the Alabama. Grace Hall bombed at even-money.

“I don’t know what happened that day at Saratoga,” Dutrow said. “With respect to the quality of the field, it was not her.”

Grace Hall was done on the far turn and finished fifth, while Questing won by nine lengths.

Grace Hall needed a confidence builder and got it. Dropping in class for the Indiana Oaks, she won by a 5 3/4 lengths while earning a 103 Beyer Speed Figure as the 9-10 favorite. Grace Hall returned Sunday to Delaware, where she will train up to the Breeders’ Cup.

Brian Hernandez rode Grace Hall at Hoosier; she also has been ridden to graded stakes wins by Javier Castellano and Ramon Dominguez.

Dutrow expected one of those three would ride in the Breeders’ Cup, but no decision has been made.

◗ Trainer Bill Mott said Royal Delta will breeze this weekend at Belmont Park, where her Sept. 29 romp in the Grade 1 Beldame stamped her as the Ladies’ Classic favorite.

◗ My Miss Aurelia had her first breeze at Santa Anita on Oct. 7, an easy five furlongs in 1:03.20.

◗ Awesome Feather worked a bullet half-mile at Belmont on Oct. 7 in 47.60, breezing.

Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
That is one awesome filly line up. It's def an exciting BC coming up for all the ladies. I'm especially looking forward to the Questing-MMA rematch. You go girls!!
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
Grace Hall is no where near this caliper. This race could very well ruin her. Remember - you heard it here first. Nothig can ruin a horse on the track worse than putting them in above their head this much.
Rene More than 1 year ago
ROYAL DELTA...........AWESOME FEATHER.......i believe these two horses are enough ! i'll put in a third choice if budget allows........my pacesetter.......LOVE AND PRIDE !!!
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Awesome Feather is far better than she is being given credit for. Hard to imagine(undefeated) but she is a superstar of immense proportions(ala Frankel). I know many disagree. But she is a standout single in what will be a great race to watcch. If I'm wrong I'm wrong...so be it. But I know where my money will be.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
She will be tough. That work over a track that's been laboring. Easily. She is my favorite filly or mare running.
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
You said it. If she is healthy; she is definitely the one to beat. My only concerns would be Questing and Royal Delta. When on Royal Delta is tough, Questing's last race in my opinion was a tactical disaster. Let her run fast and furious. She is a question mark. My bet is Awesome Feather to win and use her over the aforementioned others in exotics. Let everyone enjoy the Cup!!!!
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Touché! I zo agree about Questing!!
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Exactly! Zo agree. Put in MMA for the box. Good luck on Ladies Day, lol!
Rick Lamond More than 1 year ago
This could well be the best race of this year's BC.
B More than 1 year ago
Won't know till it's over if it will be the best race, but it certainly has the best field and is the race that I am most interested in seeing. Hoping for an Awesome Feather victory, but there are so many quality horses in this race, may they all run to their best with no excuses and let's find out who is best.
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
Should be the best race. Another is the turf. Point Taken could be like Kotashan was and beat the Europeans. I hope they send a lot over for the race and I can get good oodds on Point Taken. The Juvenile Fillies is shaping up too. Capital Account in the dirt mile is intriguing to me, reminds me of Calebs Posse. Good luck all.
ChristinaA More than 1 year ago
Although I feel like Royal Delta should be pointed towards the Classic this year, I'm happy to hear that if she stays healthy, she'll be pointed towards it next year. She'll trounce this field. Her biggest threats are It's Tricky and Awesome Feather, but she's in really great form right now. I can't see her losing this race unless she gets a horrendous trip.
Andy Dean More than 1 year ago
I hear what you're saying, but it depends now doesn't it? I'll be watching the track bias that day. Anita seems to have always played to speed. I've been going there since the John Henry days, and it seems nothing has changed!. Speed holds! That being said, I don't think anyone can run with the Feather early on. Coupled with the Mr. Prospector, Secretariat staying influence it is a mighty powerful combo. She seems to be a different horse since her laser treatment for the bowed tendon suffered after winning the BCJF in 2010 according to Chad. Showed she can rate in her last couple of races. He said she's grown, filled out, and gotten more mature. YIKES! I just hope she doesn't draw the rail and Jeffrey can get a couple of rides during the week to get a take on the track.. It will be an AWESOME race (sorry) , better than the Classic IMO.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They should flip and put the Classic on Friday and run this race last on Saturday.
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
Very deep field for the Ladies Classic. Who can beat Royal Delta on her best day? Awesome Feather is the biggest threat.
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
This is the year to be Awesome. This is the most Awesome BC race by far. How can the winner not be Awesome...Awesome Feather!
B More than 1 year ago
Well, that is the issue, isn't it? Delta is not always on her best day and there are two unbeaten ones here who have always been on their best day.
Steven Simonovic More than 1 year ago
Might be the best Distaff ever.
Perl More than 1 year ago
She seems more like a good grade 2 horse. Hasn't ever beaten a field like the one she will face in Cali. Not even close. Minor awards at best.
myjockwon More than 1 year ago
have any of them face a field like this. no
Perl More than 1 year ago
good point! Its an epic race this year.
B More than 1 year ago
I agree. She's not in the class of a few others here, but upsets happen all the time..