11/02/2011 11:22AM

Breeders' Cup: New owner hopes to cash in with Elusive Kate in Juvenile Fillies Turf

Barbara D. Livingston
The European-based filly Elusive Kate was privately sold to Terry Yoshida earlier this week.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Elusive Kate will attempt to return quick dividends to her new owner, Terry Yoshida, when she starts as the favorite in Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs.

Yoshida purchased Elusive Kate, a Group 1 winner at Longchamp in France on Oct. 2, privately from her former owners – Robert and Janice McNair and Rachel Hood, the wife of trainer John Gosden – in a deal that was not finalized until Monday. Gosden will continue to train Elusive Kate, who will race in the name of Yoshida and the McNairs’ Magnolia Racing Stable on Friday.

Elusive Kate drew off to a three-length victory to capture her Group 1 debut when she stretched out to a mile for the first time last month at Longchamp. The win was the fourth in a row for Elusive Kate, a daughter or Elusive Quality who had also won a Group 3 race at Deauville six weeks earlier.

Elusive Kate’s task will not be an easy one. The Juvenile Fillies Turf drew a full field of 14 2-year-old fillies that includes a number of promising U.S.-based contenders, led by the undefeated Somali Lemonade and speedy Stopshoppingmaria.

Somali Lemonade has rallied from far back to win each of her first two career starts, including the Grade 3 Jessamine over a yielding course at Keeneland on Oct. 13. Unfortunately for her trainer, Michael Matz, Somali Lemonade did not have the best of luck at Monday’s post position draw, as she will begin her journey from the extreme outside in post position 14.

“I don’t necessarily think she always has to be so far back, but we really have no choice now but to take back and try to make one run,” Matz said after the draw. “But it’s a long stretch. Hopefully there’ll be a fair amount of pace in the race, and if she doesn’t have to go to wide we should be okay.”

Stopshoppingmaria has never raced on grass and was soundly beaten by My Miss Aurelia when attempting to stretch out to a mile for the first time in the Grade 1 Frizette. Trainer Todd Pletcher worked Stopshoppingmaria over the local turf course on Saturday to see how she would handle the surface and was pleased enough with the results to enter her in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Stopshoppingmaria is by More than Ready, the sire of both More Than Real and Pluck, who swept both 2-year-old turf races at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup.

“She had a nice work over this turf course, and that sealed the deal,” said Pletcher regarding his decision to start Stopshoppingmaria in the Juvenile Fillies Turf rather than the Juvenile Fillies.

[Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf: Get graded entries, comments by Brad Free, and more]

Another New York-based filly with a big chance is Dayatthespa, a daughter of City Zip. She has not started since finishing second behind Northern Passion in Woodbine’s Grade 3 Natalma on Sept. 17. Dayatthespa won her only other start, a 5 1/2-furlong New York-bred maiden race, this past summer at Saratoga.

“I like more time between races, especially with my grass horses, so I thought the spacing was good just to freshen her up after the Natalma,” said her trainer, Chad Brown. “She’s been training right along. Her last work was with Stacelita, who broke two lengths behind her after which they finished on even terms. Brown said that jockey Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard Stacelita for the work, “commented how well Dayatthespa dug in and stayed with her once they caught up with her.”

Stacelita will be favored to win the Filly and Mare Turf later on Friday’s card.

“I think we have a big chance,” said Brown. “I like the post, and I like the way the race sets up. We should be forwardly placed, she doesn’t need the lead, but if nobody is there she’s also quick enough to make it if she wants.”

Other key contenders include Stephanie’s Kitten, winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades four weeks ago at Keeneland and Pure Gossip, who dominated seven rivals to capture Belmont’s Grade 3 Miss Grillo by 6 1/2 lengths over a soft course on Oct. 2.

BREEDERS’ CUP FRIDAY: Streaming video and live chat on DRF.com

Elusive Kate
J. Gosden
W. Buick n/a, n/a, n/a Top G1 European shipper at rock-bottom odds, won four straight 2-1
Somali Lemonade
M. Matz
A. Solis 90, 85 Came to hand rapidly, last-to-first winner both including G3, bad post 5-1
Sweet Cat
T. Pletcher
G. Gomez 86, 77, 58 Trainer good with these, finished nine lengths clear of third in last 5-1
T. Pletcher
J. Castellano 86, 101, 78 Fastest dirt filly of year (101 Beyer), testing turf potential of sire 6-1
Stephanie's Kitten
W. Catalano
J. Velazquez 88, 79, 74 Improving every start and established on turf, won G1 synth last out 10-1
Pure Gossip
P. Serpe
R. Curatolo 87, 69, 66 Romped by more than six lengths on "soft" ground in BEL Grade 3 10-1
C. Brown
R. Dominguez 83, 79 Ran well both starts, freshened since runner-up G3 early September 12-1
Hard Not to Like
G. Cox
M. Smith 80, 63, 76 Misfired her only start against top company, won three other races 20-1
Dear Lavinia
J. Rouget
C. Lemaire n/a, 94, 96 Won 3 of 5 in France while campaigning vs. lesser company 20-1
My Gi Gi
B. Koriner
R. Bejarano 79, 77, 52 Two good grass races at LaD gives her a longshot license 20-1
Customer Base
T. Proctor
J. Leparoux 75, 82 Two good wins on synthetic, by a stallion that gets turf runners 20-1
A. O'Brien
R. Moore n/a, n/a Maiden winner on synthetic surface in Ireland, difficult to like 30-1
Ann of the Dance
M. Wolfson
C. Nakatani 71, 72, 63 Midwest synthetic specialist taking a shot switching to turf 30-1
Royal Bonnie
G. Weaver
C. Velasquez 73, 70 Distant runner-up in soft-turf G3, lightly raced filly with upside 30-1

Also Eligible:

G. Contessa
J. Talamo 63, 67, 55 Won debut $75k maiden-claimer, then soundly beaten two stakes 30-1
Karlovy Vary
G. Arnold
G. Gomez 77, 72 Maiden winner last time out at KEE jumps into deep end 30-1