Updated on 09/17/2011 6:37PM

Canani remains confident in Sweet Catomine's routing ability


If, as trainer Julio Canani suggests, Sweet Catomine will improve going longer, than she should emerge from Saturday's Grade 2 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita as the West Coast's top prospect for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Sweet Catomine was good enough to win the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante at seven furlongs despite being a maiden. The Oak Leaf is run at 1 1/16 miles around two turns, which Canani says is perfect for her.

"She looked like a router from the beginning," Canani said.

Sweet Catomine is a daughter of Storm Cat out of the Kris S. mare Sweet Life, whom Canani trained. Sweet Life won the 1 1/8-mile Providencia Stakes on turf and finished second in a Group 1 race at 1 1/4 miles.

Canani said Sweet Catomine was "very chunky, very immature" when she finished second in her debut going 5 1/2 furlongs July 31. Two months and two races later, Canani said Sweet Catomine "looks more racy now, more athletic."

Sweet Catomine will likely face six challengers in the Oak Leaf, including debut winner Splendid Blended, a daughter of Unbridled's Song trained by Neil Drysdale, and Fearless Flyer, who makes her dirt debut after winning the Group 3 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 12.

Hello Lucky and Ninadivina, the third- and fourth-place finishers from the Del Mar Debutante, are back to try Sweet Catomine, who will be ridden by Corey Nakatani for the first time.

Sense of Style, the clear-cut leader of the juvenile filly division, is scheduled to work at Saratoga on Saturday and then ship to Keeneland on Sunday. She will run in the $500,000 Alcibiades Stakes there on Friday. "Everything's good," said trainer Patrick Biancone.

Though Arlington-Washington Lassie winner Culinary shipped to Keeneland on Thursday, she will not run in the Alcibiades. Trainer Mike Stidham said he would train Culinary up to the Juvenile Fillies.

"She's a light-bodied filly, and I'm in no hurry to pound her into the ground," Stidham said. "I think it would be detrimental to her to squeeze a race into her between the last race and the Breeders' Cup. I don't think she needs a race around two turns."

Balletto and Play With Fire, who finished second and third behind Sense of Style in the Matron, will head the field in Belmont's Grade 1, $500,000 Frizette on Oct. 9. J P Jewel and Ready's Gal are also pointing to that race.

Trainer Graham Motion is in a bit of dilemma on what to do with Dance Away Capote, a 12-length winner of the Irish Sonnet Stakes at Delaware Park on Sept. 25. Motion nominated Dance Away Capote to both the Frizette and Alcibiades, but is not sure he wants to run back on two weeks' rest. Conversely, Motion is leery of running in the Breeders' Cup off of such an easy race.

"It would be a very bold move to go there," Motion said.

Juvenile Fillies Contenders
2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles. Purse: $1 million.

1Sense of StyleP. Biancone6-5
Overcoming adversity in the Matron only makes her a heavier favorite
2BallettoT. Albertrani8-1
Improved noticeably with added distance when second in the Matron
3Sweet CatomineJ. Canani6-1
Goes two turns in Saturday's Oak Leaf, and will be a heavy favorite
4CulinaryM. Stidham12-1
Moved forward with her solid win in the Arlington-Washington Lassie
5Play With FireM. Hennig15-1
Made a strong run at the top one before finishing third in the Matron
6Ready's GalT. Pletcher15-1
Her running style suggests that this distance is well within her scope
7Runway ModelB. Flint20-1
Rallied to be a respectable second in Culinary's nice Lassie victory
8Miss MatchedJ. Ward Jr.20-1
Has seven lengths to make up on Sense of Style off the Spinaway
9Punch AppealS. Asmussen30-1
Looked like the mile of the Ky. Cup was as much as she can handle
10Hello LuckyC. Paasch30-1
Can improve her ranking with a good effort in Saturday's Oak Leaf

- The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.