12/22/2015 2:42PM

Cavorting makes final Eclipse push

Barbara D. Livingston
Cavorting might sway Eclipse voters with a strong performance in the La Brea Stakes.

While most of the Eclipse Awards were decided at the Breeders’ Cup, the female sprint title remains very much in doubt, with the likes of Cavorting, La Verdad, and Wavell Avenue among the top contenders.

Cavorting, who finished behind La Verdad and Wavell Avenue in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, will try to make a final impression on voters and remind them of her summer exploits when she starts as the likely favorite Saturday in the Grade 1, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs at Santa Anita.

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Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Cavorting won the Grade 1 Test and Grade 2 Prioress at Saratoga this summer, then was fourth after a wide trip in the Breeders’ Cup when facing older females for the first time. She’s back in with 3-year-olds in the La Brea.

The main rival to Cavorting appears to be another East Coast shipper, Hot City Girl, who tries to win or place in a Grade 1 race for the first time, which would significantly increase her value. As a half-sister to La Verdad – both are trained by Linda Rice and owned by Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable – she also is trying to protect her big sister’s Eclipse Award chances.

Ten are entered in the La Brea, which goes as race 7. Four of the runners shipped in from the East. The best of the locals is Ben’s Duchess, who got a dream trip when winning the Grade 3 L.A. Woman at Santa Anita on Oct. 4.

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Cavorting (Last 3 Beyers: 87-100-93)

◗ She had won three straight races prior to the Breeders’ Cup but could not overcome post 14 in that race. That was only her second try at seven furlongs, the other being the Test.

Hot City Girl (Last 3 Beyers: 95-92-88)

◗ She has scored front-running victories in her last three starts, all since adding blinkers.

“Obviously, she’s run well in the blinkers, but I don’t think that’s the only reason for her improvement,” Rice said. “I had seen a lot of improvement in her training anyway.”

Rice added blinkers to Hot City Girl for the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks on Sept. 19.

“It’s night racing,” Rice said. “It’s an unusual course, being a bullring. I thought it would make her focus more. And she ran well, so we decided to leave them on.”

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 2 Hot City Girl. Trainer Linda Rice is 26-10-5-1 with a $3.53 ROI over the past five years in dirt sprint graded stakes. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Ben’s Duchess (Last 3 Beyers: 100-89-100)

◗ She and Cavorting own the best career Beyer Speed Figures in the race.

◗ She could not have had a better trip last time in the L.A. Woman, where the other four horses in the race engaged in a wicked pace duel that compromised their chances.

Rattataptap (Last 3 Beyers: 90-88-80)

◗ She often has hinted at being better than she has shown, and she comes off the best race of her career, a runaway allowance victory against elders at Del Mar.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 4 Maybellene. Trainer Bob Baffert is 28-9-2-0 with a $4.38 ROI over the past five years going route to sprint on dirt in graded stakes. Click for more details. Mike Hogan