Updated on 09/15/2011 1:18PM

Distaff 3's add up; Sakhee stands alone


Diving right in to Saturday's action:


1. Exogenous 2. Fleet Renee 3. Flute 4. Spain

The 3-year-old fillies may finish 1-2-3 this year. It would only be fitting that a daughter of Unbridled should win the Distaff this year. The winner of the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic, Unbridled succumbed last week to colic at the age of 14, and American racing has lost one of its few sources of stamina. Like most runners by Unbridled who mature slowly, Exogenous is just reaching her peak, and that, plus the addition of blinkers and her affinity for the Belmont surface, make her the filly to beat. Michael Dickinson has been pointing Fleet Renee (by Seattle Slew) all year for this race, and her victory in the Mother Goose over this same distance and surface puts her right there, at a price. Flute (Seattle Slew), the likely favorite, may have needed her last and is a must-use in exotics. Spain (Thunder Gulch), clearly second best in Beldame, won this last year and is the best of the older fillies.

Juvenile Fillies

1. Bella Bellucci 2. Habibti 3. You 4. Tempera

Bella Bellucci's trainer, Neil Drysdale, must believe he has the gods on his side, running a filly who has had only two starts. Drysdale trained her sire, French Deputy, and this filly is a full sister to Kurofune, winner of the Group 1 NHK Mile, one of Japan's most prestigious races. She reminds me of Go for Wand, who had only three races before her Juvenile Fillies victory over the more experienced Stella Madrid. Although Habibti has been away since August, you know that trainer Bob Baffert will have her ready. By Tabasco Cat, she comes from the family of a former Broodmare of the Year, No Class. You (You and I) looked great in Frizette, but now meets fillies who should excel at this distance. Tempera (A.P. Indy) has not raced since August, but is training smartly and has the pedigree to be a major factor.


1. Banks Hill 2. Numerous Times 3. Navesink 4. Irish Prize

As usual, the most contentious of all Breeders' Cup races. Although Noverre, a three-quarter-brother to Arazi, may be the slight choice, he is very vulnerable. Banks Hill, a 3-year-old Group 1-winning full sister to Dansili (third by a neck and a nose in last year's Mile) may steal the show. Three-year-olds have had great success in this race (Last Tycoon, Miesque, Royal Academy, Lure, Ridgewood Pearl, War Chant). Numerous Times won the Atto Mile like a budding star and possesses the Rasmussen Factor, as he is inbred 3x4 to the influential broodmare Special. Another 3-year-old, Navesink (Irish River), has talent and could light up the board. Irish Prize, a full brother to Hatoof (second in the 1994 Turf), has never been better for Drysdale.


1. Mozart 2. Kona Gold 3. El Corredor 4. Left Bank

The closers have a decided edge in this race. Mozart is much better than the 1991 Sprint winner Sheikh Albadou. By Danehill (Danzig) out of the family of legendary broodmare Glowing Tribute, Mozart should handle dirt. Kona Gold's last race sets him up perfectly for a repeat win here. A suicidal pace will be perfect for El Corredor and Left Bank.

Filly and Mare Turf

1. Lailani 2. Spring Oak 3. Volga 4. Mot Juste

With Lailani, England's Legend, and Starine attracting most of the money, there may be great value in an exotics box of Lailani, Spring Oak, Volga, and Mot Juste. Lailani won the Flower Bowl with ease, and is undefeated in seven races this year. Spring Oak, Volga, and Mot Juste raced against Europe's best fillies and may appreciate firmer ground here.


1. Officer 2. Jump Start 3. Repent 4. Johannesburg

Officer's victory in the Champagne proved that he likes the Belmont surface and that 1 1/16 miles is well within his scope. Jump Start ran a big race in Champagne after non-effort Hopeful and is bred to get better as he matures. Repent, who will be running late, is a rapidly developing juvenile from the first crop of Louis Quatorze. Johannesburg is bred well enough for dirt, but has never been beyond six furlongs.


1. Sakhee

Without Galileo or Fantastic Light, Sakhee has no competition in the Turf and is clearly the most likely winner of the day. Unlike past Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winners who failed in the Turf, Sakhee is a fresh horse who will be making only his fourth start of the year. Expect a Daylami-like performance.


1. Aptitude 2. Tiznow 3. Include 4. Guided Tour

Both Fantastic Light and Galileo are at an extreme disadvantage on dirt. Unlike Giant's Causeway, who was bred for either surface, Galileo (Sadler's Wells) and Fantastic Light (Rahy) are bred strictly for turf and are in the wrong race.

Good physical health, maturity, getting away from the California tracks, and blinkers have combined to make Aptitude the best older horse on dirt at 1 1/4 miles. A return to his best form makes Tiznow a repeat winner of this race. Include is the forgotten older horse, and his third-place finish in the Meadowlands Cup was a superb prep. Guided Tour is a level below these, but could gain a minor award.