10/07/2008 11:00PM

Forever Together shoots for title


As the 2009 season progresses, Forever Together has collected Grade 1 wins in the Diana Handicap at Saratoga in July and the First Lady Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 3. Her next objective will be the most difficult, the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 24, her first start at 1 1/4 miles.

At stake is a possible Eclipse Award title as the outstanding turf female against what is expected to be an international field.

"It sounds like a tremendously competitive race," trainer Jonathan Sheppard said. "Our horse has shown she can handle top company."

Owned by George Strawbridge, Forever Together was pulling away from a strong field of rivals in the one-mile First Lady, winning by 1 1/2 lengths.

Sheppard said he has no hesitation about trying Forever Together over a longer trip.

"I don't think that's going to bother her, particularly with a pretty tight track" at Santa Anita, he said.

The depth of competition Forever Together must beat in the BC Filly and Mare Turf has not been solidified, but there are several outstanding prospects from both sides of the Atlantic. The North American-based team is expected to include Dynaforce, Hostess, Mauralakana, Sealy Hill, Vacare, Wait a While, and possibly Black Mamba, who would have to be supplemented.

The European contingent may include Folk Opera, the winner of the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine last Saturday, as well as Dar Re Mi, Goldikova, Halfway to Heaven, Lady Marian, and Michita.