11/05/2009 12:00AM

Little gets past Careless Jewel

Barbara D. Livingston
Careless Jewel takes a good look around her Santa Anita surroundings as she exercises Monday with Moises Guce riding.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It's hard not to be enthralled by the majesty of Santa Anita. With its breathtaking backdrop of the looming San Gabriel Mountains, finely manicured grounds, and bronzes honoring the best human and equine athletes to have graced its presence since its opening on Christmas Day 1934, Santa Anita remains a crown jewel of American racing.

Careless Jewel has found the place to be quite enthralling, too. Since arriving last month from Woodbine in Toronto, where she is based, Careless Jewel has gone about her business with the curiosity of, well, a 3-year-old. When she comes out to gallop in the mornings with exercise rider Moises Guce, she has looked around with her head cocked to the right, taking in the sights while still moving at a brisk clip.

When race time comes, though, she is all business. Careless Jewel has won five straight races, including the Alabama Stakes, the kind of campaign that would put her in line for an Eclipse Award had she not had the misfortune of being born the same year as Rachel Alexandra.

Rachel Alexandra is not here for the Breeders' Cup, though, and that's good for Careless Jewel. She appears to be the controlling speed in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, the highlight of Friday's card at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.

Friday is the first of two days that will comprise the 26th Breeders' Cup. Six of the 14 Breeders' Cup races will be run on Friday - the five exclusively for females, plus the Marathon.

Friday Breeders' Cup races

Date Race Distance Purse TV Post (ET)
11/6 1 3/4 Miles $500,000 ESPN2 3:35 PM
11/6 1 mile (T) $1,000,000 ESPN2 4:08 PM
11/6 1 1/16 Miles $2,000,000 ESPN2 4:45 PM
11/6 1 1/4 Miles (T) $2,000,000 ESPN2 5:23 PM
11/6 7 Furlongs $1,000,000 ESPN2 6:02 PM
11/6 1 1/8 Miles $2,000,000 ESPN2 6:45 PM

:: Graded entries: (PDF)

To prevail in the 1 1/8-mile Ladies' Classic, Careless Jewel will have to hold off Cocoa Beach and Music Note, who were the second- and third-place finishers in last year's Ladies' Classic behind Zenyatta. There are eight horses in this year's field, all of whose chances improved immensely when the connections of Zenyatta decided this year to faces males in the $5 million BC Classic on Saturday rather than seek an encore performance in the Ladies' Classic.

Still, "it's a very tough race," said Josie Carroll, who trains Careless Jewel.

"But I think I've got a very tough filly," she said. "I'm excited to have her here."

Careless Jewel, Carroll said, is "really the type of filly who looks at everything."

"I've taken her to the paddock to school twice," Carroll said. "She likes to stop, kind of explore things. She's a pretty settled filly until the rider gets on her. Then she's sharp. She's sharp and anxious in the post parade and warm-up, but as soon as she gets behind the starting gate, she starts to settle."

Careless Jewel has won twice on the synthetic surface Polytrack at Woodbine, which has given Carroll confidence that will will handle Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface.

"She seems to have taken well to the track," Carroll said. "She gets over it well."

Music Note looks like the main threat. She is coming off a pair of impressive wins in the Ballerina at Saratoga and the Beldame at Belmont. She finished third in this race last year at the end of a long campaign. This year, she is lightly raced, which her connections believe will result in a stronger performance.

"She's never a filly who looks great in her coat, but she got really warm last year," said Rick Mettee, who is the North American-based assistant to owner Godolphin Racing's head trainer, Saeed bin Suroor. "This year, we got lucky when we shipped out. We shipped into good weather."

Cocoa Beach, also owned by Godolphin, has not had as successful a campaign this year as last year, but Mettee said she has trained sharply recently.

"She's the better work filly, especially here on the synthetic," Mettee said.

Even without Zenyatta in the race this year, trainer John Shirreffs is still in with a fighting chance. He sends out Life Is Sweet, whose form has been compromised by futilely chasing Zenyatta three times this year. Earlier, Life Is Sweet won three stakes at this track, so she may have the home-court advantage.

"Every day she's been a little better," Shirreffs said. "I had so much trouble with her at Del Mar. She finished fourth in the Lady's Secret, but it was a good race. She was really running at the end."

Rainbow View, who has spent most of her career in Britain, is making her first start on a synthetic surface after going 5 for 11 on turf. She is owned by George Strawbridge Jr., whose Augustin Stable has Forever Together in the BC Filly and Mare Turf.

"The owner felt that 1 and 1A was not the way to play it," said John Gosden, who trains Rainbow View. "I think she'll like the surface. She moves well, bounces over it. It's a lively surface for her. This is a logical spot. She's a Group 1 winner at a mile, so a mile and an eighth should be up her alley."

Proviso and Mushka were the first two across the line in the Spinster Stakes last month at Keeneland, then had the result reversed in the stewards' stand.

Mushka's trainer, Bill Mott, referred to data from the Trakus system at Keeneland that indicated Mushka would have won the Spinster had she not been impeded by Proviso.

"There's an interesting debate on whether she would have won," he said. "Some of the most scientific evidence showed she would have been a factor. Visually I couldn't tell that. The other horse impeded her path. She did have to check. I'd like to believe she would have won if she wasn't bothered."

Lethal Heat was second to Zenyatta while finishing in front of Cocoa Beach and Life Is Sweet in the Lady's Secret on Oct. 10.

The Ladies' Classic is the eighth race on a nine-race card that has a first post of 11:15 a.m. Pacific. Two races will be run before the Marathon, the first of the BC races, which has a post time of 12:35 p.m. The Ladies' Classic, the final BC race of the day, has a scheduled post time of 3:45 p.m. The Las Palmas Handicap follows the Ladies' Classic and completes the card.

The Marathon begins an all-Breeders' Cup pick six. If no one hits the pick six on Friday, the pool will be carried over to Saturday's Breeders' Cup card.

All the Friday Breeders' Cup races will be shown live on ESPN2 in a 3 1/2-hour telecast that begins at 12:30 p.m. Pacific.

Another new wager that begins Friday allows players to bet on which of 16 pre-designated jockeys will win the most of the 14 Breeders' Cup races.

The National Weather Service has forecast an ideal day for Friday, with a high temperature of 76 degrees and no rain.