09/29/2010 3:48PM

Midday looks like a standout in bid to repeat


Judging from her 2010 form, defending champion Midday will be difficult to beat in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 5. The field that will oppose Midday will be better known after key preps are run this weekend – the Yellow Ribbon in California, the Prix de l’Opera in France, and the Flower Bowl in New York.

Midday, 4, has won three consecutive Group 1 races in England and France this year – the Nassau Stakes in July and Yorkshire Oaks in August in England, and the Prix Vermeille over about 1 1/2 miles on turf at Longchamp in Paris on Sept. 12. Following that race, trainer Henry Cecil said she will be trained up to the Filly and Mare Turf.

The cast of fillies and mares that may face Midday at Churchill Downs includes Forever Together, the winner of the 2008 Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita who was third to Midday in the 2009 running at Santa Anita.

Forever Together starts in a strong running of the $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park over 1 1/4 miles on turf Saturday. She will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who replaces Julien Leparoux, trainer Jonathan Sheppard said earlier this week. Forever Together, 6, will be retired after the Breeders’ Cup.

“It’s an experiment,” Sheppard said of the jockey switch. “Things weren’t quite jelling the way we had hoped. I think with two races left in her career we need to try something. No guarantee it will work.”

Eclair de Lune, who won the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park in August, will be trained up to the Filly and Mare Turf.