Updated on 09/16/2011 9:34AM

Turf title fight not over yet

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Starine makes the best of the yielding Arlington course to win the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Her next race may be the Matriarch at Hollywood Park, where she would again face her rival for the Eclipse as top female turf horse, Golden Apples.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Golden Apples has a score to settle, and will risk championship credentials to do so. While Golden Apples remains the top candidate for female turf champion after an unlucky fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, trainer Ben Cecil is eager to remove all doubt from minds of voters.

Cecil said Tuesday that Golden Apples will race once more this year, on Dec. 1 at Hollywood Park in the Grade 1 Matriarch. The race will either cement her title or allow it to slip away. That is because Starine, whose Filly and Mare Turf win makes her a valid Eclipse alternative, is aiming for the Matriarch, while 3-year-old filly Farda Amiga also may run. The racing season, it turns out, did not end Saturday at Arlington.

Several California-based runners will conduct post-Breeders' Cup campaigns this season. In addition to Golden Apples, Starine, and Distaff runner-up Farda Amiga, they include Banks Hill, runner-up in the Filly and Mare Turf and a possible Matriarch starter; Composure, runner-up in the Juvenile Fillies; and Kafwain, runner-up in the Juvenile. Crafty C.T., third in the Sprint, will try to nail down his first Grade 1 in the Cigar Mile on Nov. 30 in New York.

The $500,000 Matriarch will highlight of the fall season, for it is a race with irrefutable championship implications. In the Matriarch, Golden Apples can nail down the Eclipse she might have earned already if not for poor racing luck and yielding ground Saturday at Arlington.

"The ground was not to her liking anyway, and she got totally slammed at the start," Cecil said. "You need to have luck in those races. But the important thing is she came back in one piece, and we've got her for next year. There's a lot to look forward to."

Golden Apples steadied after the start, lost position, rallied six-wide, and lost her punch in deep stretch. Her fourth-place finish was the first time in 10 U.S. starts she has run out of the money. Despite the loss, her 2002 achievements rank ahead of the country's female turf runners. In March, Golden Apples won the Grade 2 Santa Ana at Santa Anita, in August she won the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington, and in October she won the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita.

Cecil said he will walk Golden Apples for a few days, then begin training her for the Matriarch, a race in which she finished third last year, beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Starine. Starine is scheduled to be sold at next week's Keeneland November Sale, but trainer Bobby Frankel said Tuesday, "There's a good chance she'll still run in the Matriarch."

Frankel said Banks Hill is also scheduled for the Matriarch.

Trainer Paulo Lobo said Tuesday that no final decision had been made regarding Farda Amiga, who bolstered her case for 3-year-old filly championship by running second in the Distaff. "I think she lost to the Horse of the Year," Lobo said. As to a Matriarch start, Lobo said, "I'm going to wait two weeks, then decide."

Although her biggest wins, the Kentucky Oaks and Alabama Stakes, were on dirt, Farda Amiga handles grass, having won two of four races before switching to dirt. Lobo said the decision to start Farda Amiga in the Matriarch would depend on "if she's eating, if she's happy, and after I talk to the owners." A Grade 1 turf win by Farda Amiga would all but clinch the 3-year-old filly title.

One championship that has been locked up is 2-year-old colt. Vindication ran his record to 4 for 4 winning the Juvenile, and trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday that Vindication, a son of Seattle Slew, "won't run again until next year." Baffert said Juvenile runner-up Kafwain will be considered for the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 21, while plans were undetermined for Juvenile fourth-place finisher Bull Market.

Baffert's runners were scheduled to fly back to California on Tuesday, and the trainer stressed final decisions will be made only after their return.

Baffert said Juvenile Fillies runner-up Composure was more likely to contest the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 1 than third-place finisher Santa Catarina. Both fillies are owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, and Baffert is likely to plan campaigns that would keep them apart.

Crafty C.T. was in good shape after returning to California. "He looks like he's ready to go again," trainer Howard Zucker said. Crafty C.T. will be aimed toward the Cigar Mile on Nov. 30 at Aqueduct, and will remain in training next year as a 5-year-old.

Kona Gold, fourth in the Sprint, was expected to be freshened for a winter campaign. Fifth-place finisher Kalookan Queen is scheduled to be sold this fall at auction.

Trainer Richard Mandella said his two Breeders' Cup Starters would be turned out, and return early next year. Listen Indy finished seventh in the Juvenile, and The Tin Man finished fourth in the Turf.

Buffythecenterfold, seventh in the Juvenile Fillies, is in Kentucky to be freshened according to trainer Mel Stute. He said the filly may be sent to Florida this winter.