Saturday
BC Filly & Mare Sprint
Gamine Serengeti Empress Venetian Harbor Speech Sally’s Curlin Bell’s the One 2-7/6-1-8/9-5-3

(Serengeti Empress / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

I have one quick question on what may be one of the quickest and fastest race in this entire Breeders’ Cup Championship weekend.

Who do you like in this race?

Well, to be truthful, I like nearly all of them.

Better yet, who do you like to “win?”

Now, that is a serious handicapping question.

From the inside out, this race is stacked with some of the fastest Thoroughbreds on the planet today.

From the outside in, this race is full of some of the best Thoroughbreds in the world today.

From the get go, this promises to be one of the best races we shall see in this crazy year of 2020.

Here’s a look at our picks:

  1. Gamine (Into Mischief — Peggy Jane, by Kafwain): This brilliant filly — who has found her way into trouble about as often as she has found the winner’s circle — is world class when she is able to stretch her legs. And, breaking from the #2 post, she will need to go fast and early — especially considering that this sprint is 7 furlongs and will be coming out of the chute. She has raced once at this distance. Won the G1 Test by 7 lengths. Will be facing older and will be facing better than she has ever eye-balled before. But she is capable. And, more some.
  2. Serengeti Empress (Alternation — Havisham, by Bernardini): Undoubtedly; without question; and unequivocally this is one of my most favorite horses of all time. Of. All. Time. She is classy. She is gritty. She has more guts and grind that many with more pedigree. And, she will fight you every inch of the way until the wire meets her nose. Today will be her last race before heading off to motherhood. I will be standing. I will be cheering. I will be saluting. And, I hope her affable and talented trainer, Tom Amoss, sheds a tear in celebration. In the end? They all will have to beat her to win this one. She won’t beat herself.
  3. Venetian Harbor (Munnings — Sounds of the City, by Street Cry): This 3YO filly is coming off a nice win over this track in the G2 Raven Run on Oct. 17. If this one can throttle back off the pace just a bit and can find a nice stalking position, she will have the first run at the two speedballs listed above. In 7 career starts to date, she has never finished worse than second. I don’t think she will be worse than that again on Saturday, and is my best possible pick to split the top two in the exotics. Was 2nd to Speech here in the G1 Ashland Stakes. But that was at the two turn distance of 11/16 miles. In two starts at this distance? She has a win and a second. Can’t afford to leave out.
  4. Speech (Mr Speaker — Scribbling Sarah, by Freud): This filly threw in a clunker in the G1 KY Oaks, which was won by Shedaresthedevil. But that was the only race where this gal has missed the board. She ran within a neck of Gamine at Oaklawn, back in the Spring, and she beat Venetian Harbor in the Santa Anita Oaks. So, the talent is definitely there. She has never run at the distance, but has the stalking style that may play very well with all the speed in this one. Keep an eye out here. In her only try at this track, she won the G1 Ashland Stakes. Not a bad checkmark in the resume.
  5. Sally’s Curlin (Curlin — Cabo Queen, by More Than Ready): This is the true and genuine “closer” in the race. Has a win and a third place finish in three tries at this specialty 7-furlong sprint distance, but truth be told? She is probably better at the flat mile and at Churchill Downs. But, don’t mistake either. She is not without a serious shot here — especially at the hitting the board here. She has one run. She has one quality, kick-butt run. And, it will come late. If it is not too late.

How Do We Play It?

I am betting Serengeti Empress to win/place and then keying Serengeti over/under the other others listed above. I will play hard with Venetian Harbor and Sally’s Curlin, in particular. Sentimental choice, to be sure. Heart strings, to be sure. But I just love Serengeti’s fight and spirit. She will go down in my book with the likes of Personal Ensign; Rachel Alexandra; Genuine Risk; Zenyatta. You get the idea. She will go down in history as one of my favorites. With win today against this bunch? She will go down in history as one of the best fillies of all time. She deserves that, in my book, too.