December 15, 2018

Breeders’ Cup juvenile turf implications in Natalma, Summer

Wonder Gadot (pink silks, white hat) drawing away to a convincing maiden win (c) WEG/Michael Burns photo

A pair of Breeders’ Cup berths will be awarded at Woodbine Sunday, with the $250,000 Natalma (G1) and $200,000 Summer (G2) serving as “Win & You’re In” qualifiers for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. We can expect to see some nice horses emerge from the one-mile turf races.

Three of the last seven winners of the Juvenile Fillies Turf prepped in the Natalma and trainer Mark Casse will look to add to his record seven victories with three of the nine entrants, including the well-regarded Medaglia d’Oro filly Wonder Gadot.

Favored at 8-5 in her debut, a 7-furlong Woodbine turf allowance on August 26, Wonder Gadot thrashed the competition by an easy four-length margin. The $325,000 2-year-old purchase could have a big upside for owner Gary Barber and Patrick Husbands will return to the saddle aboard the likely favorite.

Casse will also send out Mo Big Cat, an Uncle Mo filly who recorded a convincing maiden tally three starts back and finished a non-threatening second to Wonder Gadot last time; and Pretty Lady, a $550,000 Scat Daddy filly who finished second in her lone outing.

Todd Pletcher invades with March X Press, who improved to 2-for-2 with a victory in the August 16 Bolton Landing at Saratoga. Jose Ortiz retains the mount on the daughter of freshman sire Shanghai Bobby. A pair of first-out winners on Saratoga’s turf, Dooder and Golden Orb, will jump straight to stakes competition for Chad Brown and Christophe Clement, and Dixie Moon exits a good-looking debut score on Woodbine’s Tapeta track for Catherine-Day Phillips.

And Capla Temptress, who captured her first two starts, will make her North American bow for Marco Botti following a third in a Group 3 event at Newmarket. Joel Rosario will be in to ride.

Hemp Hemp Hurray is a top contender in the eight-horse Summer, rolling to a 7 ¼-length decision in the August 6 Tyro at Monmouth. Unbeaten from both starts on turf, the front-running Artie Schiller colt has proved to be a bargain $40,000 weanling purchase for Ken & Sarah Ramsey. John Velazquez rides the Wesley Ward trainee.

Untamed Domain, a sharp maiden winner two back for Graham Motion, is a threat to improve upon a rallying third in the August 30 With Anticipation (G3) at Saratoga. Joe Bravo picks up the mount on the son of freshman sire Animal Kingdom. Pletcher will send out El Dulce, a first-out turf maiden winner who finished second as the favorite in the off-the-turf Skidmore last time. Jose Ortiz takes over the reins on the Twirling Candy colt.

The Casse stable has Differential, a maiden winner over the Woodbine turf two back who could relish the switch back to the sod after a sixth in the Clarendon on Tapeta. Empirically exits a debut score over maiden special weight foes on Saratoga’s turf for Roy Lerman, and Woodbine first-out turf scorers Admiralty Pier and Count Alexander can’t be dismissed from consideration for Barbara Minshall and Mary Lightner, respectively.