By: Kevin Martin
The Ladies’ Classic is clearly the best race of Breeders’ Cup weekend which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. The field of eight fillies and mares have won a combined fifty-seven races from ninety-four starts, an incredible 60% winning percentage. The field includes last year’s Ladies’ Classic winner, Royal Delta, and the two undefeated winners of the last two editions of the BC Juvenile Fillies, Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia. All three have an Eclipse Award on their resume. In addition to the three champions, the field includes four other Grade 1 winners. The field is packed with talent and should be the highlight of Breeders’ Cup weekend. The race is set for Friday at 7:30 Eastern and will be broadcast live, check your local listings.
Here is a look at the eight fillies who will enter the gate on Friday for the 1 1/8 mile Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic:
Royal Delta (Morning Line: 9-5) : The favorite and defending champion in this race would be among the favorites if she had entered Saturday’s BC Classic against the boys. She was brilliant in her final prep race at Belmont Park, but the race prior she was beaten by Ladies’ Classic entry Love and Pride.
Awesome Feather (3-1) : She has never been beaten in ten career starts. Since winning the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, she has only raced four times. Her light schedule makes a win against this seasoned field a tall order.
My Miss Aurelia (4-1) : The undefeated 2-year-old champion beat the heralded Questing in her last race. She has just two starts this year, has never raced beyond 1 1/16 miles and will be facing older fillies for the first time.
Questing (4-1) : The super-talented filly was beaten by My Miss Aurelia in her last race where she conceded seven pounds to the winner. The 3-year-old does her best when on the lead, so watch for her to go to the front early.
Love and Pride (8-1) : Winner of two straight Grade 1 races including a win over Royal Delta at Saratoga this summer. She won wire-to-wire in her last race at Santa Anita where she beat Ladies’ Classic entry Include Me Out. She has been on or near the lead early in most of her sixteen career races.
Grace Hall (10-1) : The multiple graded stakes winning 3-year-old won the Indiana Oaks against a pedestrian field in her last race. She will be facing older horses for the first time and was trounced by Questing in their lone meeting in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga this summer.
Include Me Out (15-1) : The two-time Grade 1 winner is an outsider among this accomplished field. However, her ability to come from off the pace will be an asset in a race that could have a fast pace. Three of her six career wins have come at Santa Anita.
Class Included (30-1) : Only during the Breeders’ Cup can you find a horse with ten wins from sixteen starts with the longest odds in the race. All of her races have come on the second tier race circuit in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
In trying to determine how the race will be run, it’s reasonable to imagine a scenario where the early pace for this year’s Ladies’ Classic is fast. Not only is Royal Delta a deserving favorite based on her ability, the way the race is run could set up perfectly for her running style. Questing, Love and Pride, and Awesome Feather look like they will press for the lead from the start. With that being the case, horses that can relax behind the pace setters will have an advantage. The favorite, Royal Delta, tends to run off the pace and should get a great trip in behind the speed horses. Longshot, Include Me Out, could benefit from a fast pace and is the pick to juice the exotic bets (exacta, trifecta, superfecta) at big odds. Questing has shown the ability to continue running even after setting a fast pace, so watch for her to be on or near the lead early and hang on to be in the mix among the top finishers in the end.
- Royal Delta
- Include Me Out
- Awesome Feather
For more about the contenders in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, check out Hello Race Fans Cheat Sheet. HRF also has many excellent articles for newcomers to handicapping as well as other Breeders’ Cup related content on their website.