Run over 7 furlongs, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint looks a ferociously competitive contest this year; you could make a case for nearly all of the runners. Only two favourites have won the race since 2007 and a three-year-old has never won the race. With this in mind, the Michelle Nevin trained PAULASSILVERLINING (10/1) looks set to produce a big run. The four-year-old Ghostzapper filly must have a massive chance if she can transfer her excellent New York form over to California. She beat two of her opponents in this race in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park when last seen, beating Wavell Avenue who won this prestigious race last year. She has plenty of speed and she only needs to find a length to reverse the form with Carina Mia when they met in the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes. At the prices, she is well worth an each way bet; she looks sure to play out the finish.
The favourite for this year’s renewal is the William Mott trained Carina Mia and rightly so as she has some smashing form in the book. She does have to get over the curse of the three-year-old in the race, but form readers will be lumping on this filly by Malibu Moon. She got her year off to the perfect start in May when landing the Grade 2 Eight Belles Stakes by 6 lengths at Churchill Downs over this trip. She followed that up with a victory in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes in New York before chasing home the superstar Songbird into second place in the American Oaks at Saratoga. She wasn’t at her best when third behind Haveyougoneaway in the Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga, but she chased home Songbird again when last seen in the Cotillion Stakes at Parx. If Songbird goes on to land the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, this filly looks sure to go off a very hot favourite.
One piece of form that has to be respected is that of the Ballerina Stakes where Haveyougoneaway beat Carina Mia by 1.5 lengths. Whether that was a flash in the pan is still unknown, but this five-year-old mare has a lot going for her. Her form in 2016 reads 1-1-2-2-1-1-1, so she clearly is an extremely consistent horse and she is also a very experienced campaigner. She beat Paulassilverlining by a neck when they raced in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga in July, with the pair pulling well clear of the remainder.
By The Moon has some top Grade 1 form in the book; chasing home horses such as Cavorting and Curalina last season. She beat last year’s winner Wavell Avenue when they met at Belmont Park in June and was only 0.5 lengths behind Haveyougoneaway in the Ballerina Stakes last time out. There isn’t much to split the top four or five in the market, so we should have a pretty close finish. Tara’s Tango is another worth mentioning; a two time winner at Santa Anita which includes the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Stakes. She will feel right at home here.