October 26, 2018
AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!
by Millie Ball, XBTV
ANALYSIS: While the distance of the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf has gone from a mile and one-eighth last year to a mile and three-eighths this year, the lead characters appear unchanged: English shippers versus Chad Brown. At least that’s how this story has played out over the past six years. Though the plot may be trending predictable, good news is that it hasn’t affected wagering value. Brown has yet to claim the Filly & Mare Turf with his shortest-priced entry (this year he might start four runners) and the average odds on recent English success stories is a juicy 6.90-to-1.
MAIN CONTENDERS: This summer, Brown’s robust stable won all three American turf preps with free passage into this race. SISTERCHARLIE led the way in the Beverly D at Arlington, and FOURSTAR CROOK, the only filly or mare to have beaten the aforementioned stablemate this year, won the Flower Bowl at Belmont. While SISTERCHARLIE has a stronger resume - three Grade 1s to her credit - FOURSTAR CROOK offers more value. Unlike her stablemate, ‘CROOK has shown she can handle give in the ground and has proven she can handle any type of pace. She possesses a good turn of foot, evident in her latest, and she is genuine. Meanwhile, Charlie Appleby, the English trainer who conquered this event last year with Wuheida, is back with Prix de l’Opera winner WILD ILLUSION. Like Wuheida, WILD ILLUSION was a Group 1 winner at two, but boasts far superior form to her predecessor as a three-year-old.
VALUE PLAYS: EZIYRA finished third in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks behind recent Group 1 Arc de Triomphe runner-up Sea of Class and Group 1 Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes runner-up Coronet. Sophomore MAGIC WAND ran second to WILD ILLUSION in the Prix de l’Opera and continues to improve. Astonishingly, her trainer Aidan O’Brien has never won the F&M Turf.
WAGERING STRATEGY ($100):