How to Bet the Jessamine Stakes Trifecta

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

October 7th, 2018

After nine months of racing in a dozen countries, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series will reach its annual conclusion with the running of the $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (gr. II) on October 10th at Keeneland.

The 1 1/16-mile turf test is the last of the 85 “Win and You’re In” prep races that comprise the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, and with a free berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. I) on the line, fourteen fillies and two also-eligibles have been entered in the Jessamine.

Normally in such a large field, I would be tempted to look for a longshot contender, but on paper the three favorites look pretty solid. #10 Fierce Scarlett unleashed an eye-catching burst of acceleration to break her maiden at Belmont last month for trainer Chad Brown (who has won the Jessamine twice), while the stakes winner #13 My Gal Betty finished a strong second in the Natalma Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine and the Irish shipper #9 Moravia can boast top-class form lines against some of the best young fillies in Europe, including the Group 1 winners Skitter Scatter and Fairyland.

Of the trio, I’m perhaps most interested in My Gal Betty, who has crossed the wire first in three of her four starts to date while showing a high level of talent. Trained by Roger Attfield, the daughter of Point of Entry will have the four-time Eclipse Award-winning rider Javier Castellano in the saddle, which is fortunate since it could take some significant riding skills for My Gal Betty to work out an ideal trip while breaking from post thirteen.

Plus, there are a few intriguing longshots in the field that could potentially step up and challenge the favorites. #8 City Diva, for example, broke her maiden going a mile at Ellis Park and didn’t run badly when third over a tricky course in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes last time out; the daughter of City Zip will add Lasix for the Jessamine and has top jockey Florent Geroux in the saddle. Also adding Lasix is the Kenny McPeek-trained Tapit filly #7 Princesa Carolina, who rallied strongly to break her maiden going 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga one month ago. And her McPeek-trained stablemate, #5 Lightscameraaction, ran quite well when coming home second in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes and hasn’t finished out of the exacta in three starts going a mile on turf.

My strategy in this competitive race will be to spread deep in the trifecta, hoping to get one of the favorites home on top with one (or better yet, two) significant longshots underneath:

$0.50 trifecta: 9,10,13 with 5,7,8,9,10,13 with 5,7,8,9,10,13 ($30)

Good luck!