As we approach the 31st running of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, each of us will analyze the 2014 campaign and profile of one potential contender per week that we think is worthy of consideration when forming your tickets come October 31 and November 1.
Staying on the subject of the Filly and Mare Turf, today BC Profile analyzes “Win and You’re In” qualifier Emollient, who finished 4th in this race last year as a three year old.
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Rosie Napravnik
Sire: Empire Maker
Dam: Soothing Touch (Touch Gold)
Emollient’s 2014 campaign to date has been erratic at best and mediocre at worst, winning just one of six starts and boasting two ninth place clunkers in Grade 1 events. However, her best running has been at Santa Anita and she is coming off her lone victory of the year in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes—the exact trip she’ll run on November 1.
Emollient began the year losing twice as an odds-on favorite—4th in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes on turf at Santa Anita (following a four and a half month layoff) and third in a Grade 3 at Keeneland on the poly. She did follow up those disappointing efforts with a solid place finish back on the Santa Anita lawn in the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes.
From there, however, the mercurial Emollient failed when shipping to two Grade 1’s, the Diana at Saratoga and the Beverly D at Arlington. Emollient was very rank and unsettled in the opening furlongs of the Diana, checking a few times, and perhaps just never took to the surface.
Similiarly, she was rank again at the start of the Beverly D and it cost her early position. While Emollient did make a small move around the turn, she was again fighting the rider, Joel Rosario, and eventually faded to ninth.
Returning to Santa Anita, adding blinkers and getting a new pilot, Rose Napravnik, Emollient recaptured her three year old form, sitting fifth before negotiating traffic and dueling down the stretch before emerging with a narrow victory. It was a game effort, especially considering that despite the blinkers, Emollient was rank again both out of the gate and when asked for run in the stretch. Nevertheless, Rosie was able to straighten her out in time. While Emollient was able to overcome her inability settle down against the Rodeo Drive field, she will need to be on her best behavior in what promises to be a deep and very talented field in the Breeders Cup F and M Turf.
Filly and Mare Turf Profile
As discussed in the Minorette profile, the key angles for the F and M Turf are a stalking running style, Europeans (have won four of five BC F&M Turf’s at Santa Anita and Dank will likely be heavily favored this year), win at the distance (also 4 out of 5 BC winners when held at Santa Anita) and horses making a repeat start in the race. Although a domestic, Emollient fits the other three categories. While she set the pace in last year’s event, her best races this year have come while stalking and we expect Rosie to try to negotiate a similar trip here (assuming Emollient cooperates). Emollient just won over this exact one mile and a quarter trip confirming her fondness for the quirky Santa Anita turf course (which includes the downhill shoot and cross over dirt). Given her temperament, we also like the fact that she’ll have been on site for months before the race allowing her plenty of time to get comfortable with her surroundings.
We are concerned about her inability to settle down, especially early in races. If she proves rank again early, in what is likely to be a large field, she could end up shuffled back and effectively out of the race. However, she has been less rank and more comfortable at Santa Anita, was more focused with the blinkers, and responded to Rosie when asked in the stretch of the Rodeo Drive.
While Emollient’s 2014 campaign had been largely forgettable until last week, we believe she may be rounding into form (not surprising considering her trainer’s ability to get horses ready for their target race) and has many qualities that fit the profile of past Filly and Mare Turf Winners. She’ll be a square price on November 1 and is certainly a horse to consider.