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Hold your breath for Zenyatta's late swoop.

Byline: US expert Dan Farley marks your card

AS ONE might expect of a Breeders' Cup, the inaugural Friday card on the two-day extravaganza is a competitive one. It consists of five Cup races, all for fillies and mares.

Highlight of the day is the Ladies' Classic (formerly known as the Distaff), headed by unbeaten Zenyatta, who has been established as the 3-5 morning-line choice.

She has drawn the inside post in a field of eight, but trainer John Shirreffs has said that racing luck is far more important than post position.

Zenyatta always makes you hold your breath before she launches her customary late run, one that enables her to catch her rivals with huge, loping strides. More often than not, she reaches the finish line with her ears pricked while well in hand.

It's nearly impossible to see her being beaten, but the task at hand will be her most difficult to date and there may be little room for error.

Cocoa Beach has blossomed since her arrival in the US and if she takes to the all-weather surface, she can be very difficult to handle.

Carriage Trail loves the all-weather at Keeneland, and if she shows the same fondness for Santa Anita's surface, she will be heard from late.

Ginger Punch, last year's Distaff winner, has been good this year, but is an unknown on the all-weather. Music Note is another good one who must prove herself on the surface. Selection Zenyatta

THE Filly & Mare Turf is a loaded race as well. Wait A While loves this course, but will be sternly challenged by the likes of Halfway To Heaven, Forever Together and Mauralakana.

Pace will make the race. Selection Forever Together

THE Filly & Mare Sprint looks a tough nut to crack, with Indian Blessing the likely post-time favourite. She has learned to settle early in her races and finish well.

Ventura won her lone start over the all-weather, and at the distance, in a Grade 2 event at Keeneland in the spring.

There is plenty of pace, primarily in the form of Indyanne, Dream Rush and Dearest Trickski, to aid the late runners, who certainly include Intangaroo as well as Ventura.

Last year's winner Miraculous Miss appears in over her head this time around.

Selection Ventura

THE Juvenile Fillies has a budding star in the aptly-named Stardom Bound, who, like Zenyatta, likes to thrill her backers with her big late kick.

Sky Diva comes in from New York a runaway winner in her two starts to date, and her stalking style should stand her in good stead.

Dream Empress was impressive at Keeneland in her all-weather debut after making her first two starts on turf.

C S Silk and Persistently could show well too.

Selection Stardom Bound

THE Juvenile Fillies Turf has Maram, unbeaten in her two starts, and Laragh as perhaps the two most accomplished among the home team in what is an open race.

Consequence is a grinder who could get there late, and Saucy Evening is another solid late runner. The European team are difficult to gauge.

Selection Laragh (nap)
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2008
Previous Article:'Polytrack freak' Ventura looks value dropped in distance; BREEDERS' CUP PRICEWISE.

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