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Decade of the Filly?

Over at the Blood-Horse website they are asking fans to rank the top fillies and mares from the last decade (link). Here are just a few of the outstanding fillies that have graced the track in the last ten years:

  • Azeri
  • Ashado
  • Rags to Riches
  • Zarkava (IRE)
  • Goldikova (IRE)
  • Ouija Board (GB)
  • Zenyatta
  • Rachel Alexandra
  • Ginger Punch
  • Proud Spell
  • Banks Hills (GB)
  • Intercontinental (GB)

Throw in juvenile star Sweet Catomine, California turf monster Megahertz (GB), turf miler Gorella (FR), and Distaff contenders Society Selection and Storm Flag Flying, and you have an impressive list of fillies and mares.

I've always been a fan of two-time Breeders' Cup champion, Ouija Board, and I'd have to put her at the top of any list of fillies and mares to grace North America in the last ten years. After that it gets pretty muddy - who would win a race between Azeri, Ashado, Rags to Riches, Rachel Alexandra, and Zenyatta? That's a race I would love to see. And even better race: Ouija Board, Banks Hills, Zarkava and Goldikova.

Intercontinental wasn't on the Blood-Horse list but I think she warrants a mention. Not only did this filly take the 2005 BC Filly and Mare Turf (denying Ouija Board a repeat) but she had a fantastic 2005 season, finishing no worse than 3rd in any race.

Going into that 2005 Breeders' Cup I was of the opinion that Intercontinental was at her best if she was allowed to get out and run on the front end, as opposed to trying to rate her down the backstretch. But her connections had attempted to control her early speed in the races leading up to the Breeders' Cup with the only result being an extremely rank horse that tended to take herself out of the race. To add insult to injury, regular rider Jerry Bailey chose not to ride Intercontinental at the Breeders' Cup and instead climbed aboard Ouija Board. Adding all of those factors together persuaded me to put my money anywhere but on Intercontinental, a horse that I had followed all year long. Of course, what happened that day at Belmont is history: Intercontinental breaks well and is allowed to run clear and free on the lead on her way to winning the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at odds of 15/1. I missed out on a win bet and a large trifecta (the $2 Tri paid $1,167) by convincing myself that the connections were going to cause Intercontinental to lose, even though I had been on that horse all year long.

Lesson learned.