January 24, 2022

Jezebel’s Kitten seeks Breeders’ Cup berth in Jessamine

Jezebel's Kitten and jockey Florent Geroux score in the Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Saturday, August 31, 2019 (c) Coady Photography/Kentucky Downs

If recent history is any indication, the winner of Wednesday’s $200,000 Jessamine (G2) at Keeneland could turn out to be something special.

There are no shortage of two-year-old fillies hoping to follow in the footsteps of recent winners Rushing Fall and Concrete Rose. Fourteen are in the main body of the field for the 1 1/16-mile turf event, with two also eligibles looking to get in despite the inevitability of a wide draw if they do.

The Jessamine is the final “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep of the year, with a berth in the November 1 Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita on the line. Rushing Fall won both the Jessamine and Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar two seasons ago.

Jezebel’s Kitten has shown versatility in running styles during her career thus far, leading throughout in winning her debut by a head at Ellis and than rallying from off the pace in registering a convincing score in the $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies for Brad Cox.

Invading from New York are Sweet Melania, the Todd Pletcher-trained runner-up of the $100,000 P.G. Johnson at Saratoga, and Indochine, a Belmont graduate last out for Chad Brown who’s a daughter of War Front and Fascinating, who was multiple Grade 1-placed at two.

Mark Casse, who trained 2016 Jessamine winner La Coronel, is represented by Diamond Sparkles. The English invader was off slow before making a mild rally for fourth in the Natalma (G1) at Woodbine and might favor firmer conditions Wednesday. High On Gin, meanwhile, travels north from Louisiana where she most recently captured the $60,000 Happy Ticket in her grass debut.

Morning Gold was second to Sweet Melania in her debut and then cruised to her own maiden win at Saratoga by more than five lengths. Her intro to dirt racing did not go as well as she was a distant fifth in the Pocahontas (G2) last month.

Mike Maker has two in the Jessamine, including Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies runner-up Ask Bailey. Swanage, who broke her maiden over the undulating Southern Kentucky course in her fourth start, is the other. Soothsaying, a debut winner for Bill Mott at Ellis Park, is also a potential threat while adding Lasix for the first time.