Trainer Brad Cox swept last year’s $200,000 Jessamine S. (G2) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) with Aunt Pearl, and will attempt to take the first half of that 2021 double on Wednesday when Turnerloose tops the 1 1/16-mile Keeneland turf feature, which is the final Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep prior to next month’s World Championships at Del Mar.
A daughter of Nyquist, Turnerloose enters the Jessamine undefeated from two starts. After a one-length maiden win at Ellis Park in mid-July, Turnerloose started as the 2-1 favorite in the Sept. 6 Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs, which she proceeded to win by a widening five lengths under Florent Geroux.
With the exception of Diamond Wow, who exits a win in the off-the-turf Our Dear Peg S. at Gulfstream, the remainder of the Jessamine field largely has limited stakes experience, successful or otherwise. Fillies that could show improvement stepping up in class include California Angel, a California Chrome filly who won on debut over a mile at Kentucky Downs, but didn’t have enough real estate when checking in third last out in a six-furlong dirt allowance at Churchill Downs.
Other Kentucky Downs graduates could certainly step up here, such as Queen Judith, Boxing Day, Misthaven, and Decree of Love. Dressed has gone one better of those, scoring impressively against allowance company at that all-turf track following a maiden win at Arlington for Wayne Catalano.
The two also-eligibles in the Jessamine bear watching if they make the field. The Chad Brown-trained Haughty was demoted from first to third after crossing the finish well clear in her Belmont debut, while Blissful narrowly won on debut over the inner turf at Saratoga on Aug. 1.