June 13, 2024

Newly positioned Jessamine draws full, wide-open field

Keeneland (Coady Photography)
Keeneland (Coady Photography)

The $350,000 Jessamine S. (G2) has found a new spot on the Keeneland fall calendar as one of three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races scheduled for Friday’s opening day card.

Formerly run on the first Wednesday of the meet during week two, which traditionally made it the final “Win and You’re In” prep, the 1 1/16-mile Jessamine is otherwise unchanged as an automatic qualifier for next month’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) over the same course.

The Jessamine has attracted an overflow field, 12 in the main body and four also-eligibles. There is no apparent standout, either, with the maiden Towhead one of the primary contenders following a photo-finish loss in the Juvenile Fillies S. at Kentucky Downs last month. Finishing farther up the track that day were returning rivals C C Cruise Control and Knockyoursocksoff.

Several last-out maiden winners could have a say in the outcome. Ellis Park graduate Bling won convincingly in a turf sprint and is bred to enjoy the stretchout in distance, while Sabalenka and Dulcia both exit victories during the all-turf Kentucky Downs meet.

A trio of fillies currently stuck on the outside looking in on the also-eligible list look intriguing. The Chad Brown-trained Tax Implications is first on the list following a 6 3/4-length debut romp over the Monmouth Park turf. Mark Casse has Kentucky Downs graduate Play the Music, while the Wayne Catalano-trained Aztec Nights might benefit from added distance after a troubled start hampered her chances in the 5 1/2-furlong Bolton Landing S. at Saratoga.