Going into Friday’s $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Meditate ranked as the class of the field and accordingly the 2.04-1 favorite. But the Aidan O’Brien filly had to defy a couple of historical trends – her lack of experience at a mile, and the fact that this race had eluded the master of Ballydoyle in 15 previous attempts. In the span of 1:35.38, Meditate scoffed at those stats in a 2 1/2-length romp at Keeneland.
Not quick into stride, the daughter of No Nay Never settled into a comfortable rhythm in the latter part of the field. Up front, fellow Irish shipper Spirit Gal was overracing through fractions of :23.19, :47.60, and 1:12.30 on the firm turf course. Manhattan Jungle attended closely and briefly grabbed the lead in upper stretch, threatening to pull an 80-1 upset.
But Meditate was just rolling into view on the outside. Under confident handling by Ryan Moore, she inhaled the leaders and opened up in a display of consummate authority.
Pleasant Passage rallied for a clear second, 2 1/4 lengths to the good of Cairo Consort in an even third. Midnight Mile closed from last to snatch fourth, just missing third. Free Look, Last Call, Comanche Country, Manhattan Jungle, Be Your Best, Delight, Basil Martini, Bling (the first also-eligible, Spirit Gal, and Xigera rounded out the order of finish. G Laurie was scratched with a fever, and the second also-eligible, Alluring Angel, did not draw into the field.
The ultra-professional Meditate has compiled a record of 7-5-2-0, $862,369, for the Coolmore principals and Westerberg. The winner of her first four starts including the Albany (G3) at Royal Ascot, Naas Fillies’ Sprint (G3), and the Debutante (G2), Meditate had to settle for second to highly-regarded Tahiyra in the Moyglare Stud (G1). She cut back to six furlongs for the Cheveley Park (G1) and placed second again, but relished the stretch-out – and new hold-up tactics – in the Breeders’ Cup.
The Irish-bred can call upon some stamina from her dam, the Dalakhani mare Pembina, who is a half-sister to French Group 3 scorers Johnny Barnes and Albisola. Having answered the distance question in emphatic style, Meditate will now be set for the 1000 Guineas (G1).