Brent Sedo | Sat 16/06/2018 - 01:57 EDT

Breeders’ Cup Qualifier: 2018 Fleur De Lis Handicap Picks

Breeders’ Cup Qualifier: 2018 Fleur De Lis Handicap Picks
There are a pair of qualifying races for the 2018 Breeders' Cup World Championships on Saturday from Churchill Downs. First up is the Fleur d'Lis Handicap, which will send the winner to the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Nine fillies and mares age three and older are expected to go to the gate, with multiple graded-stakes winner Farrell the lukewarm morning line favorite.

Fleur de Lis Handicap Odds and Preview

Run on the Churchill Downs dirt track, the 1 1/8 mile (G2) Fleur d’Lis offers a total purse of $200,000. The 2017 Fleur d’Lis winner, Forever Unbridled, went on to capture the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last year, as did 2012 winner Royal Delta.

Breaking from the outside #9 gate in a very evenly matched field, Farrell is the 3-1 morning line favorite for trainer Wayne Catalano. The four-year-old Kentucky-bred filly has won seven of 15 lifetime starts and last out finished second in the (G1) La Troienne Stakes on the undercard of the Kentucky Derby. She was 15-1 that day but managed to get up and grab the Place money almost two lengths ahead of 2017 Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman.

That one has come back just last weekend to win the (G1) Ogden Phipps by open lengths, which goes some ways to contributing to Farrell’s favored status here. She has had trouble finding the winner’s circle, however, and comes in with four consecutive losses in graded-stakes races for 2018. Her biggest success came last year in the (G2) Fair Grounds Oaks.

Valadorna Needs to Chase a Speed Duel

On paper, there’s not a lot of early speed in the race, and that may make it tough for the closers coming late, but the late-running Valadorna (4-1) could be one beneficiary if Apologynotaccepted (12-1) decides to engage Farrell on the front end.

Trained by Mark Casse, Valadorna has won half of her 10 lifetime starts and three of her last four, the latest coming in the (G3) Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland back in late April. There she raced mid-pack in a fairly large field before commencing her drive and eventually got the win by 3/4 of a length, topping three others she’ll meet again on Saturday. She’s been rather lightly raced since running second in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, but has been in the money in seven of eight since then.

Another that has been getting good results lately is Blue Prize (7-2) who can be expected to be up with the early pace. After shipping up from her native Argentina for the 2017 season, she ran second in her first two allowance-level races, and has only been out of the money once in nine US starts, including grabbing the win in the (G2) Falls City Handicap at Churchill late last year.

Last out she ran second as the favorite in the (G2) Allaire Dupont Distaff Stakes on a sloppy Pimlico track, and an off track at Churchill on Saturday would move her up.

While she’s another that has been short on wins lately, you can’t really fault the effort of Mopotism (8-1) who has made 12 consecutive graded-stakes starts, including running fifth in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Distaff with six top-three finishes in that span. She last won back in January when she captured the (G2) La Canada Stakes. That race was run at one mile, and although the wins haven’t been there since she has stretched out farther since then, she does seem like one who wants the added distance. 

The 2018 Fleur d’Lis Stakes goes Saturday, June 16 from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Churchill is hosting an excellent evening card of racing that includes multiple graded-stakes races, including the (G1) Stephen Foster, which is a ‘Win And You’re In’ qualifier for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Fleur d’Lis is race #7 on the card, with an expected post time of 9:05 PM Eastern.

Entries w/ ML Odds

  1. Fuhriously Kissed (10-1)
  2. Mopotism (8-1)
  3. Blue Prize (7-2)
  4. Streamline (15-1)
  5. Song Of Spring (6-1)
  6. Awestruck (8-1) 
  7. Valadorna (4-1)
  8. Apologynotaccepted (12-1)
  9. Farrell (3-1)

Fleur de Lis Picks

  • 1) #7 – Valadorna
  • 2) #9 – Farrell
  • 3) #3 – Blue Prize
  • 4) #2 – Mopotism

Betting the Fleur de Lis Handicap

You can bet the Fleur d’Lis, the Stephen Foster Handicap and even get in a future bet right now on the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic with an account at Bovada’s online racebook.    

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