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Nov 02, 2012

Up the Backstretch: Throw a blanket over Ladies' Classic

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

(Sports Network) - The Breeders' Cup World Championships, the World Series of thoroughbred racing, has everybody California dreamin' of million dollar purses.

Santa Anita Park plays host for the 29th edition on Friday and Saturday with 15 races totaling $26 million.

Six events will be conducted Friday, concluding with the $2 million Ladies' Classic for fillies and mares. The 1 1/8-mile race has just eight horses entered with defending winner Royal Delta the 9-5 favorite.

The 3-1 second pick is Awesome Feather, winner of the 2010 Juvenile Fillies. The 4-year-old is undefeated in 10 lifetime starts; however, she only has two starts this year after having only two in 2011.

Last year's Juvenile Fillies champ My Miss Aurelia is the 4-1 co-third choice among the eight entrants. She is also undefeated in her six career starts, but again has just two races this year.

The other 4-1 selection is Alabama Stakes winner Questing. After demolishing the field at Saratoga, the 3-year-old lost a stretch duel to My Miss Aurelia in the Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing.

The horse that beat Royal Delta in the Personal Ensign this summer is the 8-1 fifth pick, Love and Pride. The 4-year-old won the Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita, getting the advantage in that regard over Royal Delta.

Grace Hall is 10-1 in the program after bouncing back to win the Indiana Oaks following her loss in the Alabama.

Local runner Include Me Out is 15-1, although she, too, has wins at Santa Anita.

Coming down from Canada is 30-1 longshot Class Included.

The top seven in the field all have reasons to win the Ladies' Classic. Royal Delta won her last start by more than nine lengths, while Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia are both champions with Questing just as good as any of them.

Grace Hall may be back to top form, but she has never faced older females before. And, of course, Love and Pride and Include Me Out have won at Santa Anita.

It's difficult to go against the defending champion Royal Delta. However, Love and Pride has shown she can beat the favorite and has remained at Santa Anita since winning on the track five weeks ago.

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