Lady Eli: Super Filly?

Lady Eli: Super Filly?

Horse racing fans have long suspected that Lady Eli is a very special filly. The manner in which she won her three starts as a two-year-old was simply breathtaking. Her performance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. I)–in which she ran the final quarter-mile in about :22 2/5 to win by 2 3/4 lengths–was amazing.

But on Saturday, Ladi Eli demonstrated that she may be more than just a very special filly when she scored yet another amazing victory in the $1,000,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The race was ten furlongs in distance; the field was huge, with fourteen starters. The Belmont Oaks was expected to be a test of Lady Eli’s abilities. But after settling about seven lengths behind fractions of :22.93, :47.23, and 1:11.71, Lady Eli unleashed an explosive burst of acceleration on the final turn that carried her into the lead as the field turned for home. Once again, Lady Eli had proven herself far superior to her rivals, and the only questions that remained were how many lengths would she win by and what time would she record. The answers were impressive: 2 3/4 lengths and 1:59.27. Even more impressive was her final quarter-mile time of about :22 2/5, the same as in the Breeders’ Cup. Only this time, she was running a mile and a quarter instead of a flat mile, making the fraction even more amazing.

Having gone unbeaten and virtually unchallenged in six starts–and having thoroughly proven herself at ten furlongs–it seems as though there’s nothing Lady Eli can’t accomplish. Trained by Chad Brown and owned by Sheep Pond Partners, the daughter of Divine Park may take on older mares in her next start, with the prestigious $700,000 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. I) on August 15th at Arlington Park being a possible goal. The Lake Placid Stakes (gr. II) on August 14th at Saratoga and the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. I) on October 10th at Keeneland are other possible targets. However, the ultimate goal remains the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I) on October 31st at Keeneland, a race that is bound to attract a top-notch field of horses from around the world. But given the talent Lady Eli has displayed thus far, it’s very possible that the other fillies and mares will be running for second, because Lady Eli might be more than just a very special filly–she might just be a super filly.

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin's quest to become North America's richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the blog Unlocking Winners.

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