Jessamine Brings Breeders Cup Challenge to Conclusion


The Jessamine at Keeneland on Wednesday wraps up the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series of races. (Photo credit: Keeneland ).

Wednesday’s $200,000 J.P. Morgan Chase Jessamine (G2) drew an overflowing field of 16 and is the final stop on the Road to the Breeders’ Cup, which is now just over three weeks away.

The Jessamine is the 86th and last Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race and the 10th contested at Keeneland over the last week at Keeneland.

The winner of the race earns a starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.

There are 16 two-year-old fillies entered with the 14 making it to the starting gate on Wednesday afternoon. The Brad Cox trained Jezabel’s Kitten is the 4-1 morning line favorite.

The filly breaks from the five post with jockey Florent Geroux in the irons. The filly won the Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs in her last outing on Aug. 31.

The Todd Pletcher trained Sweet Melania is the second choice on the morning line at 9-2. She breaks just outside of the morning line favorite with Joe Ortiz in the irons. She was second in the P.G. Johnson in her last outing.

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The Chad Brown trained Rushing Fall won the 2017 edition of the Jessamine and then won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Brown also saddled the 2013 winner Kitten Kaboodle.

Brown will be represented this year with Indochine (5-1), who broke her maiden at Belmont Park going a mile in her second career outing.

The Jessamine is the seventh race on the eight race card.

Let’s head out to Keeneland for Wednesday’s featured race of the day:


Keeneland Race 7 The JP Morgan Chase Jessamine (G2) Post time 4:24 ET

6 Sweet Melania   9-2

5 Jezabel’s Kitten   4-1

1 Morning Gold   10-1

11 Swanage   8-1


Sweet Melania

The Todd Pletcher trainee is coming off a tough beat in the P.G. Johnson last out in her first start against winners. The filly stalked the early pace, took over the lead heading for home and got run down own late. coming up a neck short of the top spot. The winner was Crystalle, who came back to run a game second in the Ms. Grillo (G20 in her next outing on Sept.  29 at Belmont Park. The filly graduated two back at Saratoga in her third career start and first on turf. The runner up and third place finisher in that race came back to graduate next out while the fifth and sixth place finishers came back to run second in their next starts. This gal was a $600,000 Keeneland purchase, by American Pharoah out of the stakes winner Sweet N Discreet ($366,447) who has dropped one other foal to race, turf winner Sweeter Than Wine (1 for 6, $22,480). She has moved her numbers forward with each outing and looks like the one to beat in this spot.

Jezabel’s Kitten

This filly is perfect in two career starts for the Cox barn. She broke her maiden in her debut at Elis Park going a mile. She then won the Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs going a mile, drawing away to win by 4 ¾ lengths and earning the top last out speed fig in the effort. She looks as if she still has plenty of upside. She is by Kitten’s Joy out of a Not for Love mare, her first foal to race. Cox has been on a roll, winning the Alcibiades (G1), Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) and Oklahoma Derby (G3) as well as three non-graded stakes in the last two weeks.

Morning Gold

She back on turf after a non-threatening fifth in the Pocahontas (G2) on the main track at Churchill Downs in his first start against winners. The filly was a smart winner on turf at Saratoga two back in her second career start, taking the field gate to wire to win by 5 ¼ lengths. She is by Morning Line out of an Indian Charlie mare. She will appreciate the return to turf and likely is going to be a decent price in this spot. McPeek has won this race three times including back to back in 2009 and 2010 with House of Grace and Kathmanblu.


WIN: Sweet Melania to win at 7-2 or better.

EXACTA: 5,6 / 1,5,6,11

TRIFECTA: 5,6 / 1,5,6,11 / 1,5,6,9,11

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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