Ouija Board seeks another Breeders title
By Steve Ginsburg
ELMONT, New York (Reuters) – Ed Dunlop insists Ouija Board
has recovered from her nagging injuries but admits there are
still a lot of questions heading into Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup
Filly and Mare Turf.
“The signs have been good at home but we won’t know until
she races, obviously,” conceded Dunlop, trainer of the
British-based, four-year-old filly.
With Kieren Fallon in the saddle, Ouija Board wore down the
opposition en route to a length and a half victory in last
year’s Breeders’ Filly and Mare Turf at Lone Star Park in
That success crowned a fine year when she had also run a
courageous third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and become
the 10th filly in history to win the English and Irish Oaks.
Named 2004 European Horse of the Year, the bay filly then
suffered a cracked hoof and didn’t make her season debut until
June when a tiny stress fracture to her right foreleg surfaced
and she finished seventh at Royal Ascot, losing by 30 lengths.
“The various injuries have been well-documented but she’s
over those now,” said Dunlop. “If we can run well, and
hopefully win on Saturday, that would be fantastic.”
Winning Saturday’s $1 million race would be a tough task
for a horse with only two starts in 2005.
Ouija Board tuned up for the defense of her Breeders’
championship with an easy victory in the Group Three Princess
Royal Stakes in Newmarket last month.
She is the early 5-2 favorite in the 1 1/4-mile race but
there are some tough hurdles for the Lord Derby-owned filly.
Ouija Board will be raced for the first time by Jerry Bailey
and will break from the 13th post in the 14-horse field.
Dunlop isn’t concerned that Bailey is relying on videotape
to get a feel for the daughter of Cape Cross.
“He’s the king of Belmont, they tell me,” Dunlop said of
the Hall of Fame jockey. “He’s ridden one Grade One winner for
“Hopefully, we won’t be too wide for too long. The draw of
13 of 14 is not ideal but I don’t think it’s as big a concern
as it would be in the mile.”
At 5-1, the early second choice in the field is the
diminutive mare Megahertz.
The six-year-old chestnut by Pivotal has earned more than
$2.6 million during her 33-race career and will break from the
eighth post on Saturday with Alex Solis aboard.
But all eyes at Belmont Park will likely be on Ouija Board,
one of four horses trying to defend a Breeders’ title.
“It was always my goal to bring her back to win another
Breeders’ Cup race,” said Dunlop. “There was never much thought
of retiring her. It was past the breeding season when she was
injured and we just waited for her to recuperate.”