DEL MAR, Calif. — Veteran trainer Catherine Day Phillips is hoping Dixie Moon can bring her an elusive Breeders' Cup win.
Day Phillips will send the two-year-old to the US$1-million Juvenile Fillies Turf event Friday at Del Mar. Dixie Moon has two wins and a second-place finish this season ($191,720 in earnings), the runner-up effort coming in the Grade 1 $250,000 Natalma Stakes to Breeders' Cup rival Capla Temptress at Woodbine Racetrack on Sept. 17.
Dixie Moon will be Day Phillips' third Breeders' Cup starter. A Bit O'Gold was 13th in the '05 Cup Classic while Van Lear Rose finished sixth in the 2008 Juvenile Fillies.
“It (Breeder' Cup win) is the dream," Day Phillips said. "It’s everybody’s dream that puts a saddle on a racehorse.
"To be in the Breeders' Cup is amazing and to win it would be amazing for the owners that bred Dixie (Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry) and the whole family. It's three generations of Fitzhenry and would be very special for them."
Dixie Moon arrived at Del Mar from Louisville, Ky., on Monday. She held her final workout at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday.
"We don't need to do anything fancy with her at this stage," said Day Phillips. "She’s fit and works well enough without pressure."
Dixie Moon, an early 20/1 pick, will break from the No. 12 post Friday.
A first Breeders' Cup win would also cap a remarkable season for the Woodbine-based Day Phillips. She has registered a career-best 23 wins at the Toronto oval, including six added-money scores.
Eurico Rosa da Silva, Woodbine's leading jockey, will ride Dixie Moon in the Juvenile Fillies Turf event.
Dixie Moon is coming off a win Oct. 17 in the Cup and Saucer Stakes over 1 1/16-miles on Woodbine's E.P. Taylor turf course. The lone filly in the 12-horse field, Dixie Moon took the lead on the inside down the backstretch and crossed the finish line a length ahead of Strike Me Down.
"That's a testament to where she is mentally," Day Phillips said. "She's maturing and getting better with racing."
Day Phillips said running Dixie Moon in the Natalma wasn't originally in the plans, but the change was made after an impressive workout.
"We hadn't planned on going to the Natalma, but she had a really nice workout before the Natalma and we decided to go," said Day Phillips. "I was in Kentucky at the time of the race and watching her come down the lane she was starting to pull away a little and I was hoping the wire was a little closer than it was.
"We've really liked her from the beginning and she’s shown to be a very nice horse. Eurico has been on her all summer and we were both really excited for her debut."
Rushing Fall, co-bred by Toronto's John D. Fielding, will also participate in the race. Rushing Fall has two wins on the year with earnings of $135,000 and earned a berth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf with a win in the Grade 3 US$150,000 JP Morgan Jessamine Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race at Keeneland on Oct. 11.
The Canadian Press