Fans of Tom Petty and of the most recent Triple Crown winner will be attracted to an undefeated filly when Sydney’s Rosehill Racecourse hosts the world’s richest race for 2-year-olds Friday night and Saturday morning U.S. time.
Learning To Fly, a daughter of Justify, is the second wagering choice for the Group 1, $3.25 million Golden Slipper.
Among four other Group 1 races on a stellar card, the spotlight will shine on record-breaking division champion Anamoe.
The card will broadcast live on FanDuel TV and is available to stream on the Sky Racing World app with first post scheduled for 9:10 p.m. EDT.
The Golden Slipper at six furlongs is for juveniles whose Southern Hemisphere racing season began in August. As a winner of three from three, Learning To Fly quickly learned to race. Ironic, given her sire became the first Kentucky Derby winner since 1882 not to have run as a 2-year-old.
Justify, in fact, surpassed all expectations with the precocity of his offspring worldwide. The giant chestnut was purchased for stud duty by global powerhouse Coolmore and twice shuttled to Australia but was then given a break from the most recent Southern Hemisphere breeding season.
I was privileged to call half of Justify’s six-race career, although not the most famous half. His first three starts culminated in the 2018 Santa Anita Derby (G1), propelling him toward a history-making run as the sport’s first undefeated Triple Crown winner since Seattle Slew.
Learning To Fly, who also could have been named for a Pink Floyd hit song four years before the Petty namesake, is the 9-2 second wagering choice for the Golden Slipper behind Cylinder (3-1). Both horses won important, traditional prep races on the same Rosehill card two weeks ago with Cylinder clocked 0.29 seconds faster in the race for colts and geldings.
Coolmore owns Learning To Fly, and Cylinder represents Godolphin. The world’s most famous sets of all-blue silks, Coolmore’s navy and Godolphin’s royal, may well be battling out the finish of the 67th Golden Slipper.
Godolphin, which memorably provided the long-shot trifecta in 2019 at odds of 25-1, 7-1 and 13-1 has two other entrants this year, namely Barber (20-1) and Exploring (80-1).
Conversely, Coolmore awaits its first victory as it ranks the Golden Slipper alongside the Kentucky Derby as its two most coveted global prizes. Coolmore’s other runner is Shinzo (16-1), whose sire and dam were beaten favorites in the Golden Slipper. Shinzo will be ridden by former England champion jockey Ryan Moore.
Moore is in Sydney chiefly to partner Dubai Honour in the Ranvet (G1), race 6 on the Golden Slipper card. The multiple Group 2 winner and Group 1-placed gelding makes his Australian debut for leading British trainer William Haggas. Dubai Honour is 4-1 for the Ranvet, which covers 1 1/4 miles.
Wagering is headed by November’s Melbourne Cup (G1) winner Gold Trip (3-1), who produced a slashing second in his recent return from a layoff. The Ranvet also features the Aussie debut of Joseph O’Brien’s Group 3 winner Raise You. At 16-1 he likely is tuning up for longer assignments in the coming month.
The Ranvet was the more likely of two races under consideration for reigning Australia horse of the year Anamoe. Surprisingly, the star son of Street Boss and of an Australian dam who placed in the 2007 American Oaks (G1) at Hollywood Park was pointed to the shorter George Ryder Stakes (G1) at 7 1/2 furlongs. After wins this campaign at seven furlongs and a mile, Anamoe will cut back albeit slightly in distance, a somewhat unusual approach for Australia’s top racehorses. Regardless, he dominates wagering at 3-5 while seeking a ninth victory at the elite level.
In a world that seems Godolphin’s oyster, it is a high honor for Anamoe to hold the record for most Group or Grade 1 wins by a Godolphin horse anywhere on the planet. The George Ryder Stakes, race 7, immediately precedes the Golden Slipper, so if Anamoe wins and the Slipper fits Cylinder, the Godolphin juggernaut will have captured a massive Group 1 double within 45 minutes.
The Rosehill card will be accompanied Friday night and Saturday morning on FanDuel TV by cards from Kembla Grange, Doomben and Ascot, Australia.
A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael’s vast U.S. experience includes Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on national radio and the 2016 Breeders’ Cup on the international simulcast network. Michael also performed a race-call voice-over for a Seinfeld episode called “The Subway.”
Coverage of the Golden Slipper Stakes for Horse Racing Nation is made possible through a sponsorship by Sky Racing World.