2022 Ballerina Handicap Odds & Betting Pick

The Breeders’ Cup is barely two months away and its fog rolls across Saratoga on Sunday, when the G1 2022 Ballerina Handicap not only offers a free pass to this year’s world championships but features last year’s BC Filly & Mare Sprint winner Ce Ce, who faces stiff opposition from G1 winners Bella Sofia and Obligatory.

Ballerina Handicap

Grade 1, $500,000, 7f, 3yo+ fillies/mares

The stars shine at Saratoga all weekend with the Ballerina on Sunday bringing together two of the leaders of the sprint distaff scene, in a race that offers a paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland on November 5.

That race was won last year by Ce Ce (2-1), who carries the high weight today and has been in excellent form in 2022, winning the G2 Azeri at Oaklawn Park and most recently the seven-furlong G2 Princess Rooney at Gulfstream Park, in which she trounced overmatched rivals in an easy assignment that should have set her up well for this – although she was only third in this race 12 months ago after a similar performance in Florida.

This is a retrieval mission for the speedy Bella Sofia (7-2), who was rolled flat by Ce Ce at the Breeders’ Cup but bounced back with two wins, notably when outrunning Obligatory (7-2) by a half-length in the G2 Bed O’Roses at Belmont Park in June. Last time, though, she ran a dull race when she couldn’t get the lead in the G2 Honorable Miss here over six furlongs, finishing third. She’s a G1 course-and-distance winner and if she can dominate she has a big chance.

That was the first defeat in four for Obligatory, who came out on top in a hot version of the seven-furlong G1 Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs in May. She can win at six furlongs and a mile and is the pick of Bill Mott’s three contenders, alongside G2 winner Caramel Swirl (8-1), who ran out an easy winner of a seven-furlong allowance optional claimer at Belmont on her only start this year and is likely to move up from that, as well as Travel Column (12-1), who has a similar profile to Caramel Swirl in that she had a year on the bench before returning to claim an AOC in comfortable style at Churchill Downs in June.

Another pace angle is Lady Rocket (6-1), who wired the field in the G3 Chicago at Churchill Downs in June, although she hasn’t yet looked G1 calibre and may not be able to make her fractions stick – even if she can get to the lead with Bella Sofia in the field. Goodnight Olive (5-1), who is riding a four-race winning streak, steps into stakes company for the first time and, although a Chad Brown filly is always something to keep an eye on, she has a mountain to climb against these top-notch rivals.

Ce CeVictor Espinoza+200
ObligatoryJose L. Ortiz+350
Caramel SwirlJunior Alvarado+800
Lady RoocketRicardo Santana, Jr+600
Bella SofiaLuis Saez+350
Travel ColumnTyler Gaffalione+1200
Goodnight OliveIrad Ortiz, Jr.+500

Ballerina Handicap Betting Prediction 

An open contest that depends very much on the pace scenario.BELLA SOFIA, a G1 winner

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