Roger Varian is excited to see if Teona can provide him with a first Breeders’ Cup success on Saturday.
It is 10 years since Nahrain came within three-quarters of a length of breaking the Newmarket trainer’s duck when touched off in the Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs under Frankie Dettori.
Varian saddled another runner-up at the showpiece meeting in 2019, with Daahyeh finding only Sharing too strong in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita.
Teona will fly the flag for the team at Del Mar this weekend, having been kept fresh since inflicting a surprise defeat on Snowfall in the Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp in September.
Connections had the option of keeping the daughter of Sea The Stars against her own sex, but ultimately decided to let her take on the boys, and Dermot Weld’s top-class mare Tarnawa, in the Turf.
“I came close with Nahrain in 2011 at Churchill Downs and love coming back out to California as I finished high school here,” Varian said.
“We thought about the Filly & Mare for Teona and concluded they were both tough races.
“However, the Turf is a mile and a half and that’s this filly’s optimum trip.
“It gives her the better winning chance as the other option is solid in its own right.”