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Breeders Cup Distaff

Breeders Cup Distaff

Breeders' Cup Distaff Field and Analysis
by T.O. Whenham

This year's Distaff will stick out in the minds of racing fans as the race that Rags to Riches should have won. The Belmont champ was hurt this summer, though, so we will have to wait until next year and hope that she returns to top form. In her absence a full field of fillies and mares are entered to race a mile and an eighth for $2 million. In what seems to be a common thread among this year's Breeders' Cup races, the Distaff is deep and full of impressive horses, but none jump out at you as a clear favorite. That means we may actually have to do some handicapping.

The likely favorite, Ginger Punch, is also one of the more interesting stories. She wasn't nominated to the Breeders' Cup at birth, so owner Frank Stronach has had to supplement her to the field at the cost of $90,000. The gamble seems worthwhile if you like what she did this summer as she won the Go For Wand by an impressive six lengths and then won the Ruffian by three lengths. She'd be a strong favorite if she hadn't ended up a tiring third in the Beldame last time out. She will be an necessity on most exotic tickets - she has been first or second in 11 of 13 career races, and only finished off the board once when the track was off. She's bred for Breeders' Cup success - her sire, Awesome Again, was the 1998 Classic winner, and his daughter Round Pond won the Distaff last year.

Todd Pletcher won't have Rags to Riches at Monmouth, but he'll have four other runners there in her place - Unbridled Belle and Indian Vale, who were the two horses that beat Ginger Punch in the Beldame, and Octave and Panty Raid. Unbridled Belle took almost a year off to recover from a rough three year old campaign, and she came back firing. She has two graded wins and a second this year. If she's not past her peak then she will be dangerous. Indian Vale was beat in the Beldame by just a head. After two stakes wins earlier in the year she had a very troubled third in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga. She was a very good three year old who missed most of last season. If she could find her three year old form she would be among the best in the division. Three-year-old Octave has two grade one wins this year, and has never been off the board in seven starts this year or five last year. The Distaff will be her first time against older horses, and she hasn't won in two starts, so it might be a bit too much for her here. Panty Raid has one big plus on her record - she won the Spinster at Keeneland. The winner of that race has won the Distaff 10 times. There is no better Breeders' Cup prep race for any division. She can run any distance, and she has won on dirt, turf and synthetic. It's not clear if dirt is her best surface, though.

Besides Octave and Panty Raid, four other three-year-olds will try the race, and all are tough. Lady Joanne has been on the board in all 10 starts. She won the Alabama this summer, and then almost added a second-straight grade one when she fell half a length short of Panty Raid in the Spinster. Her trainer, Carl Nafzger, is having a pretty good year - his small stable includes this horse and Street Sense. In six career starts Lear's Princess has four wins, including a grade one, and two seconds in grade ones. Most notably, she is the only horse to have ever beaten Rags to Riches. Like Ginger Punch, Tough Tiz's Sis needed to be supplemented to the race. She finally got her first grade one win in Lady's Secret on Oct. 7, but she was a strong third behind Lear's Princess in the Gazelle, and she has seen top competition many times. Bear Now trains in Canada, but it was in Philadelphia that she made her biggest splash. She wired the field in the Cotillion, and showed the kind of speed that could be well suited to the tight turns and short stretch of Monmouth. The level of competition she has seen is a big question mark, though.

Hystericalady has two graded stakes wins this year, including a dominating performance in the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth. More than any other in the field we can know for sure that she will like the surface. She has also run in 11 graded stakes, so she has loads of experience and she won't be bothered by anything she sees on the big day. She lost by a nose to Tough Tiz's Sis last time out. Balance is another California-based horse. She has four graded stakes wins, though all are in California. Like fellow Californian Lava Man, she hasn't done nearly as well outside of the state. She was third at Keeneland last year, and a disappointing fourth in the Beldame this year. She'd be dangerous if she could bring her California form with her.

A longshot that will get the imaginations of dreamers running is Prop Me Up. She'll get in the field if, as expected, My Typhoon and Nashoba's Key give up their spots in the Distaff in favor of other races. Prop Me Up is based at Monmouth, and she has been extremely successful over the surface. This race will be a giant leap in class for the horse, but it would be a story right out of the Disney studios if she could pull it off.

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Re: Breeders Cup Distaff

The Distaff

Breeders' Cup Breakdown

The Distaff
1 1/8 miles; $2 million; 3up(f&m); 4:05pm Saturday

The History
Some of the best fillies and mares in the history of the sport - Lady’s Secret, Dance Smartly, Paseana, Inside Information, Spain, Azeri, Ashado - have a win here on their resumes. Bayakoa won it in 1989 and 1990. And who can forget Personal Ensign capping off a perfect, 13 for 13 career by nailing Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors in the last stride of the 1988 renewal over a sloppy, historic Churchill Downs oval.

Favorites: 9 for 23 (39%); Average Win Price: $21.98

The Best
Somehow, Indian Vale has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite coming off a second place finish in the G1 Beldame last out. Earlier this season she won the G2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill and the G3 Next Move at Aqueduct. She’s part of the three-headed monster trained by Todd Pletcher in the Distaff.

The winner of the Beldame, Unbridled Belle is also trained by Pletcher and ran the race of her life overcoming a ton of trouble last out after a second place finish in the G1 Personal Ensign two back when breaking awkwardly.

The three-year-old Octave completes the Pletcher trained trio and has been solid countless times this season, especially when subbing for stablemate Rags to Riches in her G1 Coaching Club American Oaks victory after a win in the G1 Mother Goose. In all, she’s hit the board in all twelve career starts and is as consistent as they come.

The connections of Ginger Punch are putting there money, $180,000 to be exact, where their mouth is by supplementing this filly into the Distaff. Before wheeling back in just three weeks when third in the Beldame she won three in a row, including the G1 Go For Wand and G1 Ruffian for trainer Bobby Frankel.

G1 Alabama winner Lady Joanne comes into this off a second place finish to Panty Raid, who’s not running back in just three weeks, in the G1 Spinster at Keeneland over Polytrack last out. Trainer Carl Nafzger has twice used the Polytrack-to-dirt recipe successfully with Street Sense and is hoping it works with this filly here.

After winning the first three starts of her career, all on grass, Lear’s Princess finished second in both the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama after making big runs in the stretch at the leaders. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin added blinkers for the G1 Gazelle and was rewarded by seeing his charge run past the great Rags to Riches in deep stretch to get the money.

The Rest
Balance hasn’t won in four starts since taking the G1 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita in late winter. Canadian shipper Bear Now upset Octave in the Cotillion at Philadelphia Park in her last start. Hystericalady took the G2 Molly Pitcher over this course two back and won the G1 Humana Distaff earlier this year. Prop Me Up is trying G1 competition for the first time but she has hit the board in all nine starts at Monmouth, including four wins. Teammate started the year with a pair of wins but has lost five straight including the Spinster when she was third in her last start. Tough Tiz’s Sis won the G1 Lady’s Secret in the last stride over the Santa Anita Polytrack.

The Scenario
Bear Now, Hystericalady and Indian Vale all do their best running on the lead. Look for Ginger Punch, Lady Joanne, Octave and Tough Tiz’s Sis to track that trio while Prop Me Up, Balance and Teammate figure to be in mid-pack. Unbridled Belle and Lear’s Princess will do their best running late in the game.

The Strategy
Eight of the twelve ladies in this event are already G1 winners and the morning line favorite Indian Vale isn’t one of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if any one of a half dozen win this. You must spread and demand value, especially in multi-race exotics in here.

The Bomb
Hystericalady will probably get lost in the wagering shuffle as many will figure her to be nothing more than a pace factor. She does own an all important win over the course and will be upwards of 15-1.

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Re: Breeders Cup Distaff

Kip Deville powers to victory in Breeders' Cup Mile
October 27th, 2007

Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Stalking the pace through most of the race, Kip Deville took the lead in mid-stretch and went on to win the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile on the Monmouth Park turf course. The win was the second of the day for jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

Kip Deville was sent off at odds of 8-1 in the 13 horse field. He left the starting gate in good order and settled in behind the leader Cosmonaut along the rail.

On the turn for home Cosmonaut still had the lead with Remarkable News second and Kip Deville third, looking for an opening. At the top of the stretch Kip Deville found room to the outside of the leader as the other contenders began to tire. Unable to sustain a move was Nobiz Like Shobiz -- the Wood Memorial winner.

Kip Deville posted a 1 1/4 length win over 2-1 favorite Excellent Art, followed by Cosmonaut and Nobiz Like Shobiz. The time for the mile was 1:39 3/5 on the soft grass course.

After Market, 7-2 in the morning-line, was scratched on Friday.

Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., Kip Deville was a $300,000 supplemental entry into the race. He collects more than $1 million to increase his lifetime bankroll to better than $2 million.

Kip Deville has won nine of 21 career starts and was coming off a second place finish in the Woodbine Mile to Shakespeare. Shakespeare, now retired with an injury, may have been the favored in this race.

Kip Deville returned $18.40, $7.20 and $5.20. Excellent Art paid $4.20 and $3.00, and Cosmonaut paid $6.60 to show.

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