The Breeders’ Bowl Distaff is one of the richest season ending G1 races of the year. This race is a dirt race with a distance of 9 furlongs. It is restricted to fillies & mares, age 3 or older. Over 30 horses were entered into the event hoping to make the cut. In the end, 14 horses got in and included in this field which includes the 2017 returning and defending champion, Treacherously II, who is also an Eclipse winner. One other Eclipse winner is in the field and that is Got Street Smarts, who won the Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile Filly race last year. The weathermen are mixed on whether we will have a wet track, with most giving it a 45% chance.
As for the female older route dirt division, the top five horses (Jess Killin Time, Internet Sensation, Treacherously II, Provolone With and Razor Girl) all are in this field and this race will more than likely determine the ultimate winner for the year. But the five others in the top 10 are also in this field and could overtake them which include First Spin Gold, Luna Ape, Skyline Slew, Iwildryupthenile and Leya
1 LUNA APE 12/1
Luna Ape is a five year old scratch bred mare with the bloodline of Stay Gold x Affirmed x Unbridled. She has won half of her 16 lifetime starts with purses in excess of $1.3 million.
So far this year, Luna Ape has raced six times with a pair of wins and a second in a mixture of listed and grade level races. The second was struck first in February when she managed to hold position throughout the race and tagged a 110 speed. In March she was 8th in another listed stake but that did not deter the owner from testing the grade level and off she went into the G2 MD Distaff. In the 8.5 furlong race, she built a nice 4 stride lead in the second half of the race and coated to the wire to win by just under 2 strides with a best speed of 115.
She moved up a notch to the G1 Steadhemp/Mike Phipps Handicap in which she took down the field with her second win of the season and beat foes Jess Killin Time (2nd), Internet Sensation (3rd) and Leya (6th) who are also competing in this race. Luna Ape was last seen back in September where she finished 10th in the Chicago Matron Handicap (G3) and was competitive early but faded badly. That came after a three month layoff and with some hope, the second race after the break could be a blessing.
2 JESS KILLING TIME 10/1
This scratch-bred was borne with the line of Awesome Again x Unbridled x Damascus. She is a 4-year old who has amassed over $1.3 million with 6 wins in 17 races.
Jess Killin Time had a killer start to 2018 and in the G2 Canada, her first try with graded company, she raked out a 119 career speed number and wired the field. She nudged up to the G1 Orange Blossom where she came from off the pace to earn a back-to-back victory and a fine 117 speed. Next it was the Steadhemp/Mike Phipps Handicap where she ran off the pace again but could not close, still a nice second. Things went downhill from here.
In 17 races, Jess Killin Time has been ITM 14 times. The three races she’s missed have been in her last three starts. The good times may have come to an end and making a turn around in this big race will take a big, killer effort.
3 PROVOLONE WITH 7/1
This is a four year old filly who is a scratch bred carrying the lineage of Pivotal x Danehill x With Approval. She has been the victor 10 times in 17 starts with earnings of a little over one million.
She kicked the 2018 year off with four listed stake appearances in which she finished fourth in the frist race and then launched a streak of three straight wins, all with speeds in the range of 110-114. The streak would continue as she jumped up into the G1 Very Vane where she notched another 114 figure and extended the streak to four, which would end in the Personal Sign (G1). Provolone With went straight to the lead and had a comfy cushion heading into the stretch but the tank would dry out and she’d lose by 5 lengths behind victor First Spin Gold who she will confront in this race. Her 110 speed was fine enough to beat out last years Distaff winner, Treacherously II, who will also compete again this year.
In her last start, the Great Dame (G1), Provolone With regained some composure, running and finishing second with a 114 speed, well ahead of Mashed Taters (9th) and Leya (12th) other foes in this years Distaff. Provolone appears to be in good shape, with six of her seven starts with speed numbers of 110 and up. More importantly, she has not finished worse than fourth and ITM 5 times. Figures to do well here.
4 BEEF AND BEER 20/1
This Curlin sired mare comes from Bosongaboutseattle who is a two time grade winning mare with the best coming in the G2 Manhattan District back in 2010. She is mother to several others but only one besides Beef and Beer have won in stake competition and that is 2018 bred Mo Beef and Beer.
Beef and Beer is a three year old and this will be her second start with older runners. In early August, she did well with the older foes in her appearance in the Three Smoestacks (G1) notching a career best speed of 112 and finishing second with the steepest odds (19/1) in the field. She sports a pair of G1 wins this season, the first coming in the Equinics and the other in the Sister Hen. During 2018, her speeds and results have been hopscotching. One race, she’ll be in the top three with 100+ speed, the next, off the board and sub-100. If this trend continues, this race would not be good.
5 LEYA 15/1
Shizzle Street, the mother to this mare, won 6 times which included a G3 win. Leya is her only child that won a stake race. Leya is the only G1 winner out of sire Lea.
After a winter layoff of over three months, Leya started things off in March with high promise. In the G1 Original Margarita Invitational, she would strike paydirt with a win at 16/1 after trailing by roughly 15 at the half of the 9 furlong race. The 111 speed came on the heels of the win in the Hunted By Lions (G2) that she also won to conclude the 2017 season. This nice start, with all it’s promises, has not carried forward. Leya has raced four times after this win in grade events and has not finished better than 6th and beaten by a few of the horses that are also entered into this field.
Leya has the ability to run late with a powerful stride but it just has not been strong enough in her last four outings to be a factor.
6 INTERNET SENSATION 7/1
This lady is out of Eclipse winning he-mare Tosh, who was the winner of the 2011 running of the Breeders’ Bowl Dirt Marathon and made two subsequent appearances in Breeders’ Bowl races. Internet Sensation is sired by Tapit and at the age of five has won over $2.6 million.
Internet made an appearance in last years Distaff and put in a fine run, taking the lead as the field entered the stretch but was caught by Treacherously II, who will be defending her championship this year, with Internet Sensation finishing 2nd. 2018 kicked off nicely with a win in the G1 Santa Marina Handicap and a strong 114 speed. After finishing out of the money in the Orange Blossom (G1) and taking a beaten losing out to Jess Killin Time and Treacherously II, she made a bit of a comeback in the G1 Steadhemp/Mike Phipps Handicap, finishing third but behind Luna Ape and Jess Killin Time, competitors she will have to take on again in the Distaff.
Internet’s last two races included a rascally off-track turf allowance throw away race and a much better third in the G1 Superfilly Handicap with a 115 speed, losing to victor Razor Girl. Internet Sensation has faced many of the horses in this field and is capable of competing with them. Her last outing may proof to be a boost leading into this event.
7 TREACHEROSULY II 8/1
The returning champion from last years Distaff looks to defend her belt. She is a scratch bred with an impressive lineage of Malibu Moon x Deputy Minister x Alydar. Treacherosuly II is also an Eclipse winner who leads the field with over $4 million in earnings and 8 wins over 17 races.
2017 was a fabulous season for this gal who won four grade level races, three of them G1 and included the Distaff as a season closer. 2018 has been a totally opposite story. This late runner started the season in the Equinics and while she was 16 back at the half mile but could only chop that down to 8 and finished eighth. Treacherously’s style is to wander way back and charge late, but getting to the front has been a problem that has plagued her all year. After running in four more graded/listed stake races, the best outcome was a pair of fourths.
A turnaround is needed and maybe on the horizon. Treacherously had one more race and that was at the end of September in the Bra Snap (G1). She kept much closer at the half point, only 4 back and was able to make it to the front and won by two. Speeds have ranged from 104 to 113 (which was scored in the Bra Snap). The key may be to keep closer in the early going which could get her a repeat Breeders’ Bowl trophy.
8 IWILLDRYUPTHENILE 6/1
This Pioneer of the Nile sired four-year-old comes from game-mare Togainyoumustgive and is the first child for the mare. Over her career, the mother scored four wins and was a listed stake winner.
A somewhat busy girl this year as she has raced seven times and pulled in four wins. Iwilldryupthenile started the year in the allowance division and notched a win right out of the gate. By April, she was racing in the G3 Route Sixty Six where she drove home in the stretch hard to win by half a stride and a solid 115 speed and beating Leya who she will see again in the Distaff. A month later, she would put in a repeat performance in the G3 Poor Mona Lisa Handicap taking her third season win with 116 speed. In July, the fourth win would be earned in the G1 Go For The Gold where another 116 speed came, driving home to score by half a stride.
The G1 Great Dame was her last stop, finishing 4th behind second place finisher Provolone With who she will be battling with in this race, but getting the upperhand over Leya (again) and Mashed Taters. She has been consistent during the year and is one to respect.
9 FIRST SPIN GOLD 9/2
Eleven time winner An Angel First is the mother to this lady and First Spin Gold is the only child of five kids to win above the allowance level. First Spin Gold is sired by Hard Spun and has collected three wins in six starts this season.
Taking things a bit easy to start the season, she raced in an allowance event and finished second with a strong 114 speed. Using this a prep race, she flew into the Equinics and going 10 flanks got her another second with a 113 speed. First Spin dipped down into the listed stakes for a pair of races to sharpen up and the strategy paid off as she won both. Back to grade level in July where in the G2 First State Distaff but could only muster a 5th with 113 speed. She rebounded in her last start in the G1 Personal Sign, winning by 2, and defeating foes such as Provolone With and Treacherously II.
First Spin Gold is galloping into this race off a very nice win and she’s performed well during the year, only off the board once. She will be a factor to contend with.
10 MASHED TATERS 27/1
This three-year-old comes from Mushy Taters who has mothered one other G1 winner, Tizater (winner of Japanese Oaks) and one listed stake winner. Mashed Taters is the only G1 winner out of sire Flatter.
In eight starts during 2018, Mashed Taters has a 3-0-1 record. Two quick wins came within the first three starts of the season with the first in an allowance race and the second in a listed stake. In both races, she rallied from the backend of the field to get to the top. Her other win came in the July running of the G1 Clerk of Scales where she notched a career best speed of 108.
Her form has been a bit shakey of late, finishing fifth in the Birmingham (G1) and well off the lead and ninth in the Great Dame (G1) where she squared off with older horses for the first time. Mashed Taters did cut her deficit in half in her last start, but still finished nearly 8 back. She’ll need to get that late run moving sooner to take this.
11 GOT STREET SMARTS 24/1
One of three young 3-year olds in this filed, Got Street Smarts is already an Eclipse award winner with over $1.8 million in earnings. She’s sired by Street Hero and is out of Clickety Smart, a game mare who netted only one victory in her 27 race career. She’s had much better success in the breeding stable producing 6 allowance winner and this Eclipse winner.
As a two year old, she won a pair of G1 races that includes back to back in the Getaway followed by the Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile. Both were good enough to capture an Eclipse win. This year has been a challenge. She has been racing exclusively in the grade class this year and has not found a way to enter into the winner’s circle. In seven races, she has a record of 0-1-2 in a mix of dirt and grass tries. Got Street Smarts enters into this race after finishing third in the G3 Norther Oaks getting there as horses tired behind her, but did match her career best speed of 107.
The odds are stacked against this filly who joins older horses for the first time and her form has not been consistent She did have a decent fourth place finish in the Bluegrass Oaks (G1) earlier in the year making up a lot of ground in a huge 20 horse field on an off track. Still, the form needs a boost.
12 WAVE AT LIAM 33/1
This runner is one of three grade winners out of game mare Wave A Wand and includes the winner of the 2012 The New Yorker (See the Wand). Liam’s Map is the sire to three year old Wave At Liam who enters into this race after a dreadful 10th place finish in the Birmingham (G1).
Throwing that to the side, the rest of 2018 has been excellent. She started the year by finishing second in her first grade level race on New Years day in the Santa Jezebel (G3). A month later, her first grade win came in the Silverbulletbeer (G3) which was followed by beating beat by an eyelash in the California Oaks (G1) where she was declared second and notched a career best speed of 108. During the summer, she took a pair of wins in the G2 Los Angeles Oaks and the G1 Players Club National Oaks. If the photo in the California had gone her way, it would have been 4 straight grade wins.
Wave at Liam has only been off the board once in 10 starts and that was the above-mentioned Birmingham. This will be her first race with the older experienced ladies and she’ll need to overcome the disappointment of her last race back in August. A nice rest break leading into this race may have helped.
13 RAZOR GIRL 7/1
Three-time listed stake winner Forty Karats is the mother to this girl and she had 6 victories over her 14 race career. In addition to Razor Girl, she has also bred listed stake winner Prison of Wishes.
Razor Girl has been ‘razor sharp’ this year and maybe having Animal Kingdom as a sire may have helped. The season started with a trio of wins that started in March in an allowance field. She bumped up to a listed stake race, scoring a speed of 116, good enough to advance into the G2 Bumblebee Classic where this lady hit a 115 speed after sitting mid-field. A respectful second in July came in the D-Day Distaff, with another sharp 115 speed. Another win came, this time in the G1 Superfilly Handicap where she outran Internet Sensation who was third in the race, with Razor nailing a 116.
Razor Girl raced three weeks after the Superfilly in an allowance race and there maybe some concern as she finished third with a drop-in speed to 101. This may have been a relaxed work out leading into this big race with pushing her to hard. Otherwise, her speed numbers have been top notch and more importantly, she has delivered results. Toss out the allowance race and be a believer.
14 SKYLINE SLEW 12/1
This entrant is a scratch bred with a strong lineage of Distorted Humor x Seattle Slew x Ghostzapper. She’s won five times in 18 races and has grossed over $1.2 in winnings.
Skyline Slew had a win streak of three straight that commenced in October, 2017 in the G3 South Bend Oaks. The middle charm in December was earned in the G2 Baracoa Handicap. Flipping the calendar to 2018 and going to the Equinics where the third was delivered with a 116 speed, the best of the three. The front runner’s streak came to an end in the Orange Blossom, faltering to ninth and watching Jess Killin Time take the top honors. She again surrendered the lead in the Bumblebee Classic (G2) finishing fourth behind winner Razor Girl. Skyline had no speed whatsoever in the G1 Go For Gold Stakes, trailing badly throughout the race and losing to Iwilldryupthenile.
Skyline found a bit of something when rundown late in the G2 East Coast Mile, holding on for third. She comes in after finishing second in an allowance race prep for the Distaff, and this time outperformed Razor Girl. Has this one turned a corner with the allowance race? She’s been struggling since winning the Equinics and ill need her very best to topple this field and she’ll need to do it against several horses that have already victimized her.
I like Razor Girl in this one. I think the allowance race performance was just a gap-filling light run to keep her in form leading into this race.
Iwilldryupthenile has been delivering powerful speed numbers and that is part of the game. She’ll fall off the lead but by only a manageable amount and will make her attact.
Provolone With has raked out four straight earlier this year and could assume winning ways, gets third pick.
Luna Ape has pulled off a couple of surprises this year and is my longshot hope.