It’s one thing to make the Breeders’ Bowl.
It’s quite another to make the Breeders’ Bowl with a horse that can win.
That’s the goal on Saturday for the 12 trainers entered in Saturday’s Grade 1, $3 million Breeders’ Bowl Distaff. It’s the champion race of the year for the female set. While there are 14 runners in the Distaff, there are only 11 trainers involved due to the fact that two trainers, Haack and Pointblank, have entries and will run two.
In the interest of brevity, we had better get to the runners.
Stockswami continues to represent the GR Simsters with uncanny ability to develop graded quality horses. In yet another Simulated training feat, Stockswami has the top qualifier for the BB Distaff with the 3yo filly MY AMERICAN LADY. This bay daughter of American Pharoah, out of the Grade 2-winning Malibu Moon mare MALIBU MOON’S LADY, goes to post as a very longhot at 33-1. That kind of parimutuel anomoly occurs regularly in the Sim, when 3yos meet older horses. Look for this lightly raced filly, with only nine starts, to take back early and try to make one late run. She’s won two straight 3yo-only Grade 1 races going a mile and a quarter. She cuts back to nine here and the last time she ran this short, she fired too late and settled for third.
Whatever you do, please do not ask the trainer of our next runner for a bowl of soup. Why? Because, YOU GET NOTHING. This scratch-bred 5yo bay daughter of War Front (Mr. Prospector X Secretariat), like her grandfather, moves like a tremendous machine. Consider this: Harrylan’s No. 1-ranked mare has run identical speed figures of 114 in each of her last five races! Wow. Care to guess what speed figure she might run on Saturday? Considering her astounding consistency, her name must be considered high irony. Instead of giving nothing, this gal gives it everything she has, every time on the track. She had won six in a row before settling for the show money last out in the Grade 1 Great Dame. This is an amazing mare who well earns her role as clear favorite at 9-2.
This writer has several friends he misses seeing in the chat room, and the trainer of the next mare is one of them. Liam has another great racehorse out of his Hall of Fame mare RED DUHLERT with LIAM’S FORTUNE, a 5yo bay daughter of Distorted Humor. Liam loves this mare and can you blame him? Red Duhlert, by Deputy Minister, has produced six stake winners. Of those, two are Grade 1 winners: Liam’s Fortune and CHINOOK DOWN, who was bred in 2009 and was by Rock of Gibraltar. She also gave two Grade 2 winners: LIAM’S ROCK (Fastnet Rock) in 2014, and DOLLIS HILL (Afleet) in 2007. Sadly, Red Duhlert is now 20 and has produced her last Simulated horse. ONE FINAL RED, a 2yo bay filly by War Front, ran evenly on debut in September in Kentucky while fourth going seven furlongs on the dirt.
Bizalls represents Only Stayers with TAKE THE MOON LV, a 4yo bay daughter of Take Charge Indy, out of the Hall of Fame mare PUENTELARRA. By Sadler’s Wells, Puentelarra was bred way back in 2004 by Zambaygo. Take the Moon LV is the first runner out of this HOF mare that is not trained by her original owner. After going unbred in 2016, Puentelarra became open to the Simulated public in 2017, and Bizalls was waiting with Take Charge Indy. The result is a fantastic race mare who has made a serious contribution to the career of a mare who was already great. This is Puentelarra’s third Grade 1 winner. Take the Moon LV will be making her first career start at nine furlongs on Saturday. She has been specializing at 8.5 furlongs until now.
The first of two Pointblank runners in the Distaff is
PILLARSOF CREATION. This scratch-bred 4yo bay daughter of Lemon Drop Kid (Unbridled X Sadler’s Wells) won her Grade 1 debut back in March in the Orange Blossom, and has failed to run quite so good again. She has been running exclusively in New York, and exclusively in Grade 1 company in all four of her most recent races. You might not see Pillarsof Creation wearing one of those “I Love NY” T-shirts. Maybe she would wear one that said “I KInd of Like NY.” She has not run bad in the big races in the Big Apple, but while competitive, has only managed place money in one of those starts. She missed the board in the other three, including the last two.
Breaking on the far outside is the second of two 3yo fillies in the Distaff. It’s SEEKING HER CAUSE, who goes to post at the long price typical of 3yos facing older horses. Jastables was hoping for a filly this good when he bred Seeking Her Cause. She’s as regal a scratch-bred as can be imagined, by Giant’s Causeway (A.P. Indy X Seeking the Gold). She won her Grade 1 going Saturday’s distance of nine furlongs three starts back in the Sister Hen Stakes. Since then, she’s had a nice easy allowance prep, and a solid second-place run in the Grade 2 Cotton Handicap going 8.5 furlongs, for her new career high number of 113. Jastables’ colleagues at Empire State Racing are high on this gal’s chances.
BODE GIRL is the third and final 3yo filly in the Distaff. Trained by Coomer3 and representing the East-West Connection, this light gray daughter of Creator, out of the Bodemeister mare DEBEEMEISTER, is making her second-straight appearance in the Breeders’ Bowl. Last year, she was a late-closing second while beaten only a quarter length in the Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile Filly. Can she hit the Breeders’ Bowl board two years in a row? Simply making two different BB races is a wonderful accomplishment. She goes to post at the same kind of long price at the other 3yo fillies. Bode Girl is 28-1 and will need to step it up in the speed figure department, but her late-running style has suited her well as she has hit the board in some huge spots, like when she was third in this year’s running of the Bluegrass Oaks.
The great Lenny, who once won three Breeders’ Bowl races in the same year, comes to the Distaff with KIFFLOM, a deep-closing 4yo bay daughter of Orb, out of the stakes-placed Distorted Humor mare DEFLECTION. This filly is by far the best of the lot for Deflection, who has produced mostly claimers in her seven breeding seasons. Might Kifflom be a horse for the California course? Her lifetime best came three back here on the Simulated West Coast, when she charged late to be second, beaten only a quarter length for all the money in the Grade 1 Very Vane. Since then, she’s failed to run quite as well in two Grade 1 races in New York. Though her current form be spotty, you best be respecting the Evil Empire.
LA TIA MARIA, Spanish for the Aunt Mary, breaks down at the far inside from post No. 1 for Haack. This is the first of two fillies in the Distaff for one of the greatest trainers ever to enter a Simulated race. The men at Hispano Parlante know their caballos, mis amigos. Haack is shooting big here with La Tia Maria, a 4yo brown daughter of Uncle Mo who has turned red-hot in her 4yo season. She has won four in a row, alternating between listed events and Grade 2 company. She has been ultra impressive this year, carding massive speed figures while running hot in mile races. Now, she jumps all the way to a mile and an eighth, and makes her Grade 1 debut in the Breeders’ Bowl. If she can run as fast at nine furlongs as she does at eight, look out.
The second half of the Pointblank entry, once again representing Empire State Racing, is A SPECIAL CAUSE. This 4yo bay daughter of Giant’s Causeway figures to be prominent early in the Distaff. There are several runners in here who prefer to come from far off the pace, and they may be encouraged by the presence of a speed and fade-type like A Special Cause. With a fast track on Saturday, we can only expect that A Special Cause will revert to the form she’s shown all year, which is to compete early but falter late. She’s been stopping badly on fast tracks. Last out, she caught a good track in the Superfilly Handicap and kept on going to win by a diminishing head.
SPEAKING FEE fits an old BTB handicapping angle. Throughout this writer’s career, it has become evident that it is wise to keep an eye out for horses that go off at short prices despite qualifying far down the order. Kuovadis Stables, representing Hispano Parlante, fits that profile with this scratch-bred 5yo brown daughter of American Pharoah (Deputy Minister X Alydar). Despite qualifying ahead of only three other starters, Speaking Fee goes to post at 7-1, and is the co-second choice with La Tia Maria. Apparently, the morning line oddsmaker in California has heard of Hispano Parlante. Over the years, we’ve always said, watch how the great trainers do it. Ledwith has been using this approach for many years. He gets a good horse hot in allowance company, and then parlays that into listed then graded success.
Doodlegbs is not a big outfit by any means, with only five stables, so it is a tremendous accomplishment to make the Breeders’ Bowl. Doodlegbs has done it with DING DANG ZIP. She’s a short price, too, at 8-1. Matter of fact, this filly looks a lot like Speaking Fee. This is a filly whose form was made strong in alloance company, which was parlayed into stakes success. Ding Dang Zip is super hot now, and just won the Grade 1 Bra Snap with a lifetime-best speed figure of 116. This sure does look like a “now” filly. She is rapidly on the improve and has shown she can win going this distance, having won a listed two back going nine furlongs.
VENEZUELA BELLA completes the oh-so-strong hand for the Distaff held by the men at Hispano Parlante. This is the second half of the Haack entry. Venezuela Bella is the only Tapit in the Distaff. Look for her to walk out of the gate and try to make one huge late run. That’s what she did three back in the Grade 1 Steadhemp/Mike Phipps Handicap, when she won despite still lagging behind in 11th place at the head of the lane. One spot of concern for the Haack entry is that both of his fillies earn a question mark for ability at the distance. While La Tia Maria has been amazing as a mile specialist, Venezuela Bella shows a spotty record while racing at Saturday’s distance of nine furlongs.
Finally, we have RAZOR GIRL, the 14th and final qualifier for the 2019 Breeders’ Bowl Distaff. Congratulations, first of all, to TSeals for making the race. This will be the second-straight entry in the Distaff for this mare. By Animal Kingdom out of the graded-placed Storm Cat mare FORTY KARATS, Razor Girl is hoping to improve on her BB run of last year, in which she was 11th. That race was over an off track, however. Also, Razor Girl hit the board in her two most recent Grade 1 races.
GOOD LUCK EVERYBODY!!!!!