Oct 282015

The 2015 Breeder’s Bowl Distaff

Kentucky (KY) | Saturday, October 31, 2015 | 2:30 PM EST
Grade I | $3,000,000 | 3yo+, F&M Only | 9 Furlongs | Fast Dirt

This 2015 rendition of the BB Distaff will pit some of the world’s best mares against each other for a top prize of $3,000,000. It should be a very exciting race, and I’m excited to cover it. It’s Breeder’s Bowl weekend, the most exciting weekend on the Sim calender, home to the world’s best horses! Without further ado, here’s my coverage of the 2015 Breeder’s Bowl Distaff!

    1     BARDEN BELLA ranks third among fillies and mares in the EOY Award rankings, and for good reason. She has two GI wins and one GII win in her past five, as well as one on-the-board finish in a GI. Her notable career wins include the GIII Meadows Oaks, the GII Cotton Handicap, the GI Santa Marina Handicap, GI Steadhemp/Mike Phipps Handicap, and the GII Clemente. By top 2014 sire STREET CRY and out of stakes winning mare KITTY KATZ who has foaled a GII winners and two stakes winners along with this grade one winner, she’s impeccably bred. In her last race however, she was trumped in the Bra Snap GI, won by OIL FOREVER, where she was seventh by seven lengths, and I asked her trainer, Theoc, what happened: “I really don’t know what happened in her last race, I think she just had an off day. If she draws inside, she typically runs her race so this run as the favorite was puzzling. I hope she can rebound in the BB Distaff since some of her biggest wins came after disappointing runs. I hope to lure a jockey that knows her and that she draws inside. I honestly think she will show her true form in the Distaff and hit the board at a minimum.” I believe she can bounce back and win this race, and she may have just had an off day as her trainer implied. A great horse, and probably worth the bet at 7-1.

|   2   | SILVER SHOT K dropped in class last time from a GIII to a listed stakes where she won by two lengths. Major wins include the GI California Oaks, GIII Northern Oaks, GII Jump Town Handicap, and the GII Northern Lights. By TRAPPE SHOT, this is a bargain bred out of a mare whose only allowance winner or higher has been this filly. She did dominate that last listed stakes race, but has been having trouble at higher classes as of late. Including three also-rans in the GII First State Distaff, GII Clemente and GIII Chicago Matron Handicap. The seasoned horse who was fourth in last year’s Distaff, second in the GI Players Club National Oaks, and second in the Bluegrass Oaks seems to be dropping in form lately. She’s going to need a big bounce-back performance to win a race in the highest caliber in the world. Here’s what Murray1 says about his 5-1 shot: “Silver Shot ran very well in her most recent race but to be honest I will be happy if she hits the board.” Short but sweet.

    3     MISS MO has been on a GI winning tear this season, and seems to be hitting her peak as a three-year-old. She’s by UNCLE MO out of a mare with fantastic pedigree but was a flop on the track, and besides this filly, hasn’t been great in the breeding shed- ACT QUICKLY. The filly started the 2015 campaign with a poor tenth in the Local Championship Stakes for Kentucky, but rebounded to win a listed stakes next time out. Stepping up to the GI level, she scored in the GI Miss Consolation at 12-1, and she kept the doubters guessing in her next start by winning the GI Sister Hen Stakes. Unfortunately she was finally defeated at ten furlongs last time in the Birmingham Stakes GI and the extra furlong killed her, falling back to fifth in the final furlong. But she’s back to nine furlongs, and she’s a very valuable play as the bookies have placed her at 22-1. I recommend a bet at big odds, and this is what trainer Kashbarn had to comment: “She has turned out to be a big surprise to me, far exceeding my expectations. She’s my first and only G1 winner. It is going to be a tough field and I debated not entering her but I figured that being eligible for a Breeders’ Bowl race does not come every day so I opted to go for it. Her last start was rough and the 10 furlong distance was a concern. She got caught up in a front end battle which did not work out well and the distance I feel may have been a tad too long. Going back to 9 furlongs is the distance that she has won in her prior two starts and is a better fit than the 10 furlongs. She’s been training well for the race and looks pretty relaxed. I expect a good run from her but it is always hard when you are going against the best of the best and it’s an honor to be in the race.”

    4     MEZTLI MOON hasn’t been her best self lately and will hope to turn the year around here. By MALIBU MOON, the scratch-bred filly has the damsire of DEPUTY MINISTER and has some very good breeding. Her major wins are the GI Getaway Stakes and the GI Movieland Scarlet. She finished her 2014 season with a bang after a second in the Breeder’s Bowl Juvenile Filly and a win in the Movieland Scarlet GI. After a tightener in her first 2015 start to win an open allowance for fillies, but didn’t win another race in 2015. Her only highlights were a show in the Bluegrass Oaks GI and in her latest, a third by a length in the Cotton Handicap GII. She’s a great horse, but really needs to turn it around here to find a way to win. Watch for a sharp (or sluggish) workout. She’s 22-1, and here’s what her trainer Daniel said about her: “I had big hopes for Meztli Moon this year, she was super fast as 2yo, probably one of the fastest 2yo fillies ever, so I thought I’d give her a nice rest and was aiming for the Oaks, she started good in allowance and finished poorly in the graded attempt after that. I figured maybe I just got a good 2yo, but with a 3rd in the Oaks I was pleased and I think last start actually showed me she is trying to find the form again, overall it has been a very frustrating year, but she have managed to get enough points to get in. If she can improve her speed a bit, she will have a chance to finish top-5, if she manage to get top-3 I will be over the moon.”

    5     ARCHEZATA  is having a good 2015, but has been unsuccessful in her past three. She’s by ARCH out of allowance winning mare KAMIKAZE who is the mother of two GI winners, one GII winner and four other stakes winners. She’s won many listed stakes races, but her biggest glory is the Before This Please GI from May of this year. Three back, she never had a move in the Very Vane GI, and in her next, the Personal Sign GI, she finished third by two lengths. Her last however, was just a bad start, and ran seventh by four in a listed stakes. She’s really going to have to bounce back hard as she steps into the toughest competition of her life off one of the worst starts of her life at 9-1. Given is currently vacationing in Costa Rica, but here is his disgruntled comment about his runner: “She won a Grade 1 a long time ago and her form inexplicably tailed off immediately after. Seems to happen to all of my horses these days.”

    6     OIL FOREVER is ranked sixth among the fillies and mares division of the Eclipse rankings, and has been very strong racing at the graded stakes level for every entry from November 29, 2014 onwards. Mentionable victories include the GI Los Vinegrette Stakes, GI California Stakes and, most recently, the GI The Bra Snap. The sophomore filly by CANFORD CLIFFS out of OIL ON TOP an impeccable dam, all of whose three runners have been GI winners. Last time out in the Bra Snap, she beat two other GI winners, and several other stakes and graded stakes winners including the Eclipse Award- winning BENCHIAN FINGERS. This will be the second time in a row the filly tries aged company, and looks sharp and up to the task with a 113 last race speed figure. For superb trainer Pye, the filly is 13-1 and is definitely worth a big wager. Here’s what Pye had to say: “Feeling really good about OIL FOREVER in the distaff. She handled the older company well last start and her race spacing appears to have maintained a little bit of juice for these late-season races after a disappointing spring/summer. Her last 9f race was in the Oaks where she ran subpar (but not terrible) but I don’t expect distance to be a hindrance. Will feel extra confident if jock “A Rolling” gets in the irons again.”

    7     SUPER GOOD has stepped up from allowances after 6/21, where he won in dominating fashion, and tried the Gold Rush GIII, where he did not disappoint, winning by two lengths in a career record 106 SP. By SUPER SAVER, the colt’s scratch breeding was well founded. Major wins are only the GIII Gold Rush and GI The Leg Drop. She recently stepped into GIs, with her first at the class on August 22, 2015 and won, with a career high 109 SP in the GI Birmingham Stakes. Last time out, in the Leg Drop GI, and looks very sharp, with a 114 speed figure and a strong second place finish. I like the horse today, but the one point of concern is that she drops from eleven furlongs to nine, and I’m not sure how it will effect the horse, as she’s not tried the distance in a graded stakes race. She’s 12-1, and here’s what her trainer- Kingranch, had to say: “I’m really excited to run Super Good in the BB Distaff. I feel like this race might be a little short for her, she really fits better at 10f, Opportunities like this don’t come often, so you take your shot and hope for the best. My gal will be flying late, she has a massive closing kick.”

    8     MEGASTORM is another one racing on just less than a month’s rest, and on this one, it could be more of a hindrance than an advantage. She’s by MEDAGLIA D’ORO and out of the stakes winning mare ALBERTA STORM, who has foaled a stakes winner, GIII winner, and this GI winner on five starters. Her only major win is the GI Very Vane (as well as a listed stake). Both of those came in 2015, with the listed stakes win at the start of the year, while being run down to third in her next start, the Ramp Art Handicap GII. Next time out, in the GIII Route Sixty Six, she was unable to find the front, and had no late run, and finished fifth. In her best career win, next time out, two-and-a-half months later, had an easier time coming from the presser’s role, and won by a neck in the GI Very Vane. With her next start being a third in the GI Go For Gold Stakes where she ran third, and her last as a fourth in the Great Dame GI, I think it’d be more beneficial on more than a month’s rest. Her owner could not be reached for a comment, and she’s 7-1.

    9     SEBASTOPOL  has not won a GI race but has Breeder’s Bowl experience from last year’s Juvenile Filly where she finished fourth. This filly’s major win was the GII Fantasia Handicap. This is the only graded stakes winner for dam SONOMA COAST and remains one of two graded stakes winners by sire UNION RAGS. For the filly, four starts back was one of the best for her, as she lost by just a head in the Chestnut Stakes to MR. P’S MEDS. She appeared to be losing class as she stepped to the GIII level to finish fourth and second twice in a row, leading up to her last race. That race was the Cotton Handicap GII at Presque Isle, and won the early speed duel only to be run down by THREE OLIVE BARB and finish second. She’s stepping up big time here, and needs to put in a career best performance for this one. Her odds are 17-1, and here’s her trainer’s comment: “She’s been one of the more frustrating horses I’ve had. She was just caught for 3rd in the BB Juvenile Fillies last year after opening up a big lead, and ended up 4th. She had a big win in the G2 Fantasia in April earlier this year, a major prep for the Bluegrass Oaks. But then she totally flopped in the Oaks, finishing last. My hope is her poor performance was due more to bouncing off that big effort rather than the added distance, that being her only run at 9 furlongs. Then 5 weeks later, she was beaten a head in the G1 Chestnut. It was a really tough race to watch. 2 starts later, I guess she blew the break rallying from last, instead of being on the pace like she usually is. She was 2nd in that race too, again beaten by the horse that beat her in the Chestnut. Then in the G2 Cotton last time, she again took the lead only to get passed late, finishing 2nd. I’m hopeful for a win.”

   10    MR. P’S MEDS  has been on a very good streak lately, winning seven of her past nine, three at the listed stakes level, two at the GIII level, one at the GII level and one win at the GI level, with both losses at the GII and GI levels (with a third in the GI). Notable wins include the GIII Lady Bourbon, the GI Chestnut Stakes, GII First State Oaks and the GIII Jersey Oaks. By MEDAGLIA D’ORO, I’d say she’s paid off her breeding cost in dividends, with $1.2 million in earnings, and continues to impress. Last time, she battled every step of the way in the GII Cotton Handicap, and because of the suicidal speed duel, she finished fourth, but was very tough, losing by only one length. I believe that shows incredible heart for the three-year-old currently sitting eighteenth on the Eclipse Award point ladder, but the speed duel last time could have had an effect on the horse. That might not be an issue, with more than a month’s rest, but I still suggest watching for signs of fatigue in the paddock or post parade. Other than that I think the horse is very good and could very well take home a major cheque on Saturday. She’s 10-1, but her trainer, Jacklad, could not be reached for a comment.

   11    WHAT IS OBEDIENCE  has won her first GI last time and that is her only major win (with the exception of one listed stakes race)- it is the Great Dame. A scratch-bred by MALIBU MOON, and the dam-sire KRIS S, which turned out to be very good. With a very good win despite being challenged for the first two fractions, this colt made it look easy, winning by three lengths. She’s obviously got a lot of heart and muscle, and she’s looking like she’s in top form leading up to her Breeder’s Bowl try. The co-favourite at 5-1 looks good. Her trainer, Willyam, said this, in confidence: “I love my horse chances. Her victory in the Great Dame was quite impressive hopefully she will run her race on Saturday.”

   12    KUKAA SALAMA  is an experienced graded stakes runner, who was actually second by two lengths in the Distaff 2014 to Eclipse Award winner FIRST DEGREE BERN as a three year old. By super-sire STREET CRY and out of LALA SALAMA, a dam whose produced two stakes winners and one GII winner (this horse) from three runners, she makes another well-bred contender. Her record in graded stakes is twelve races and five wins, as well as five other in-the-money finishes. Notable wins include the GII Miss Bonnie, the GIII Denny Tario Stakes, GIII Rose Garden Handicap, and the GII Hoffa Cup last time out. As mentioned, her last start was in the GII Hoffa Cup on the good dirt against the boys. Her last two grade one tries weren’t great, but looking at her Hoffa Cup win, I’m confident that she’ll be sharp for this one, especially on less than a month’s rest. I like that angle off a bounceback win. She could upset here at 10-1. Here’s what Planoaxius thought about his horse: “Whole season, I hoped she could get in again. Unfortunately, first, she had some bad luck and in the second part of the season, she seemed to be slowing down a bit. After Superfilly Handicap I almost gave up as I didn’t expect 80 stakes pts would be enough for the Distaff. So, she ran against boys in G2, where is more stakes points to earn. And it was good decision – she is back. Personally, for me is great, that she can run again. I think her best days are over, so I don’t expect her to repeat 2nd spot from last year’s edition. Especially, now comes the time of the year when 3yos absolutely dominate the group events. But it’s also about prestige and for me it is always celebration to have horse in Breeders Bowl meeting. So, the goal was reached and now I am just going to watch the race.”

   13    IN THE SYSTEM has graduated from the allowance level and has been surprisingly good in her past three, on a three race win streak. A scratch-bred by TIZNOW, the filly has a Breeder’s Cup winning sire and she hopes to do the same on Saturday. Her mentionable achievements include the Superfilly Handicap GI and the Three Smokestakes Stakes GI (who this writer strongly recommended in his write-up of the contest). Both of those victories were in her last two starts, and it looks like she’s in the midst of her peak, and she’s got a very strong chance to make it three in one of the biggest races for fillies and mares in the world. I also like the shorter rest, because when a horse is in it’s peak, it keeps her sharp, and probably helps chances here. I like the price of 13-1 and the filly is worth the bet. Her owner Danno spoke about her: “I’ve never had a horse like this so I’m trying to be realistic about her chances. She’s coming off a short break into this race so I think she may not be 100%. But she’s been hot lately so I’ll still be hopeful that she gives a good effort”.

   14    OUTBACK LEETON has been having a rough half since May 1, where she was a non-factor in the Bluegrass Oaks GI. Her only noteworthy win has been the Land’s End GII. The scratch-bred by SMART STRIKE has very good breeding, with her dam-sire being STORM CAT. Her Bluegrass Oaks performance was not just a bump in the road however, as she continued to be a non-factor in the New Yorker (understandable on that one), Swamps Stakes GII, and the Birmingham Stakes GI. She wasn’t able to manage to even win a conditioned allowance last time out, placing in that race for fillies without a win in the past six months. This could be the toughest race of the filly’s life, and she certainly doesn’t look up to the task today. Here’s the word from her trainer (Vyz/Kyogle) on how his 51-1 shot might do: “She has to be one of the most frustrating horses I’ve ever had. When she won the G2 Land’s End in March, I thought we may have a budding superstar, but her form since has been woeful. She’s sort of on a last chance. If she flops again she may get another chance at sprinting, but it’s also possible she may be one of my first broodmares used in 2016.”

My Selections

1-    13    IN THE SYSTEM

2-    7     SUPER GOOD

3-    11     WHAT IS OBEDIENCE

Longshot Play-    3     MISS MO

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