The Thrill of the Chase: Breeders’ Cup Distaff
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff represents the pinnacle of female horse racing, a stage where the finest fillies and mares come together to showcase their speed, stamina, and determination. With a rich history of iconic performances and legendary champions, the Distaff continues to captivate racing enthusiasts worldwide. As each edition unfolds, it adds another layer to the tapestry of the Breeders’ Cup, reminding us of the enduring brilliance and resilience of these remarkable equine athletes.
Origins of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff stands as a pinnacle in the world of thoroughbred horse racing, where the finest fillies and mares from around the globe converge for a shot at glory. This prestigious race is an integral part of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, an event that epitomizes the pinnacle of horse racing excellence. The Distaff not only showcases the exceptional talent of female equine athletes but also provides a stage for intense competition and emotional triumphs. The Breeders’ Cup, inaugurated in 1984, introduced the Distaff to provide a platform specifically for fillies and mares. It quickly earned its place as one of the marquee events on the racing calendar. The race serves as a fitting climax to the Breeders’ Cup, typically held on the second day of the two-day championship event.
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff has witnessed some of the most illustrious names in the sport etch their legacy into racing history. Past champions include the likes of Zenyatta, who captured the hearts of fans with her unparalleled winning streak, and the magnificent Rachel Alexandra, whose 2009 victory is still regarded as one of the greatest performances in racing history. Zenyatta’s unbeaten record, which spanned 19 consecutive victories, culminated in her triumphant run in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park. Her electrifying stretch run to claim victory showcased not only her undeniable talent but also her indomitable spirit. Zenyatta’s legacy endures as a symbol of excellence in the Distaff and serves as inspiration for future contenders. In 2009, Rachel Alexandra’s historic campaign reached its zenith with a brilliant performance in the Woodward Stakes against male counterparts. However, her racing prowess was not confined to facing the boys. Later that year, she took on a formidable field in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, defeating a stellar group of fillies and mares. Rachel Alexandra’s victory added a new chapter to the Distaff’s storied history and solidified her status as one of the all-time greats.
Statistics: 10-5-3-0 Earnings: $1,177,175
Sire: Blame / Dam: Sky Painter
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Trainer: Brad Cox
Notes: Late running style. Raced at 1 1/8 mile the Breeders Cup Distaff distance at Saratoga on July 22nd in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) won by a neck. Won 3 races in a row at Oaklawn Park. Finished 4th in the 1 1/8 mile Kentucky Oaks (G1). Finished 2nd in the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga a 1 1/4 mile race. Daughter of 2010 Breeders Cup CLassic winner Blame.
Statistics: 11-8-1-2 Earnings: $1,416,840
Sire: Curlin / Dam: Lockdown
Jockey: Florent Geraux
Trainer: Brad Cox
Notes: Synthetic runner switch to dirt surface. Won first 3 starts at Turfway Park (synthetic). Switch to dirt next start out, finished 2nd Ruffian Stakes (G2). Now has won 4 races in a row. Shawnee Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs at 1 1/16 mile finished 1st. Delaware Handicap (G2) 1 3/16 mile finished 1st. At Saratoga won the Personal Ensign (G1) at 1 1/8 miles. Her finally start before the Breeders Cup was at Keeneland in the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) 1 1/8 miles finished 1st.
Statistics: 13-7-4-0 Earnings: $981,600
Sire: Uncle Mo / Dam: Brooklynsway
Jockey: Juan Hernandez
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner: Town & Country Horse Farms, & Gary Broad
Notes: West coast front-running filly. 2023 Clement L. Hirsch (G1) winner automatic berth to the Breeders Cup. 9 starts at Santa Anita, this year’s host of the 2023 Breeders Cup, with 6 wins 2 second place finishes at the track. Won 5 races in a row. Won the Zenyatta Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita park ran at 1 1/16 miles.
Statistics: 21-8-6-3 Earnings: $3,166,392
Sire: Curlin / Dam: Cavorting
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owner: Stonestreet Stables
Notes: A close 3rd in the 2022 Breeders Cup Distaff (G1). Looking for a Breeders Cup win and Fermale Horse of the Year honors. Started 2023 at Oaklawn Park with a 2nd place finish in the Azeri Stakes (G2). Then a 1st place finish in the Apple Blossom (G1). Belmont Park won the Ogden Phipps (G1). Ran twice at Saratoga in the Shuvee (G2) at 1 1/8 mile 2nd place finish, and then again in the Personal Ensign (G1) at 1 1/8 mile finished 5th but was 4 to 5 wide around a sloppy Saratoga track, ran out of gas.
Belleza de Arteaga (Argentina)
Statistics: 23-11-6-1 Earnings: $187,853
Sire: Cosmic Trigger (ARG) / Dam: Bunny Sand (ARG)
Jockey: William Pereyra
Trainer: Juan Saldivia
Owner: Valenzuela Ali Eduardo
Notes: South American based. Won the 2023 Gran Premio Criadores an automatic berth to the 2023 Breeders Cup. Has won 9 races in a row in South America. Winner Gilberto Lerena (G1). Winner Criadores (G1) ran at 1 1/4 miles. Winner Estrellas Distaff (G1) ran on turf at 1 1/4 miles distance.
Statistics: 23-11-6-1 Earnings: $187,853
Sire: Into Mischief / Dam: Pretty City Dancer
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Trainer: Brendan Walsh
Notes: 2023 6 starts 4 firsts and 2 seconds. 2023 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner at 1 1/8 mile. Belmont Park winner in the (G1) Acorn Stakes. Won the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. Last start on September 9th at Parx’s on a sloppy track in the (G1) Cotillion Stakes, with a 2nd place finish.
Unveiling Future Stars: The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
Origins and Significance
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is more than just a race; it is a stage where potential champions announce their arrival. The race has become a time-honored tradition in the world of horse racing, showcasing the future stars of the sport. As fans eagerly await each edition, they anticipate witnessing the birth of greatness and the emergence of the next generation of equine champions. The Breeders’ Cup, an annual extravaganza in the world of horse racing, stands as the pinnacle of excellence and a showcase of the finest thoroughbreds from around the globe. Among its many captivating races, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies holds a special place, unveiling potential champions and future stars on the racetrack. Established in 1984, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is a Grade 1 race that typically takes place on the first day of the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Open to two-year-old fillies, this race is a critical stepping stone for these young talents, providing them with a platform to prove their mettle and set the stage for promising careers. Run over a distance of 1 1/16 miles, the Juvenile Fillies race presents a challenging test for these juvenile fillies. The race’s location rotates among various top-notch racetracks in the United States, ensuring a diverse and competitive field each year.
Springboard to Stardom
Over the years, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies has witnessed the rise of numerous racing legends. Among the notable champions is the incomparable Songbird, who dominated the 2015 edition. Songbird’s brilliance on the track was a foreshadowing of her future success, as she went on to become one of the most decorated fillies in recent history. Other luminaries include Beholder, who claimed victory in 2012, and the versatile Stardom Bound, who triumphed in 2008. These champions have not only left an indelible mark on the Breeders’ Cup but have also shaped the landscape of thoroughbred racing with their subsequent achievements. Winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies often serves as a launching pad for these young fillies. The race’s champions frequently go on to have successful three-year-old campaigns, participating in prestigious events such as the Kentucky Oaks and, for some, the Kentucky Derby itself. Trainers, owners, and jockeys carefully select their entries for this race, recognizing the potential of the Juvenile Fillies to propel their charges into the limelight. The race has become not just a test of speed and stamina but also a litmus test for the resilience and adaptability of these young fillies.
Statistics: 2-2-0-0 Earnings: $229,200
Sire: Bolt d’Oro / Dam: Beholder
Jockey: Mike Smith
Trainer: Richard Mandella
Owner: Spendthrift Farm
Notes: Daughter of 2-time Grade 1 winner Bolt d,Oro, and Hall of Fame mare Beholder. Won her last start the Del Mar Debutante (G1) won by 6 3/4 lengths. Won her 1st career start by 2 1/4 lengths.
Just F Y I
Statistics: 2-2-0-0 Earnings: $277,750
Sire: Justify / Dam: Star Act
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Trainer: Bill Mott
Owner: George Krikorian
Notes: Off the pace type. Daughter of Triple Crown winner Justify. Won first career start at Saratoga by a head. Won the Frizette Stakes (G1) by 3 3/4 lengths an automatic berth to the Breeders Cup.
Statistics: 2-2-0-0 Earnings: $415,800
Sire: Candy Ride / Dam: Toni Tools
Jockey: Luis Saez
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners
Notes: Won the Darley Alcibiades (G1) at 1 1/16 miles, running late in the stretch giving her the automatic berth to the Breeders Cup. Won her 1st career start at Saratoga by 3/4 lengths with a late running style.
Statistics: 3-2-0-0 Earnings: $187,200
Sire: Gun Runner / Dam: Indian Safari
Jockey: Antonio Fresu
Trainer: Mark Glatt
Owner: Rancho Temescal Thoroughbred Partners and Dan J Agnew
Notes: Daughter of 2017 Breeders Cup winner Gun Runner. Won 1st career start at Del Mar by 1/2 lengths. 4th in the Del Mar Debutante (G2). Last start at Santa Anita Park home of the Breeders Cup, finished 1st in the Chandelier Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles by 1 1/2 lengths.
V V’s Dream
Statistics: 4-2-2-0 Earnings: $413,105
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.
Trainer: Kenneth McPeek
Owner: MJM Racing and Magdalena Racing
Notes: Daughter of 2019 Breeders Cup Sprint champion Mitole. Won her 1st career start at Churchill Downs by 6 1/4 lengths. Won the Pocahontas Stakes (G3) at 1 mile by 8 3/4 lengths. Last start finished 2nd by 1 length to Candied in the Darley Alcibiades (G1) 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland.