Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) drew a full field and is one of the most competitive races over the two-day championship event, even though we are missing the defending champion and the leader of the division.
Defending champ Untapable scratched after spiking a fever this week, while Beholder was being pointed toward the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) only to have to scratch after bleeding and having irritated tissue in her lung after her morning work on Thursday.
The two headliners are on the sidelines, but this year’s Distaff is still going to be a great wagering race, with nine of the runners having won at least one Grade 1 race.
While Beholder has likely wrapped up the Eclipse Award for top older female, the three-year-old division is still up for grabs and the Distaff could decide the outcome.
I’m a Chatterbox, Curalina and Stellar Wind are Grade 1 winners and a win in the Distaff could put them over the top.
They are going to face a tough older group that includes Wedding Toast Sheer Drama, Got Lucky and Stopchargingmaria.
The Breeders’ Cup races start with the Juvenile Turf (G1) at 3:30 ET. A full field of 14 including four overseas invaders make for a very challenging start to the two-day championship.
The Dirt Mile (G1) drew 11 and Liam’s Map is going to be one of the shortest prices over the two days, installed as the even money favorite. He would have been a major player in the Classic and would have made American Pharoah’s bid for the Grand Slam very difficult.
Instead his connections opted for a $1 million race and he is better at a mile than at 1 ¼ miles. There is some early speed in the race, and while he seems to be everyone’s single, I do not think he is a cinch.
The Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) drew another full field, even with Ms. Grillo (G3) winner Tin Type Gal a late scratch. There are four European based runners in the field led by the Aidan O’Brien trained Alice Springs.
The Euros have only won two of the seven runnings of this race, and I think the home team could grab the exacta this year.
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Let’s head out to Keeneland for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 9 The Breeders’ Cup Distaff G1 (Post time 5:35 ET)
#8 Curalina 12-1
#7 Wedding Toast 4-1
#1 I’m a Chatterbox 8-1
#12 Got Lucky 6-1
Analysis: Curalina exits the Beldame which has been a key race for the Distaff. The filly tracked the early pace and could not get by Wedding Toast in the stretch in a runner up finish, the winner taking advantage of a racing strip that was kind to speed that day. She is a two-time Grade 1 winner, taking the Acorn back in June at a mile at Belmont Park and taking the Coaching Club American Oaks thanks to a DQ of I’m a Chatterbox in deep stretch. She is proven at nine furlongs and looks to still perhaps have some upside for the Todd Pletcher barn that won this racer with Ashado in 2004. Joel Rosario picks up the call as John Velazquez opted to ride Untapable who ended up scratching out of this race with a fever. The filly has three good works over the surface and is going to be a fair price in this spot.
Wedding Toast exits the Beldame where she went gate to wire to win by 2 3/4 lengths. While the effort may have been aided slightly from a speed friendly surface, she was making her first start off a 3 1/2 month break. She took the field gate to wire two back to win the Ogden Phipps (G1) and is the one runner in this field with a triple digit Beyer and she has earned them in back to back starts. There is plenty of speed in here but she showed three back in her Ruffian (G2) win that she does not need the lead.
I’m a Chatterbox stalked the early pace and finished strongly to win the Cotillion (G1) last out at Philly, the race last year’s winner Untapable used as a final prep. She swept the three stakes at Fair Grounds earlier this year and then ran a decent third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), her lone finish out of the exacta. She is consistent and should get a good tracking trip behind the speed. Her 8-1 morning line looks generous.
WIN: #8 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 1,7,8,12
TRI: 7,8 / 1,7,8,12 / 1,7,8,12,14
Michael Dempsey’s Breeders’ Cup Report
Michael’s Breeders’ Cup Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the card from Keeneland on Oc. 30-31.
The Breeders’ Cup offers 12 championship races over two days, bringing together the best top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world, this year to compete at Keeneland.
In 2013 on Breeders’ Cup Saturday Mike nailed seven recommended exactas, paying $53.20, $19.00, $23.20, $58.00, $66.60, $107.80, and $33.60!