BC - The Distaff
October 25, 2013
By Anthony Stabile
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Welcome to Stabile’s 2013 Breeders’ Cup Breakdown, an in depth look into each and every Breeders’ Cup race to be held Friday, November 1st and Saturday, November 2nd at Santa Anita in Arcadia, CA. VegasInsider.com handicapper Anthony “the Big A” Stabile will take a look at the contenders in each event, talk about how the race should set-up and provide some strategies on how to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to betting on the race. If you want to know what Anthony will be betting on both Breeders’ Cup days, make sure to check back on Friday and Saturday to purchase Stabile’s Breeders’ Cup Picks and Plays of the Day, a look at how he’ll wager on each and every race, available EXCLUSIVELY on VegasInsider.com.
Breeders’ Cup Facts and Figures
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Age: Fillies and Mares, 3-Year-Olds and Up
Date: Friday, Nov. 1
Time: 7:35 p.m. EDT
In what could be considered the most memorable moment in the history of the Breeders’ Cup, Personal Ensign gunned down Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors in THE final stride of the 1988 running at Churchill Downs. Bayakoa won back to back runnings the following two years. Inside Information won it in 1995 by 13 ½ lengths, the largest winning margin in Breeders’ Cup history. Before tackling the boys twice, Zenyatta graced this race with her presence when she won it in 2008.
Favorites: 13 for 29 (45%)
Shortest: $2.80 (Life’s Magic Entry, 1985)
Highest: $113.80 (Spain, 2000)
The champ is here? Yes, the winner of the last TWO is here as Royal Delta will look to join Goldikova as the only three time winners in B.C. history.
Front Runners: Beholder, Royal Delta
Mid-pack: Authenticity, Close Hatches
Closers: Princess of Sylmar, Street Girl
How do you not start with the two time defending champ, ROYAL DELTA? After winning this last year, in surprising gate-to-wire fashion as a four-year-old, trainer Bill Mott decided on the same, exact, six-race campaign to get her back here this season. That would mean starting the season in the Sabin at Gulfstream where she rolled to a five length score and another disastrous trip to the Dubai desert as Royal Delta managed to beat just two in the Dubai World Cup while taking on colts over a synthetic course.
She ran into a buzz-saw over a speed biased Churchill strip in her return, the Fleur de Lis, when Funny Proposition shook loose and won easily by five. It made many wonder if the Dubai trip took more out of her this year than it did last year, with neighsayers pointing to the fact that last years’ Fleur de Lis actually signaled her return to top form. Royal Delta wasted little time in getting back to her winning ways, drowning the competition in a pair of G1s, the Delaware Handicap and Personal Ensign at Saratoga, by 10 ¾ lengths and 4 ½ lengths.
But last out in the Beldame, things did not go as expected. Royal Delta didn’t make the early lead and though she was in front approaching the far turn, she never appeared to be 100 percent, carrying her head a bit lower than usual and offered little to no resistance when PRINCESS OF SYLMAR sidled up and right on by her. Mott has been tightening the screw since the Beldame defeat and one would have to think the REAL Royal Delta will show up on Friday.
The word “doubt” and Princess of Sylmar went hand in hand for the better part of the past two months just after her 2 ½ length Alabama score, especially when you spoke to her connections about her participation in the Distaff. After all, she had done little wrong in her three-year-old season, as she was already a three time G1 winner with the Kentucky and CCA Oaks both under her belt as well, and the Eclipse for her division all but locked up.
Then rumors surfaced that she’d take on her elders in the Beldame, and after a couple of works that were more than satisfactory to her trainer Todd Pletcher, she was in the Beldame. She rewarded his decision with her aforementioned victory and it was widely assumed, with seemingly nothing left to accomplish, she’d be put away for the year.
But her connections apparently couldn’t satisfy that Distaff itch and have decided to forge ahead and supplement her to the race. Could it be the fact that she’s already defeated Royal Delta and they figure they might as well do it again? Depending on how the rest of the weekend unfolds, could this fifth G1 win help them make a strong case for Horse of the Year? Or, are they worried another filly, say BEHOLDER, could snatch the divisional Eclipse out of their hands with a Distaff score while they sat idly with their filly? I don’t have the answer, and frankly it doesn’t concern me too much because we get what we want: a rematch of the best in each female division.
Speaking of Beholder, do you think she likes this Santa Anita surface? We, of course, know the answer is a resounding “YES” as she has won five of six starts over the course for Dick Mandella including four G1s in races like the Santa Anita Oaks, last years’ B.C. Juvenile Fillies and the Zenyatta last out in her first try against her elders.
Beholder gets another crack at Princess of Sylmar as well as she Beholder was second in the Kentucky Oaks this season, duking it out early with Midnight Lucky on the front end where she was softened up just enough for Princess of Sylmar to run her down by just a ½ length. She returned from a four month layoff to win a minor stakes at Del Mar two back before her Zenyatta victory. While she figures to have some company on the front end in Royal Delta, I think the lead is hers if she really wants it.
Should CLOSE HATCHES pull off a Distaff upset, she could possibly be named champion three-year-old filly as well. After winning the first three starts of her career, including a win over Princess of Sylmar at this distance in the Gazelle, the normally speedy Close Hatches was taken well off the pace in the Kentucky Oaks and never seemed comfortable, trudging home a well beaten seventh before finishing a distant second to Midnight Lucky in the Acorn.
Close Hatches returned to her winning ways in emphatic fashion, galloping home over seven lengths ahead of Dreaming of Julia in the Mother Goose before a myriad of minor ailments kept her from the races for most of the summer. Close Hatches returned from a three month layoff in the Cotillion at Parx last out and came from just off the pace to win by a workmanlike two lengths.
The only other mare in the field, AUTHENTICITY has put together one heck of a resume this year after missing close to eighteen months of action coming into 2013. She hasn’t missed the board in eight starts, won a pair of graded stakes and finished second in the Ogden Phipps, Personal Ensign and Zenyatta, all grade 1s, behind Tiz Miz Sue, Royal Delta and Beholder, respectively. In the Zenyatta last out, she trailed early before grinding her way patiently to that runner-up award while finishing up nicely.
STREET GIRL has just two wins from a baker’s dozen starts in her career, a $65K maiden claiming score and a win in the Calder Oaks back in July over a sloppy track. She was flying last out when third to Close Hatches but is seemingly up against it in this spot.
The betting figures to be two-tiered in this, with Royal Delta, Beholder and Princess of Sylmar getting the bulk of the money followed by the rest. I personally don’t think the race is just between those three so I’m looking for value. With all of that said, I think one would be remiss to leave out the two-time champion.
Close Hatches should work out a perfect trip right in behind the speed. She’s not going to be double digit odds but a juicy 7-1 isn’t out of the question.
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