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Breeders' Cup Distaff Picks 2017
Distaff Entries and Odds
Ove the past 10 years of the Distaff, the winner's odds have averaged just under 4-1, with no double-digit long shots winning during that span. In fact, over the entire 32 year history of the race, the favorite has won 14 times.
With that in mind, it's expected that the John Sadler-trained Stellar Wind will go to the gate as favorite for the 2017 Distaff. A five-year-old Virginia bred, she'll be taking her third shot at the Distaff title, having finished second in 2015, and fourth last year. She's won 10 of 15 lifetime starts and is 3-for-3 this year, all three of those Grade 1 victories. The most recent of those came in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes over the Del Mar dirt, a race she has won twice in a row.
The concern for Stellar Wind is that she hasn't really dominated any of those races. The last two she won by just a neck in both, and prior to that she won by just over a length against a somewhat weak field. The 1 1/8 miles of the Distaff is likely the very outer limit of her distance, and she'll come into the race off a layoff of more than three months.
Three Year Old Has Steadily Improved
In a race that features several top three-year-old filllies, Elate has slowly made her way to the top of the class. She skipped the Kentucky Oaks and other major races for fillies in the spring, and as recently as May ran second in an allowance race at Churchill. Since then she's won three of four, the last two of those being Grade 1 events.
She blew away a very good field last out in the (G1) Beldame at Belmont Park, and did the same in winning by more than five lengths two starts back in the (G1) Alabama at Saratoga. For her, distance won't be an issue. Trainer Bill Mott has won the Distaff five times.
Third in the Distaff last year, Forever Unbridled is a well-travelled five-year-old mare who has improved with age, having finished in the money in nine consecutive races dating back to November of 2015, with six wins in that span, three of those at the Grade 1 level. She comes into the Distaff on a two race winning streak, having bested superstar filly Songbird last out in the (G1) Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga. While she has yet to race at Del Mar, she's versatile enough to have won races at seven different tracks during her career.
Always a factor at the Breeders' Cup, trainer Bob Baffert sends out Abel Tasman, who went-last-to-first to win the 2017 Kentucky Oaks over a very sloppy Churchill Downs track back in May. She proved that was no fluke by winning the (G1) Acorn Stakes and (G1) Coaching Club America Oaks at Saratoga over the summer, the second of those by a head over Elate, before running second last time in the (G1) Cotillion.
Since finishing off the board in her first career start, she has been first or second in nine consecutive races, although the Distaff will be her first time facing older mares.
Also due some consideration is another three-year-old filly in Paradise Woods. She was favored for the Kentucky Oaks but burned out in a suicidal speed duel on the lead to fade to 11th. She stumbled at the start of her next start at Del Mar and had no impact, but showed a return to form last race by going wire-to-wire to win the (G1) Zenyatta Stakes by more than five lengths. Expect her to show lots of early speed.
The Distaff goes Friday, November 3 from Del Mar race track in Del Mar, California. It's race #4 on the first day of the Breeders' Cup, with an expected post time of 7:35 PM Eastern.
- Champagne Room (20-1)
- Stellar Wind (2-1)
- Mopotism ( 40-1)
- Able Tasman (15-2)
- Elate (3-1)
- Forever Unbridled (11/4)
- Paradise Woods (6-1)
- Romantic Vision (25-1)
- #5 - Elate
- #2 - Stellar Wind
- #6 - Forever Unbridled
- #4 - Able Tasman
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