The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff highlights the four-race Breeders’ Cup slate at Del Mar Friday and the 1 1/8-mile event will be key for my multi-race wagers.
Here are my thoughts on the sequence:
Juvenile Fillies Turf:
Aidan O’Brien is an 11-time Breeders’ Cup race winner but none have come in the Juvenile Fillies. That could easily change this year as the Irish-based conditioner will send out a pair of top contenders in #2 Happily and #10 September. The former exits back-to-back Group 1 wins while the latter has placed in a pair of Group 1 races and appears to favor good-to-firm conditions. Won’t leave either out of the equation.
#11 Rushing Fall must avoid leaving herself too much to do but certainly brings a dynamic late kick to the equation, posting visually-impressive wins in both appearances. Chad Brown will be seeking his fourth Juvenile Fillies Turf victory and Rushing Fall could be finishing fastest of all with Javier Castellano. #7 Capla Temptress showed talent overseas before being sent to North America and earned her first group/graded score when capturing the Natalma (G1) at Woodbine. She’s been transferred to 10-time Breeders’ Cup race winner Bill Mott and the Natalma has produced three of the last four American-based winners of this race (Catch a Glimpse, Stephanie’s Kitten and More Than Real). Capla Temptress is receiving little buzz and figures to be overlooked in the wagering, but I won’t be surprised to see her keep moving forward with a strong showing.
The above quartet will be used exclusively on two of my Pick 4 plays and I’ll spread 12-deep on the main ticket.
It will be interesting to see how things shake out on the front end with Mor Spirit (returning from 146-day hiatus) and Sharp Azteca bringing plenty of speed to the equation. I’m willing to take a stand against both.
#7 Awesome Slew is my top choice. A clear to Drefong in the Forego (G1) two back, the 4-year-old colt looks to be hitting his best stride for Mark Casse off an excellent win in the September 30 Ack Ack (G3) at Churchill Downs. I loved how the 4-year-old displayed improved tactical speed last time and finished with authority to defeat an up-and-coming talent in The Player. If he doesn’t drop too far off the Dirt Mile pace, Awesome Slew can begin to make his presence felt on the far turn and should be in position to win turning for home.
#10 Practical Joke has the profile I like: his BRIS Speed and Late Pace numbers have improved significantly in his last two starts under nine furlongs and the sophomore brings peaking form to this engagement. The outside post and late-running style are a concern at Del Mar, but Practical Joke remains a serious win contender in my estimation and will be used on all tickets.
#7 Cupid and #8 Accelerate will be used as back-ups in the Pick 4.
Euros have excelled in the Juvenile Turf, winning seven of the 10 runnings, and they bring a strong hand with six of the 14 runners in the main body of the field. Group 2 winner #7 James Garfield and Group 1-placed #6 Masar will be included on all tickets.
I will take a swing at an upset in this event with #11 Snapper Sinclair. A convincing maiden winner when trying the turf at Saratoga in his second career outing, the City Zip colt continued to show a lethal turn of foot when capturing the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf in hand, winning by a 1 ¾-length margin that could’ve been much bigger. The big-bodied Steve Asmussen trainee raced up close in both wins and could get the jump on the late runners here.
The above trio will be used exclusively on a pair of tickets and I’ll spread nine-deep on the other.
#5 Elate is my best bet on the Friday program. Trained by five-time Distaff winner Bill Mott, the 3-year-old filly exits a pair of smashing wins in the Alabama (G1) and Beldame (G1) in which she registered 108 BRIS Speed ratings. Those are easily the top recent numbers in the field and the stalker can receive the right trip with her tactical foot.
#7 Paradise Woods is the only other runner I will use on a back-up ticket given the potential for her to get clear early. The multiple Grade 1 winner is in good hands with nine-time Breeders’ Cup race winner Richard Mandella and eligible to keep moving forward off an easy tally in the September 30 Zenyatta (G1) at Santa Anita.
Pick 4 Tickets
The Pick 4 kicks off in the 6th race and here are the tickets I will be playing:
1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 with 5,10 with 1,2,3,5,6,7,8,10,11 with 5 ($108)
2,7,10,11 with 7,8 with 6,7,11 with 5 ($12)
2,7,10,11 with 5,10 with 6,7,11 with 7 ($12)
Good luck Friday!