2017 Breeders’ Cup Distaff Preview and Picks

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

October 9th, 2017

I was set to go all in on the Bob Baffert trained Vale Dori to win the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Then, Vale Dori's connections said that she'd skip the BC Distaff. Vale Dori could come back as one of the top mares in the U.S. in 2018.

Skipping the race did me no good, though. It forced me back to the drawing board. After looking at the possible contenders, I suddenly found a major key horse not only in the race, but also in all my exotics. Here are my revised 2017 Breeders' Cup Distaff Picks:

1. Paradise Woods

Sure, she faced a soft field in the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes. Neither Vale Dori nor Stellar Wind showed up to take on the Richard Mandella trained daughter of Union Rags. But, Paradise Woods ran incredibly fast. She won the 1 1/6 mile Zenyatta quite easily. What it tells me is that Paradise Woods is back.

Why am I putting Paradise Woods on top? That's an easy question answer. No horse in the race can run with her early. Only Stellar Wind, possibly, but even Stellar Wind is likely to allow Paradise Woods to grab an early lead.

With Songbird and, or, Vale Dori in the race, Paradise Woods might have been a throwout. Both of those mares would have challenged her on the front end. No other horse in the Distaff is going to challenge her now. Lone speed is lone speed. She's my key horse in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Distaff.

2. Stellar Wind

The John Sadler trainee loves Del Mar. Not only that, but she might be the only mare that stays close enough to Paradise Woods to have a shot to catch the frontrunner. Stellar Wind has put a beat down on Vale Dori each and every time the two brilliant mares have faced each other. That tells us how good of a racehorse Stellar Wind is. She'll be a short price. It's hard to look past her at least getting a share, though.

3. Elate

I've got the Bill Mott trained Grade 1 Beldame winner ahead of Abel Tasman because I feel that Elate has improved race to race. I'm not sure if Bob can get any more out of Abel Tasman that he's already gotten out of her. Elate, on the other hand, could pull off a shocker by upsetting Stellar Wind. If Paradise Woods bounces off her Zenyatta effort, Elate could be the one to take home the BC Distaff Trophy. She might try to keep up with Paradise Woods. Who knows? If she can, there's no telling how fast she actually runs.

4. Forever Unbridled

She's a straight closer. Her chances of pulling off the upset would have been a lot better if Songbird, Vale Dori, and Paradise Woods were in the race. Then again, she might be the only horse that can close into the fast fractions that Paradise Woods is likely to set. If that's the case, who knows? She could win the BC Distaff at what should be 10 to 1 odds or higher.

Paradise Woods won't be the favorite to win the 2017 Breeders Cup Distaff.  She'll be the horse I key in all exotics, both vertical and horizontal. I might play a couple of saver exacta and trifecta bets with Elate, Stellar Wind, and Forever Unbridled.