2017 Breeders' Cup Distaff Top 5

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D.S. Williamson

September 13th, 2017

With Songbird's retirement, I thought it would make sense to come out with updated Breeders' Cup Distaff Rankings. My Top 5 is listed below. I haven't placed the 5 fillies and mares in order of preference. Instead, I've just listed them. All 5 figure to prep one more time before the Breeders' Cup Distaff on Nov. 3.

Abel Tasman

She's been one of the best fillies or mares in the nation since winning the Kentucky Oaks in early May. The daughter of Quality Road broke her maiden at Del Mar. She shouldn't have an issue with the surface. Now that jockey Mike Smith's original Distaff mount, the venerable Songbird, has retired, he can jump aboard this Bob Baffert trainee for the Distaff run.

Vale Dori

Vale Dori's second place finish in the Clemen L. Hirsch really impressed me. It's tough to hold off a quality mare like Stellar Wind when she's racing to the outside of you. Vale Dori ran about as well as she could have.

One thing to note about Vale Dori, another trained by Mr. Baffert, is that she could possibly get a much easier lead in the BC Distaff than she did in either the Beholder Mile, or the Clement L. Hirsch. If no mare or filly presses her early in the 2017 Distaff, she could pull an Adoration. Adoration skipped away to a front-running score in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Stellar Wind

She's obviously the class of the filly and mare division now that Songbird has retired. The only issue with Stellar Wind is that she appeared to be the class of the division last year. She had beaten Beholder and entered the BC Distaff as one of the favorites. She was terrible in the 2016 BC Distaff. Has she already peaked? Will she peak in the Zenyatta Stakes? There are some questions about the best mare in the nation.

Forever Unbridled

What a gutsy win over champion Songbird in the Personal Ensign! I thought she ran lights out. She also finished third in the 2016 BC Distaff behind Beholder and Songbird. There's definitely some things to like about Forever Unbridled's chances of winning the Distaff on Nov. 3. There's also a major question: will she get the pace needed to catch Vale Dori?


She impressed in the Grade 1 Alabama. The key for Elate will be whether or not she improves off the win. I like her pattern. She finished second to Abel Tasman in the Coaching Club American Oaks before winning the Alabama. Her stalking style should give her a shot. Bill Mott is a master horseman. I'm definitely keeping Elate on my Breeders' Cup Distaff radar.