Tipsheet: Breeders' Cup Distaff 2021
The nine-furlong affair features seven contenders exiting graded stakes triumphs in what appears to be among the most exciting races of the weekend.
- #2 Royal Flag
- #3 Malathaat
- #6 Letruska
- #8 Shedaresthedevil
- #11 Dunbar Road
#1 PRIVATE MISSION (8-1) is a rising star coming off of a pair of superb graded victories, including a 6 1/2-length romp on this surface. Rising Bob Baffert pupil is bred to be a real good one, and she is living up to her pedigree in advance of her toughest test to date. Into Mischief filly will be in the hunt early from the rail under Flavien Prat.
#2 ROYAL FLAG (8-1) has never missed the board from 12 career performances and gets the upset nod for trainer Chad Brown. Candy Ride chestnut had an ideal prep race when dominating the Beldame S. (G2) around one turn at Belmont Park, and I like her chances to rally into a fast pace and get up late with Joel Rosario in the silks.
#3 MALATHAAT (4-1) will aim to clinch three-year-old filly championship honors with a victory in the affair for trainer Todd Pletcher. The standout sophomore filly is a head shy of being unbeaten in seven lifetime outings, and although she isn’t flashy, the Shadwell color bearer has a nose for the wire. Bay daughter of Curlin is training in swift fashion as of late, and she will be guided home by regular pilot John Velazquez.
#4 BLUE STRIPE (30-1) imports from South America and faces a daunting task in her stateside debut. The four-year-old filly is unbeaten from four tries on dirt in her career, but she will need a monstrous performance to upset this fine cast on Saturday. Frankie Dettori has the assignment.
#5 CLAIRIERE (12-1) broke through at the top level with a convincing tally in the Cotillion S. (G1) at Parx most recently. The top-three threat is a model of consistency and should receive a swift and contested pace to aid her closing style in the Distaff. Steve Asmussen trainee drilled four furlongs at Del Mar on Sunday to prepare for this affair.
#6 LETRUSKA (8-5) is a head shy of being undefeated this campaign and ranks as the one to beat. Morning line choice couldn’t be any better right now and will flaunt her considerable early speed. She has evolved into a super mare since having blinkers removed in December. Irad Ortiz will ride the imposing five-year-old.
#7 HOROLOGIST (30-1) was runner-up in the Beldame S. (G2) in preparation for the Distaff. Talented Bill Mott trainee has ample early foot and is proven at the trip, but she would need a lifetime topper to hit the board in this field. Junior Alvarado will be in the saddle.
#8 SHEDARESTHEDEVIL (4-1) showed an affinity for the Del Mar surface when recording a dominant triumph in the Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1) in August. Brad Cox pupil has a world of class and pace, and her top effort will give her a chance inside the final furlong. Florent Geroux retains the mount.
#9 AS TIME GOES BY (15-1) is a dual Grade 2 heroine coming off a solid prep when second best in the Zenyatta S. (G2) at Santa Anita. But the American Pharoah four-year-old has not run well at Del Mar in the past, and she would be something of a surprise against these ladies. Luis Saez is named to ride.
#10 MARCHE LORRAINE (30-1) ships in from Japan for her U.S. bow as a longshot. The five-year-old bay has a lot of quality to her, but this seems like an awfully ambitious spot for the mare. Oisin Murphy will be in the stirrups.
#11 DUNBAR ROAD (15-1) looked ready for retirement earlier this campaign, but her last two efforts make her a top-four player despite drawing widest in the cast. The Chad Brown charge was third in the 2020 Distaff, and she is rounding back into top form currently. Spinster S. (G1) runner-up fired a bullet five furlongs for her final work in advance of Saturday.