The two big fillies’ races at the Breeders’ Cup are shaping up to be blockbuster affairs, and in the latest of our series of early previews we examine how the star quartet of Nest, Malathaat, Clairiere and Society fit into the G1 Distaff, and also run the rule over the strong European challenge for the G1 Filly & Mare Turf, with shippers Nashwa and Dreamloper taking on Chad Brown’s stars In Italian and Rougir. Here’s our Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top Horses Preview.
Breeders’ Cup Distaff
G1, $2,000,000, 1m 1f, 3yo+ fillies/mares, Keeneland, November 5
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff is one of the most eagerly awaited races at the world championships, featuring not only a clash between the best of two generations but an intramural duel between barnmates.
The two big beasts are Nest and Malathaat, shedrow buddies at Todd Pletcher’s barn who have cut a swathe through their respective divisions this year. Nest was second-best in the G1 Kentucky Oaks and, remarkably, in the G1 Belmont Stakes against males but has been flawless since, racking up wide-margin wins in the G1 CCA Oaks and G1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga and in the mile-eighth G2 Beldame at Aqueduct. She has the three-year-old filly Eclipse Award under lock and key.
Malathaat was last year’s recipient of that award and has continued her sparkling form, looking particularly strong when winning the mile-eighth G1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga by a half-length from Search Results, who is always a pace angle, and then romping in the G1 Spinster over this course and distance. She is absolutely rock-solid but the impression is that Nest is something special.
It isn’t just a two-horse race either. Society was a well-beaten fourth behind Nest in the CCA Oaks but has blossomed since then, and was hugely impressive when going gate-to-wire to win the G1 Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing by five and three-quarter lengths. If she can move up a little more her front-running style could prove very effective.
Then there’s her barnmate Clairiere, who outfought Malathaat to win the G1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park by a head (Search Results third) and then beat her again in the G2 Shuvee at Saratoga. Her resume took a hit when she ran a lifeless last in the Personal Ensign, but she cut her tongue when breaking from the gate and it looks a throwout. Where Malathaat finishes at Keeneland, Clairiere will be right there too.
Such is the strength of this quartet that only a few are likely to take them on. G2 Ruffian winner Search Results has ground to make up on Malathaat and Clairiere and the Distaff’s mile-eighth stretches her stamina; Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath has had a long, hard season and has already been well beaten by Nest (twice) and Society; former Argentine mare Blue Stripe was impressive in victory in the G1 Clement L Hirsch at Del Mar over a mile-sixteenth, and is a tough cookie who should go well but has yet to prove she’s on the same level as the major players.
The once-mighty Letruska is regressing now and more likely to head for the Filly & Mare Sprint, Kathleen O. has been on the bench since the Kentucky Oaks, while Matareya, Midnight Memories and Shedaresthedevil are very unlikely runners.
Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top Horses Odds & Betting Prediction
Forgive Clairiere her last start and she is probably the best older filly, but NEST has looked rather special this summer and is the pick of a very strong field.
|HORSE||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
G1, $2,000,000, 1m 3/16 turf, 3yo+ fillies/mares, Keeneland, November 5
The score in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf over the last ten years reads Europe 5, Chad Brown 4, Japan 1, so that gives a pretty good snapshot of how the race can be approached.
Brown is expected to send three to the gate in a bid to improve on his already fine record, with the front-running In Italian his main chance following her victories in the G1 Diana at Saratoga (Rougir and Dalika fourth and fifth) and the G1 First Lady here over a mile, when she toughed it out on the lead to score by a length.
The extra yardage of the F&M Turf may allow In Italian an easier time on the front end and she should see out the distance without fuss. Her barnmate Rougir beat the subsequently disqualified Moira – also a candidate for this race – by a neck in the G1 EP Taylor at Woodbine but would need more now, while Brown’s third-string Virginia Joy shocked the mighty War Like Goddess in the G2 Flower Bowl at Saratoga over a mile and three-eighths, but may not be helped by cutting back in distance. Regal Glory goes instead for the BC Mile, Haughty is very unlikely and Bleecker Street is injured.
The European challenge is led by Nashwa, winner of the G1 Diane at Chantilly and the G1 Nassau at Goodwood over ten furlongs, and only narrowly beaten on unsuitably soft ground in the ten-furlong G1 Opera at Longchamp, finishing a short head ahead of Above The Curve, who may well renew rivalry in this race. Nashwa has been aimed at the F&M Turf for much of the year and the slight reduction in yardage won’t be an issue.
Fellow British raider Dreamloper was fifth behind Nashwa in the Nassau but next time out won the G1 Moulin over a mile at Longchamp, and this intermediate distance should suit, while the Irish G1 winner Tuesday has been campaigned over a mile and a half and isn’t certain to appreciate cutting back, although her stakes-winning barnmate Toy is a late bloomer and a speedier type. Neither Inspiral nor With The Moonlight will travel.
The home defence also includes the in-form Dalika, who made much of the running when winning the G1 Beverly D at Churchill Downs in August (Family Way third, Rougir fifth), and Californian mare Going To Vegas, who returned to the winner’s circle after a year-long losing streak when beating Family Way in the G1 Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita, although more is needed from both if they are to make an impact on the big day.
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Odds & Betting Pick
Nashwa looks the best of the European party, but the trailblazing IN ITALIAN is on a G1 roll at present and can provide Chad Brown with yet another victory in this race.
|HORSE||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|With The Moonlight||+1200|
|Going To Vegas||+2500|
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