The Breeders’ Cup Distaff is one of the main events of the horse racing season for the ladies and the 2018 edition is a very interesting puzzle.
The top fillies and mares are all assembled and most of them have versatile pace styles, making it hard to determine how the race will unfold.
This opens the doors for an exciting race and surprises are possible but the favorite in the race has some very strong credentials
Analysis and picks for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, 9th race at Churchill Downs on November 3rd 2018:
Number 1, CHAMPAGNE PROBLEMS switched to graded stakes races over the summer and has been racing pretty well, winning one and finishing a close second to today’s Blue Prize twice. She might have run into traffic problems last out but I am not sure that it was such a factor in the loss and the eventual winner actually had a harder trip in my book. CHAMPAGNE PROBLEMS still has a few things to prove at this class level and she might again be boxed inside so it might be best to leave her out of the betting today.
Number 2 ABEL TASMAN inexplicably failed to make ground after starting off slow last out and had a terrible race as the favorite. Today she has a chance to redeem herself and based on her workouts she is ready to go. But starting on the inside with a likely slow start will mean a hard trip ahead and ABEL TASMAN has had a few bad races this year already. If she is at her best and lucky, she definitely has the class to prevail but as one of the favorites today, I think that there is enough concerns to take a pass and look for value elsewhere.
Number 3, LA FORCE finished strongly in the last race but this late running style coupled with an inside post position might put her in racing traffic and limit her chances today. LA FORCE has never won at the Graded stakes level and has actually not won much overall so her taking the first prize today would be a surprise. A place is not out of the question but unlikely as well.
Number 4, MOPOTISM is about in the same class position as La Force but at least she has won a Grade 2 earlier this year. That was at a Mile and it looks like MOPOTISM is better on shorter so that’s not going to be easy for her today on that front too. MOPOTISM works for an in-form trainer and shows some good workouts but I don’t think that it will be enough here.
Number 5 WONDER GADOT has had a few good races in her career but has been pretty disappointing at the Grade 1 level so far. She has been beaten by Monomoy Girl and others multiple times for instance. WONDER GADOT has good tactical speed so should be able to set herself in a good position for the stretch. I am not sure that she has what it takes to win here despite some great workouts.
Number 6, VERVE’S TALE has not won a race so far this year but did place third multiple times. Her Beyer Speed figures were pretty bad in each of these tries so on speed and class she seems outmatched here.
Number 7, MIDNIGHT BISOU had to travel wide throughout her last race, was a bit. Impeded in the stretch, and still almost beat Monomoy Girl to the wire. With an easier trip, she might have won that race by herself but the stewards recognized the illegal move by Monomoy girl and placed her first after the fact. MIDNIGHT BISOU is pretty slow footed and we can expect her to drop back in the early goings which might not be advantageous here. Still, her workouts are stellar and so are the recent performances of her trainer so she is certainly in peak condition. If she can remain in contention by the start of the stretch, she has a great chance.
Number 8, VALE DORI managed to win her first Grade 1 stakes about a month ago against some of today’s rivals but that was not a super fast win and actually her 2018 campaign is not very impressive. 2017 was a different story and VALE DORI did great in multiple Graded stakes then. It looks like VALE DORI has lost a step but she has enough early speed to be well placed throughout so a place is not out of the question.
Number 9, WOW CAT was undefeated in her native Chile and had to acclimate here in the US before she finally won a Grade 1 last month at Belmont Park for top trainer Chad Brown. It was a relatively easy win and WOW CAT managed to sit just behind the leaders throughout which should be a winning strategy today if she can repeat. That win was in a pretty slow time however and WOW CAT was pushed pretty hard by the jockey in the stretch so I am not sure how much faster she can go and she will need to go faster to win today…
Number 10, BLUE PRIZE had a pretty tough race last out, being parked outside throughout and might have to repeat the feat today with again a bad gate position. The track might be favoring outside horses however so maybe today it will play to her advantage. In the last race she ran erratically which is worrying but it might have been a one off thing. BLUE PRIZE has some early speed so she probably can find a place near the lead and unleash in the stretch. She has proven repeatedly that she can win at this distance and on this track and has beaten many of today’s opposition this year. BLUE PRIZE has a prime chance, granted that she manages to run straight in the stretch this time.
Number 11, MONOMOY GIRL had a grounds saving trip throughout her last race and was almost beaten by a strong Midnight Bisou who had a pretty bad trip. To me it looks like that race could have gone either way, especially because MONOMOY GIRL might have impeded her rival’s chances in the stretch with some erratic running. Today MONOMOY GIRL starts from the far outside which might force her to travel wide all the way. That adds distance but based on recent trends, that part of the track might be better at Churchill Downs. MONOMOY GIRL has been working out great leading to this one and might notch a 6th Grade 1 win in a row but the odds will be too short to warrant a win bet on her I think.
MIDNIGHT BISOU might very well have beaten MONOMOY GIRL fair and square when they last met with a better trip. She has another chance today and if the odds are good enough, it is worth betting on it.
Another horse with a prime chance is BLUE PRIZE. She should be able to settle in a stalker position and the outside post position might be helpful today.
NOVEMBER 3rd BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF AT CHURCHILL DOWNS BETTING PICKS:
WIN BET at 7-1 or more on MIDNIGHT BISOU
Exacta Box 7-11-10
Trifecta Box 7-11-10
Superfecta Box 7-11-10-9