2018 Breeders’ Cup: Distaff Duel Looming

Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff Looks Exciting

A scintillating matchup between divisional leaders Monomoy Girl and Abel Tasman makes the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff one of the most compelling of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races to be held November 2-3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The $2 million Distaff, run at 1 1/8 miles, figures to serve as the perfect supporting act to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic as racing’s signature championship event is run under the Twin Spires for the ninth time.

Breeders' Cup Trophy, Churchill Downs

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Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stable, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stable’s Monomoy Girl rates as the undisputed leader of the 3-year-old filly division off a 5-for-5 record this year for trainer Brad Cox. The daughter of 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar has won four straight Grade I’s; Keeneland’s Ashland in April, the Kentucky Oaks Video at Churchill in May, Acorn at Belmont Park in June and Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga July 22, to seize control of the division and will put her 8-for-9 record on the line Saturday’s in Parx Racing’s Cotillion (GI). Monomoy Girl tuned up for the 1 1/16-mile race when she worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 September 16 at Churchill, giving Cox plenty of confidence for the Cotillion and beyond.

“We’ve faced a lot of these contenders before and we’ll probably have to face them again in November for the Breeders’ Cup,” Cox said. “She still has to perform to her top level, even though she’s beaten them before. Just like Monomoy is doing, these horses could be getting better as time goes on.”

China Horse Club International and Clearsky Farm’s Abel Tasman herself won the Oaks last year at Churchill before ultimately finishing second in the Distaff at Del Mar to cement a 3-Year-Old Filly championship for trainer Bob Baffert. The 4-year-old daughter of Quality Road has picked up where she left off this year and has won back-to-back Grade I “Win and You’re In” automatic qualifiers for the Distaff in Belmont’s Ogden Phipps in June and Saratoga’s Personal Ensign August 25. Abel Tasman is 8-for-14 lifetime and figures to train up to the Distaff.

Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s homebred Elate is the wildcard in the Distaff, should she start, as trainer Bill Mott has indicated he may run her in this year’s Classic. The 4-year-old daughter of 2010 Classic winner Blame was second, beaten just a neck in a roughly run Personal Ensign and won her only other start this year in the Delaware Handicap (GII) at Delaware Park in July. Elate, who is 5-for-12 lifetime, will prep for either the Distaff or Classic in Belmont’s October 6 Beldame (GI), a race she won last year before running fourth in the Distaff.

Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize (ARG), who earned a Distaff berth with her win in Churchill’s “Win and You’re In” Fleur de Lis (GII) in June and won Saturday’s Locust Grove at Churchill for trainer Ignacio Correas, is also pointing to race, as are standout 3-year-old fillies Eskimo Kisses, Midnight Bisou and Wonder Gadot, who have combined to win seven stakes this year. Chocolate Martini, Farrell, Ivy Bell, La Force and Mopotism could also start in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Source: Press Release

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Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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