In the days leading up to the 38th Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar in California, usracing.com is publishing profiles on the horses in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Saturday, Nov. 6). The profiles will be updated following the post-position draw on Monday, Nov. 1
By Ray Wallin
This 5-year-old mare is fresh off an impressive stalking win as a big favorite against a field that contained the returning champion Horologist in the Beldame Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park in October.
Chad Brown’s assistant noted that “this year Royal Flag has obviously taken a big step forward,” and she has steadily improved since winning her first graded stakes at Aqueduct last fall.
Brown opted to run her close to home in her final prep before the Distaff.
“I want to give her a chance to get to the Breeders’ Cup by running her out of her own stall and not giving her a long ship here and back, and obviously avoiding Letruska,” Brown said before the race.
Avoiding Letruska gave Joel Rosario the perfect pace for Royal Flag to run her race. “She broke really well. We were up a little bit in the race today,” as Horologist set a contested early pace with Miss Marissa on her tail.
She was no match for the favored strong front-runner Letruska two back in the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga, which is something she will need to overcome, since there’s no avoiding the top-rated female in the Distaff.
“I do have a lot of respect for Letruska,” Brown said. “She’s the clear leader of the division; she’ll be tough to beat. But coming within a half-length of her and our filly continuing to get a little faster and a little stronger, hopefully she can make up that half-length.”
Despite that minor setback, she has been steadily improving in her 2021 campaign. She missed by a head to fellow Distaff entrant Bonny South in the Baird Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland in April, but then came back to catch Horologist in the stretch to take the Shuvee (G3) at Saratoga.
Royal Flag looks to be Chad Brown’s best chance to win the Distaff since Plum Pretty almost wired the field in 2011. Brown’s Dunbar Road is also pre-entered for the Distaff.
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Chad Brown
Owner: W.S. Farish
Career record: 12-6-3-3
Career earnings: $573,020
Top Equibase speed figure: 111
Pedigree: Candy Ride -Sea Gull, by Mineshaft
Running style: Stalker/closer
Betting advice: Royal Flag’s best opportunity to win is if the early pace is pressured so she can sit back in the middle to the back of the pack and make a late run.
Notes: Chad Brown was an assistant trainer to Bobby Frankel and stepped up for him to saddle and win the 2007 Distaff with Ginger Punch before starting his own stable. Brown has won 15 Breeders’ Cup races, 13 of them on the turf, and is looking for his first Distaff win out of his own stable … He’s won the Filly & Mare Turf four times and the Juvenile Fillies Turf five times …
|1||Private Mission||8-1||Bob Baffert||Flavien Prat|
|2||Royal Flag||8-1||Chad Brown||Joel Rosario|
|3||Malathaat||4-1||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher|
|4||Blue Stripe (ARG)||30-1||Lafranco Dettori||Marcelo Polanco|
|5||Clairiere||12-1||Ricardo Santa Ana,Jr||Steven Asmussen|
|6||Letruska||8-5||Fausto Gutierrez||Irad Ortiz, Jr.|
|7||Horologist||30-1||William Mott||Junior Alvarado|
|8||Shedaresthedevil||4-1||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux|
|9||As Time Goes By||15-1||Bob Baffert||Luis Saez|
|10||Marche Lorraine (JPN)||30-1||Yoshito Yahagi||Oisin Murphy|
|11||Dunbar Road||15-1||Chad Brown||Jose L. Ortiz|
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.
Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.
Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.
Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at www.jerseycapper.blogspot.com Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.