By Ray Wallin
Whether you are a casual racing fan or you make your living playing the races the Breeders’ Cup offers great excitement and value. The Breeders’ Cup Distaff has produced some great finishes from some great horses over the years. The BC Distaff has also featured three horses that have won the race twice, Bayakoa in 1990 and 1991, Royal Delta in 2011 and 2012, and Beholder in 2013 and 2016.
#1 Victory, Like Beauty, Is in the Nose of the Beholder
I may be paraphrasing Plato here, but in 2016 Beholder notched her second win in the BC Distaff after winning the race in 2013 but missing the 2014 and 2015 runnings. She would battle the favorite Songbird down the stretch. The two would be head bobs apart most of the way in a dramatic finish that would put Beholder a nose in front.
#2 “Don’t” Stopchargingmaria
In 2015, a horse named after owner Mike Repole’s wife, who apparently liked to spend their money, didn’t stop charging as she held off Stellar Wind in the stretch to win at a healthy 7-1. It would be Todd Pletcher’s second win and jockey Javier Castellano’s only win in the BC Distaff.
#3 Ending the Reign of Spain
In 2001, 10 horses had their sights set on defeating the reigning BC Distaff winner. One horse would succeed. Spain was clear by a few lengths for much of the stretch until Unbridled Elaine made a huge run down the center of the track to catch Spain a few yards in front of the wire in a thrilling finish.
#4 Beat You to the Punch
In 2007, Hystericalady and Ginger Punch were within heads of each other from the far turn until a few yards from the finish line with Ginger Punch finishing a neck in front in a dramatic finish in the slop at Monmouth Park with Octave closing late. This would be both Bobby Frankel’s and jockey Rafael Bejarano’s lone win in this race.
#5 Personal Ensign By a Nose
In 1988, the 1-2 favorite would need a huge late run to win at the wire. Personal Ensign ran down Winning Colors late to avoid the upset and gave jockey Randy Romero back-to-back wins in this race.
#6 Hooray for Hollywood
In 1993, jockey Eddie Delahoussaye would drop the whip while riding Hollywood Wildcat and still hold on by a nose to beat the 1992 winner, Paseana. This would be the second time that the duo of Delahoussaye and trainer Neil Drysdale would combine for a win after they won the inaugural running of the BC Distaff in 1984 with Princess Rooney.
#7 Dreaming of an Upset
In 1994, One Dreamer would get on the lead and never give it up. Heavenly Prize would run second most of the race and would try to close the gap late, but it would be to no avail. One Dreamer would hold on at the wire to score the 47-1 upset of favorite Hollywood Wildcat, who had won the race the year prior.
#8 An Amazing Scene
Escena, which is Spanish for scene, would barely hold on late to upset the late running favorite Banshee Breeze. The two would be alone through much of the stretch with the late charge of Banshee Breeze repelled as they hit the wire.
#9 She’s a Gem
In 1996, there were only six horses that went to post in the BC Distaff, but this didn’t mean there wouldn’t be a great stretch drive. Serena’s Song would get to the lead, but One Dreamer would rally up the rail to win this race late.
#10 Spain in an Upset
In 2000, Spain would find herself near the lead most of the way By the time she hit the stretch, she was even with Surfside and would work to put herself out further in front to capture the win in an upset at 55-1 over Surfside.
I could have easily made the case for another handful of Breeders’ Cup Distaff races to be on this list. Which one was your favorite and why?
Below are links to previously published Top Finishes in Breeders’ Cup races:
BC Filly & Mare Turf: https://www.usracing.com/news/top-5-breeders-cup-filly-mare-turf-finishes
BC Juvenile Fillies: https://www.usracing.com/news/top-10-breeders-cup-juvenile-fillies-finishes
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.