After being the feature race on the Friday, the $2 million Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) (run for part of its history as the Ladies Classic) returns to its traditional home on Championship Saturday. Contested at 1 1/8 miles over the main track for older fillies and mares, it usually decides Champion Older Female and Champion 3-Year-Old Filly. Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) winner and Cotillion Stakes (G1) runner-up (by DQ) Monomoy Girl was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 11. In to challenge her included 9-4 second choice Abel Tasman, last year's Distaff runner-up but 5th in the Zenyatta Stakes (G1) after winning the gden Phipps (G1) and Personal Ensign (G1), and 6-1 third choice Midnight Bisou, who was placed first in the Cotillion after Monomoy Girl was disqualified.
Down the stretch with Monomoy Girl on the lead.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent 19-1 Wonder Gadot to the front first time past the stands and she set fractions of 23.39, 47.57, and 1:12.11 while pressed by Monomoy Girl and stalked by Abel Tasman. On the far turn Abel Tasman and Wonder Gadot both tired allowing Monomoy Girl to inherit the lead through 1 mile in 1:36.67. Under confident handling by jockey Florent Geroux, Monomoy Girl easily held off late-running 13-2 Wow Cat by a length for the win in 1:49.79. It was another 1/2 length back to Midnight Bisou third.
Left: Monomoy Girl heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brad Cox, celebrating his first Breeders' Cup victory said, "She ran the way she was training. She was training like a monster and she ran like a monster. She is a special filly, one of a kind, an unbelievable filly."
Right: Trophy presentation for the Distaff with the gigantic ownership group. Co-owner Sol Kumin said, "When you think about kind of going on a journey with a horse like this, the partners make a big part of it. You know, the four of us and our partners on a lot of horses together, we've had a lot of good ones and a lot of not good ones, and when you get one like this, you really learn to enjoy it and enjoy spending the time together."
Left: Monomoy Girl heads out for the post parade. Winning jockey Florent Geroux said, – "It was a great trip. She was super-sharp. I was able to lay second off Wonder Gadot. I went to the lead past the three-furlong mark and from there she just kept on going all the way to the wire. This is a filly with great tactical speed and she loves to win. She's just unbelievable."
Right: Monomoy Girl heads back to the barn after the race. Kumin added, "I think we will take a look at the Pegasus. I think it's a good distance for her. She gets a little bit of a break before the race. Speed favoring track at Gulfstream. She'll get obviously a little bit of a weight break."
Left: Monomoy Girl in the paddock before the race.
Right: Eight members of her ownership group lead Monomoy Girl to the winner's circle. Co-owner Michael Dubb said, "I don't think it struck me how good she was until the Coaching Club this summer and the way she just went around there. Then I realized maybe this is one for the ages, not just a champion but one for the ages. She's clearly demonstrated that, but all the credit goes to Liz Crow, who picked her out, and Brad Cox, who just did a meticulous job. I have never seen a horse racing plan executed to the level of perfection, starting back in January. Every move he made was just perfect.
Left: Second place finisher Wow Cat heads out of the paddock before the race. Trainer Chad Brown said, "We lost some position early; breaking a step slowly from that post. Jose cut the corner, using good judgment, I thought, on the good part of the racetrack throughout the stretch. She just came up short. I think, at the end of the day, Monomoy Girl showed she's an outstanding filly and deserving winner. Our filly has shown that she's continuing to improve. Who knows, maybe with a better post, we would have made it a little closer at the wire."
Right: Third place finisher Midnight Bisou enters the paddock before the race. Jockey John Velazquez said, "She was trying to overrun it. She's trying to get a hold of it and the racetrack comes out from under her. Even when she's running she's having a tough time getting a hold of it. As soon as we got to the first turn I knew, she was trying to get a good grip on it. She still ran a good race."
The field breaks from the gate for the Distaff. Mike Smith aboard eventual last place finisher Abel Tasman (2) said, "I wish I knew what was wrong with her.
I wish it was something I can tell you so we can fix it." Trainer Bob Baffert added, "She just quit. She just quit running.Sometimes they do that. I thought she was in a good spot, Mike got aggressive with her, but she just doesn't want to run anymore it looks like."
Saturday at the Breeders' Cup - Saturday had 9 Grade 1 Championship races, headlined by the Breeders' Cup Classic won by favorite Accelerate over Gunnevera and Thunder Snow. Also on the card, Enable won the Turf, Monomoy Girl won the Distaff, Expert Eye won the Mile, Roy H repeated in the Sprint, Sistercharlie won the Filly & Mare Turf, City of Light won the Dirt Mile, Stormy Liberal repeated in the Turf Sprint, and Shamrock Rose won the Filly & Mare Sprint. Get the results, charts, and photos here. More photos: Classic - Turf - Distaff - Mile - Sprint - F/M Turf - Dirt Mile - Turf Sprint - F/M Sprint
Breeders' Cup Weather - Check out the latest weather forecasts for the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs. Looks rainy and cold right now.
Review: Crushing the Cup 2018 - by Jim Mazur and Peter Mallett. An invaluable tool for trying to unlock the mysteries of handicapping the Breeders' Cup races at Churchill Downs. Updated for 2018, this is their 27th anniversary edition and seventh for Churchill Downs.
2017 Breeders' Cup Wrap Up - Records set, statistics, first-time winning jockeys and trainers, how previous winners finished, and more for the 34th running of the Breeders' Cup at Del Mar.
2017 Breeders' Cup Friday - There were four Breeders' Cup races on Friday at Del Mar headlined by the Distaff (G1) where Forever Unbridled held off Abel Tasman to win by a half length. Also on the card, Rushing Fall won the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Battle of Midway won the Dirt Mile (G1), and Mendelssohn won the Juvenile Turf (G1). Get the results, charts, and photos for all 8 stakes on the card. More photos: Juvenile Turf -
Juvenile Fillies Turf - Dirt Mile - Distaff
The Breeders' Cup Championship Day - The official page for the Breeders' Cup championship races. Just about anything you need to know about it: results, video clips, and race calls for past years, and eventually nominations, entries, and results.
Free Prep Replays - for major prep races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge. The ones with camera logos have video available.
Breeders' Cup Supplemental Entries - The old official policy on supplemental entries plus all the supplemental entries and how they fared, mostly it was a losing proposition. There are no more supplements now, only late nominations making it impossible to track since the change.