$2 MILLION BREEDERS' CUP DISTAFF AT KEENELAND
Saturday, November 7, 2020
The 14-race Breeders' Cup Championship spans Friday and Saturday at historic Keeneland, and one of the major matchups everyone wants to see comes in the $2 million Distaff. Saturday's 10th of 12 races on the card, the 1-1/8 miles Distaff has a field of 10 with 2 very special performers. It's part of a $2 million-guaranteed late pick five on Saturday on Races 8-12, culminating in the $6 million Classic.
The Grade 1 winners abound with MONOMOY GIRL and SWISS SKYDIVER dominating the marquee. Additional Grade 1 winners include CE CE, DUNBAR ROAD, VALIANCE and OLLIE'S CANDY. It's a Who's Who in the Distaff division, as it should be with the title on the line.
LADY KATE may be fastest and with the most intent on going to the front. SWISS SKYDIVER could be first or second early and no one would be surprised. MONOMOY GIRL, HARVEST MOON, HOROLOGIST, OLLIE'S CANDY and VALIANCE will be in a crowded, pressing flight. The pace should be honest to fast, but these top-quality runners are accustomed to that.
The 2018 Distaff queen MONOMOY GIRL has come back at age 5 and looked as good as ever, winning all 3 starts since missing the 2019 campaign. Her remarkable 14: 12-2-0 ledger has been attained at the highest levels of the Distaff division and she has a quality, first-over running style reminiscent of the great Cigar. She keeps in touch, advances into the turn and asserts her command in the lane.
SWISS SKYDIVER's 2020 American Tour has been something like we haven't seen since Cigar in the mid-90s (to continue the comparisons). Gulfstream Park Oaks, Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds, Fantasy at Oaklawn, Santa Anita Oaks, Blue Grass at Keeneland, Alabama at Saratoga, Kentucky Oaks at Churchill and the historic Preakness victory at Pimlico. Talk about a year for the history books! Her last 7 races of her 9-race season have resulted in a 7: 5-2-0 record. SWISS SKYDIVER gets in at 121 pounds, 3 fewer than her elder rival MONOMOY GIRL. That won't hurt, but it's not a remarkable edge to sway an opinion based solely on weights.
The big 2 will be difficult to dethrone. But there's depth to consider with HARVEST MOON, unbeaten on dirt in 4 tries, including the Zenyatta at Santa Anita; the 1-2-3 finishers in the spring's Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn, namely CE CE, OLLIE'S CANDY and POINT OF HONOR; millionaire 2020 DelCap winner DUNBAR ROAD, who could get a great trip from mid-pack; and the ever-improving local Grade 1 Spinster winner VALIANCE, who not only pocketed the historically important prep race, but did so over this year's Distaff host track.
Most Certain Exotics Contender: MONOMOY GIRL has never run a bad race, has had success at Keeneland and her light campaign has her plenty fresh for the main event at hand.
Best Longshot Exotics Contender: POINT OF HONOR should have plenty of pace in front of her to make a late run for a share, as she is known to do. She doesn't win often, but never misfires. A bottom of the tri or superfecta at 20-1 or more is not a stretch.
Sending it in ($100 bankroll): I'm going to be brassy late in the day Saturday in looking to pair MONOMOY GIRL with runners I like in the next two races. The intra-race exotics in the Distaff will be hard to create value as I trust the 2 favorites. Here goes a shot to score big ... $100 pick three MONOMOY GIRL with MAGICAL with TOM'S D'ETAT.