Breeders’ Cup Distaff Notes

December 10, 2019

Calamity Kate - New Jersey-based trainer Kelly Breen will send out a trio of Breeders’ Cup hopefuls – Calamity Kate in the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Bold Quality in the Juvenile Fillies and Stonetastic in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

“They’re all good – looking good, eating good. We’re having a good time in Kentucky,” he said. “Everybody galloped one mile. Just an easy, routine, last minute – just get them around safe gallop. We had two go out before the (maintenance) break, and two after. The track is good. It’s firm. They’re pushing all the water out of it.”

(Curalina, Got Lucky, Stopchargingmaria) – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s trio of Distaff candidates, as well as his other Breeders’ Cup entrants, galloped over the Keeneland training track Thursday morning.

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Curalina, a 3yo daughter of Curlin, will be facing older fillies and mares, including Got Lucky and Stopchargingmaria, for the first time in the Distaff.

“I think by now when you get to the end of October, 3-year-old fillies have matured and they’re seasoned enough that it shouldn’t be an issue running against older. In spring or summer, you might not want to do it,” Pletcher said. “You could argue that 3-year-olds have an advantage, in that they’re a little fresher and a little more lightly raced in some instances, but still have experience.”

I’m a Chatterbox – Fletcher and Carolyn Gray’s I’m a Chatterbox left Barn 68 just after the break on Thursday morning and galloped a half-mile on the main track under trainer Larry Jones up to the starting gate, stood in the gate and jogged back to the gap to return to the barn.

The Grade 1-winning daughter of Munnings will attempt to claim a 3-year-old filly title with a victory in the Distaff. She breaks from the rail under Florent Geroux.

“I took her up there and let her sit in the gate. I figure since we go in first, she might as well get used to standing there for a while,” Jones said. “All we know is that she’s doing as well as she can do and then lead her over there.”

Frivolous – Trainer Vicki Oliver will be sending out her second Breeders’ Cup starter when Frivolous goes in Friday’s Distaff. She was fourth with Forest Legend in the 2010 Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The 5yo Frivolous has really come into her own the last two years, and normally is right there at the wire. In the Distaff, all of them will have to contend with a bulky 14-horse field.

“It does look like there’s a lot of speed in the race,” Oliver said. “Sometimes she breaks really good, and sometimes she doesn’t. It depends on how she breaks on where she’ll be sitting.

“She usually likes to be close, stalking, but she has won from off of the pace as well.

We’re just going to have to see how it unfolds. If we get boxed in on the rail, that’s when we have to work to get her out on the backside. She’s such a big filly and definitely not (highly maneuverable).”

Oliver, who gallops the mare herself, says she’ll probably go to the track again tomorrow. “I always train her a little on the days she runs.”

My Sweet Addiction – Owner Pamela Ziebarth appeared elated with My Sweet Addiction’s 1 1/8-mile gallop over the Keeneland training track, standing at the ready with carrots as the 5yo mare made her turns around the shedrow cooling out.

Trainer Martin Jones said the mare handled the track with ease during the gallop and judged her ready for action in Friday’s Distaff.

Ziebarth beamed with pride when talking about the daughter of Tiznow out of Ziebarth’s multiple stakes winner Healthy Addiction. “She’s bigger than her mom, but she has the same will to win and the attitude that nobody gets past her. Her mom was smaller but had a big heart,” she said.

The owner is excited about the prospect of My Sweet Addiction having a full-brother or full-sister in another couple of years because Healthy Addiction, who is in foal to Midnight Lute, will be sent back to Tiznow in 2016.

Peace and War – Qatar Racing’s Peace and War galloped 1 1/2m at Keeneland Thursday morning in preparation for a start in the Distaff.

The 3yo daughter of War Front, who captured the Alcibiades at Keeneland in her U.S. debut last October, drew into the 14-horse field Tuesday upon the scratch of defending champion Untapable and, thus, was assigned the far outside post.

“It’s not ideal. There’s nothing I can do about it. There looks like there’s plenty of speed in there,” said trainer Graham Motion, noting Peace and War’s late-running style. “I think the mile and an eight suits her. I think she’s been looking to go a little further.”

Sheer Drama – Sheer Drama had an easy morning the day before she loads in the outside gate for Friday’s Distaff. “We went to the paddock and jogged. That’s all we did,” said trainer David Fawkes. “She was very good up there today.”

As far as strategy from post 14 tomorrow, “I’ll leave it to Joe [Bravo],” he said. Bravo has been aboard the Burning Roma mare in all seven of her starts this year with great success. The pair have three wins and four seconds, with all but one of those starts in Graded company. Her earnings for the year stand at just over $1.1 million.

Salama – Distaff hopeful Salama was on the training track Thursday just before daylight for some light exercise after several days of galloping and schooling in the starting gate on the main track.

“She galloped a mile-and-a-quarter,” trainer Charlie LoPresti said. “She galloped good and is full of energy. She’s eating up good and everything is good with her.”

Jenn Patterson was aboard with Amy LoPresti accompanying on stable pony Roani.

The 3yo Kentucky-bred is making her second start in North American after earning her ticket to the Distaff in the ‘Win and You’re In’ Cesar del Rio Suito in Peru on June 21. She prepped for the Distaff with a runner-up effort in a Keeneland allowance race Oct. 10.

Stellar Wind – In her final bit of serious exercise, Stellar Wind jogged one mile over the main track Thursday morning.

It was trainer John Sadler’s response to a couple days of serious rain at Keeneland. “I didn’t want her to gallop over a sealed track too many days in a row, so I had her jog,” Sadler said. “She’s doing great and I think she’ll run well.”

Warren’s Veneda – “She loves the ‘goo’ and it was a little ‘gooey’ out there this morning.” That was trainer Craig Lewis’ take on the 1 ¼-mile gallop on the main track for the daughter of Affirmative Thursday morning as she got one day closer to Friday’s Distaff.

“She looked great,” Lewis continued, “and we’re very happy with her.”

Lewis’ assistant, Arnulfo Gonzalez, echoed the boss’ comments, saying, “I thought she got over the track easier than she does at Santa Anita (home base for the Lewis stable). Unfortunately, the track won’t be like that tomorrow. Exercise rider Nestor Capitaine was aboard for the exercise.

Wedding Toast – The Distaff will be the 13th and final race of Wedding Toast’s fine career for Godophin Racing’s 5yo homebred mare. She will join the Darley broodmare band with a resume that shows a three-race winning streak leading to the Breeders’ Cup, a string of success that made her the morning-line favorite.

The daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense galloped a mile Thursday morning on the track at Keeneland.

“She’s doing very well,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “She galloped pretty strong today. She galloped pretty strong most days.”

Wedding Toast enters the Breeders’ Cup with eight wins in 12 career starts. She won four of five as a 3yo in 2013, but missed most of 2014 with a knee injury that did not require surgery.

McLaughlin thought she might be retired from racing because she won a graded stake in 2013, but the mare was returned to training and ultimately had a very good season, winning four of six starts and earning nearly $1 million.

“We started her out this year sprinting and that was probably a mistake, but she won. Then we came into Keeneland and ran her in a Grade 1 Vinery Madison) going seven-eighths and they just went too fast early for her. She finished fourth. The next race we stretched her out

to a mile and she’s three in a row going longer. She definitely wanted longer. She’s doing extremely well.”

McLaughlin likes that she drew well in the middle of the field and said he expects her to be a force in the race.

“We hope she breaks on or near the lead and can be forwardly placed first or second and win the race,” he said. “She’s the filly to beat and is doing very well. Sheer Drama is the second choice and she drew 13, so that is to our advantage. It’s a tough race.”

Yahilwa – DP Racing’s 5yo mare jogged around the main track on Thursday morning for trainer Jim Cassidy, who discussed the relationship that he has with owner Deron Pearson. Together they have had success with numerous Graded stakes winners.

“We work well together and have very few differences, whenever there is he usually wins out,” Cassidy said with a laugh. “It’s been a great relationship between the two of us.”

Cassidy is hopeful that Yahilwa will run a big race in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

“This mare just keeps getting better and better,” he said. “Hopefully she’s good enough for Friday. The race is wide open. There’s nobody you can really toss.”

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