Breeders’ Cup Distaff makes history

Breeders’ Cup Distaff makes history
The 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 (grade I) races with purses and awards totalling $28 million, will be held Nov. 4-5 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 (grade I) races with purses and awards totalling $28 million, will be held Nov. 4-5 at Santa Anita Park.

Featuring three of the top female horses in the world, the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita promises to be a horse racing event for the ages.

The 2016 Breeder’s Cup runs Friday and Saturday, with first post at 2:25 p.m. Friday and ending with the $6 Million Classic on Saturday at 5:35 p.m.

Although Santa Anita Park is no stranger to thoroughbred racing’s season finisher, the level of competition this year makes it a special moment in the racetrack’s history.

“We have probably the biggest distaff in the history of the Breeder’s Cup, going back to 1984,” Santa Anita spokesman Mike Willman said. Top female Beholder (winner of 2013’s Breeder’s Cup Distaff) is facing off against fellow Eclipse Award winners Songbird (undefeated in her career) and Stellar Wind, who bested Beholder in July’s Clement L. Hirsch Stakes.

Beholder’s last three races have seen her place second every time, but she’s the favorite to take home the Distaff’s $2 million purse, according to the Foothill Advocate’s own Eddie the Hat.

Beholder went to the track at 7 a.m. Friday morning and galloped 1 1/2 mile over the main track in preparation for the race.

“She’s feeling great, really moving good across the track,” said regular exercise rider Janeen Painter, who was in the irons. “She’s been really focused, behaving herself well, so I think she is ready to give her best shot.”

Jockey Gary Stevens also had some thoughts on Beholder and the race ahead.

“On paper, this is the best Distaff I’ve ridden in, but I can go back to 1988 with a great filly and a great mare in Winning Colors and Personal Ensign, I’ve been in some good Distaffs before. I don’t want to take anything away from years past, as I’ve said before, Beholder is the best horse I have ever ridden.”

The race is a great lead-up to Saturday’s Classic.

That race will see Pacific Classic champ California Chrome (who bested Beholder in that race) defending his undefeated season against favorite contender Arrogate. The three-year old set records at the Traver’s Stakes, but whether that’ll translate to a win over the Pacific Classic champ remains to be seen.

Art Sherman, trainer, was happy not to draw the rail in the mile and a quarter race, which he had done in his last two starts, the Pacific Classic and the Awesome Again Stakes.

“I had to laugh at the post position draw (Monday),” Sherman said, “because nobody could be unlucky enough to get No. One three times in a row.”

Today’s picks are already posted on Eddie the Hat’s page. We’ll have Saturday’s picks posted soon.

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