Breeders’ Cup Distaff: The Ladies Get Ready to Rumble

November 1, 2022

Blue Stripe capturing the Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar Aug. 7. Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire

Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff Notes

LEXINGTON, Ky.—The ladies are getting ready to throw it down in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) breezing, walking the shedrow, schooling in the paddock and just getting used to Keeneland (unless the won a race there recently.) Awake at Midnyte, Blue Stripe, Clairiere, Society, Nest, Malathaat, Search Results, Secret Oath.

Awake at Midnyte – Trainer Doug O’Neill reported “all good” for his Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) contender Awake At Midnyte after she galloped 1 1/8 m under exercise rider Connor Murray Tuesday morning at Keeneland. She is a 3yo daughter of champion Nyquist who was also trained by O’Neill to Breeders’ Cup success in the 2015 Sentient Jets Juvenile (G1). 

“She’s a good-sized filly,” O’Neill said. “She’s got tons of heart like her father. She’s really versatile like Nyquist too. She could sprint or route. She’s got some speed, some stamina, class and heart. Those are all things that Nyquist had for sure.”

Awake At Midnyte is owned by Reddam Racing and will be breaking from post five on Saturday with Mario Gutierrez aboard and morning line odds of 30-1.

Awake at Midnyte (#5) was a close second to Under the Stars in the Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita. Benoit Photos

Blue Stripe – Pozo De Luna’s Blue Stripe galloped 1 1/2m under exercise rider Efrain Lopez for trainer Marcelo Polanco. Blue Stripe drew post position two for Saturday’s Distaff.

“(The post) makes no difference,” Polanco said. “She doesn’t need to go to the lead. Just get a good position and go from there.”

Blue Stripe finished seventh in last year’s Distaff in what was her U.S. debut for Polanco.

“I think this field is a little bit tougher than last year,” Polanco said. “But she is tougher too.”

Society in a Keeneland work on Sunday. Coady Potography

Clairiere/Society – Stonestreet Stable’s homebred Clairiere walked the shedrow after completing her final work Monday, while her stablemate, Peter Blum’s Society, returned to the track to train following her breeze Sunday. 

Clairiere, who beat Distaff second choice Malathaat twice this year before having the tables turned in the Personal Ensign when a disappointing fifth is making her first start since that Aug. 27 race by design. 

“I was extremely influenced by how she’s run off of layoffs and how sharp she was both times,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “I have a great amount of faith in the ability she has and the level she’s capable of.”

Both fillies will return to the track to train Wednesday.

Nest gets her work in at Keeneland. Keeneland Photo

Malathaat/Nest – Todd Pletcher’s squad of Breeders’ Cup entrants all had routine exercise Tuesday with Future Stars Friday entrants also spending time in the starting gate. His Saturday hopefuls will add starting gate schooling to their gallops Wednesday.

Malathaat has the one post and Nest has the six in the field of eight for the Distaff.

“It is a contentious field,” Pletcher said after Monday’s post-position draw. “There are some other really good fillies in there. It is certainly not a match race between the stable   mates. They are both coming up to the race great. We have been here before with what we thought was a strong group and that does not always equate to wins.”

Search Results winning the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth in July. Nikki Sherman/EQUI-PHOTO

Search Results – Klaravich Stables’ Search Results left Barn 64 at just past 8:30 a.m. and galloped about 1m around the Keeneland dirt track with trainer Chad Brown observing trackside. The six-time winner from 11 starts enters off a break, having finished second in the G1 Personal Ensign on Aug. 27 to champion Malathaat, who beat her in similar fashion in last year’s G1 Kentucky Oaks.

“We gave her some space between starts by design. She ran a really tough race at Saratoga probably the fastest race of her life in defeat there,” Brown said. “I thought she would run a little better fresher and I couldn’t be happier with how she’s working. Our thinking is that Keeneland is a tighter track compared to how demanding Saratoga can be. There’s nothing more I can do. The team has done its job and the filly tries hard every time. I think the key is just getting some sort of trip where she saves ground. She will be forward.

“It’s frustrating that she has to be in the same crop as Malathaat, who is an outstanding filly,” Brown continued. “Malathaat is very versatile and in the Oaks, she missed the break and still came down the lane and beat us. If she gets a clear shot in the lane, she will be very tough to beat and she will come get you. But our filly is doing very well and always gives her best.”

Search Results will break from post seven of eight on Saturday. Flavien Prat rides.

Secret Oath in a March work at Oaklawn after her February win in the Honeybee and before her third place run in the April Arkansas Derby. Coady Photography

Secret Oath – Briland Farm’s homebred Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath walked at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning before being shipped to Keeneland for her start Saturday in the Distaff.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, 87, scrapped a planned half-mile breeze Monday because he did not like the track conditions. With her ninth race of the season approaching, Secret Oath had a very easy morning before getting in the truck to Lexington.

“We gave her a day off,” Lukas said. “That’s pretty customary for me. I back down on them, especially those route horses, the way they run.”

Lukas said the daughter of Arrogate has handled the busy campaign well. 

“She’s very sound,” he said. “There’s no dullness to her. She’s as sharp as a tack.”

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