- Ashado is back at the top of her division after her bounce-back win in the G1 Beldame, and to Todd Pletcher, her 4th place finish in the Personal Ensign was just a blip on the screen.
"You've got to say now she's one of the top mares of all time....She's getting up almost into uncharted waters. When you get one this good and they've had such a good career, you want to see them finish up on a winning note. [Louisville Courier Journal]
I don't know who will show up for the next one, but from the Midwest to the East Coast, this was the best group on this side of the Mississippi. This was clearly the marquee [Distaff] prep of the fall. This was a big one." [Newsday]It was her 12th win in 20 starts, and her 7th Grade 1 win. So I feel a little scandalous in suggesting an alternate view. The field was perhaps not as stellar as Pletcher makes it out to be; Sweet Symphony is a three year-old with four prior lifetime starts; Happy Ticket is no doubt a tough filly, but for the most part hasn’t faced top competition; and Society Selection was once again compromised by a soft pace and was forced to move too soon and too wide. Perhaps Allan Jerkins might consider a rabbit for the Distaff.
Ashado had a perfect trip, stalking a comfortable pace, taking over in the stretch, and holding off Happy Ticket despite tiring in the stretch. Velasquez said "What I wanted to do was speed away from them and try to make them run a little bit...but she had a so-so race last time out, so she might have got [tired] a bit down the lane." [Daily Racing Form] Ashado has no doubt earned favoritism in the Distaff; but she’s not unbeatable with a different pace scenario on Breeders Cup day. I think that the Distaff is one of the races I’ll try to be creative with that day.
- Trainer Andrew Leggio confirmed that Happy Ticket would go in the Distaff.
- Another of Pletcher’s Distaff contenders, Indian Vale, suffered her first defeat in the G2 Cotillion at Philadelphia Park as the 2-5 favorite in the celebrated one-race comeback of Angel Cordero. She broke a bit slow, rushed up to the lead, but tired to finish 5th, and looking at the payoffs, there obviously weren’t any bridgejumpers in the crowd. Cordero explained: "She was struggling to stay there....She was aggressive for the first quarter of a mile. She's a better filly than she showed today." [AP]
- When so much significant action is compressed into one day, a trend that racing has evolved to since the inception of the Breeders Cup, there’s far too much action for the press other than the racing trades to give the kind of coverage that would seem merited to fans of the sport. Even the New York papers do not devote more than a single article to Saturday’s races at Belmont; so you get some detailed coverage with quotes on the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but just cursory mentions of the other four stakes and barely anything on the out of town races. It’s far too much for even someone like myself to digest in one day, so it’s no wonder that Breeders Cup Day, with the sometimes exception of the Classic, has failed to develop much beyond being a virtual industry-only event.