By Jarrod Horak
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff is one of the original BC races, dating all the way back to Hollywood Park in 1984. The 2023 renewal will be held at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, Nov. 4, and they will be traveling a mile and an eighth on the main track.
Recent Breeders’ Cup Distaff Results
Malathaat rallied from off the pace to win by a nose in this race at Keeneland last year for John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher. She was exiting a win in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland.
The pace collapsed in 2021 and Marche Lorraine rallied to win by a nose at almost 50-1. The Japanese invader was exiting a win in the Breeders’ Gold Cup at Mombetsu. Monomoy Girl won this event in 2020 at Keeneland and she also took the Distaff at Churchill in 2018.
Blue Prize was the 2019 winner at Santa Anita and she prepped with a win in the Spinster (G1) at Keeneland. Forever Unbridled rallied for the win in the 2017 Distaff at Del Mar, and Abel Tasman followed her and completed the late running exacta.
2016 Distaff winner Beholder was exiting three straight runner-up finishes in the Clement L. Hirsch (G1), Pacific Classic (G1), and Zenyatta (G1). Stopchargingmaria captured the 2015 Distaff at Keeneland and she was exiting a 4th place finish in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga.
The Santa Anita Years
This event has been held at Santa Anita Park ten times. The Grade 2 Zenyatta Stakes is the local prep for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The Zenyatta was formally known as the Lady’s Secret, and 6 of the 10 Distaff winners at Santa Anita prepped in the Lady’s Secret/Zenyatta.
The chart below shows all 10 winners of the BC Distaff at Santa Anita, and it includes winning riders, trainers, post positions, running styles, win payoffs, and final preps.
Jockeys to Watch
Mike Smith booted home five Breeders’ Cup Distaff winners (Inside Information, Ajina, Azeri, Zenyatta, Royal Delta).
John Velazquez owns a trio of Distaff victories (Ashado, Forever Unbridled, Malathaat).
Florent Geroux guided Monomoy Girl to victory in 2018 and 2020.
Trainers to Watch
Bill Mott leads the way with five Breeders’ Cup Distaff wins (Ajina, Escena, Unrivaled Belle, Royal Delta twice).
Todd Pletcher saddled the winner of this race three times (Ashado, Stopchargingmaria, Malathaat).
Brad Cox won this race in 2018 and 2020 with Monomoy Girl.
Beholder captured this race in 2013 and 2016 for Richard Mandella.
John Shirreffs won this race twice at Santa Anita with Zenyatta and Life Is Sweet.
BC Distaff Trends
Since 2011, sophomore fillies have won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff race four times (Royal Delta, Beholder, Untapable, Monomoy Girl).
As mentioned above, the Grade 2 Zenyatta Stakes is a strong prep when the Distaff in held at Santa Anita Park. Adare Manor won the 2023 Zenyatta (G2) on Oct. 1 and that was her fifth straight victory.
Check out these other Breeders’ Cup Saturday 2023 articles: