THOROUGHBRED CLASSICS: THE BREEDERS' CUP DISTAFF
PRINCESS ROONEY, the outstanding big gray race mare, was the odds-on favorite for the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Hollywood Park - she would roll to a 7-length victory over LIFE'S MAGIC on her way to that year's Eclipse award for Champion Older Mare.
D. WAYNE LUKAS would dominate the next three years of the Distaff: in 1985 LIFE'S MAGIC dealt the field a devastating six-length blow but in 1986 it was all LADY'S SECRET as she put on a flawless performance on her way to that year's Horse-of-the-Year honors...SAKAUISTA would take the 1987 Distaff wire-to-wire.
The 1988 running was a race for the ages...a history-making year in Thoroughbred racing that produced a Breeders' Cup Distaff that ranks as one of racing's all-time classics: undefeated PERSONAL ENSIGN vs. that year's Kentucky Derby winner, WINNING COLORS. In a dramatic finish, PERSONAL ENSIGN would just nip WINNING COLORS at the wire with a late surge showing the heart of a champion. Many feel this was the greatest race in the entire history of the Breeders' Cup. PERSONAL ENSIGN...thirteen for thirteen became the first major American Thoroughbred to retire undefeated in 80 years!
The next few years, the Breeders' Cup Distaff became a truly international event; hall of fame trainer RON McANALLY unleashed his Argentine mares BAYAKOA and PASEANA on the race and won it three of four years. In 1989 BAYAKOA came into the Distaff off of eight wins from ten starts, six being Grade I's - she already had that year's championship older mare Eclipse wrapped up but her owners wanted to prove she was the best in the world and supplemented her for $200,000 to run in the Breeders' Cup Distaff...she won in her usual front-running style. The 1990 Breeders' Cup Distaff was the most highly anticipated race on championship day; six-year-old BAYAKOA was back to defend her title, her rival was the brilliant three-year-old filly, GO FOR WAND, who was made the odds-on favorite - the two raced as a pair for more than a mile before disaster struck. GO FOR WAND broke down inside the 16th pole and had to be euthanized on the track - a bittersweet victory for BAYAKOA. Fittingly both BAYAKOA and GO FOR WAND shared that year's Eclipse title; GO FOR WAND was later honored by being buried in the infield at Saratoga - America's oldest racetrack.
In 1991, Canadian champion, DANCE SMARTLY, took the Distaff but in 1992 RON McANALLY was back again...this time with PASEANA and she romped to a 4-length victory. Defending champion PASEANA would just miss her second Breeders' Cup title by a head to HOLLYWOOD WILDCAT in 1993.
The biggest price winner of the Distaff came in 1994 when ONE DREAMER stunned the crowd at odds of 47-1...she ran wire-to-wire to win by a neck over HEAVENLY PRIZE. INSIDE INFORMATION rolled to a 13-1/2-length win in 1995 - the largest margin of victory in the championship series' history.
The Mott-trained/Paulsen-owned combination would take two Distaffs in the 1990's: AJINA in 1997 and ESCENA in 1998. The Breeders' Cup Distaff has seen it all and has lived up to its reputation of crowning champions. Since its first running in 1984, the Breeders' Cup Distaff has produced its share of Eclipse champion three-year-olds and older fillies or mares.
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|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|