The Breeders’ Cup is finally upon us, and one of the most anticipated races each year is the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Featuring fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt, the race often plays a role in deciding multiple Eclipse Awards champions, and this year is no different as standouts Abel Tasman, Monomoy Girl, Midnight Bisou, and Blue Prize are among 11 horses set to compete.
Read on for 12 key facts about Saturday’s race.
1. Favorites succeed more often in the Distaff than in the Breeders’ Cup overall, with a 41 percent success rate versus 31 percent in the Breeders’ Cup. Fourteen of 34 Distaffs were won by the bettors’ top choice.
2. The average field size in the Distaff is just nine horses, the smallest of any current Breeders’ Cup race. This year’s race drew 11 entrants.
3. There hasn’t been a foreign-bred Distaff winner since Paseana in 1992, and just four total have won. This year Chilean-bred Wow Cat, German-bred La Force, Argentine-bred Blue Prize, and Canadian-bred Wonder Gadot will try to become the fifth.
4. Spain won the 2000 Distaff at odds of 55.90-1, creating a $2 win payoff of $113.80. It’s the highest win payout ever in the Distaff.
5. Just 26 odds-on favorites have won a Breeders’ Cup race, and eight of those were in the Distaff.
6. Two of the last five Distaff winners were 3-year-old fillies defeating their elders: Untapable in 2014 and Beholder in 2013. This year’s 3-year-old competitors are Midnight Bisou, Monomoy Girl, and Wonder Gadot.
7. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is still looking for his first career Distaff win. In five tries his best finish was second place with Abel Tasman last year. He has both Abel Tasman and Vale Dori in this year’s race.
8. This year is the 35th edition of the Distaff. It is one of the original Breeders’ Cup races inaugurated in 1984, though for its first four editions it was contested at 1 ¼ miles rather than the 1 1/8 miles it’s run at today.
9. Five of the 12 largest winning margins in Breeders’ Cup history came in the Distaff, including the record 13 ½-length victory by Inside Information in the 1995 Distaff.
10. Three horses have won two editions of the Distaff, two of which won since 2011: Bayakoa (1989, 1990), Royal Delta (2011, 2012) and Beholder (2013, 2016).
11. No filly or mare has completed the Distaff faster than the aforementioned Inside Information, who set a speed record of 1:46.15 in 1995.
12. Jockey Mike Smith has five wins in the Distaff, more than any other jockey. He’ll be aboard Abel Tasman this year.