Distaff winner Ashado with John Velazquez up.
The $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel featured a quality field of eleven, with Ashado sent off as the lukewarm 2-1 favorite after the defection of expected favorite Azeri to the Classic. Also in the field was 4.60-1 second choice Storm Flag Flying and 5-1 third choice Society Selection.
9-1 shot Tamweel got away with the early lead, and with 7-1 shot Nebraska Tornado in hot pursuit, she set very fast early fractions of 22.93, 46.70, and 1:10.50 over the track rated good due to overnight rains. Ashado laid off the pace in fifth, while Storm Flag Flying was unhurried down the backstretch taking the inside path. Turning for home, Tamweel weakened from the quick pace, eventually finishing fourth. John Velazquez aboard Ashado split rivals entering the straight, and was 1/2 a length ahead of the tiring Tamweel with a furlong to go. Storm Flag Flying put in a strong late rally, but was left with too much to do, as Ashado finished 1 1/4 lengths clear in a time of 1:48.26. It was just a neck back from Storm Flag Flying to 10-1 shot Stellar Jayne in third.
Purse: $2,000,000 Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Ashado Velazquez 6.00 3.60 2.80 7 Storm Flag Flying Bailey 7.00 4.00 11 Stellar Jayne Albarado 4.80
Ashado heads for the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I didn't give any special instructions in the paddock. We talked about strategy a little bit but it was pretty obvious what he was going to have to do from the one post. It opened up for her at the right time and she delivered. Johnny got a great spot and he got the job done."
Ashado in the post parade. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "I had a perfect trip. I tucked into position on the first turn and I had to bide my time following the leaders. When Stellar Jayne went to the outside a hole opened up and when I asked her she was there for me. I am grateful I was the one to win for Todd." It was Pletcher's first Breeders' Cup win.
Second place finisher Storm Flag Flying returns after the race. Her jockey Jerry Bailey said, "I had a relatively good trip but to win on a come-from-behind horse on this short stretch you've got a lot of running to do all the way around. And if there is traffic you can't let them run more. Inside the 1/4 pole I got clear by I had 4 or 5 lengths to make up. I couldn't catch up."
Third place finisher Stellar Jayne in the post parade. Her trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "I was pleased in light of the way it unfolded. We weren't in the gate very long and didn't get away at all. We were last down the backstretch and that's not her style. She made a tremendous run to get up for third."
The trophy presentation after the race. Winning co-owner Johns Martin said, "There was something in me that really wanted to run against Azeri probably for the same emotion Azeri wanted to run in the Classic. Our horse is a superstar but how far off the charts would she have been if we had won this one with Azeri in. I was probably more disappointed than not that she scratched." Todd Pletcher replied, "Who cares, you know. We got the trophy and still get the same check."
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