The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff headlines the action on Day 1 of the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar! Eight excellent fillies and mares will go in this 1 1/8-mile dirt challenge. Post time for the Distaff, the ninth of 10 races on Friday’s program, is 7:35 p.m. EST. Be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#2 STELLAR WIND (5-2, morning-line favorite) is 3-for-3 this year and owns an identical lifetime mark at Del Mar. She hasn’t raced since taking the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch over this course in July but has had extensive time between starts in 2017 by design. She also projects to get a great stalking trip behind #7 PARADISE WOODS and #1 CHAMPAGNE ROOM. STELLAR WIND has been a hard-luck loser in two straight runnings of the Distaff; this could be the year she breaks through. As usual, Victor Espinoza has the call.
#4 ABEL TASMAN (4-1) tackles older foes for the first time in her career in the Distaff. She had a three-race winning streak (all Grade Is) snapped in the Cotillion last time out after a slow start and a premature move for the lead. Mike Smith will have to ensure ABEL TASMAN breaks well today and bides her time early. There is a potential for the pace to come apart, especially if Espinoza moves early on STELLAR WIND. ABEL TASMAN has a win over this course in two starts (the other off-the-board effort came in her debut) and is 2-for-2 going nine furlongs, so she is a legitimate threat to the top choice.
#6 FOREVER UNBRIDLED (4-1) has made just two starts, both wins, since taking third in this race last year. Her latest effort came in August’s Grade I Personal Ensign at Saratoga, where she beat Songbird. She’ll likely be coming from way off the pace under John Velazquez, who takes over for Joel Rosario. Velazquez has two wins in two starts atop FOREVER UNBRIDLED, so the rider change is a solid move.
The play: $5 exacta 2/4,6 ($10)
DFJ analysis: Two west coast veterans hold the key to success in the Daily Fantasy Jockey game this Friday.
Victor Espinoza has just three mounts but could come away with two Breeders’ Cup victories. He has the call on Accelerate (7-2) in the Dirt Mile before riding STELLAR WIND in the Distaff.
Mike Smith rides Dirt Mile favorite Mor Spirit as well as ABEL TASMAN in the Distaff. He also has live longshot Moon Dash (15-1) in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
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