Ten Things You Should Know: Breeders’ Cup Distaff
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor

Originally published on November 3, 2010

Beholder (orange cap) becoming the first Juvenile Fillies / Distaff winner in 2013 (Breeders' Cup)

1) The Distaff is part of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. It is one of the premier races for fillies and mares in the United States.

2) The race was run for the first time at the inaugural Breeders’ Cup at the now closed Hollywood Park in 1984. The current distance is 1 1/8 miles. From 1984 to 1987, the race was run at 1 1/4 miles.

3) In 2008, to the dismay of some racing fans, the name of the race was changed from the Distaff to the Ladies’ Classic. In 2013 the name Distaff was restored.

4) The Distaff has produced a few significant longshot winners, including Spain (55-1) in 2000, One Dreamer (47-1) in 1994, and Adoration (40-1) in 1994. There have been nine odds-on beaten favorites, the last was Royal Delta in 2013, who finished forth in her attempt to join Goldikova a three time BC winner.

5) The 1988 Distaff remains one of the most memorable in Breeders’ Cup history. The undefeated Personal Ensign, in the final race of her career, looking hopelessly beaten a few strides from the wire, caught Winning Colors to notch her 13th straight win.

6) The 1990 Breeders’ Cup at Belmont Park was one of the saddest days in the event’s history. Go for Wand, the brilliant filly and champion, broke down in the stretch during the running of the Distaff and had to be euthanized. Her sad end overshadowed the brilliance of Bayakoa, who won her second straight Distaff that day.

7) In 1995, Inside Information ran the fastest Distaff (1:46.15) and won by the largest margin in the race’s history (13 1/2 lengths).

8) In 2008, Zenyatta won the Ladies’ Classic. She returned in 2009 and won the Breeders’ Cup Classic against males. She is the only female racer to ever complete that historic double. She finished a close second to winner Blame in the 2010 BC Classic in the only loss of her career.

9) Three have won the Distaff twice: Bayakoa (1989, 1990), Royal Delta (2011, 2012) and Beholder (2013, 2016).

10) In 2013, Beholder won the Breeder’s Cup Distaff a year after she won the Juvenile Fillies. She was the first to complete that historic double. With her Distaff win in 2016 Beholder joined Goldikova as the only other three time Breeders’ Cup winner.

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