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Breeders' Cup / Saturday. Churchhill Downs. Channel
4. 10 A.M.

$2-Million Distaff

November 05, 1998|Race Analysis by BOB MIESZERSKI

* Story line: In the eyes of many, Sharp Cat's winning the 1998 Distaff was a given.

The 4-year-old Storm Cat filly was simply too fast for her rivals and had been dominant in her four starts this year, winning by a combined 23 lengths.

Because of a bizarre incident over the weekend, Sharp Cat was knocked out of the race, and with her gone, another filly could be a single on a lot of Pick Six tickets around the country.

Banshee Breeze, whose trainer (Carl Nafzger) also trained Unbridled, the 3-year-old filly's sire, will be favored Saturday on the strength of three consecutive wins, including a 12-length laugher in the Spinster three weeks ago at Keeneland.

Through its history, the Distaff, which had a $1-million purse until it was doubled this year, has been the most formful of the Breeders' Cup races. Nine times the favorite has won, and only twice has the winner paid in double digits--Ajina ($11.80) in 1997 and One Dreamer ($96.20) in 1994 at Churchill Downs.

* Keys to the race: With Sharp Cat missing, the fractions in this race won't be swift, and that could make Escena dangerous. The 5-year-old Strawberry Road mare, who will be ridden by Gary Stevens, is very tough if left alone on the lead. She won a couple of stakes over the track earlier in the year. Banshee Breeze will try to keep her from getting away. Keeper Hill, who won the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill in May, could be victimized by the slow pace.

* The pick: Escena was beaten in her last two starts before being sidelined, so it's possible she's not as good as she was earlier in the year. Banshee Breeze is getting better, so she gets the nod.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BREEDERS' CUP WINNERS

JUVENILE

1984: Chief's Crown

1985: Tasso

1986: Capote

1987: Success Express

1988: Is It True

1989: Rhythm

1990: Fly So Free

1991: Arazi

1992: Gilded Time

1993: Brocco

1994: Timber Country

1995: Unbridled's Song

1996: Boston Harbor

1997: Favorite Trick

*

JUVENILE FILLIES

1984: Outstandingly

1985: Twilight Ridge

1986: Brave Raj

1987: Epitome

1988: Open Mind

1989: Go For Wand

1990: Meadow Star

1991: Pleasant Stage

1992: Eliza

1993: Phone Chatter

1994: Flanders

1995: My Flag

1996: Storm Song

1997: Countess Diana

*

SPRINT

1984: Eillo

1985: Precisionist

1986: Smile

1987: Very Subtle

1988: Gulch

1989: Dancing Spree

1990: Safely Kept

1991: Sheikh Albadou

1992: Thirty Slews

1993: Cardmania

1994: Cherokee Run

1995: Desert Stormer

1996: Lit De Justice

1997: Elmhurst

*

MILE

1984: Royal Heroine

1985: Cozzene

1986: Last Tycoon

1987: Miesque

1988: Miesque

1989: Steinlen

1990: Royal Academy

1991: Opening Verse

1992: Lure

1993: Lure

1994: Barathea

1995: Ridgewood Pearl

1996: Da Hoss

1997: Spinning World

*

DISTAFF

1984: Princess Rooney

1985: Life's Magic

1986: Lady's Secret

1987: Sacahuista

1988: Personal Ensign

1989: Bayakoa

1990: Bayakoa

1991: Dance Smartly

1992: Paseana

1993: Hollywood Wildcat

1994: One Dreamer

1995: Inside Information

1996: Jewel Princess

1997: Ajina

*

TURF

1984: Lashkari

1985: Pebbles

1986: Manila

1987: Theatrical

1988: Great Communicator

1989: Prized

1990: In the Wings

1991: Miss Alleged

1992: Fraise

1993: Kotashaan

1994: Tikkanen

1995: Northern Spur

1996: Pilsudski

1997: Chief Bearheart

*

CLASSIC

1984: Wild Again

1985: Proud Truth

1986: Skywalker

1987: Ferdinand

1988: Alysheba

1989: Sunday Silence

1990: Unbridled

1991: Black Tie Affair

1992: A.P. Indy

1993: Arcangues

1994: Concern

1995: Cigar

1996: Alphabet Soup

1997: Skip Away

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