(Swiss Skydiver / Coady Photography)
From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team:
Ce Ce – Bo Hirsch’s Ce Ce was on the main track as usual shortly after 6 o’clock Thursday morning galloping under Osman Cedeno as she continued preparations for Saturday’s $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Ce Ce represents one of four entrants this weekend for trainer Michael McCarthy, whose first trip as a trainer to the Breeders’ Cup came in 2018 at Churchill Downs where he saddled five horses and won the Dirt Mile with City of Light.
“I am focused more on the effort than the outcome,” McCarthy said when asked about his confidence level for his runners this weekend. “They are all doing well and training as well as they ever have and that is my focus.”
Dunbar Road – Dunbar Road, who will carry the green colors of dual Breeders’ Cup-winning owner Peter Brant, galloped Thursday morning with trainer Chad Brown observing. Last year’s Alabama winner seeks a return to form after an even-money loss in the Beldame Invitational, but boasts a career record of six wins from 10 starts.
“This is a bear of a race,” Brown said. “Her last breeze, I have to tell you, was as good a breeze as I’ve ever seen from her.”
Harvest Moon – Alice Bamford and Michael Tabor’s Harvest Moon made a visit to the starting gate and then galloped on the main track. Later in the morning she had a paddock schooling session.
Harvest Moon is one of two entrants this weekend for trainer Simon Callaghan, who will also sent out Madone in Friday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Callaghan is seeking his first victory in the Breeders’ Cup after two near misses last year at Santa Anita when Donna Veloce was beaten a neck by champion British Idiom in the Juvenile Fillies and Bellafina fell three-quarters of a length short of champion Covfefe in the Filly & Mare Sprint.
Horologist – On Thursday morning, the Bill Mott-trained Longines Distaff contender Horologist went through the motions from Barn 60, proceeding to the Keeneland main track and galloping one circuit for the ownership group of Medallion Racing, Abbondanza Racing LLC, Parkland Thoroughbreds, There’s A Chance Stable, Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher.
“She’s been really good,” said Riley Mott, assistant trainer. “She has been working well and came out of her breeze a few days ago in great shape.”
On Nov. 1, the daughter of Gemologist worked 4f in a swift 47 2/5, good enough for fifth-best of 25 at Keeneland. She had been preparing at Saratoga for most of October on the Oklahoma training track, breezing 4f in 49 2/5 (third-best of 12) on Oct. 16 and 5f in 1:00 3/5 (best of three) on Oct. 23.
Lady Kate – Lady Kate, fourth behind Distaff entrants Valiance and Ollie’s Candy in Keeneland’s Spinster Oct. 4, got reacquainted with the Keeneland surface Thursday after her mid-morning arrival the previous day. She had her usual jog and 1m gallop with a visit to the saddling paddock planned at the conclusion of training hours. The daughter of Bernardini will have similar exercise Friday without the paddock time. Her schedule calls from her to walk the barn under a rider on Saturday morning.
Lady Kate showed potential at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale where she was purchased by Anderson Stables.
“She has a lovely pedigree and is very well balanced,” trainer Eddie Kenneally said. “She is a very pretty filly but she took a little while to come around.”
Unraced at 2, Lady Kate was a winner at first asking and runner-up in a stakes in early 2019.
“We loved her from the beginning and she ran really well in winning her first start,” Kenneally said. “It took a little while to get her to the races simply because she was a later developing type filly. We didn’t rush her along to get her to her first start. She worked really well a few times before her first race and had shown that she had ability, no doubt about it. We held her in high regard from the beginning.”
Kenneally said she comes to the Distaff in “phenomenal” condition.
“She has been consistent since she started racing and really hasn’t run any bad races,” he said. “Anyone who sees her will realize how much quality she has. She is extremely correct and a big, beautiful mover. She is going to make a good broodmare at some point but not for another year. She is going to race next year.”
Monomoy Girl – Trainer Brad Cox’s career was on a steady climb, but it began to skyrocket in 2018 thanks in part to Monomoy Girl, who provided him with a lot of firsts that year. She became his first Grade 1 winner when she won the Ashland, his first Kentucky Oaks winner, his first Breeders’ Cup winner when she ended the season with a victory in the Longines Distaff and his first champion when she was named champion 3-year-old filly.
The former assistant to trainer Dallas Stewart went out on his own in late 2004 and says he always thought it was always a matter of when and not if he’d make it to racing’s biggest stage.
“There’s no doubt when you start out and you’re working day and night, that you do wonder when you’ll get that break,” Cox said. “I won’t say I ever doubted things. I just wondered when it would happen. I always thought we were capable of getting to this level, the Grade 1 level and Breeders’ Cup stage. We just needed the horsepower. Now, I have great help and great clientele to get to help us get here.”
Monomoy is once again bringing Cox center stage as he makes her second start in the Distaff at age 5 after missing her entire 4yo year. When asked what his thoughts were on Swiss Skydiver, her main rival, Cox said, “I see what everyone else sees, a very, very good filly. She’s champion 3-year-old filly for sure. She’s tough. She’s danced a lot of dances this year and showed up every time. The Preakness was a race we won’t ever forget. I’m a fan of hers. I’m looking forward to the match up.”
Ollie’s Candy – Paul and Karen Eggert’s Ollie’s Candy, fourth behind Blue Prize (ARG) in last year’s Distaff at Santa Anita, galloped at her usual 6 o’clock time slot Thursday morning under Juan Leyva, assistant trainer to John Sadler.
Sadler, who broke into the Breeders’ Cup win column two years ago at Churchill Downs with favored Accelerate in the Classic, knows he does not have the chalk this time around.
“She won’t be one of the favorites, but she has been right near the top of her division all year,” Sadler said of Ollie’s Candy who has a 5-0-3-2 record in 2020 racing exclusively in Grade 1 company. “She is doing very well.”
Point of Honor – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing LLC’s Point of Honor galloped 1 3/8m at Keeneland Thursday morning in preparation for a start in the Distaff, for which the 4yo daughter of Curlin has been rated at 30-1 in the morning line.
“I think her odds of winning are better than what the morning line gave her,” trainer George Weaver said. “And I think the odds of her hitting the board are a lot better than what they give her credit for. I think they have her as the longest shot on the board in the morning line, but she’s a filly that’s honest and always shows up for us.”
Point of Honor is winless in her seven starts since her victory on the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico in May 2019, but she has placed second or third in her five subsequent starts against Grade I competition.
“She’s been right there with some of the best mares in the country all year long,” Weaver said. “She deserves a chance to be in it. It’s not like we’re just pretending that she belongs.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano has the return mount aboard Point of Honor.
Swiss Skydiver – Multiple Grade 1 winner Swiss Skydiver and jockey Robby Albarado continued to have their typical smooth morning, coming up as soon as the track opens and galloping once around the main track.
She’s a very uneventful filly,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “She’s very workman like. She likes her routine. Her routine hasn’t changed with the exception of the racetracks we chose to run at. She’s a Saturday horse. Every trainer wants to have a Saturday horse where you run on the big days. She typically runs and then gets a few weeks for some light stuff. She’s extremely intelligent. She likes to go the track first every day.”
McPeek credits owner Peter Callahan for helping to make the decision to go in the Longines Distaff even though she had earned an automatic berth to the Classic with her victory in the Preakness against males.
“We’re excited,” McPeek said. “She’s going to get a real good chance to show how good she is against some talented older fillies and mares for the first time. Peter Callaghan is a very astute client. He knows the details. He knows how to read the Form. He knows how to read the Thorograph sheets and we do weigh those in, especially in these bigger races where you have pretty good form to work with. We felt like in this case, the Classic had a lot more depth to it. She was going to get a weight break in the Classic, I think 7 or 9 pounds, but we felt the Distaff maybe had a little less depth as it should be.”
Valiance – Valiance had her penultimate training session in advance of the Distaff with a 1 3/8m gallop under Amelia Green. Plans call for the same routine Friday and just walking in the barn Saturday.
The four-year-old daughter of Tapit has won six of eight career starts including the Keeneland’s Spinster on Oct. 4 last time out against Distaff entrants Ollie’s Candy and Lady Kate. She is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Martin Schwartz, who purchased her for $650,000 at Fasig-Tipton Co.’s Saratoga selected yearling sale, and CHC Inc.