Humana Distaff (Grade 1)- $300.000 Purse
CD- For Fillies and Mares Four Years Old and Upward
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
May 6, 2017
Derby day brings us so much more then the KYD. It is a fantastic day of racing from top to bottom at CD, creating several opportunities to have thrilling finishes with the best horses in the virtual world. Here, let’s take a look at the Humana Distaff, a Grade 1 for older females at seven furlongs. It is a race that should also be called, perhaps, the Blonde Dynamite Distaff, as that amazing mare won the Humana three straight years between 2007 and 2009. You can never shy away from an opportunity to talk about Blonde Dynamite’s accomplishments in the SRF. 24 wins, in 37 career starts, including a twelve-race winning streak that encompassed two Humana’s and a BC Fillies and Mares Sprint for good measure. Darling Harbour and Avery Island are also past winners of this race, giving this race some pretty special history. We don’t quite have a horse like that in this race. Other then Pristine Stables, I’d venture there’s no one in this virtual world who loves Notarized Kate more then I do, but even she is not quite a Blonde Dynamite. It’s a strong field, let’s meet them now!
#1- Queen Of Broadway (John Henry, ridden by R Bejarano)- The winner of the 2016 BC Fillies and Mares Sprint would be a logical choice to be the favorite here, and a potential good comparison to Blonde Dynamite if she did get the victory. After that win, she seemed to run fine in the Grade 1 La Brea in December even if the fifth place run did keep prior trainer Aer Stables from getting a check. She was shipped off to John Henry a couple weeks after that race, and so far the two of them have just not clicked. The talent is still there, so if they can finally hit their stride together, a win here is very possible as is further success down the road. In the event her odds climb on the race day, take a shot.
#2- Regal Portrait (Mb Stables, ridden by J Alvarado)- Riding a three race winning streak into the Humama will have Regal Portrait certainly be among the favorites. After a few races on the turf, the trainer dropped her down to an open allowance to re-discover her winning ways, and that has proven to be a great decision. Interestingly, and despite a couple of big wins in FL-bred stakes such as the SSM Distaff, her most recent win, the Grade 2 Inside Information was her first graded victory. She has found her niche at this distance, and I am impressed by her overall consistency. Regal Portrait is capable of stepping up here and extending her streak.
#3- West Wind (Fractious, ridden by M E Smith)- At first glance, this mare looks very out of place in this field. She has simply been a mainstay in the optional claiming ranks, and has passed through the hands of several trainers. Surely, one of those big names would have noticed something. It’s also noticed that she always seems to run in small fields. That’s fine, if she was at least winning those races. But she has not been as her last victory was about 16 months ago. Having said that, her race times are not awful, and if she duplicates her recent TAM run, and a few others disappoint, you never really know.
#4- Sudden Interest (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by J R Leparoux)- Like West Wind, this filly also has not run in a stake before, but that’s where the comparison ends. Sudden Interest has paid her dues to get here, including an eye opening win last month in a SA allowance, picking up a solid SRF of 96 in the race. She’s very consistent, and only once in her 12 career starts has she failed to finish in the top 3, and she’s always finished in a spot that earned her trainer at least a little something in earnings. Seconditis is likely the reason she has not been in a stake prior to this. Has to be able to build on her last race, though.
#5- Lea (Mb Stables, ridden by R J Albarado)- Her name would certainly belong in the lights of the past winners of this stake. Only Notarized Kate has more career earnings then the $1,400.000-plus that Lea has generated. Last year was a great year for Lea, and you would probably have to put her in the top-20, if not top-10, of the greatest horses of 2016, overall, with her six wins in nine starts. Had she won the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint, then maybe she is a Horse of The Year finalist herself. She has picked up where she left off with two wins and two places in four starts, including a very good looking triumph in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison last month over Queen Of Broadway and Asclepios Trail. She still has plenty of racing ahead of her, and since she is not slowing down, perhaps she can be compared to Blonde Dynamite at some point. On KYD weekend, we focus on the three year olds and await what happens with them over the year, but with Lea, I am also very intrigued to see what happens with her.
#6- Zenna The Ruler (Night Mare Racing, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Zenna will be surrounded by greatness in the starting gate with Lea on one side and Notarized Kate on the other. Her three year old season was successful as well with three wins and three third place runs in eight starts. She liked running with the CA-bred condition attached to her early on, and picked up her first graded win in CA as well, taking the Pine Stakes (Grade 3) at DMR. However, in 2017, we’ve only seen her in the optional claiming ranks, though she has continued to fare well. She knows how to win, and you can’t ever count out a horse like that.
#7- Notarized Kate (Pristine Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- When I first saw her in the field, I immediately thought that was a quick turnaround, but then realized that time just flies and it has been three weeks already. So that’s not too bad! I then looked to see where Wicked Heat was. Just a force of habit, I guess. Without her main rival, she can pretend Lea is Wicked Heat, but most importantly she is going to have to show that the Apple Blossom last month was a fluke just because of the weight that she had to carry. We all know how important that is in our virtual world, and Pristine Stables can be happy that everyone is of equal weight here. With that, we can safely assume that Notarized Kate will show her best stuff. While she usually goes longer, this distance has been in repertoire as well. Regular rider J R Leparoux is on Sudden Interest, and I Ortiz Jr should love this opportunity to get to ride her here.
#8- Balais Bruit (Drabfantasy, ridden by F Pennington)- Two weeks ago, Balais Bruit dominated a field of five in a $40.000 NM-bred stake, and that earns the 2016 Humana Distaff runner up a return trip to CD this Saturday. Not sure if that was the plan from the get go or if the placement was a result of that victory, because Balais Bruit’s placement, overall, seems to be all over the place lately between graded stakes and smaller races. What we do know is finding success. In 19 career starts, she has won nine, and has hit the board in all but three of them. I’m not really sure what to make of her due to the inconsistent placement this year, but would not be surprised if she won.
#9- Asclepios Trail (Kopites, ridden by Ju A Garcia)- The trainer is going to be used to seeing some outside posts this weekend, though Asclepios Trail has been #1 or #2 in five career starts with the trainer, too. Since purchasing her in November for $100.000 from Bigking in private sales, Kopites has done everything put officially win with her. In her last start, the Vinery Madison she ran second to the great Lea, but will have to turn the tables on her here. I believe this race will go a lot like the Vinery Madison in that she will be behind Lea, but be in contention for a check.