The Phipps Stakes (Grade 1) (BC)- $500.000 Purse
BEL- For Fillies and Mares Four Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
June 11, 2022
Z Command will head to the Phipps Stakes this year, looking to successfully defend her crown as the race’s champion, and become the first ever two-time winner of the race. It will not come easy for her, as six others look to bring her down. It’s a strong field, with all but one in the race having made at least $950.000 in their careers, and there is nothing wrong with the one that didn’t. BC points are at stake, so it should not be a surprise that the field is this good. The Phipps Stakes first appeared on the schedule in 2005, for a $300.000 purse. It would drop before it went up, and in 2014, the purse for the race was $1,000.000. After three years at that price point, it gradually went down before reaching it’s current $500.000 point last year. At least this has not impact the quality of the field. Let’s check out the runners for this year’s event!
#1- Miss Steel Mazula (Nakamura Stables, ridden by E J Wilson)- From the rail, this five year old filly will look to win her sixth race in nine starts. After finishing 2021 hot, with a win in the Personal Ensign, and placing fourth in the BC Distaff, she continued that form this year by winning the HOU Ladies Classic. Three weeks ago, she had another win, coming in the Grade 3 Allaire Distaff, so she is certainly ready to take on some familiar faces to her once again. One thing that will be different for her is her rider. Regular Nakamura jockey V R Carrasco does not get the mount here after riding her in her last seven races.
#2- Hot Summer (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by M Franco)- This filly is out of Gigafactory, who become much more well known when Gigabyte won the BEL, but Hot Summer is not going to be completely overshadowed by her younger brother. She did run in the KYO and had a steady, though inconsistent, three year old campaign. Scored back to back wins on the NYRA circuit last fall, including the Grade 3 Comely. It’s been a similar 2022 so far for her, running second in the Apple Blossom, but not much else. Must bring the heat here to have a chance.
#3- Fashionable (Mb Stables, ridden by L Saez)- She drew a lot of attention to herself earlier this year, winning the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup at GP in January, grabbing the winners share of that $3,000.000 purse against many very well known males as well as Z Command. Since then, she has made two starts and has been the runner up in each of them. First it was the Grade 2 Azeri in March, and then the Grade 1 La Troienne so there is a lot more to her racing ability then being opportunistic with a weight allowance. Her form is looking sharp right now.
#4- Z Command (Smokey Stover, ridden by E Jaramillo)- The 2019 winner of the BC Distaff won the Phipps Stakes last year and over her career has won over $4,000.000. She’s truly one of the best female horses in the game and a win in the Grade 2 Santa Margarita at the end of April showed that she is not slowing down. We did see Z Command earlier this year in the Pegasus World Cup, but her attempt to take on the boys was a disappointing, being defeated by nine lengths and only beating one horse. From the gate, she wasn’t herself, and we don’t have to worry about that again.
#5- Tenrikyo (Smokey Stover, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Smokey Stover could have just entered Z Command, but he’s looking for the 1-2 finish here, and it could be that Tenrikyo is the better bet to put on top. After being dropped into an open allowance in January for some reason, the Grandeur mare has had no problems in her return to graded competition. Placed third in the Grade 3 Royal North, but then came up to take on the best of the best again in the Grade 1 La Troienne and earned the win while getting a 101 SRF in the process.
#6- Starting Over (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by D Davis)- It says a lot about the quality of the field when this is the least accomplished horse in the race. Starting Over has done plenty in her career, winning four out of 14 so far, and has hit the board in ten of those races. Once her adds were set to just being a shadow roll and nothing else, she’s been at her best and began this year winning a pair of Grade 3’s. She comes into this race after placing second in a close photo, in the Grade 1 Strawberry at CD last month.
#7- Shes A Super Freak (YME Stable, ridden by R Chirinos)- This filly is just a little bit shy of $1,000.000 in earnings for her career and is yet another horse in this field that has started 2022 off hot. She A Super Freak won the Grade 1 Beholder in March after being dropped into an optional claimer that she also won. Took on a couple of these in the La Troienne last month and took the third spot behind Tenrikyo and Fashionable, being a length behind at the wire. R Chirinos gets his third straight start with her.