The Empire Distaff Is as Open a Race as You Will Ever See

SThe Empire Distaff
 AQU Race #8 1 1/8m Dirt Stake
Purse $250.000 For Fillies And Mares Three Years Old And Upward Foaled In NY.

1 But I Digress YME Stable Lopez P 121 —

There is a lot of quality in this race for a State bred and this is certainly one of those I would put in that category. Lightly raced with only six starts she won the RP Oaks last time from the same draw she has today, so I am expecting a similar trip and give her a big chance of success. Like most of the form these days, we can find that one hiccup in the shape of a terrible run in the Fantasy where she ran an uncharacteristic race to end up eleventh. We have learned to write those off and should concentrate more on that last effort which has been backed up with a sharp six-furlong work.

2 Long Term Parking TwinTowersRacing Franco M 121 —

This filly is a different animal when the rains come as she proved in the IND Oaks when using a similar draw to prevail by a half-length. Her efforts on a dry track haven’t been as good so her chances of winning may only come if it is wet. Having said that she wasn’t too far back in the Alabama so she can clearly run on a dry track and represents a chance from a great draw.

3 El Gran Condottieri First Flight Stable Gaffalione T 124 —

The older horses are holding their own against the three-year-olds, but when you consider how the works compare and then give the youngsters some weight it is hard to make a case for the older fillies and mares. This one has shown signs before that she is up to winning here and has clocked up a decent amount in purse money but hasn’t been in her best form recently. She has the class, but I am not sure she is in the right head space at the moment.

4 Ignore Tucker Fractious Velazquez J R 121 —

This one was a very good two-year-old but has struggled a bit this year. Having said that she has been thereabouts in some good races and finished a long way in front of But I Digress in the Fantasy so cannot be ignored in this field. On her best day she wins this, but wins have been few and far between this year.

5 Majestic Chai TwinTowersRacing Davis D 121 —

It is hard to make a case for her although she too has snippets of form that would see her going close on her best day. A very close third in the grade two Davona Dale early in the year looked to be setting her on a good path but she has struggled since and one poor effort turned into another. A confidence boosting win in lesser company last time out may have set her straight, but she will need to have come on an awful lot to be considered a winning chance.

6 Afar D J C Racing Stables Ferrer J C 124 —

If there was no weight advantage for the three’s then this one would be right in this but when you see works that are only comparable with the younger generation, you have to say that three pounds will make the difference. She is a good sort who is having a good year which is promising as she runs as a four-year-old and they can sometimes struggle more so her chances shouldn’t be written off. That maturity and experience can sometimes come out on top so she must go into a top four in your calculations and could win.

7 Black Book Mb Stables Silvera Ru 121 —

Took a little while to get it together and clear maidens but since she has, she has shown some quality. She made all and held on tenaciously in The Wilton Stakes but then maybe showed her stamina frailties in the Alabama last time. I would think the trainer will want to see her leading and then it will be a matter of holding on if she can.

8 Bad Senorita Luz International Luzzi L J 124 —

I think the best chance of beating the weight allowance is sometimes age and this seven-year-old may be the best chance from the older generation. The winner of nine races she showed her wellbeing last time when easily taking the Johnstone Mile carrying a penalty which was a great effort considering she had the wide gate too. She will need to find a good place just behind the stalkers to have her best chance, but she certainly knows how to win so I see her as a real possibility.

9 His Imaginary Lover Night Rider Stables Hernandez B J Jr 121 —

A solid three-year-old who is working and running well I am just not seeing the X Factor that may be needed in this strong field. She has done well enough at Stakes level but seems to have developed a deep closing style which can be a little inconsistent on this new engine. If running the trail again today she will need a strong pace and a clear run but if she gets that could be a surprise package.

10 The Hateful Eight Smokey Stover Gutierrez Mario 121 —

The trainer is dealt a double blow here with two of the three outside gates. This filly would certainly be pushing for favoritism after very nearly winning the grade one CCA Oaks and then running third in the Alabama at the same grade. I think on bare performance evidence she may be the best filly in this field, but the gate means she will need some race engine luck to pull it off.

11 Atomic Woman Arindel Saez L 121 —

Another solid filly with some good form she adds to an already tough race to call. She had her throw away race in the Summertime Oaks but apart from that has been pretty good running a close third in the GP Oaks. She certainly has the credentials to be a winning chance and did well from a wide gate to win a decent allowance at SAR so there are scenario’s where I can see her winning. She will need that racing luck though and that is a variable no-one knows.

12 Exactly Smokey Stover Centeno D E 124 —

With over $1,600.000 in winnings, she is certainly the most accomplished in the race however she has struggled a bit this year and has only one win to her name and that was in an optional claimer. Last year’s KYO winner and a BC runner she has suffered as many four-year-olds do with a stall in her improvement curve this year and the question is whether it will start moving in the right direction for this race. Her works aren’t saying that improvement is happening and whilst she could easily win on her best form there is nothing obvious telling us she is there.


A very tough race to call there are 12 possibilities really. If it rains, I would pile it on Long Term Parking as a lively outside chance but if it stays dry then it really is a needle in a haystack. Ignore Tucker may be a good bet and I do like But I Digress from the inside but really if any horse hits their best form the any of them could win.

Categories: NG Stakes, STAKES ARTICLES

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