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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff: Risk and Reward

Saturday morning the decision became final: Princess of Sylmar is going to run in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. This is a decision that carries significant risk and reward.
After her final workout, an easy four furlongs run in :48.42, owner Ed Stanco and trainer Todd Pletcher weighed in about the risk of losing three year-old filly divisional title and the reward of contending for Horse of the Year.
Owner Ed Stanco has made a complete turnaround about running Princess of Sylmar in the Distaff. “I was adamant about not running in the Breeders’ Cup: no way, no how. After the Alabama I said that there was zero percent chance that we were going [to the Distaff], but three days later when she was galloping, she just wanted more. It was pretty clear that she could step up to a higher level after having beaten all of the three year-olds. At that point we decided: let’s take on the champ.”
“Then when she came out of the Beldame, she looked like she breezed by Royal Delta, who had a very fast time, her fastest time at nine furlongs. Then I said maybe there’s a 20% chance and then she’s been coming along and so it didn’t take anything out of her. After two weeks she looked just terrific and Todd said to me he’s never had a horse like this that keeps coming back and moving along, step by step. It looked like she wanted to go, so we should go.”
Pletcher seemed more interested in taking things one race at a time, never having ruled anything out as a possibility. “I have seen no reasons not to keep going so far.  She keeps winning. She keeps training well.  Generally my philosophy is: if you don’t have to stop, why stop. There’s always going to be plenty of reasons when you have to. So at the same time there’s no urgency to commit to running right when she crossed the wire at the Beldame.”
Although well aware of the risk that they are taking should Princess of Sylmar run a bad race, both Stanco and Pletcher seemed to be quite confident about the reward side of the trip to California.
On the risk and reward Pletcher said, “Oh, I suppose that there is always a chance [that she loses the divisional title]. I think that people are going to look at her body of work probably more so than just the one Breeders’ Cup race. The way I look at it is the Breeders’ Cup Distaff is a $2 million race. You get a nice trophy and an Eclipse Award and another nice trophy. Also, I think that she has put herself in the mix for Horse of the Year and if she wins the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and certain things unfold on Saturday a little bit differently than what the odds board say they are, then I think that she could make a big statement. I think it is a risk, but I think it’s a pretty positive risk-reward scenario, especially since she is doing so well.”
Stanco works in the insurance business, so risk and reward is how he makes a living.  “She has the three year-old championship locked in, why would we risk that? But, it’s gotten to the point now that it is a lot more than all of that. This is really a big event. She is absolutely outstanding and it’s not for us to hold her back. The fans deserve to have her in the race."
"We aren’t trading up to try to be Horse of the Year. It’s more a question of do we want to race her? Do we want to race her for everyone else? There’s also a little hidden factor that I want to tell you: This winning of grade one races gets pretty addicting, pretty exciting stuff, and that’s probably the bottom line.”
No doubt, there will be plenty written over the next two weeks about the risk and reward for Princess of Sylmar. However, for all of us racing fans there is no risk because the Distaff became an even better race.  


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Older Comments about 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff: Risk and Reward...

I wouldn't expect anything less. POS keeps surprising me though- she seems to be continully getting better
While we will see a big run from her, I would expect that Royal Delta and Beholder have also things to say
I don't think they'd take the risk of entering her if they thought she couldn't win. I think we're gonna see a big performance from her
Beholder will be up there.
Princess will romp the Distaff. That is all.
Like i told you earlier,with the inside bias all day,and the potential speed duel between 2-4-5-6 ,this was a no brainer from the start. This was a horse that Lisa loved in the Vosburgh a couple of weeks ago.He was 20-1 ML that day. Linda Rice also had a nice winner in the 2nd. Big time speed. I thought King Kressa was awesome today,i thought Lubash was gonna blow by him.He just took off. Your girl C.O.S is being pointed to the Garland of Roses in early Dec.,
tm... Palace has really come into his own... Being a son of City Zip I am sure he is one of Linda Rice's favorites...
Nice day,but always a danger when chalk comes in and are looking the other way.Thank God for Palace.Made it enjoyable.Hope to see you again.
tmallios1--Thanks for saying hello. It was great to hang out for a bit at Belmont. Hope you had an awesome NY Showcase Day.
tmallios1 · Maybe i am in the minority in my thinking.I thought the Divisional Eclipse Award was for the top performing horse within the Division. Granted ,it is a big feather in the cap to win other races. But if you are going to credit a 3yo when they win against older foes.Then you should take away points when they lose.I always judge them by how they fare against their own . Saying this,there is no way that the Princess is not the top 3yo filly in the land. Regardless of what happens in the Distaff.This is not a divisional race,this is sort of an extra race. The Princess easily won the 2 highest profile races for 3yo fillies. The Oaks and the Alabama.That is enough to trump any other races.That is like saying,that if OOOOOOrrrrrbbbbbb,won the Derby and Travers,there would now be an argument as to the top 3yo colt.Judge them by how they fare amongst their own. · 45 seconds ago ·
Mat how are you.It was a pleasure meeting you at Belmont Park today. Hope the Belt was clear going home. ,
Unless Beholder runs a superb race and Princess really flops, there's no way she loses divisional honors. Just my opinion on the matter.
I'll tell you, Pletcher was about as excited about a horse as I have ever heard him and Stanco is such a great guy. He let me feed Princess a peppermint!
A real show of sportsmanship here from Ed Stanco ... hard not to root for his Princess!

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

• Kentucky Derby 2016 Handicapping Tips from A to Z


• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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