Updated on 09/15/2011 2:03PM

Coundown to the Cup: The Distaff (9/20)


The last two winners of the Breeders' Cup Distaff are expected to run in this year's event, but both have had subpar years during a season in which the leading 3-year-old filly is considered superior to any of her elders.

Both Beautiful Pleasure and Spain, the last two winners of the Breeders' Cup Distaff, were entered to run in last weekend's Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park. That race, however, was cancelled because of the terrorist attacks, forcing their plans to be altered as they prepare for the $2 million Distaff on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park.

Spain, an upset winner of last year's Distaff, has been sent to Kentucky for Saturday's Turfway Breeders' Cup, part of the Kentucky Cup program. Beautiful Pleasure, the 1999 Distaff winner, is in Kentucky, too, but she will not race again until the weekend of Oct. 6-7. According to John T. Ward Jr., who trains Beautiful Pleasure with his wife, Donna, Beautiful Pleasure will run in either the Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 6, or the Overbrook Spinster Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 7.

"I hated to miss the Ruffian," John Ward said. "I'm leaning toward the Beldame, but I'm waiting to see where everybody else goes when they make up their mind."

Flute, the top-ranked 3-year-old filly who won the Kentucky Oaks and Alabama Stakes, was expected to head straight into the Distaff. But her trainer, Bobby Frankel, said he had changed his mind and would run Flute in the Beldame. "She came back on three weeks for the Alabama, so I think she'll be fine," Frankel said, acknowledging the time between the Beldame and Distaff.

Gourmet Girl will fly in from California for the Beldame, according to her trainer, Pico Perdomo. Serra Lake also is headed to the Beldame, according to trainer Shug McGaughey.

Among those pointing for the Spinster is Pompeii, who recently was transferred to trainer Elliott Walden after being privately purchased by the Winstar Farm of Jim Casner and Kenny Trout. "She's a small filly with a lot of heart. She reminds me of License Fee," Walden said, referring to a favorite of his who suffered a fatal breakdown this summer at Monmouth Park.

Exogenous, winner of the Gazelle Handicap on Sept. 8, will run in either the Beldame or go straight into the Distaff, according to trainer Scotty Schulhofer.

Tranquility Lake, who could run in either the Distaff or the Filly and Mare Turf, is training at Santa Anita, where her next start will be in either the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap or the Yellow Ribbon Stakes, both on Sept. 29.

Saudi Poetry, who had her best success this spring, has been retired because of a strained suspensory ligament. She will be bred next spring to Point Given, according to trainer Bob Baffert.