10/17/2007 12:00AM

Six 3-year-old fillies will challenge older horses

EmailFor the second straight year, the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff drew 15 pre-entries, including a bevy of Grade 1 winners. Unlike last year, however, all the fillies and mares whose connections want to run should make it into the 14-horse field.

My Typhoon and Nashoba's Key were surprising pre-entrants in the Distaff, but both are also pre-entered in other races and the Distaff is listed as their second preference. My Typhoon is being pointed to the $2 million Mile while Nashoba's Key is expected to run in the $2 million Filly and Mare Turf.

Provided that happens, then Prop Me Up, a Monmouth Park horse-for-course, will get into the Distaff field from the alternates list.

A total of 11 Grade 1 winners were pre-entered in this year's Distaff. Last year, 14 of the 15 pre-entrants were Grade 1 winners with Lady Tak - one of the 14 - relegated to the alternates list from which she never left.

This year's Distaff includes six 3-year-olds, though the division's top gun, the Belmont winner Rags to Riches, is not among them because she is sidelined for the year with an injury. Still, Lady Joanne, Lear's Princess, Octave, Panty Raid, Bear Now, and Tough Tiz's Sis are all formidable foes to the older fillies and mares.

Ginger Punch, the East Coast's top older female, was supplemented to the Distaff at a cost of $90,000 by owner Frank Stronach, who left the decision up to trainer Bobby Frankel.

"She's doing well," Frankel said. "I think she's got a chance to beat those fillies, so you got to take a shot. They were nice enough to leave it up to me. I'm sticking my neck out; we'll go for it.''

Trainer Todd Pletcher pre-entered four in the Distaff, including Ruffian one-two finishers Unbridled Belle and Indian Vale, multiple Grade 1 winner Octave, and Spinster winner Panty Raid.

Hystericalady, a Grade 1 winner at seven furlongs and a graded stakes route winner at Monmouth, was pre-entered in the Distaff and the Filly and Mare Sprint, though trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said he is leaning to the Distaff, which is listed as her first preference.

Balance, who won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap in March, worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds Wednesday over the Cushion Track at Santa Anita. She is scheduled to ship to Monmouth on Saturday, trainer David Hofmans said.

Tough Tiz's Sis, winner of the Lady's Secret, was supplemented for a fee of $90,000. Trainer Bob Baffert said Mike Smith would ride Tough Tiz's Sis in the Distaff.