Unbridled Elaine charges down stretch to win Distaff
ELMONT, N.Y. -- Once the horses got to the gate, the Breeders' Cup Distaff was quite a race.
Exogenous, one of the favorites, never made it to the gate, toppling over as she left the paddock. The 3-year-old filly was diagnosed with a severe head injury. She was sedated and taken to Belmont Park's Equine Hospital.
There was nothing sedate about the $2.36 million Distaff, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares 3 years old and up.
Spain broke to the early lead from the gate, ran just off the pace for the first half of the race and made a move to the front after the half-mile mark.
As the field reached the top of the stretch, it appeared to be Spain's race as the filly opened a two-length lead. But as she tired down the stretch, 12-1 shot Unbridled Elaine stormed on the outside with huge strides and won by a head.
Ridden by Pat Day, Unbridled Elaine returned $26.60, $11 and $8.40. Day claimed his third Distaff win and 12th Breeders' Cup victory overall, moving past Jerry Bailey for the all-time lead.
Spain came up just short in her bid to become the Distaff's first back-to-back winner since Bayakoa in 1989-90. Under Victor Espinoza, she paid $6.40 and $4.90. Two Item Limit was third with Alex Solis and returned $10.20.
Favored Flute drew the No. 2 post and never really was a factor, finishing seventh with Bailey in the saddle. The loss extended trainer Bobby Frankel's futility in Breeders' Cup races to 37.
Flute has been first or second in all six starts this season with four victories. She placed between Exogenous and Spain in the Beldame Stakes here October 6.