Ginger Punch fights off Hystericalady to win the Breeders' Cup Distaff.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Ginger Punch fights off Hystericalady to win the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
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Jeffrey Snyder

Ginger Punch Nips Hystericalady in Thrilling Distaff

In the most thrilling stretch duel of the day, Ginger Punch took the worst of it on the rail but still won the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) over Hystericalady.

In the most thrilling stretch duel of the day, Ginger Punch took the worst of the mud on the rail but still won the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) over Hystericalady at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.

Both fillies sat just off the early pace set by Bear Now, the real race beginning as they were coming out of the turn and heading for home. Hystericalady, on the outside of her rivals all the way, and jockey Eddie Castro were in the two path and Ginger Punch and rider Rafael Bejerano were tight on the rail. The two bumped in the lane and Ginger Punch came close to hitting the rail.

Ginger Punch got the advantage in deep stretch to win by a long neck. Octave, who was charging late, finished another neck back in third. The track had been sealed and sloppy all day.

“I was a little worried about our post and being inside," Bejarano said. "I just tried to keep the dirt out of her face. In the stretch, we got squeezed by (Hystericalady), but I always knew (Ginger Punch) would come back.”

The 4-year-old filly Ginger Punch redeemed herself from a third-place finish in the Beldame (gr. I) last time out to get the win for Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs and trainer Bobby Frankel.  Prior to the Beldame, Ginger Punch had ripped off wins in the Go for Wand and Ruffian handicaps (both gr. I). She has won five of eight starts this year and has not finished out of the money in her quest for year-end honors as the nation's top older filly or mare.

"This filly has come a long way," said Chad Brown, Frankel's assistant. "Bobby never lost confidence in her. I’m so happy for the filly. We’ve had her since she was 2.”

By Awesome Again , who stands at Stronach’s Adena Springs near Paris, Ky., Ginger Punch is out of the Bold Revenue mare Nappelon. She was bred by Adena Springs in Florida, where the operation also has a farm. She earned $1,220,400 for her seventh lifetime win in 14 starts. She has banked $1,901,679 in her career.

Ginger Punch and Lear’s Princess were both sent off at 9-2, with Lear's Princess the slight favorite. Lear's Princess never took to the going and was last on the far turn and eventually finished 10th. Lear's Princess had defeated Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches in her previous start, Belmont's Gazelle (gr. I).

“She just hated this track today," Lear's Princess jockey Eibar Coa said. "She was never comfortable.”

Ginger Punch returned $11, $6.20, and $4.40. Hystericalady paid $9.60 and $7.20, and Octave, Garrett Gomez aloft, paid $5 to show. The $2 exacta paid $141.60 and the $1 trifecta paid $534.70.

“She tried the whole way," Castro said of the unlucky runner-up. "I lost position a little on the first turn and then coming into the stretch, I had to get around (Bear Now). I didn’t know whether to go inside or outside. We bumped a little in the stretch.”

Stewards reviewed the bumping between Ginger Punch and Hystericalady in the stretch run but made no change in the final placing.

After times of 22.68, 46.64, 1:11, and 1:36.35, Ginger Punch completed the nine furlongs in 1:50.11.

Lady Joanne, Unbridled Belle, Balance, Tough Tiz's Sis, Bear Now, Indian Vale, Lear's Princess, Teammate, and Prop Me Up completed the order.

(Chart, Equibase)