Two owners will be looking to double their fun in this year's Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) as they each attempt to win the race for the second time.
John and Jerry Amerman, who race in the name of their Amerman Racing Stables, shocked the world in the 2003 Distaff when Adoration wired her field under Patrick Valenzuela in the first Breeders' Cup race on that day's card. The Amermans are back this time around with Balance, a daughter of Thunder Gulch who is a three-time grade I winner.
Likewise, Jack and Laurie Wolf, who race in the name of Starlight Stable, will be seeking their second Distaff victory, having co-owned Ashado, who took the 2004 running on her way to championship honors as the nation's top 3-year-old filly. The Wolfs owned Ashado with Paul Saylor and Johns Martin. This year, they co-own Octave with Don Lucarelli. The 3-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song has captured both the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) and Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) this season.
As for similarities between Octave and Ashado, Jack Wolf noted, "Todd (Pletcher) is spacing their races similarly, trying to give her five weeks in between starts, which is what he did with Ashado. Other than that, both try very hard, and both think that once they get the lead, the race is over."
Pletcher added that Octave is as consistent a filly as he's seen this season.
For John and Jerry Amerman, this Breeders' Cup is a return to their roots. When they were first married, they lived on the Jersey shore 30 minutes away from Monmouth Park, and enjoyed going to the races there. Both they and their filly will be trying to recapture some magic on Saturday.
Balance was the divisional leader early this year when she won the La Canada Stakes (gr. II) and Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I) in consecutive outings. Then she ran into undefeated Nashoba's Key three straight races, settling for a second and two thirds.
According to John Amerman and trainer David Hofmans, who also conditioned Adoration, Balance liked precious little about the racing surfaces in her last two starts, at Del Mar and Belmont Park.
"I'm throwing out her last four races," said Hofmans, laughing. "We're happy to get her on this surface at Monmouth, and we brought her in a week before the race to help her get acclimated. She doesn't like changes, but she's been doing well since arriving."
As for similarities between Adoration and Balance, Hofmans quickly stated there were none. Balance, he hopes, will do her running from mid-pack, unlike the pace-setting Adoration.
When Amerman was asked about similarities between the two, he said, "Well, the only one I can think of is they were both fourth in their Breeders' Cup prep race. Let's hope she wins like Adoration."