Emollient won the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland Race Course in her final prep race for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)
When Emollient won the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes on Oct. 6, she not only kept her perfect record at Keeneland intact, she also earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. However, in an unusual move, the filly will skip that race in favor of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
While it may seem weird to turn down a guaranteed spot in the Distaff for a run at the Filly and Mare Turf, which is expected to have a bigger field than the Distaff, the move probably is a smart one for Emollient’s connections.
Emollient is strong on Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface, winning her two starts by a combined margin of 10 ¼ lengths but she’s not nearly as good on dirt tracks. Emollient has run on the dirt six times but has only won two of those starts, with no stakes wins. On the other hand, the filly is a Grade 1 winner on the turf. Even better for her chances is that she is a winner on the California sod, which generally plays faster than the rest of the country.
Emollient has been lost in the shuffle of 3-year-old fillies but with five wins in 10 career starts, including three Grade 1 wins, she shouldn’t be forgotten. Emollient is another strong filly for the Juddmonte-Bill Mott partnership, which also is running Close Hatches in the Distaff.
Juddmonte has won three editions of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf with their last win coming in 2009 with European invader Midday. The only mark against Emollient’s connections is that Mott has never won the Filly and Mare Turf but he has only had five entries in the race. He isn’t winless on the turf at the Breeders’ Cup as he does have two wins in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Emollient will be his first entry in the Filly and Mare Turf since finishing eighth with Dynaforce in 2009.
In the Spinster, Emollient broke badly from the gate and settled in at the back of the field to the surprise of many people. While Mott’s plan was to go to the front with her, jockey Mike Smith noted after the race that the filly has been trying to come from behind in recent races.
“Recently, for some odd reason, she has been wanting to come from out of it. The plan was if we did get away well, ride her out of there a jump or two and see where we were at. If not, sit back there and make one run. We had to go to Plan B, and it really worked,” Smith said. “It’ll certainly keep her around a whole lot longer. At least she won’t have to do all the running on the front end and keep it going. It’s a great way to race if we can continue to do this.”
EMOLLIENT WON THE SPINSTER STAKES IN HER MOST RECENT RACE
Photo courtesy of Melissa Bauer-Herzog
While her attempt at a new running style may confuse those associated with her, it is good to know that she can come from anywhere and win. She won the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in April on the lead before coming from the back in the Spinster, arguably the two best performances in her career.
If Emollient wins the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, it will give her two Grade 1 wins in 2013. While it is a longshot, the victory could win her the Eclipse Award in the female turf division, one of the many divisions that haven’t yet been clinched this year.
Emollient is from the second-to-last American crop of Empire Maker, who was exported to Japan late in 2010. Empire Maker may ring some bells in your mind as he is also the sire of 2-time Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Royal Delta, who is also trained by Mott, and Bodemeister, who was second in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, among many others. Empire Maker won the 2003 Belmont Stakes.
While Empire Maker never got a chance on turf, he brings in a lot of grass influence. He is out of Toussaud, who was a Grade 1 winner on the turf and was one of Juddmonte’s blue hen mares. The mare, who died in 2009, proved to a major turf producer with Arlington Million winner Chester House as her first foal. She produced five graded stakes winners with four of those becoming Grade 1 winners and two winning Grade 1s on the turf.
Showing how closely Juddmonte homebreds are related, Distaff entrant Close Hatches is by First Defence, who is Toussaud’s grandson.
Emollient is the first foal out of Soothing Touch and thus far is her only foal to race. The Touch Gold mare never won a race but earned a spot in Juddmonte’s broodmare band because of her family.
Soothing Touch is out of Grade2-placed stakes winner Glia, who is a half sister to Group 1 winner Denebola and out of the multiple Group 1 winner Coup de Genie. Emollient’s family just gets better from there with champion Bago and leading sire Machiavellian as part of her extended family.
Emollient’s first four generations boast more than 20 stakes winners, including seven Grade 1 winners. Nearly every one of those stakes winners earned their victory on the turf with many of them coming in the stronger European turf ranks.
After looking at Emollient’s past performances and her pedigree, it is easy to see why her connections are choosing the turf option at the Breeders’ Cup. The competition will be a stiff challenge for her, but if nothing else it will let her connections know where she ranks with some of the best in the world when the race is over.
EMOLLIENT WINNING AMERICAN OAKS
Photo by Benoit & Associates