Princess of Sylmar defeated Beholder in the Kentucky Oaks (above) this spring at Churchill Downs. (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)
Princess of Sylmar had earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff with her win in the Beldame, but she wasn’t nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program so she couldn’t run in the race unless owner Ed Stanco paid a hefty sum to nominate her. For a while that didn’t seem like it would happen, but three weeks before the Breeders’ Cup, Stanco finally relented. Princess of Sylmar was supplemented into the Breeders’ Cup program and will run in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 1.
Unless something drastic happens at the Breeders’ Cup, Princess of Sylmar probably has the 3-year-old filly championship wrapped up.
The filly raced three times as a 2-year-old – twice in maiden races at Penn National and once in an allowance race at Aqueduct - before winning two ungraded stakes in New York to start her 2013 season. Princess of Sylmar stepped up to graded stakes competition in the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes on April 6, falling to Close Hatches in only her second loss.
Since then, Princess of Sylmar has won four straight Grade 1 events, including the Kentucky Oaks. The only female to get within two lengths of her during that stretch has been Beholder, who lost by a half-length in the Oaks.
To say that Princess of Sylmar has taken a huge jump in speed figures would be no exaggeration. Other than a win in the listed Busanda stakes in January, Princess of Sylmar’s highest Equibase Speed Figure had been a 98 before her Oaks win. Since then, her lowest has been a 112, showing just how good she has become.
PRINCESS OF SYLMAR WINNING THE BUSANDA
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Of course, her best figure came when she beat Royal Delta by an extremely easy two lengths. The Beldame victory also bodes well for her Breeders’ Cup chances as it was at 1 1/8 miles, the same distance as the Distaff. In all, three of Princess of Sylmar’s eight wins have come at 1 1/8 miles with the Gazelle being her only loss at the distance.
She will be running into a sizable obstacle in the Distaff, however, with Beholder also running in the race. Yes, she beat Beholder in the Kentucky Oaks but Beholder also dumped her jockey and nearly fell down in the post parade. Beholder will be racing straight from her barn this time, which will take away some of Princess of Sylmar’s advantage in the rematch.
In the end, as always, it will come down to who is the most settled and in the best form when the field loads into the starting gate on Friday.
Princess of Sylmar is from the first crop of 2007 Hopeful Stakes winner Majestic Warrior. The stallion already has four graded stakes winners and seven stakes winners in his first two crops on the track. As a son of influential sire A.P. Indy, he has the potential to turn into a top-class sire and definitely passes at least some stamina onto his foals through the Seattle Slew line.
Majestic Warrior’s dam is multiple Grade 1 winner Dream Supreme. However, unlike A.P. Indy she avoided routes, with her longest race coming at one mile. Don’t let that scare you off too much though. Dream Supreme is by Seeking the Gold, who finished second in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Princess of Sylmar also definitely gets some route influence from her dam, Storm Dixie. While the mare never won at a distance other than 1 1/16 miles, she also didn’t get a big chance to as she only raced twice outside the distance in 10 starts.
Storm Dixie, bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, brings in stamina pedigree-wise. She is by Catienus who ran from seven furlongs to 1 ¼ miles. The stallion didn’t win at anything past 1 1/16 miles but did hit the board in multiple 1 ¼-mile graded stakes races during his career.
Storm Dixie’s dam, Golden Wave Band, looks like a sprinter on paper, but had the same problem as her daughter. The mare had the potential to go farther if her connections would have let her but she only raced up to a mile, winning at the distance. By Dixieland Band, Golden Wave Band is the dam of 2000 Dubai Duty Free winner Rhythm Band and the granddam of Grade 3 winner Youcan’tcatchme.
Even with all this talk of stamina in her pedigree, Princess of Sylmar is Storm Dixie’s only foal to race so it’s not known if the mare passes speed or stamina on to her foals. However, Princess of Sylmar has won at 1 ¼ miles, showing that she shouldn’t have any issues at the Distaff distance, even if she may have to cover more ground than some of her opponents.
With only six females entered in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Princess of Sylmar won’t have to worry about a large field getting in her way. However, with the Distaff being arguably the most jam-packed race talent-wise on the Breeders’ Cup card, she definitely won’t have it easy on her first trip to California.
PRINCESS OF SYLMAR WINNING THE COACHING CLUB AMERICAN OAKS
Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese/NYRA