Breeders’ Cup changes Ladies’ Classic back to Distaff

Five years after the initial change was made, Breeders’ Cup announced Thursday that the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic for fillies and mares 3-years-old and older will be returned to its original name, the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, beginning with this year’s running of the 1 1/8-miles race.

The restoration of the Distaff name was made as a part of celebrations for this year’s 30th running of the World Championships, consisting of 14 races and $27 million in purses  November 1-2 at Santa Anita Park. In a follow-up conversation, Breeders’ Cup spokesman Jim Gluckson confirmed the change back to the Distaff will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

 The Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the race’s name from 1984 through 2007, will continue to be run at 1 1/8-miles on the main track as the final race of the five Breeders’ Cup races scheduled on November 1.

Officials with Breeders’ Cup originally changed the Distaff to the Ladies’ Classic in early 2008 in conjunction with its creation of a “Ladies Day” card featuring five races just for female horses for that year’s edition of the event. The all-female card only lasted for one year with the Breeders’ Cup Marathon being moved to the  Friday race lineup in 2009, but the Ladies’ Classic name change remained unpopular with many fans who felt the switch was a slight to the great female runners past and present.

“We restored the Ladies’ Classic to its original name due to feedback from our loyal fans who have a strong affinity for the Distaff,” Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO, said in a release. “In recognition of our 30th year, the Distaff has provided us with some of racing’s most remarkable moments, personified by such outstanding Thoroughbreds as Lady’s Secret, Personal Ensign, Azeri, Zenyatta, and our two-time defending champion, Royal Delta. It is a fitting tribute to bring back the name Distaff to honor the rich history of the Championships.”

Champion Ginger Punch was the last winner of the Distaff at Monmouth Park in 2007 before the change to the Ladies’ Classic.

As part of Breeders’ Cup’s 30th anniversary, BC Sports Group will create a special program this fall featuring the 30 greatest moments in Breeders’ Cup history. This retrospective, which airs on the NBC Sports Network on October 19 (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET), captures the indelible accomplishments of the horses and individuals who graced the Breeders’ Cup with the greatest drama and excitement since the event’s inception in 1984. The program will also be available to the public on DVD for purchase at

Other special promotions and contests for fans this fall leading to the Championships, include:


  • In the 30-day countdown to the World Championships, Breeders’ Cup and Santa Anita Park will conduct daily promotional ticket giveaways to fans based on the 30 Greatest Breeders’ Cup Moments. The top 30 moments will also be featured during Breeders’ Cup special events and on the video boards at Santa Anita on the Championship Days.


  • Renowned California artist John Mattos has been commissioned to create special commemorative 30th Breeders’ Cup artwork to be displayed on select official event merchandise, and on the track program covers for both days of the Championships.


  • The Breeders’ Cup will unveil on its website a special Hall of Champions section that pays homage to the 240 race winners throughout the event’s history. This digital showcase will feature complete biographical profiles for each horse including lifetime records, video highlights, pedigree and a career timeline. The full URL for this section is