While only eight fillies and mares contested the race, the field was loaded with talent. The headliners were 2021 American champion 3-year-old filly Malathaat, a multiple Grade 1 winner in 2022, and Nest, a heavy favorite to be voted the American champion 3-year-old filly of 2022 regardless of the outcome of the Distaff. The other contenders were multiple Grade 1 winner Clairiere; Blue Stripe, a Grade/Group 1 winner in both the United States and her native Argentina; 2022 Kentucky Oaks (USA-G1) winner Secret Oath, 2022 Cotillion Stakes (USA-G1) winner Society, and 2021 Acorn Stakes (USA-G1) winner Search Results. The only clear throw-out in the field was Awake at Midnyte, a 3-year-old whose best efforts in 2022 have netted three Grade 2 placings. The depth of the field may be gauged by the fact that Blue Stripe, winner of this year’s Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (USA-G1) and Santa Margarita Stakes (USA-G2), went off at 24-1.
With one exception, the race could hardly have been more formful. Secret Oath struck the lead in the stretch, only to be overtaken by Clairiere as she sliced up the rail and by Blue Stripe making a powerful move on the outside; Nest was also on the move but was not quite able to go with the Argentine mare. Furthest out and fastest of all, Malathaat was charging forward and overtook the furious duel between Blue Stripe and Clairiere in the final stride, just getting her nose down in front; Blue Stripe, in turn, edged out Clairiere by a nose for place money. If there was a disappointment in the race, it was that Nest was unable to get into the mix at the end; after a wide trip most of the way, she flattened out and finished 3¼ lengths behind Clairiere. Thus, the multiple Grade/Group 1 winners in the race were 1-2-3-4; the fillies with single Grade 1 wins—Secret Oath, Search Results, and Society—filled the next three places; and Awake at Midnyte finished exactly where her previous record indicated she should.
Both Malathaat and Blue Stripe have made appearances in previous “Mares on Monday” posts (“A Lady to Fill the Senses [Malathaat]”, May 3, 2021; “A Saga From Argentina [Blue Stripe]”, May 2, 2022), but the antecedents of Clairiere deserve some attention here. Like Malathaat and Nest, she is the result of breeding two-time American Horse of the Year Curlin to a mare of the A.P. Indy male line, in this case Cavorting. Sired by A.P. Indy’s champion son Bernardini and a half sister to 2019 Penn Mile Stakes (USA-G2) winner Moon Colony (by Uncle Mo), Cavorting was a high-class race mare in her own right, capturing the 2015 Longines Test Stakes (USA-G1) at 3 and the 2016 Ogden Phipps Stakes (USA-G1) and Personal Ensign Stakes (USA-G1) at 4. Clairiere is her first foal, and she is also responsible for 2022 Silverbulletday Stakes (USA-L) winner La Crete (by Medaglia d’Oro). Cavorting’s only other issue to date is Judge Miller, a 2-year-old full brother to Clairiere who has yet to race.
Cavorting, in turn was produced from 2006 Molly Pitcher Breeders’ Cup Stakes (USA-G2) winner Promenade Girl, a daughter of the good speed sire Carson City. A half sister to restricted stakes winner Dattts Awesome (by Awesome Again), Promenade Girl is out of Promenade Colony (by 1981 American champion 3-year-old male Pleasant Colony), a full sister to multiple Grade 2 winner Dance Colony and a half sister to 1989 Santa Barbara Handicap (USA-G1) winner No Review (by Nodouble) and 1992 Californian Stakes (USA-G1) winner Another Review (by Buckaroo). Further back, this is the family of three-time Grade 1 winner Urbane, multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Nobiliary, and 1972 Prix Jacques Le Marois (FR-G1) winner Lyphard, a champion sire in the United States and France.
Malathaat, now virtually certain to be voted a second Eclipse Award as American champion older female, is officially retired and will join the Shadwell Stud broodmare band, while Blue Stripe generated a few more fireworks at the “Night of the Stars” Fasig-Tipton November sale, where she sold for US$4 million to Narvick International. Plans for Stonestreet homebred Clairiere have not yet been announced, but one may be sure there is an honored place in the paddocks waiting for her when she does walk away from racing.
To borrow the opening line of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, “When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?” It will not happen again, at least not on this side of greener pastures than Earth’s, but on November 5, 2022, their coming together produced all the thunder and lightning any racing fan could want. Thanks for a once-in-a-lifetime moment, ladies.