Wedding Toast: Can She Handle Two Turns?

Wedding Toast: Can She Handle Two Turns?

Keeneland Photo

After winning three straight graded stakes races at Belmont Park, including the Ogden Phipps Stakes (gr. I) and Beldame Stakes (gr. I), Wedding Toast has stamped herself as one of the favorites for the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) on October 30th at Keeneland. But can she handle the two-turn conditions of the race?

Although Wedding Toast has proven herself at the nine-furlong distance of the Distaff, the 1 1/2-mile circumference of Belmont Park means that her recent races–the ones that have stamped her as one of the favorites for the Distaff–have all been held around one turn with a long run down the backstretch. In fact, all six of Wedding Toast’s races this year have been held one-turn races.

But with Keeneland being only 8.5 furlongs in circumference, the Distaff will be held around two turns, raising an interesting question for handicappers to debate: Can Wedding Toast be as successful around two turns as she has been around one?

An examination at her past performances suggests that Wedding Toast will have no trouble handling the second turn. Of her 12 career races, only two have come in two-turn races, but she has won them both, breaking her maiden going nine furlongs at Saratoga and scoring a narrow triumph in the nine-furlong Comely Stakes (gr. III) in November 2013 at Aqueduct. On both occasions, she turned in impressive performances, finishing strongly to record solid times of 1:49.19 and 1:49.92 seconds.

Wedding Toast’s pedigree also suggests that two turns will be no issue at all. Her sire is Street Sense, winning of the 2007 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) at ten furlongs, and her broodmare sire–Coronado’s Quest–won numerous graded stakes races around two turns, including the Travers and the Haskell Invitational (gr. I).

Of course, Wedding Toast may not win the Distaff–she’ll be facing a very talented field of graded stakes-winning fillies and mares–but looking at her record and pedigree, it seems unlikely that the two-turn nature of the race will pose a problem.

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin's quest to become North America's richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the blog Unlocking Winners.

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Isn’t Keeneland a 1 1/16 mile oval? I thought you were a horse racing enthusiast.