News and STORIES

Honor Way & Lady Kate Head The Betting For The Distaff Handicap

Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Thursday April 01, 2021
The final entries for the Distaff Handicap 2021 were made yesterday, with a field of five set to compete for the purse of $150,000. The Grade III affair will take place at Aqueduct Racetrack on Friday, with the fillies and mares completing the 7-furlong distance.
Previous winners of the Distaff Handicap include It’s Tricky (2012), Maryfield (2007), and Nannerl (1992). This year’s renewal will see Lady Kate and Honor Way head the betting, but the three other entries also have a credible chance at Aqueduct.

Honor Way Makes Season Debut

Honor Way is already quoted as the 8/5 favorite to win the Distaff Handicap. The seven-year-old will be making her first start of the season, but she is good value as the favorite for the renewal of the Distaff Handicap. The Charlton Baker-trained horse ended the previous campaign with an emphatic four and a half-length victory over Pacific Gale in the Pumpkin Pie Stakes at Belmont Park and will be looking to continue that momentum this season.
All three of her most recent starts have come at Belmont Park, but her last start was the first over 7 furlongs. Both of her previous starts prior to that were over 6 ½ furlongs. Honor Way finished seven and a quarter lengths behind Frank’s Rockette in her last run over that trip in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap. She looks more comfortable last time out, and the 7-furlong distance at Aqueduct will suit.

Lady Kate Steps Back In Class

Lady Kate will likely be the main opposition for Honor Way in the Distaff Handicap as she steps back in class after three straight runs with Grade 1 company. She didn’t pick up a win in those three starts and was most recently disappointing when last out of ten in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland in November. The step back will certainly suit her, as she struggled in Grade 1 contests. The closest that she came to picking up a win in Grade 1 company came in the La Troienne Stakes, as she finished one and three-quarter lengths behind Monomoy Girl.
The five-year-olds last win came last season, as she was a dominant four and three-quarter-length winner over New Roo in the listed Groupie Doll Stakes. That win was just the third of her career, with the other two victories coming at Gulfstream Park in the 2020 Allowance Optional Claiming Race in February and the Maiden Special Weight in January 2019.

Paris Lights Among Other Runners

Paris Lights is a 5/2 shot for the Distaff Handicap. The four-year-old has won her last two, and this will be her first appearance of the season. She has recovered well since finishing third on her first run at Gulfstream Park and quickly won two races in July 2020. The first of those wins came in the Allowance at Churchill Downs, as she won by three and a quarter lengths from Enjoyitwhilewecan. She quickly added a second victory for trainer William Mott with a narrow success over Crystal Ball in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.
Kansas Kis and Portal Creek are the two long shots in the field. Portal Creek has been in great form since moving to the Juan Carlos Guerrero yard, as she has finished twice in three starts. Kansas Kis for trainer Raymond Handal comes down in trip for this race after running over 1 mile and ½ a furlong on her last two starts. The step back in trip could help, as she has won once from three starts over shorter distances.