Serious horseplayers often consult with TimeformUS' Pace Projector, an algorithm-based forecast of a race's pace that might offer clues on how it will unfold.
Generally, a large field enhances the chances of a rapid pace that could eventually favor horses running midpack or toward the rear. But one of the quickest projected paces on Breeders' Cup weekend is in the Distaff, with just eight contestants.
That could bode well for challengers to the unbeaten Songbird, a 6-to-5 favorite, and Beholder, the co-second pick at 5-to-2. Both tend to position themselves on or near the lead. Stellar Wind, also 5-to-2, displays a more varied running style, so jockey Victor Espinoza might pump the brakes early and hope to overtake the tiring stars up front.