DELAHOUSSAYE & MCCARRON RELIVE DRAMATIC FINISH TO 1993 BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF AT SANTA ANITA AS DRYSDALE’S HOLLYWOOD WILDCAT PREVAILED BY A NOSE OVER MCANALLY’S PASEANA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 16, 2019)–With the Breeders’ Cup World Championships coming to Santa Anita for a record 10th time on Nov. 1 & 2, memories of great performances from years gone by are bound to be rekindled. Decided by a scant nose, the 1993 Distaff, which involved a pair of Hall of Fame distaffers and four Hall of Fame horsemen, occupies prime real estate on anyone’s stroll down Memory Lane.
It was Nov. 6, 1993 and two of the greatest jockeys of all-time, Eddie Delahoussaye, aboard the Neil Drysdale-trained Hollywood Wildcat, and Chris McCarron, aboard the Ron McAnally-conditioned Paseana, did battle the length of the stretch, with Hollywood Wildcat prevailing by a nose in one of the most dramatic finishes in Breeders’ Cup history. What made the result even more compelling was the fact Delahoussaye lost his stick inside the sixteenth pole.
“They were both very accomplished fillies going into the race,” said Delahoussaye (who had won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint earlier in the day with Cardmania), by phone from his home in Lafayette, LA. “We both broke good and my filly was real comfortable. I made the lead entering the stretch and I had horse left, but I could hear McCarron just outside of me and I knew it was her (Paseana) and she was the one I was afraid of. At the eighth pole, we both really took off. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna hold on. We were head and head going down the last sixteenth of a mile and naturally, I un-cocked my stick probably about (70 yards) before the finish line and I blew it…As I said back then, I even lost my composure.
“I knew I had horse and I said ‘Uh oh, are we gonna get there?’ Actually, I probably didn’t even need the whip…It was a helluva horse race from the top of the stretch…Normally, I’m cool as a cucumber, but that day, it just freaked me out, letting go of that whip. As you know, all the races I rode the last 20 years of my career, I very seldom used the whip…I guess it’s like a crutch, you just have it and even though you don’t use it, it gives you confidence having it. It was very close, but I thought I had won.”
Favored at 6-5 in a field of eight, Hollywood Wildcat, who was foaled on Feb. 4, 1990, was by Kris S., out of the Mr. Prospector mare Miss Wildcatter, and paid $4.60 to win. Trained by Neil Drysdale, she carried 120 pounds and was owned and bred in Florida by Irving and Marjorie Cowan.
Paseana, an imposing 6-year-old mare bred in Argentina who had won the 1992 Distaff at Gulfstream Park, carried 123 pounds and was the second choice in the wagering at 5-2.
“She always ran her best races when she was in front turning for home, but she was a mare that didn’t have to be in front,” said McCarron from his home in Midway, KY. “She had good tactical speed and always stalked very comfortably. Eddie dropped his stick and I remember I caught hell back in the Jocks’ Room, because Eddie told everybody ‘I knew it was Chris, so I just threw my stick away!'”
In the heat of battle, was McCarron aware of Delahoussaye’s miscue?
“Yeah, I saw it go,” he said. “I thought well, I got him now…But it was just a ding-dong battle and both of those mares gave everything they had…When we hit the wire, I was pretty confident I had finished second. It was close, but it wasn’t so close we couldn’t determine it. I just remember it was a very tough pill to swallow.”
And, yet another great moment in Breeders’ Cup history at Santa Anita.