Annually the Breeders’ Cup is in our opinion the best day for playing the races every year. Biggest fields, best runners, largest pools; cashing in one race often times makes the day a profitable proposition. Nine races on Saturday this year, with all the races for non-Juveniles being run on the same day since the split of Cup into two days. With every second of studying time for this card needed, we will get right to our picks.
Race 3: Filly/Mare Sprint
Full field of 14 signed on here, with a big favorite in Marley’s Freedom (13) in post 13. Can’t blame this horse for getting the call to be the favorite. She’s 6-4-1-0 this year, going 3-3 since joining the Baffert Barn. Previously for Bob Hess, she ran well at 6 furlongs but couldnt stretch her speed to 7. Maybe its maturity, maybe its the Silver Fox, but either way she did figure it out last start. However, she could be suspect as she is only 4-1-1-0 at the distance. Finley’sluckycharm (11) loves Churchill Downs (7-6-0-0 lifetime) and is running out of her own stall for Bret Calhoun. Although coming out of a poor effort at Saratoga, she has proven to run well fresh and is getting two months rest coming in here. Selcourt (1) ran brilliantly in California, besting Marley’s Freedom in March. However, she hasn’t made it back to the races since then for John Sadler and 4-1 seems a bit under value. Golden Mischief (5) hasn’t run this year beyond 6 furlongs, but rides a 3 race win streak with Florent Geroux and Brad Cox.
Race 4: Turf Sprint
With a field of 14, going only 5.5 furlongs I am guessing many of you are wondering how I believe to have a single horse in the “A” spot. I just think World of Trouble (11) checks off a lot of boxes for a winner here. He is running well this year, but comes in fresh not having run in almost two months. He is a three year old who is improving now after switching surfaces, and has run well on soft going. Of the rest, I like Vision Perfect (4) for a price. Jason Servis getting the services of Javy, enters off some rest as well. Horse has a great post, and has the speed to stalk and get first run. Disco Partner (5) is such an impressive runner as a world record holder, but his form shows he is better at 6-7 furlongs. Havana Grey (10) won a Group One in Europe in September, appears to run best on the off going. Lost Treasure (7), who has run 7 times since August 26, moving from maiden ranks to getting beat a length for a Group One on Arc day in Longchamp. He has run twice (!!) since that effort finishing in the money both times. However, Aiden O’Brien set up that solid effort in Longchamp with a race over the poly and he does the same for this start.
Race 5: Dirt Mile
A: 1, 10
From a fan perspective, this is a great race pitting Catalina Crusier (10) against City of Light (1). From a betting perspective the race appears to be unappetizing, as those two appear a head above the rest. However, this race has historically been a race filled with upsets and heavy favorites losing. Can both these two horses have off days and someone else charge to the front at the wire? Not the most likely. But this is horse racing, so if someone is going to do it we think it’ll be Firenze Fire (7) who reminds us of Battle of Midway last year; three year old closer who ran longer on the Derby Trail early in the season and is better at the one mile distance.
Race 6: Filly/Mare Turf
A: 3, 10
B: 1, 12
Playing some historically-based angles for the winners here. European winners of this race have mostly been 3 year olds, and this year we have two of the strongest 3 year old fillies from Europe to ever compete here in Wild Illusion (3) and Magic Wand (10), who just ran one-two respectively in the Prix d’ Opera against older fillies and mares. We like Wild Illusion a tough better, as she has the better post and runs well on off going, Our B’s consist of two of the “other” Chad Browns, with often second stringers winning races on Breeders’ Cup Day. We believe the key to this race maybe the 1 3/8 miles distance, which could be out of the wheelhouse of Sistercharlie (6) and we are playing against. Therefore we are going with the higher priced Fourstar Crook (1) and Santa Monica (12), both who have shown they can stay past 10 furlongs. Might take a shot here
Race 7: Sprint
B: 1, 2
Like the Dirt Mile, there appears to be two horses in here who are faster than the rest in Imperial Hint (5) and Roy H (9). However, here we are going to play against Imperial Hint and key Roy H. Imperial Hint, although 5-4-0-0 on the year, suffered his only loss at Churchill this year. Also, he is going to have to fight for the lead with the speedy and talented Promises Fulfilled (2), who has shown he backs down to no one on the lead. With a contested pace and a track he has not hit the board on in two starts, we think he’s a great play against at 9-5 odds. Roy H will be able to stalk and pounce from his outside post, and he has proven that his ‘a’ game travels by winning in Belmont last year and running a game third in Meydan in March. Whitmore (1) always runs hard, and with potentially a fast pace on the front end he could be charging to pick up all the pieces.
Race 8: Mile
A: 5, 7
Annually one of the hardest races to handicap, this years edition is no exception. We ended up siding with Oscar Performance (5) as our top pick. The horse is gutsy, and is one of the few in this field who really likes having the lead. It is possible that you could see this one get an early lead and lull them to sleep. Expert Eyes (7) brings good improving form from Europe, and with the timing of his starts it appears that this race was the target all along this year. Next Shares (2) has thrived since he came to Kentucky for Kentucky Downs meeting by winning there and the Shadwell Turf Mile. He appears to be the “now” horse and 10-1 is good value. Analyze It (12) although salty, had a tough outside trip in the Shadwell that cost him some ground. Unless he wings it for the front I see a similar trip for him today. He could catch a piece, but at 6-1 I like my chances with the others. Mustashry (14) has a tough post, but as the other ‘Stoute’ and riding a two race win streak, this one could surprise a little at longer odds.
Race 9: Distaff
A; 10, 11
B; 2, 9
A race which in recent running’s has been dominated by one of the post-time favorites. I do not see this trend bucking here, as Monomony (11) Girl and Abel Tasman (2) prove tough based on their records this year. However, I am going with Monomony Girl for win honors, with her win streak (minus a DQ) and her record at CD winning out. Additionally, I was concerned why Abel Tasman ran so poorly last out. All horses can throw a bad race out there and come back. But at 7-2 I’ll put my money elsewhere. Blue Prize is a hard-knocking horse for course (5-3-2-0 lifetime at CD). She also has only finished out of the money once in 16 lifetime starts. Wow Cat (9) ran very well in her last start, and might be returning to her best form that saw her dominate her competition in Chile last year.
Race 10: Turf
Enable (2) is the belle of this years Breeders Cup ball, showing up having just won her second consecutive Arc de Triomphe. She is a deserving favorite, and will have to run less than her best to get beat. However, that is possible with it being her first trip to the US. We give best chances for the upset to Bill Mott and Channel Maker (3). He has really come on strong at the end of the year, and just trounced Robert Bruce (4), the Arlington Million winner, on soft turf in their last outing at the distance. Bill Mott knows how to get the ready for the Breeders Cup and spring an upset. Looking for his first Breeders Cup turf since Fraise in 1992. To will out the placings, we go to two more Americans and European, of which we are most excited about Hi Happy (10). This horse ran well early this year at Gulfstream and Belmont, but through in some clunkers at Saratoga. However, he appears to be rounding back into form off his last start at Belmont for Todd Pletcher.
Race 11: the Classic
Very unique edition of the Classic this year, with multiple European trained entries and US-based horses who are recent transitions to the dirt.Forr win honors though I go to Accelerate (14), a tradition Classic horse. The two issues for for him: (1) will his game travel outside of California; and (2) does the 14 post effect him. I think both of these questions can be answered in favor of Accelerate. He did go to Oaklawn and run a solid second to City of Light (watch how he does in Dirt Mile). Also, he does not need the lead and can drop back to midpack or stalking position in the long stretch. Our other ‘A’ in McKenzie (6), who in our opinion has the most upside potential in the field. He is lightly raced, but has show brilliance in all of his starts for Baffert. Roaring Lion (2) is so interesting to me, especially with his apparent love for 1 1/4 mile races. I like the mile prep and will use him underneath. Also in the mix for us are Yoshida (10) and Catholic Boy (3), two horses who ran well on turf before moving to dirt. Most interested in Yoshida who ran a top performance lifetime in his first dirt try and stands to improve off of it.