It’s Breeders’ Cup time again and, it should please you to know, my track record in these races is much better than in the Kentucky Derby. But then my track record in running marathons is better than my picks in the Derby. Here’s a closer look at this afternoon’s races which I’ll have on in the background whilst I work.
Small field and some real speed ought to make this one interesting. The clear favorite is the 2 for 2 Merit Man. He won a squeaker in his debut over the artificial surface at Del Mar and then exploded over the Santa Anita dirt to take the Tim Conway. Bob Baffert’s Super Ninety Nine could improve after a first out win the day after Merit Man’s Conway triumph. Both colts like the front: Merit Man fought hard three wide in the Conway before putting the field away and Super Ninety Nine dueled up until the stretch before scoring by 1 ¼. South Floyd will also want to get out early and all three are bunched in the center of the starting gate.
In an older horse race it may turn more on the trip than the talent but with these 2-year olds, I think it’s about the talent and I don’t think anyone else approaches the talent of the top two.
My Choice: MERIT MAN
What a crappy race. Only in America is a mile and 3/4 race a “marathon” and the contenders in here are rather non-descript. I remember having Romp in my Derby fantasy stable a million years ago. Eldaafer won this thing a few years ago and hasn’t done much since. I have no idea how to handicap the South American entries in this race. Maybe Commander can steal it on the front end at a billion to won and carry his winning streak to 7 – though he hasn’t seen this type of company in Canada…well, what SHOULD be this kind of company.
Know your strengths and know when to pass a race – in real life, I’ll watch this one and wager nothing, though a minor tri box of Commander, Atigun and Worth Repeating may happen, just to keep it interesting. A public selection needs to be forthcoming so…
My Choice: ATIGUN (which would also give Mike Smith the overall lead in career BC riding wins)
Juvenile Fillies Turf
A nice big field with a couple of also eligible waiting in the wings. Euro Sky Lantern is the morning line favorite while my choice, Spring Venture, is at a lovely 5-1. She should be able to stalk just fine. In compiling her 3 for 3 record she’s barely tried hard and won each easily. She’s also won at today’s distance. She may be able to score at a decent price if she goes flat out. Biggest threat, in my opinion, isn’t Sky Lantern but Watsdachances who is 2 for 2 in the US – both with troubled trips. She steers clear of trouble and she could romp here.
My Choice: SPRING VENTURE
Classics aside, this may be the most competitive race over the two days. Beholder, Executiveprivilege, Dreaming of Julia and Kauai Kate all could step up and win this thing. There was a lot of ooing and ahing over Beholder’s 108 Beyer last out, but it was earned in a non-winners of one allowance race. I know that Beyers are supposed to make that irrelevant, but it is indeed relevant. I’m hoping that the betting is spread among the most likely of contenders so I can get a decent price on the young lady that I feel is the best filly in here: Executiveprivilege. With a win over the strip and at this distance and having yet to be beaten as well as her ability to rate of a pace, she is…
My Choice: EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE
Filly and Mare Turf
One of the toughest things every year is comparing the Euros and their out of country form against the North American horses. For the most part it is a difficult exercise, mostly because we Americans are used to certain information presented a certain way and the Euro running lines have information we don’t understand and aren’t used to processing. And this isn’t an attempt to educate! I will freely admit if an international race didn’t have Frankel or Black Caviar, I probably didn’t see it. I most likely will pass again in here and just watch the race, but again a public selection is warranted and I’m going to buy American with Marketing Mix.
In her last three races, she won two and she was closing before missing by a head in the Beverly D. If she had another 1/16 on the mile and 3/16 distance (for those of you math challenged as I am, that would be a mile and quarter – the Turf distance) she would have beaten I’m A Dreamer.
My Choice: MARKETING MIX
WOW! This race features a LOT of talent. Every one of the eight entrants hit the board last time out with all but one of those races graded stakes (the other was still a stake); two are undefeated; one is on a four race win streak, another looking for her third; six of the eight won their last race AND the race has the defending champion!!
There are a lot in here that want the front end or stalk a pace. The only confirmed closer in the group is Include Me Out who probably isn’t nearly as fast as the others in here. So much so that I’m not sure that even a perfect pace battle can set her up for a win BUT if it does, she should be an excellent price. We can assume that Love and Pride and Questing will take to the lead and Royal Delta won’t want to be too far behind. With everyone else BUT Include Me Out wanting to be close to the lead, I’m going to take a chance on the major upset in the major race of the day.
(Side note: of the three 3-year olds, only Questing has beaten older – but nowhere near this caliber)
And added note of interest here: this is the second to last race of the Hello Race Fans/Breeders’ Cup Fantasy Capping for Charity Challenge and I need to go exacta since I’m so far behind. So here is my value exacta box for the race – Include Me Out and Royal Delta. I was tempted to include Love and Pride but I think there is going to be a lot of burn out on the front end.
My Choice: Include Me Out
Best of luck everyone and see you for Day 2 tomorrow!