Things tend to get a little away from you when you're not at home and the Breeders' Cup (Tickets STILL available, click the box upper left of the screen) is no exception! Ideally my thoughts on Friday would have been up a day or so ago, but that simply wasn't going to happen. However, it IS before post time and you can also see my picks (and those from other "experts" who are bound to be more correct than I!) over at Hello Race Fans. Here is my reasoning behind Friday's selections:
This is always a fun race to watch. We get so few races at a mile and a half or better in the US that to watch one is a treat. Not many in here have gone this far though most look like they have the pedigree to do so. I went for a lot of value in this one - at least in theory.
Commander can get the early lead but will probably be pressed early on by the likes of the morning line favorite, Ever Rider - making his first US start after running exclusively in South America. London Bridge and Blueskiesandrainbows will probably want to be close early as well.
My choice is Worldly. Yes, he hasn't won in forever and is very lightly raced the last few years, but his pattern this year is a nice one to me - when looking at a mile and 3/4. Lost by 8 to probably Golden Ticket's best race of the season and then just missed at Remington coming hard at the end. Last out was defeated by Fort Larned, which is no shame and all the while (well, maybe not in his last) you get the feeling that he may want even more ground than the 1 1/8, 1 1/4 that he's been getting.
Winning this race would be a huge upset, but I like the way the race sets up and I think he'll be more than the 6-1 morning line, making him worth a shot.
Not exactly going out on a limb here. Bobby's Kitten earned his trade in his first race and came back to break his maiden easily in his second. He then stepped right up to a Grade 3 in the Pilgrim and won that with ease. Aidan O'Brien's Giovanni Boldini is going to be a tough. With the babies you never know who is going to jump up, but this looks like the exacta to me.
Always a fun race and my favorite 3-year old this year, Verrazano, comes in as the morning line favorite. I'm not picking him, but if he wins in spectacular fashion, I will rip up my ticket and give him an ovation, I really think he's spectacular. However, I'm riding the hot hand in this one and that is Pants on Fire. Really professional wins in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup and the Grade 3 Ack Ack and then a brief breather while working tremendously before shipping west.
Goldencents is at home and Alpha is cutting back to a distance where he may be more comfortable and effective. A very competitive race but I'm looking at Pants on Fire to pick up the pieces down the land to win it.
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
I went way outside here and could end up in big trouble, but My Conquestadory is the pick. I love the way she was able to pick her way through traffic at Keeneland last out, something you don't just see from babies too often. The odds are good that she'll have to do it again here in order to win. The French Vorda is the popular pick and another French filly, Testa Rossi, is on a very nice roll. Sky Painter could be an excellent value at 15-1 morning line after a very strong finish behind Testa Rossi in the Grade 3 Ms Grillo.
This looks to be a nice race to box a few and nail a tri or super.
Could be the greatest collection of filly and mare talent ever. I don't think that Street Girl can win. I can absolutely make a case for the other five. I'm going with Princess of Sylmar because she's on a roll and has beaten a couple in here in the process, including the older mare Royal Delta. I would love to see Beholder win it (she's my distaff Verrazano, I just love her) but I think her speed mixing it up with Royal Delta and possibly Close Hatches could set things up very nicely for the streaking Princess.
Best of luck everybody. I'll be tweeting some thoughts and pictures from Day 1 at Santa Anita throughout the weekend and you can catch those on Twitter by following me @tlgrevelis.