Unfortunately this year heading to California was not in the cards. However Maryjean, our gal from the Canterbury Racing Club, is heading to post later today at Hawthorn Race Course and as luck would have it, Heather has the time off and I have to be in Wisconsin and Iowa for business bookending the weekend, so at Hawthorne we shall be. That preview can be seen over at the Canterbury Racing Club page. Here we'll focus on Day 1 of the Breeders' Cup.
If you don't know, Hello Race Fans is a site dedicated to racing fans education, a great way to bring fledgling fans deeper into the game. Even if you're not a novice they have great stakes previews, a "things to know" feature for key races that are must reads, and general overviews of things we may have forgotten over the years that can help sharpen up our handicapping.
Several times a year Hello Race Fans invites a few experts to share their picks on key races. For whatever reason, I am fortunate enough to be one of them. Each year around the Breeders' Cup I try to share my reasoning being my selections and then be publically humiliated later! Well, not always, which is what keeps me coming back.
My goal is to try and provide some value and not just pick the chalk. The name of the game is making money and that's what I'm going to try and do! So without further ado, my picks for Day 1:
Juvenile Turf - Startup Nation. This colt's first two races were stellar. He kind of stumbled a bit in his last, the Grade 3 Pilgrim, and threw in a real clunker. Rosario makes the trip to ride, trainer Chad Brown seems to be around the winners' circle in every big race this year and I'm willing to draw a line through his last and also believe that there is going to be enough speed to run at to start us off right. Morning line: 12-1
Dirt Mile - Tapiture. I wanted to type in Goldencents very badly. That 6-5 morning line was less than appealing however and I'm not convinced that he's a mortal lock - though he's probably pretty close. My guess is that he's going to go off at even money or less and that leaves some juicy payouts on the table. I know I'm not exactly going longshot with Tapiture but at 6-1 there is value there and his off the pace style may suit this race given that there is plenty of speed in here. Goldencents may seize the lead at the top of the lane, but I'm betting on Tapiture to pass him by in the final strides.
Juvenile Fillies Turf - Sunset Glow. A 2nd place finish at Ascot and then a couple of graded stakes wins upon her return home makes me feel pretty good about her. I know we all look at the Euros in BC turf races but this gal has proven she can run with them. She's fast, can win up front and can rate and since her maiden breaking effort, Victor Espinoza has been with her every step of the way. Morning line: 7/2.
Distaff - Don't Tell Sophia. I went round and round with this one. Beholder would have been my choice if she stayed in, not only because she's amazing but because I have a real soft spot for her. I would have thrown value out the window to see her win. But she's out and I move on, but not to either Untapable (who I also think is tremendous) or Close Hatches, but to Don't Tell Sophia. Sophia can run with these types, may be able to sweep by if their rivalry wears them both down, and she shares a name with my mom. Analysis teamed with a hunch - the handicapping formula of the ages! Morning line: 5-1
Good luck everyone!