2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Juvenile Sprint Preview
By Anthony Stabile
6 furlongs; $500,000; 2YO; Friday, Nov. 4th at 4:10 p.m.
You’re witnessing it. After adding the juvenile turf races several years back, the powers that be at the Breeders’ Cup decided it was time for the two-year-olds to get their very own mad dash for the cash and here it is.
SECRET CIRCLE has a tremendous edge over these from a speed figures point of view, having paired 97 Beyer figs in his two starts. The first, a gate-to-wire romp in his debut over the synthetic surface at Del Mar by over seven lengths was followed up by a 5¼ romp in an ungraded stakes at Santa Anita over conventional dirt where he covered six furlongs in a sharp 1:08 1/5.
VEXOR couldn’t handle the slop at Saratoga in the G1 Hopeful two back when beaten over 40 lengths but ran to his wet-track pedigree when he won the G2 Nashua over a good track at Belmont last out. In his two starts over fast tracks, Vexor finished second in his debut before breaking his maiden at Saratoga off a two month layoff.
Speaking of the Hopeful and Nashua, TRINNIBERG finished second in both, beaten just ¾ of a length in each race. After breaking his maiden at Calder in his debut, he finished off the board in the G2 Saratoga Special before leading them almost every step of the way at over 68-1 in the Hopeful, He led for most of the way in the Nashua as well but was out-dueled in deep stretch by Vexor.
Though his first preference is the Juvenile, HANSEN would be a major player should his connections opt for this. Hansen broke his maiden by 12½ lengths in his debut sprinting then crushed his foes by 13¼ in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile. Both starts were won in gate-to-wire fashion over the synthetic surface at Turfway Park.
BLACKY THE BULL closed to break his maiden in his third start last out and will surely benefit from the probable fast pace in here. CASPAR NETSCHER ships in from England having already run nine times, all on the turf. His first preference is the Juvenile Turf. HOLDIN BULLETS will be making his first start in over six months after breaking his maiden over the Polytrack at Keeneland in his debut.
JAKE MO finished third in the Kip Deville Remington when stuck with a terrible outside draw after winning a pair of races, including a minor stakes, at Prairie Meadows. SEEKER finished third to Vexor in his debut and in the Nashua, breaking his maiden between those two starts over a sloppy Saratoga strip. SHUMOOS defeated the boys in her only other attempt against them over a synthetic course at Kempton in England. SUM OF THE PARTS was third in the Kip Deville having failed in a couple of graded stakes attempts after breaking his maiden in his debut at Churchill.
* Front Runners: Hansen, Holdin Bullets, Jake Mo, Shumoos, Trinniberg, Vexor
* Mid-pack: Blacky the Bull, Secret Circle, Seeker, Sum of the Parts
* Closers: Caspar Netscher,
I hate to start Breeders’ Cup 28 this way, but this has the makings of a real chalky affair.
Shumoos ships in for a more than capable barn and has a pedigree to die for. She should be about 15-1 or so and is definitely worth taking a show with at that price.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Juvenile Fillies Turf Preview
By Anthony Stabile
Juvenile Fillies Turf
1 mile(T); $1 million; 2YOf; Friday Nov 4th at $:50 p.m.
Created a year after the Juvenile Turf after fillies were forced to face colts in 2007, so with only three runnings under its belt, there isn’t much. It’s worth noting, however, that a West Coast based runner hasn’t been in the trifecta in any of the three races.
Favorites: 0 for 3 (0%)
Shortest: $21.60 (Tapitsfly, 2009)
Highest: $29.20 (More Than Real, 2010)
Average win price: $25.00
U.S based: 3/Foreign based: 0
ELUSIVE KATE will look to get the Euros into the win column in this event as U.S. based runners have taken the first three runnings. Coming into this off a four race win streak, Elusive Kate seems like the one who can do it.
After taking a G3 event two back in her graded stakes debut, Elusive Kate easily handled G1 foes, winning by three lengths on the Arc undercard at Longchamp. Her apparent versatility when it comes to her running style should aid her greatly in here.
SOMALI LEMONADE is a perfect two for two and has been visually impressive in both of her victories. After getting bothered at the break, she closed from dead last in a seven furlong sprint over the Belmont grass to win drawing away by 1 ¾ lengths.
Last out in the G3 Jessamine at Keeneland, she pulled the exact same trip despite stretching out in distance, swung wide on the turn and barreled past 11 others to win by the same margin. It’s worth noting that both her wins came over courses with some moisture in them.
STEPHANIE’S KITTEN is a G1 winner herself but that came over the Keeneland Polytrack last out in the Alcibades. She worked out the perfect trip early, swung wide in the stretch and closed nicely to win by 1 ½ lengths. Three starts back, she broke her maiden over the Arlington Park grass before hanging a bit while wide in the stretch of the G3 Natalma at Woodbine where she was third.
STOPSHOPPINGMARIA is easily the fastest filly in the field, having earned a bawdy 101 Beyer fig when she broke her maiden in a dirt sprint at Saratoga. After finishing second in the G1 Frizette behind pro tem division leader My Miss Aurelia last out, her connections decided she’d make her grass debut in here as opposed to staying on the dirt.
DAYATTHESPA broke her maiden in her debut against NY breds at Saratoga before finishing second in the Natalma at Woodbine last out when she faded in deep stretch. DEAR LAVINIA finished third to Elusive Kate three back before winning her last and being purchased by Iron Chef Bobby Flay. HARD NOT TO LIKE is three for four in her career with her lone blemish coming in the Natalma where she finished fifth. PURE GOSSIP won her turf debut in grand style last out, rallying from just off the pace to win the G3 Ms Grillo over a soft Belmont turf by daylight.
SWEET CAT broke her maiden in her turf debut before failing to hold off Somali Lemonade in the Jessamine last out. MY GI GI returns to the lawn off a fourth place finish in the G1 Oak Leaf on dirt at Santa Anita. She broke her maiden then finished second in a minor stakes over the Louisiana Downs grass course in her first two starts. CUSTOMER BASE makes her turf debut off a pair of synthetic scores at Del Mar and Keeneland. UP adds Lasix for her return to the lawn while shipping in from Europe. She broke her maiden over a synthetic surface after failing to fire in her debut on grass.
ANN OF THE DANCE makes her first start for new connections and her grass debut having won two of four over synthetics. ROYAL BONNIE closed well to finish second before getting DQed to fourth in the Ms Grillo for some bumping in mid-stretch. BOURBONSTREETGIRL and KARLOVY VARY are also eligible.
* Front Runners: Dayatthespa, Stopshoppingmaria, Sweet Cat
* Mid-pack: Dear Lavinia, Elusive Kate, Hard Not to Like, Pure Gossip, Up, Royal Bonnie, Karlovy Vary
* Closers: Somali Lemonade, Stephanie’s Kitten, My Gi Gi, Customer Base, Ann of the Dance, Bourbonstreetgirl
These juvenile races on the lawn can give you first since most of them normally look the same. I don’t feel that’s the case here as the favorites look like they’re the real deal. If I had a knock, it would be that I’m not a fan of young horses, especially fillies, shipping across the sea so Elusive Kate would be the one I think is a tad vulnerable.
Hard Not to Like has won sprinting, going long, against the boys and on a firm and soft course. She should work out a stalking, mid-pack trip and is worth a flyer at 15-1 or better, her morning line odds.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Filly & Mare Sprint Preview
By Anthony Stabile
Filly & Mare Sprint
7 furlongs; $1 million; 3up(f&m); Friday, Nov. 4th at 5:40 p.m.
Run at six furlongs in 2007 because Monmouth Park isn’t configured for the intended distance.
Favorites: 0 for 4 (0%)
Shortest: $7.60 (Ventura, 2008)
Highest: $19.20 (Dubai Majesty, 2010)
Average win price: $13.40
Though she hasn’t run since winning the G1 Test at Saratoga some three months ago, TURBULENT DESCENT figures to go off the heavy chalk in here and deservedly so. A six time winner from eight starts with two second place finishes, she’s done little wrong in her career so far. Just this season alone she’s a dual G1 winner having won the G1 Santa Anita Oaks around two turns for trainer Mike Puype. In her career, she’s won four of five starts around one turn (a perfect three for three at this distance) with the lone blemish being a runner-up finish in the G1 Acorn behind It’s Tricky, one of the contenders in the Ladies’ Classic, over a muddy Belmont main track.
Fellow Californian SWITCH will look to snap a five race losing streak after winning the G1 Santa Monica going this trip at Santa Anita to begin the year. Second in three consecutive G1 races around two turns before finishing third in the G1 Clement Hirsch also over a route of ground, Switch was cut back by trainer John Sadler to six furlongs last out and was third in the G2 TCA over the Keeneland Polytrack as the 4-5 favorite. In her three races over conventional dirt at this distance, Switch has won twice and finished second in this event last year.
CHAMPAGNE D’ ORO is looking for her first win since the 2010 Test having struggled a bit in her eight starts since. GOLDEN MYSTERY attempts a huge class hike and seeks her third straight since switching barns to Juan Carlos Guerrero, a Parx based conditioner who hits at 33%. GREAT HOT is making her third start in five weeks, having shipped in from California to win the G2 Raven’s Run at Keeneland.
HER SMILE took advantage of a hot pace to come from last to score in the G1 Prioress against three-year-old fillies on July 4th. IRISH GYPSY has won half of her six starts this year, including the G1 A Gleam over the Cushion Track at Hollywood and a minor stakes over the Lose Star Park main track. MUSICAL ROMANCE is a versatile sort who’s won on both fast and wet dirt tracks, a synthetic surface and the turf. She just missed by a neck in the G1 Princess Rooney at Calder in July.
POMEROYS PISTOL flashed a bit more speed than usual en route to an emphatic score in the G2 Gallant Bloom in her first start against older fillies and mares last out. She was second in the Test two back and won the G2 Davona Dale at this trip at Gulfstream. SHOTGUN GULCH made her lone win from seven tries this season count as it came in the G1 Madison at Keeneland where she flew from last to post a head victory at 11-1.
TAMARIND HALL benefited from a rare clunker thrown in by Hilda’s Passion when she captured the G3 Bed of Roses at Belmont going this distance back in July. She was second in the Gallant Bloom last out. TANDA has run just once on dirt but it was in the Acorn last year where she closed strongly to finish third despite breaking slowly and racing wide. TAR HEEL MOM won the G2 Honorable Miss three back then finished second in the G1 Ballerina when stumbling at the start before running poorly in the Gallant Bloom as the 6-5 chalk.
* Front Runners: Champagne d’ Oro, Golden Mystery, Pomeroys Pistol, Tar Heel Mom
* Mid-pack: Great Hot, Irish Gypsy, Musical Romance, Tamarind Hall, Tanda, Turbulent Descent
* Closers: Her Smile, Shotgun Gulch, Switch,
I wouldn’t try to get too creative here, especially on the win end of things. There should be an honest pace, which benefits both Turbulent Descent and Switch, who are simply better than the rest of these.
Tanda’s lone dirt start was quite impressive and I remember it well since I bet on her that day. She’s making her third start for new trainer Mike Mitchell and should work out a decent trip in here. She’s worth a flyer at 15-1 or higher.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Juvenile Fillies Preview
By Anthony Stabile
1 1/16m; $2 million; 2YOf; Friday, Nov. 4th at 6:10 p.m.
Open Mind, Go For Wand, Meadow Star and Silverbulletday are some of the fantastic young ladies to have captured this event. My Flag splashed home in the mud to win in 1995 before her daughter Storm Flag Flying took the 2002 renewal at Arlington Park. D. Wayne Lukas leads all trainers with five wins while four different riders, including John Velazquez, have won two.
Favorites: 16 for 27 (59%)
Shortest: $2.40 (Meadow Star, 1990) *Shortest price in history of the Breeders’ Cup*
Highest: $96 (Caressing, 2000)
Average win price: $16.50
While the top three contenders in here all come in with three wins from three starts in their young careers, MY MISS AURELIA looks to be the fastest of the three. After breaking her maiden at first asking against a talent laden field in a Saratoga sprint, My Miss Aurelia gutted out a neck victory in the G2 Adirondack, also at the Spa.
Her last start however was easily the most impressive of any juvenile filly this year as she set sharp early fractions before holding off a bold far turn mover of the favored Stopshoppingmaria to win the G1 Frizette by 5 ½ lengths, covering the mile a tick faster than morning line Juvenile favorite Union Rags would just a half hour later. This will be her first two turn start.
GRACE HALL, on the other hand, returned to Delaware Park last out, forgoing the glitz, glamour and purse money the Frizette had to offer for some two turn experience in the ungraded, $75K Blue Hen where she easily defeated four other rivals.
In the first two starts of her career, Grace Hall broke her maiden in gate-to wire fashion at Delaware before showing an ability to come from off the pace to win the G1 Spinaway at Saratoga by almost two lengths.
Despite being bred in New York, WEEMISSFRANKIE represents the West Coast proudly in here as she is the only multiple G1 winner in the field. A pair of synthetic wins at Del Mar in a maiden race and the G1 Del Mar Debutante, which she won from well off the pace, were a prelude to her best start yet.
That came last out in the G1 Oak Leaf in her dirt and two turn debut. An apparent beaten filly at the eighth pole, Weemissfrankie dug in and kept a comin’ to get up in the final strides to keep her perfect record intact.
CANDREA dueled throughout the Oak Leaf before getting gunned down in the last 70 yards by Weemissfrankie. She won here prior two starts over synthetic Hollywood course in her debut and in a minor stakes at Fairplex on dirt. MISS NETTA was awesome winning her debut at Saratoga y almost three lengths but broke awkwardly and didn’t get on stride until halfway through the Frizette where she miraculously finished third.
NORTHERN PASSION is making her dirt debut having already won on synthetics at first asking and on grass last out when she rallied from far back to win the G3 Natalma at Woodbine. PUTTHEBABIESDOWN is another trying dirt for the first time. She broke her maiden in a turf sprint at Ellis in her debut before losing her next three, including a third place finish in the G1 Alcibades over the Polytrack at Keeneland when adding Lasix in her most recent.
HOMECOMING QUEEN adds Lasix for her dirt/U.S. debut having already raced ten times in Europe. Her two victories have come on the lawn while she is winless in a pair of synthetic track tries. Fellow import QUESTING will also sport Lasix for her first stateside/dirt start having run exclusively on turf in her three starts, including a maiden win. SELF PRESERVATION started her career in Ireland but has run twice in America. She finished second in the Del Mar Debutante before tiring early in the Oak Leaf.
ROCKET TWENTYWON broke her maiden in her debut at Prairie Meadows before stalking the early lead en route to a ½ length score at better than 16-1 in the G3 Arlington-Washington Lassie at Arlington Park. SAY A NOVENA finished second in the G2 Matron at Belmont earlier this season and has won half of her six starts, including a pair of minor stakes at Parx and Monmouth. AWESOME BELLE Showed marked improvement when adding blinkers and stretching out to two turns when she wired seven other Florida breds in a minor stakes at Calder. FROLIC’S REVENGE won a minor Calder stakes three back before finishing fourth in the Alcibades last out.
* Front Runners: Candrea, Grace Hall, Miss Netta, My Miss Aurelia, Say a Novena, Self Preservation
* Mid-pack: Homecoming Queen, Questing, Rocket Twentyone, Awesome Belle, Frolic’s Revenge
* Closers: Northern Passion, Putthebabiesdown, Weemissfrankie,
To me it looks like a chalky affair, but I have been wrong before. There are enough horses out there that will offer value because they are unknowns so longshot players will be tempted. Just keep in mind that stat at the top of this story…..favorites win this almost 60% percent of the time, a remarkable number.
Miss Netta really impressed me in her debut then pulled some shenanigans at the start last out. I doubt she could have beaten the winner anyway, so the price might be even better in here then it would have had she run her race. Plus her pedigree suggests she’ll like the added ground more than most. 12-1 or better is a fair price.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Filly & Mare Turf Preview
By Anthony Stabile
Filly & Mare Turf
1 3/8 miles (T); $2 million; 3up(f&m); Friday, Nov. 4th at 6:50 p.m.
Ouija Board won it in 2004 and 2006 and was stopped by Intercontinental in 2005 when she was second. Her trainer Ed Dunlop and the late Bobby Frankel each won two runnings while Kieran Fallon and Jerry Bailey have each ridden a pair of winners.
Favorites: 4 for 12 (33%)
Shortest: $3.80 (Ouija Board, 2004)
Highest: $94.00 (Shared Account, 2010)
Average win price: $20.80
U.S based: 7/Foreign based: 5
If she manages to win her third straight race in here, both American and European pundits are going to try and claim STACELITA as their own. After racing in Europe for the first 14 races of her career, Stacelita shipped here earlier this year and tried the boys in the G1 United Nations at Monmouth where she proceeded to get an awful ride from Joe Bravo to finish third.
In her two subsequent starts, though, Stacelita was able to flaunt her stuff. She saved ground throughout in the G1 Beverly D at Arlington, came through along the rail and drew off to an easy 1¼ length score. Then the G1 Flower Bowl, she overcame a dawdling pace to explode with a three wide move on the turn to win by a convincing 2 lengths. She’s drawn well and should work out a great trip in here.
NAHRAIN invades from Europe adding Lasix and sporting a perfect four for four record. After winning her first three starts handily, Nahrain tried G1 foes for the first time in the Prix de l’Opera and responded with a gutsy nose victory. It’s worth noting that her rider, the great Frankie Dettori, is coming over to ride her despite the fact that he can’t ride on the Saturday card due to a suspension in Europe.
ANNOUNCE was on the other end of the decision to Nahrain last out after taking the G1 Prix Jean Romanet. Earlier this year she finished second to morning line Turf favorite Sarafina in the G2 Prix Corrida and ahead of Stacelita in the G3 La Coupe where they finished second and third respectively.
ARUNA is another filly who began her career in Europe but has done her best work in the America. In fact she’s won five of her seven U.S. starts while placing seven in the other two. Last out, she tried synthetics for the first time and rallied to win the G1 Spinster at Keeneland, leaving her connections with the decision to try the Ladies Classic or this. After working poorly on the dirt, they opted for this spot.
Last year’s Filly & Mare Turf champ SHARED ACCOUNT is back to defend her title but is coming into this having raced twice since her 46-1 upset last year, and they’ve been terrible efforts to boot. A fourth place finish in the G3 Gallorette at Pimlico was followed by a four month layoff and another awful effort in the G2 Canadian up at Woodbine.
DUBAWI HEIGHTS is a multiple G1 winner this year and four for five overall. G1 wins in the Yellow Ribbon and Gamely sandwich a second place finish to Stacelita in the Beverly D. She figures to be forwardly placed against this field.
HARMONIOUS was victorious in the 2010 G1 QEII at Keeneland but has lost six in a row since, a streak that started in this event last season. However, she did close well to finish third in the Yellow Ribbon last out, her best effort of this season. CAMBINA closed from far back to take the G1 American Oaks at Hollywood two starts back but failed to fire her best shot in the G1 Del Mar Oaks and in the Yellow Ribbon last out, her first start against older fillies and mares.
DISTORTED LEGACY finished up well when second in the Flower Bowl despite her jockey losing the whip. Winless in seven turf starts overall but has finished second four times. MISTY FOR ME adds Lasix for her stateside debut coming off a third place finish in the G1 Matron in Ireland back in early September. Two starts back she defeated Midday, who’s taking on the boys in the Turf this year, in the G1 Polly at the Curragh.
DYNASLEW is winless in five tries this year but has finished second in the G3 Glens Falls and Flower Bowl since adding blinkers. PERFECT SHIRL has lost eight consecutive races since winning the G2 Lake George at Saratoga back in 2010. She’s finished third in the G3 Matchmaker and second in the Canadian last out.
* Front Runners: Dubawi Heights, Misty For Me, Dynaslew
* Mid-pack: Announce, Nahrain, Shared Account, Stacelita
* Closers: Aruna, Cambina, Distorted Legacy, Harmonious, Perfect Shirl
I’m curious to see how the pace plays out because I think it could play a bigger role than it will in some of the other races. The Euros seem to have an edge but it’s not as strong as in some of the other turf races.
I’m not over the moon about this bomb selection but Shared Account didn’t come into last years renewal with flashy form either. Not often you’ll get 25-1 or higher on a defending champ.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Ladies Classic Preview
By Anthony Stabile
1 1/8 miles; $2 million; 3up(f&m); Friday, Nov. 4th at 7:30 p.m.
In what could be considered the most memorable moment in the history of the Breeders’ Cup, Personal Ensign gunned down Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors in THE final stride of the 1988 running at Churchill Downs. Bayakoa won back to back runnings the following two years. Inside Information won it in 1995 by 13½ lengths, the largest winning margin in Breeders’ Cup history. And before tackling the boys twice, Zenyatta graced this race with her presence when she won it in 2008. D. Wayne Lukas and Mike Smith lead trainers and jockeys, respectively, with four wins each.
Favorites: 11 for 27 (41%)
Shortest: $2.80 (Life’s Magic Entry, 1985)
Highest: $113.80 (Spain, 2000)
Average win price: $20.50
With Havre de Grace opting to take on the big boys in the Classic on Saturday, this years renewal of the Ladies’ Classic has lost a bit of its luster but should prove to be the deciding factor in the year end honors in the three-year-old filly division as our top three contenders, PLUM PRETTY, IT’S TRICKY and ROYAL DELTA, are all familiar with one another and are wrapping up solid sophomore seasons in here.
The 2-1 morning line favorite coming off a decisive 7½ length score in the G2 Cotillion at Parx last out, Plum Pretty also owns perhaps the most important victory in the field, a neck win in the prestigious G1 Kentucky Oaks over this course back in May. Earlier this season, Plum Pretty won the Sunland Park Oaks by an astonishing 25 lengths, was second in the G2 Hollywood Oaks and fourth in the G1 Alabama.
It’s Tricky will be getting a key rider switch to Ramon Dominguez for this as her regular rider Eddie Castro recovers from a back injury sustained in a fall at Belmont. Her biggest win came in the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga where she beat both Plum Pretty and Royal Delta. Known for being a bit tough to handle at times, I wonder how much that will play into things especially with a new rider on her back. It’s Tricky win the first three starts of her career before her antics cost her in the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks forcing her to miss the Kentucky Oaks.
Royal Delta broke her maiden in spectacular fashion in her debut in the fall of 2010 at Belmont before for bombing as the 8-5 favorite in her return in a minor stakes at Tampa Bay Downs this past winter. She won the G2 Black Eyed Susans before being forced to the sidelines with some foot issues that contributed to her third place finish in the CCA Oaks. She rebounded nicely to turn the tables on both her rivals with a 5½ length romp in the Alabama before finishing second in the G1 Beldame behind Havre de Grace last out over the slop at Belmont.
I bet ASK THE MOON wishes this was being run up at Saratoga. After losing twelve consecutive starts dating back to October 2009, Ask the Moon led from gate to wire in both the G1 Ruffian and G1 Personal Ensign up at the Old Spa this summer before getting back to her losing ways when she beat just one horse in the G1 Lady’s Secret last out at Santa Anita.
MEDAGLIA D’AMOUR adds blinkers for what will be her conventional dirt debut. Last in the G1 Yellow Ribbon on the grass at Santa Anita last out in her third start off of a fifteen month layoff, Medaglia d’Amour is winless in all three starts this year after winning her last three before the extended layoff.
MISS MATCH won the first two starts after getting switched to her current barn at the start of the season, including the G1 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita at over 45-1. Since then she’s lost four straight, all against G1 foes, with her last two starts coming against colts in the Hollywood Gold Cup and Goodwood.
PACHATTACK finished second to Ask the Moon in the Personal Ensign in her lone start over conventional dirt. Since coming to the states in the summer of 2010, she’s won two of her starts over synthetic surface and was second in the G1 Spinster behind Filly and Mare Turf contender Aruna.
SATANS QUICK CHICK lone win from seven tries on conventional dirt came over a good track at Oaklawn where she won a minor stakes earlier this season. She finished third in the Beldame last out.
SUPER ESPRESSO began her season with a pair of wins over the inner track at Aqueduct before tackling some stiffer competition later on in the season. Winless in four starts since taking the G3 Dupont Distaff, Super Espresso did manage a third place finish in the G1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont and a second place finish in the Ruffian before tailing off in her last two starts.
ULTRA BEND is a synthetic track specialist who owns two dirt track wins and has hit the board in her three other tries over the surface, including a second place finish in the Lady’s Secret where she was beaten just ½ length by Zazu in her most recent.
* Front Runners: Ask the Moon, It’s Tricky, Medaglia d’Amour, Plum Pretty
* Mid-pack: Pachattack, Royal Delta,
* Closers: Miss Match, Satans Quick Chick, Super Espresso, Ultra Blend
One of the three favorites should win this, with the edge going to Royal Delta based on the fact that I think she’ll get a great trip. But if you’re playing multi race wager make sure you have a saver ticket using all three.
Miss Match has faced some pretty tough company this season and is easily the best older filly or mare in here. Worth a look at 15-1 or higher and is a good horse to try and get into the trifectas or superfectas.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
The Marathon Preview
By Anthony Stabile
1¾ miles; $500,000; 3up; Saturday, Nov. 5th at 1:20 p.m.
Run at 1½ miles in its first year before stretching out to this distance. European shippers won the first two runnings over the synthetic surface at Santa Anita. This event is best known altercation between jockeys Javier Castellano and Calvin Borel at the scales after the 2010 race.
Favorites: 0 for 3 (0%)
Shortest: $14.80 (Man of Iron, 2009)
Highest: $26.80 (Muhannak, 2008)
Average win price: $21.60
GIANT OAK takes another crack at this after being moved up to fourth via DQ last year. After getting that elusive G1 win when placed first via DQ in the G1 Clark at the end of last season, Giant Oak made his first start of this year a winning one in the G1 Donn at Gulfstream but is winless in six starts since. An underachiever that usually winds up being the “wiseguy” horse wherever he runs, his connections are hoping a better trip than last year and the distance will get him to the winners’ circle.
Speaking of last years Marathon, the champ is here as ELDAAFER will be making his third consecutive start in the event. He’s won just twice this season in an allowance contest on the grass at old Atlantic City and in a money allowance race at Delaware. Last out he finished second in a minor stakes at Delaware and has failed to hit the board in his three graded stakes attempts.
BIRDRUN has had a fairly successful season despite racing with aluminum pads in most of his starts. After a second place finish to 2010 G1 Belmont winner/stablemate Drosselmeyer in a minor stakes at Belmont going 1 ¼ miles, Birdrun turned the tables when he went gate-to-wire in the G2 Brooklyn at 1 ½ miles. Birdrun was awarded first place money in the Greenwood Cup at Parx going 1 ½ miles before failing to fire off a ten week layoff in the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup last out.
A.U. MINER finished fifth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup after getting DQed for a medication positive in the Greenwood Cup. He was placed third in last years Marathon. AFLEET AGAIN comes into this off a thirteen race losing streak but did get elevated to second in the Greenwood Cup after racing wide. BARYSHNIKOV won three of four, including a minor stakes at Turfway, to start the season before losing his last five starts. He’s winless in eight starts on conventional dirt.
CEASE broke his maiden then won an entry level allowance contest, both over wet tracks in Saratoga, before hanging in the stretch when third in the G2 Hawthorne Gold Cup last out. PLEASANT PRINCE has won two of his last three with the lone blemish coming in the G3 Iselin two back. He broke his maiden over the course nearly two years ago. TUTTI BUONA GENTE was claimed in July for $15K and won a starter handicap at Hoosier in his return to dirt last out. 2010 G1 Blue Grass winner STATELY VICTOR is winless in six starts on dirt and has first preference in the Turf.
Three Europeans will try the Marathon, all making their dirt debuts, starting with BRIGANTIN, who’s raced at distances beyond the 1 ¾ miles of the Marathon in his last six starts. HARRISON’S CAVE has won two of his last three against older and is making his graded stakes debut. MEEZNAH tries the boys again after getting beat over 46 lengths by them three starts back as the 3-1 favorite in England. Last year she finished behind a couple of Europe’s best fillies in Midday and Snow Fairy.
* Front Runners: Birdrun, Meeznah, Tutti Buona Gente
* Mid-pack: Baryshnikov, Brigantin, Cease, Eldaafer, Harrison’s Cave Stately Victor
* Closers: A.U. Miner, Afleet Again, Giant Oak, Pleasant Prince
The marquee names in this event that figure to take the bulk of the money all have more cons than pros if you ask me. Spreading in multi-race exotics is suggested and don’t be afraid to think outside the box in here.
Trainer Andre Fabre could put a saddle on Elsie the Cow and I’d pay attention so Brigantin is where I’m going. With all the distance races he’s run, I certainly know he’s dead fit and will probably be 20-1.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Juvenile Turf Preview
By Anthony Stabile
1 mile(T); $1 million; 2YO(c&g); Saturday, Nov 5th at 2:02 p.m.
Contested by both sexes in its inaugural running back in 2007 and featured the Breeders’ Cup debut of Gio Ponti, who had a nightmare trip. Trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori teamed up to win consecutive runnings with Donativum and Pounced in 2008 and 2009.
Favorites: 1 for 4 (25%)
Shortest: $6.80 (Pounced, 2009)
Highest: $27.20 (Nownownow, 2007)
Average win price: $15.60
U.S based: 2/Foreign based: 2
FINALE has turned into a different horse since switching to the turf three starts pack. That day, he cruised home to a maiden score at Belmont in a sprint before stretching out successfully to win a minor stakes at Monmouth Park by over ten lengths. Last out in the G3 Summer up at Woodbine, things didn’t go as easily for Finale as they had in his prior two tries as he broke a bit slowly before making a strong move on the turn and eventually grinding out 1 ¾ length score over several he’ll face again in here.
STATE OF PLAY will be making just the third start of his career off of a two month layoff in this but has done nothing wrong so far. After sitting off a fast early pace in his debut when he won by 2½ lengths while sprinting, State of Play led them every step of the way in the G2 With Anticpation to win by ½ length. Since then, however, State of Play was scratched out of one race and not entered in another on his schedule.
DULLAHAN had a bit of a troubled trip when third in the With Anticpation before switching to Polytrack and breaking his maiden in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in his last start. He finished second in a Saratoga maiden race in his only other turf start. His connections are on the fence as to whether they’ll run in here or the Juvenile.
Like the With Anticpation, the G3 Bourbon at Keeneland has produced several entrants in here, including the winner ANIMAL SPIRITS, who like Dullahan, broke his maiden in a stakes race. Animal Spirits got up in the nick of time in the Bourbon, closing from far back to win by a ½ length.
CASPAR NETSCHER ships in from Europe having already raced nine times in his career, including three wins. Two of the victories came in a pair of G2 stakes before he finished fifth by a length in his first G1 try last out. Though he has an obvious seasoning edge, Caspar Netscher has yet to race past six furlongs.
COALPORT beat Illinois breds in his debut before losing the lead in deep stretch of the Bourbon. Third place Bourbon finisher LUCKY CHAPPY was making his first start in three months last out when he came from dead last to get third despite some traffic trouble. From the connections that brought you G1 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Lucky Chappy was supplemented to this for $100K, as was SHKSPEARE SHALIYAH. After flying home to be third in his debut, Shkspeare Shaliyah broke his maiden then won the G3 Pilgrim with a last-to-first run under a vigorous hand ride at Belmont Park.
FANTASTIC SONG broke his maiden at first asking with a furious late rally from last before laying closer to the slow pace in the Pilgrim to finish third as the 8-5 favorite. MAJESTIC CITY tired in deep stretch when second in the Breeders’ Futurity and has won three of his five starts, including the G3 Hollywood Juvenile, all over synthetic surfaces. EXCAPER was third in the Summer, his lone turf start, and owns a win and fourth place finish in the G3 Grey at Woodbine last out, on synthetics. DADDY NOSE BEST was third in the summer and has hot the board in his two other turf tries, including his maiden score.
DADDY LONG LEGS, a G2 winner in England last out heads the rest of the Euro contingent though his first preference is the Juvenile. FARRAAJ was second in a G2 last out, his first attempt against graded stakes foes, after winning his prior two starts. LEARN was fourth in the G1 Racing Post and has won once in four starts. WROTE was third behind Daddy Long Legs after winning his two previous starts, including one at this distance..
* Front Runners: Daddy Long Legs, Finale, Learn, Majestic City, State of Play, Excaper
* Mid-pack: Dullahan, Farraaj, Wrote
* Closers: Animal Spirits, Caspar Netscher, Coalport, Fantastic Song, Lucky Chappy, Shkspeare Shaliyah, Daddy Nose Best
I can honestly say I think the Americans have the upper hand over the Euros this year. And while Finale is the most obvious of the home team, I think he may be tailing off just a tad so don’t be too afraid to use a few others with him.
Shkspeare Shaliyah has a powerful late punch and figures to be a much bigger price than he should be because of his connections. 12-1 or higher are fair odds on him
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
The Sprint Preview
By Anthony Stabile
6 furlongs; $1.5 million; 3up; Saturday, Nov. 5th at 2:37 p.m.
Dayjur was home free in 1990 before famously jumping a shadow at Belmont Park and allowing Safely Kept to become one of three fillies to win this. Thirty Slews won the 1992 running, introducing the world to a then unknown trainer by the name of Bob Baffert. Kona Gold ran in the Sprint five times, grabbing the brass ring just once in 2000. Midnight Lute won back to back races in 2007 and 2008, giving Baffert three wins to lead all trainers while Corey Nakatani has won it four times.
Favorites: 6 for 27 (22%)
Shortest: $4.60 (Ellio, 1984)
Highest: $54.60 (Sheikh Albadou, 1991)
Average win price: $21.70
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This race was always the race that was guaranteed to overfill. But with the inception of races like the Dirt Mile, Filly & Mare Sprint and Turf Sprint, it’s really lost a lot of luster. At least the defending champ is here.
BIG DRAMA ran them off their feet last year in the Sprint, going immediately to the front from his rail draw and making every pole a winning one before winning by 1 ½ lengths. After getting a couple of months off, Big Drama came back to the races in the G3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream. Displaying his brilliant speed yet again, Big Drama blazed six panels in 1:08 to win by four lengths. Then it all came crashing down.
Numerous ailments began nagging the precocious sprinter and his regular rider Eibar Coa went down in a horrifying spill that’s left him in pretty bad shape and out of the saddle. When he finally was right in late summer Big Drama beat up on three tremendously overmatched rivals in a made-to-order overnight stakes at Calder that was supposed to be a springboard to the G1 Vosburgh.
But as the old saying goes, “when it rains, it pours” and that’s what literally and figuratively happened as he was forced to miss the Vosburgh, eventually run over a gooey, muddy mess at Belmont due to a cough, leaving him with just two races under his belt since his Sprint score last year.
Keeping the cliché machine working, “one mans loss is another mans gain” and that’s what happened in the Vosburgh as the speedy, wet track loving, NY bred GIANT RYAN, helped by the scratch of Big Drama and an incident at the start of the race, found himself alone on the lead and parlayed his good fortune into his sixth consecutive victory and first G1 score.
After getting trounced in his first two starts, a dirt sprint off nearly a year layoff and a two turn turf race, both at Gulfstream, Giant Ryan shipped up to NY and promptly won a state-bred optional claimer, an open optional claimer and NY bred stakes. Upon his return to Florida, he won a minor stakes at Calder before capturing his first graded stakes in the G2 Smile.
In the race following Giant Ryan’s upset of the Vosburgh, JACKSON BEND took on Uncle Mo and two others in the G2 Kelso. At a tactical disadvantage once the only other speed that figured to keep Uncle Mo entertained on the front end scratched, Jackson Bend made a wild middle move along the inside and for a split second appeared as if he had Uncle Mo but was never able to go by and eventually finished three lengths behind his rival.
The fact that he’s even in this position right now is shocking to most, including myself, when you consider that Jackson bend, after winning four starts in a row to close out his juvenile campaign back in 2009, lost a dozen races in a row. It all changed when he stepped onto the Saratoga main track in July where he won both the James Marvin and G1 Forego at seven furlongs with equally powerful stretch runs, his first two wins against open company.
AIKENITE has raced at six furlongs twice in his career, when he won his debut at Saratoga over two years ago and in his most recent outing, a fast closing second place finish in the G3 Phoenix over the Polytrack at Keeneland. In the 20 races in between, he’s raced at six other distances, over turf, dirt and synthetics and at five different racetracks.
AMAZOMBIE sure has had a solid and sometimes eventful 2011 season. He’s hit the board in all eight of his starts, including four wins and was DQed from the win spot in the G3 Los Angeles and placed third back in May at Hollywood. Earlier in the season, he was victorious in the G2 Portero Grande and comes into this off a strong showing in the G1 Ancient Title at Santa Anita where he closed from next to last into a sizzling early pace to in by a ½ length.
After the first four months of the year, it sure looked like APRIORITY would have a say in year end honors in the sprint division. He won two of five starts and was second in the Sunshine Millions behind Amazombie, the G1 Carter to Morning Line and the G2 Churchill Downs Sprint behind Aikenite, losing all three starts by less than two lengths combined. But the wheels fell off when he failed to fire in both the G1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga and last out in the Vosburgh, where he did encounter some trouble at the start.
EUROEARS was another who basically lost all chance at the start of the Vosburgh and he was bounced around and checked a few times soon after the gates opened. Prior to that disaster, he won the G2 Palos Verde on the lead before finishing second in the G1 Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup undercard. Euroears won his first G1 back in late July when he won the G1 Bing Crosby in similar gate-to-wire fashion over the synthetic surface at Del Mar.
One who managed to avoid a calamitous start in the Vosburgh was FORCE FREEZE who oddly enough broke from the rail. Unfortunately, he was faced with the daunting task of chasing Giant Ryan around the speed biased course that day, and though it appeared he had him at the eighth pole, he couldn’t find the ½ length he needed. In his only other stateside start in the past two and half years since returning from Dubai, Force Freeze won a minor stakes at Monmouth over last years G1 Cigar Mile winner and Dirt Mile contender Jersey Town.
Winless in four starts this season, last years Sprint runner-up HAMAZING DESTINY returns for another crack at Big Drama. Hamazing Destiny didn’t get back to the races until July 22 and finished second in the Marvin before failing to fire in the Vanderbilt. A fourth place finish in the Forego, his third start in six weeks was followed by a solid late rally to be third in the Phoenix despite having run terribly in his only other two starts over synthetic surfaces.
* Front Runners: Big Drama, Euroears, Force Freeze, Giant Ryan
* Mid-pack: Amazombie, Apriority
* Closers: Aikenite, Hamazing Destiny, Jackson Bend
As some of my more ardent fans (unfortunately) know, I’m wrong a lot more than I’m right. What they also know is when I take a solid stand against a favorite, I’m usually correct in my assessment. Now I haven’t decided on a selection in here but I can tell you that if Big Drama wins, I will tear up all my tickets. He figures to have plenty of company on the lead and if his connections think he can win this by attempting to rate, they are sorely mistaken.
Hamazing Destiny might be rounding into form at the right time and should benefit from the aforementioned hot pace. His morning line odds of 10-1 are fair but I think he’ll actually go off a bit higher than that.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Turf Sprint Preview
By Anthony Stabile
5 furlongs(T); $1 million; 3up; Saturday, Nov. 5th at 3:21 p.m.
Run down the hill going 6½ furlongs in its first two runnings before going to this distance last year.
Favorites: 1 for 3 (33%)
Shortest: $8.80 (California Flag, 2009)
Highest: $75.00 (Desert Code, 2008)
Average win price: $33.20
U.S based: 3/Foreign based: 0
CALIFORNIA FLAG won for the first time in over a year and for just the second time since taking this event back in 2009. Three for four at the distance, his lone defeat came in this event last season when he broke a tad slow and never recovered. Last out in the G3 Morvich going 6 ½ furlongs down the hill at Santa Anita, California Flag sat just off a wicked half mile in :43 2/5 before taking the lead in the stretch and holding on for a half length score. This will be his third start off a two month layoff and he will be running in this even for the fourth consecutive year.
The winner of this race last season, CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE, is back to defend his title sporting just one victory in a minor stakes at Sam Houston in five tries this season. While several in here have defeated him this season, he is returning to his favorite course and distance as he’s won four of his six starts over the course and hit the board in the other two. He finished third in the G3 Turf Monster at Parx last out.
In what may be one of the oddest moves I’ve seen in a while, the connections of CARACORTADO, a late running closer going a distance of ground, are cutting him back to five furlongs, presumably with the hope that an ultra-fast early pace will play into his running style. Caracortado won the Sunshine Millions Turf to start the season, lost five in a row, then got up in the last strides to take the G2 Del Mar Mile in his latest. In his lone turf sprint, he won a second level allowance contest at Hollywood Park last year.
HAVELOCK has won his last four turf starts, including the G3 Woodford at Keeneland from far back in his last start with some mixed results over synthetic surfaces sprinkled in amongst the wins. Trainer Darrin Miller wins with a solid 25% of his turf sprinters.
REGALLY READY set a pedestrian early pace and parlayed it into a neck win in the G1 Nearctic at Woodbine last out at almost 10-1 to punch his ticket for this. A winner of five of eight starts this season, including the G3 San Simeon at Santa Anita and G3 Turf Sprint at this trip over this course, he’s a perfect two for two at Churchill and has won six of nine turf starts in all.
Three ladies are set to tackle the boys in this starting with BROKEN DREAMS, who’s won two of her last three including the G3 Maddy at Santa Anita last out. Three-year-old filly HOLIDAY FOR KITTEN returns to the turf off an upset score in the G2 TCA over the Keeneland Polytrack in her last start. Earlier this season she won an allowance contest at Gulfstream going this distance and traveled to England for the Royal Ascot meet where she finished off the board against the boys in a G1.RAPPORT was fourth in the TCA, her first start in over 11 months last out, and will be making her turf debut.
CAMP VICTORY missed by a nose in the San Simeon before winning the G3 Los Angeles via DQ and finishing second in the G1 Triple Bend and G1 Pat O’Brien over synthetics. Last out he failed to fire as the 4-5 favorite in the Morvich. COUNTRY DAY was third in the Woodford and is seeking his first win of the year and just his second career grass victory. GREAT ATTACK is winless in four starts this year but ran into crack turf sprinters, including the injured Bridgetown, earlier in the year.
GRAND ADVENTURE is hoping the third times the charm when it comes to the Breeders’ Cup having run poorly in the 2009 Juvenile Turf and in this event last year. HOOFIT won the G3 Phoenix over the Keeneland Polytrack last out and is a perfect two for two over synthetics since adding Lasix and coming to the states from New Zealand where he won just two of his sixteen starts on grass. PERFECT OFFICER won three of his first four starts to start the year before losing his last three, including a pair of runner-up finishes in the Turf Monster and Woodford.
* Front Runners: California Flag, Great Attack, Holiday for Kitten, Rapport, Regally Ready
* Mid-pack: Broken Dream, Camp Victory, Country Day, Perfect Officer,
* Closers: Caracortado, Chamberlain Bridge, Grand Adventure, Havelock, Hoofit
As has been the case in the first three runnings, this is a crapshoot since the last two winners have serious questions to answer and the other two logical choices might need more ground and could be wheeling back to quickly. I suggest a major spread in multi-race exotics.
Tough to figure out how much money he’ll take, and at post time he might not be a true “bomb” but I think Hoofit is worth a flyer at 10-1 or better. Obviously I’m hoping the Lasix is what has done the trick and not the synthetic surfaces.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Dirt Mile Preview
By Anthony Stabile
1 mile; $1 million; 3up; Saturday, Nov. 5th at 4:01 p.m.
Run around two turns at 1 mile and 70 yards in 2007 then on synthetic surface at Santa Anita in 2008 and 2009. Finally run at intended distance on dirt for first time last year.
Favorites: 0 for 4 (0%)
Shortest: $9.40 (Corinthian, 2007)
Highest: $77.40 (Dakota Phone, 2010)
Average win price: $36.50
Just when I thought the defection of Jackson Bend to the Sprint would be the strangest pre-race development in this event, Mike Battaglia went and made TRAPPE SHOT the morning line favorite despite the fact that he’s never raced at Churchill, at the distance or at a distance other than six furlongs in his four starts this year.
Don’t get me wrong, Trappe Shot is a talented horse. In fact when he shows up, there are few in training that are better, as evident by his magnificent performance in the G2 True North over a muddy Belmont Park strip back in June.
He has, however, failed to battle adversity successfully in his last two starts. In the G1 Vanderbilt two starts back, he was up against a speed biased course when just missing by a nose but good horses are supposed overcome that. And last out in the G1 Vosburgh while he did get bumped slightly at the start, he was in good position on the turn before failing to fire, once again over a speed favoring track. Perhaps this trip will allow him a bit more time to settle and deal with his very minor troubles at the start.
One thing’s for sure, Trappe Shot should have a solid pace to close into because that’s usually the case when THE FACTOR is on the track. Cut from a similar cloth as Trappe Shot, when The Factor is good there are few better. Among his four wins from seven starts are victories in the G2 San Vicente, G2 Rebel and G1 Pat O’Brien, a race he won when making his first start off over four months two back.
But when he doesn’t show, he can be a real money burner, having finished off the board at odds of 3-5, 4-5 and, most recently, at 2-5 in the G1 Ancient Title where he finished fourth after dueling himself into defeat.
Speaking of a speed duel, it would behoove the likes of SHACKLEFORD to avoid hooking up with The Factor early on, but at what price? It’s obvious that Shackleford does his best running on the front end as evident by his gutsy score in the G1 Preakness earlier this season that saw him survive a brisk early pace to hold off G1 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom by a ½ length.
Since the Preakness, Shackleford is winless in four starts, finishing off the board in both the G1 Belmont and G1 Travers, with a second place finish in the G1 Haskell sandwiched in between. More recently, Shackleford finished second in the G2 Indiana Derby.
Who won the Indiana Derby, you ask? Why it was none other than the rapidly improving WILBURN. Though he won two of his first three starts, it wasn’t until three starts back in an allowance contest at Monmouth that it seemed the proverbial light bulb went off in his head.
Wilburn gutted out a ½ length win that day before shipping down to Parx to win a $300K minor stakes over a pair of repeat winners. Then, in the Indiana Derby, Wilburn proved himself a force to be reckoned with, making a brilliant move at the ¼ pole before drawing away to win by a shade under five lengths.
CALEB’S POSSE will be making his tenth start of the season at his sixth different racetrack having run at five different distances. After winning a minor stakes at Oaklawn and the G3 Ohio Derby earlier this season, Caleb’s Posse won the G2 Amsterdam and G1 King’s Bishop against Uncle Mo and Saratoga while cutting back in distance and to one turn. In fact, save his debut when he finished second, Caleb’s Posse is unbeaten around one turn and should love this trip.
JERSEY TOWN certainly owns the biggest win at the distance in this field as he upset the 2010 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct at better than 34-1 to end his season last year. He’s winless in three starts since but has been faced with the daunting tasks of trying to beat horse-for-the-course Jackson Bend in the G1 Forego where he finished second and then chased Uncle Mo around Belmont in the G2 Kelso last out before fading to third.
Though he’s raced 33 times, TRES BORRACHOS has done so only once at the distance and never at Churchill Downs. His six starts over conventional dirt leave a lot to be desired as he’s managed only a couple of third place finishes and they came in consecutive starts almost four years ago. He did manage to mildly upset the G2 San Diego at Del Mar three back before finishing off the board in both the G1 Pacific Classic and G1 Goodwood.
TAPIZAR made his return to the races a winning one, defeating the highly regarded Boys At Toscanova and multiple stakes placed Uptowncharlybrown in a 7 furlong Belmont allowance contest last out, his first start since flopping as the 3-10 chalk in the G2 Bob Lewis earlier this year and his first going one turn. He broke his maiden by double digit lengths to close out his 2010 juvenile campaign at Churchill.
IRREFUTABLE fared much better than his stablemate The Factor in the Ancient Title in his most recent, the second consecutive start in which he was taken off the pace after doing the bulk of his best work on the lead earlier on in his career.
* Front Runners: Shackleford, The Factor, Wilburn, Tapizar
* Mid-pack: Jersey Town, Trappe Shot, Tres Borrachos, Irrefutable
* Closers: Caleb’s Posse
It all depends on how you think this race will play out. I think there will be a speed duel while others seem to think The Factor will be able to shake loose. If he does, he’ll be tough, but I’m betting against it.
A tepid shot, at best, with Jersey Town based on the fact that he owns the most attractive win at the distance and the circumstances he’d faced in his last pair. You need 15-1 or better, though.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
The Turf Preview
By Anthony Stabile
1½ miles(T); $3 million; 3up; Saturday, Nov. 5th at 4:45 p.m.
Pebbles in 1985 and Miss Alleged in 1991 are the only two fillies to have beaten the boys in this. Theatrical finally got the job done in 1987 and more importantly helped forge the Bill Mott/Allen Paulson partnership that would rule the sort for a decade Kotashaan capped an amazing Horse of the Year season with a win in 1993. High Chaparral won it in 2002, the dead-heated with Johar in 2003, the only dead heat for win in Breeders’ Cup history. Better Talk Now won it in 2004 before failing to do so the next four years. Conduit won consecutive runnings in 2008 and 2009. Sir Michael Stoute leads all trainers with four wins while Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner four times.
Favorites: 9 for 27 (33%)
Shortest: $3.80 (High Chaparral, 2002 and Conduit, 2009)
Highest: $108.80 (Lashkari, 1984)
Average win price: $21.60
U.S based: 11/Foreign based: 17
It’s a good thing Paul Revere isn’t around to alert us to this British invasion because he’d have to throw in the French and Irish as well then have to steal one of their horses to get word to us because these Euros are that much better than what America has to offer in here. The invasion is led by the French filly SARAFINA.
After passing the Breeders’ Cup off a third place finish in the G1 Arc de Triomphe as a three-year-old last year, Sarafina finished third in her 2011 debut before winning three straight including a pair of G2 races and the G1 Prix de Saint Cloud three starts back over multiple G1 winner Cirrus des Aigles. Last out in this years Arc, Sarafina finished off the board for the first time in her ten race career when she failed to kick on after being restrained for the better part of the 1 ½ mile contest.
Another lady taking on the boys in here is 2009 Filly & Mare Turf heroine MIDDAY. After missing by a neck to Shared Account in her title defense in that even last season, Midday’s 2011 campaign was geared at a run towards this as she faced colts in half of her six starts this season after doing so just once in her prior 16 starts.
She’s won twice this season, but both of those have come against members of her own sex, including the G1 Nassau Stakes three starts back. She comes into this off a pair of losses, with a fourth place finish in the G1 Champion Stakes just three weeks ago being her most recent effort.
SEA MOON finished third last out in his first G1 try in the St. Leger where he finished third and will be adding Lasix for his first start against older horses. In his lone start at the distance, Sea Moon roared home to an eight length score in a G2 contest two starts back
Another adding Lasix is ST NICHOLAS ABBEY, who’ll likely be the pacesetter in here. In six starts this year, St Nicholas Abbey has won twice, defeating Midday in the G1 Coronation Cup back in early June before getting beat by Sarafina in the G2 Prix Foy two starts back in September.
AWAIT THE DAWN adds Lasix for his U.S. debut coming off a third place finish in the Juddmonte where he snapped a four race win streak. Two for two last season, Await the Dawn won a pair of G2 stakes before tackling G1 foes for the first time to no avail last out. At 7-2 on the morning line, he’s a bit low if you ask me.
BRILLIANT SPEED is the first of four Americans hoping to close the gap on the foreigners in this event. He’s never missed the board in seven turf starts and counts the G3 Saranac at Saratoga two back as one of his two turf wins. Earlier this year, Brilliant Speed captured the G1 Blue Grass then finished off the board in the G1 Kentucky Derby and third in the G1 Belmont Stakes at this distance on dirt.
DEAN’S KITTEN is easily America’s best hope in the Turf this season having finished behind Cape Blanco and Gio Ponti in the G1 Arlington Million two back at 1 ¼ miles before giving Cape Blanco all he could handle in the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont last out at this distance when he lost a head bob. Don’t be too surprised to see this guy closer to the top in here on what figures to be a pedestrian pace.
Since breaking his maiden on turf in his second career start, STATELY VICTOR has won just twice in 19 starts since, with both of those victories coming over synthetic surfaces. The upset winner of the 2010 Blue Grass, Stately Victor is winless in six turf starts since that maiden score and appears to be here with the hopes that he’ll like the added distance.
TEAKS NORTH is a dual G1 winner this year on the grass, having taken the Gulfstream Park Turf to begin his season before winning the United Nations at Monmouth two starts back. In between, he’s also captured the G3 Monmouth and finished off the board in his other four tries, including last out in the G1 Sword Dancer back in mid-August, his only start at the distance. When you look at this renewal of the Turf, it’s no wonder that the powers that be moved the Mile to the time slot before the Classic.
* Front Runners: Dean’s Kitten, St Nicholas Abbey
* Mid-pack: Await the Dawn, Brilliant Speed, Midday, Teaks North
* Closers: Stately Victor, Sarafina, Sea Moon
I hate the fact that this race starts the pick four but there’s nothing I can do about it. To me, it looks like the foreigners will get win number 18.
Brilliant Speed, based solely on the fact that I think he’ll like the distance. You have to get 18-1 or better though to even remotely consider it.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
By Anthony Stabile
1 1/16 miles; $2 million; 2YO(c&g); Saturday, Nov. 5th at 5:25 p.m.
Is It True upset the great Easy Goer in 1988. Unbridled’s Song out-dueled Hennessy to win the 1995 running in just his third start. Johannesburg shipped in from across the pond and halted Officer’s winning streak in 2001. Street Sense took the first step in breaking the Juvenile/Kentucky Derby jinx by winning it in 2006. And of course, Arazi put on his amazing display in the 1991 renewal at Churchill. D. Wayne Lukas leads all trainers with five scores while Laffit Pincay, Jr. won three Juveniles.
Favorites: 10 for 27 (37%)
Shortest: $3.40 (Chief’s Crown, 1984)
Highest: $63.20 (Vale of York, 2009)
Average win price: $17.40
A victory by UNION RAGS in here could make him one of the shortest winter book favorites for the Kentucky Derby that we’ve seen in a long time and with good reason. In three starts, he’s done absolutely nothing wrong.
He went off at almost 8-1 when he broke his maiden at Delaware Park from off the pace before dueling in the early stages of the G2 Saratoga Special while on his way to a 7 ¼ length romp. He was easily most impressive, however, last out in the G1 Champagne at Belmont where he was stuck behind a wall of horses for nearly an eighth of a mile before fining a seam and bursting through to win by a going away 5 ¼ lengths.
Out on the West Coast, CREATIVE CAUSE has won three of his first four starts, with wins over both synthetics and conventional dirt, and should probably be undefeated if it wasn’t for a terrible trip two back in the G1 Del Mar Futurity where he was bumped up to second via DQ.
In his two starts prior to that, Creative Control galloped in his debut before coming from off the pace to win the G2 Best Pal at Del Mar. Last out, he sat just off the pace to win the G1 Norfolk in his dirt debut and first try around two turns.
DRILL was actually sent off the 3-5 favorite in the Norfolk coming off a pair of victories, including the Del Mar Futurity. Racing a bit unsettled and rank in the early going of the Norfolk, Drill never really threatened the winner and is taking the blinkers off, most likely as a result of that.
DULLAHAN had a bit of a troubled trip when third in the With Anticpation before switching to Polytrack and breaking his maiden in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in his last start. In the first two starts of his career Dullahan finished third and fifth in a pair of sprints over conventional dirt.
ALPHA should appreciate the two turns and added distance if his pedigree means anything. A brilliant maiden winner in his debut at seven furlongs, Alpha raced a bit greenly before eventually getting up at the wire to be second in the Champagne.
Starting with a maiden win against open company, FORT LONDON has won his last four starts, all since adding Lasix, including three Florida Stallion Series Stakes at Calder.
CRUSADE and DADDY LONG LEGS both ship in from Europe for the same connections while adding Lasix for their dirt debuts. A two time winner, including a G1 score last out, Crusade has yet to win past six furlongs while his stablemate is two for three, including a G2 win at a mile in his most recent outing.
OPTIMIZER adds blinkers for his first dirt start. Optimizer broke his maiden at first asking before finishing second in the G2 With Anticipation, both over the turf in Saratoga, before flying home to be third in the Breeders Futurity last out. PROSPECTIVE is another making his dirt debut having already had turf and synthetic success. After finishing second in his career debut on turf, Prospective broke his maiden and won the G3 Grey over the synthetic track at Woodbine in his last two starts.
TAKE CHARGE INDY will also be trying the dirt for the first time while making his second start with blinkers. Fourth in the Breeders’ Futurity last out, Take Charge Indy broke his maiden at first asking before closing well to be second in the G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington Park.
HANSEN broke his maiden by 12½ lengths in his debut sprinting then crushed his foes by 13¼ in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile. Both starts were won in gate-to-wire fashion over the synthetic surface at Turfway Park.
SPEIGHTCITY was off the board in his debut for a $75K claiming tag on turf before breaking his maiden by 11½ lengths in a two turn maiden special weight contest on dirt at Saratoga.
* Front Runners: Creative Cause, Crusade, Daddy Long Legs, Fort London, Hansen, Speightcity
* Mid-pack: Drill, Prospective, Take Charge Indy, Union Rags
* Closers: Alpha, Dullahan, Optimizer
It’s obvious the favorites look tough, hell the third choice is 8-1 on the morning line, but there a few in here trying dirt for the first time that have solid pedigrees as well as a couple of intriguing Euros.
Take Charge Indy should love the dirt and is bred to run all day. That 30-1 morning line price looks phenomenal to me and is definitely worth a win bet even if he’s 20-1.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
The Mile Preview
By Anthony Stabile
1 mile(T); $2 million; 3up; Saturday, Nov. 5th at 6:07 p.m.
Where should I start?!?! Four horses have won multiple runnings, starting with Miesque beating the boys in 1987 and 1988. The speedy Lure won back to back runnings in 1992 and 1993 before failing to accomplish the three-peat in 1994. Da Hoss, amazingly, won it in 1996, ran once in between then re-rallied in the final strides to win it two years later in 1998. And, of course, Goldikova is on a current three race win streak in the Mile, making her trainer Freddie Head a five-time Mile winner and the only person to win a Breeders’ Cup race as a trainer and a jockey, as he was the regular rider of Miesque. Goldikova also makes her rider Olivier Peslier the leading rider in Mile wins.
Favorites: 9 for 27 (33%)
Shortest: $4.60 (Lure, 1993 and Goldikova, 2010)
Highest: $73.38 (Last Tycoon, 1986)
Average win price: $18.70
U.S based: 15/Foreign based: 12
While carded as the penultimate race of Championship weekend, there are many who feel that this is THE main event as the amazing GOLDIKOVA looks to become the first four time Breeders’ Cup winner having already becoming the only three time winner. Unlike in the past three years, however, it looks like Goldikova might have lost a step, is likely at her most vulnerable point and has to face the last two runner-ups in the event.
This year, he’s finished first or second in all five starts, counting the G1 Prix d’Ispahan, a race she also won last year and the G1 Rothschild, a race she’s now won four times, as her two victories. In her last pair, she failed throw her famous knockout punch in the final furlong, missing by a length in a G1 against the boys before getting out-kicked by the three-year-old Dream Ahead in the G1 Prix de la Foret on the Arc undercard last out.
Since finishing second to Goldikova in 2009, COURAGEOUS CAT has been on a strange journey. In his first start after the Mile, he won the G3 Canadian Turf at Gulfstream by a neck in workmanlike fashion and was shipped to Dubai for the $5 million G1 Duty Free despite appearing to be a tired horse. He never fired that day and was given another layoff.
He returned to finish third in the G1 Shadwell before getting yet another extended break that ended with an easy win in the G3 Poker at Belmont in early July. Just three weeks later, he shipped to Hollywood Park and scored his biggest win to date, a neck victory in the G1 Shoemaker Mile. In his last start, he appeared home free in the G1 Woodbine Mile before getting beat a neck.
2010 Mile second place finisher GIO PONTI could go down as the second best horse to never win a Breeders’ Cup event with multiple starts after the great Easy Goer. He’d also have the distinction of finishing second to two of the greatest mares to ever live in Goldikova and Zenyatta.
Now six years of age, Gio Ponti returned to the races in the $10 million G1 Dubai World Cup and finished fifth, beaten less than two lengths in his first start in nearly five months. He returned to the states and finished third in the G1 Manhattan over a course that was probably a bit too wet for his liking before chasing the now retired Cape Blanco around there in both the G1 Man O’ War and G1 Arlington Million where he finished second both times. Gio Ponti won for the first time in five starts this year when he rallied from just off the pace to win the G1 Shadwell Mile for the second consecutive year.
BYWORD seeks his third straight win in his U.S. debut having won a pair of graded stakes in his last two starts. Winner of the G1 Prince of Wales last season, just one race after finishing second to Goldikova by a ½ length in the Prix d’Ispahan, Byword lost four in a row after the Prince of Wales and was fifth in this years’ renewal of the Prix d’Ispahan before his brief win streak.
COMPLIANCE OFFICER won the Mohawk against NY breds just two weeks ago before his connections decided to take a shot at glory in here. Since being claimed in his seasonal debut back in May, Compliance Officer has won all five of his starts, including three stakes, but they have all come against statebreds.
Already a winner of over $2.6 million in his career, COURT VISION will be making the 31st start of his career. He’s finished fourth and fifth in the last two runnings of the Mile, is a two time G1 winner at this distance but is winless in four starts over the course.
GET STORMY returns to Churchill already having won the G1 Turf Classic over the course this season on Derby Day. In his three starts since, he was third in the G3 Monmouth behind Turf contender Teaks North, second in the G2 Bernard Baruch and second last out in the Shadwell. His lone loss over this course came in last years Mile when he finished last in a field of eleven.
JERANIMO sat a perfect stalking trip before holding on to win the G2 Oak Tree Mile last out at Santa Anita, his first victory in seven starts this year. He finished third in the G1 Kilroe earlier this season and second to Acclimation in the G1 Eddie Read three starts back when returning from a three month layoff.
MR. COMMONS came flying from last but couldn’t make up the final ¾ of a length to snatch the Oak Tree away from Jeranimo. He’s two for four with a pair of seconds on turf having placed to Caracortado in the Del Mar Mile two back as well.
SIDNEY’S CANDY surprisingly had things his own way on the front end in the Shadwell but couldn’t get the job done despite a fairly leisurely pace for this type going this distance. He did win the G2 Fourstardave at Saratoga in his first start for his new barn back on July 31 before flopping on dirt in G1 Forego. He should have plenty of company on the lead in here.
STRONG SUIT sports Lasix for his U.S. debut coming off a pair of G2 scores. Last year he finished second to Dream Ahead, Goldikova’s spoiler last out, in the G1 Middle Park and is seeking his first G1 score in here, as well as his first past seven furlongs.
TURALLURE has won three of his last four with his lone defeat coming in the paceless Fourstardave. Two back he flew home to win the Bernard Baruch by a going away 2¼ lengths before unleashing a more furious late rally to win the Woodbine Mile over Courageous Cat. Unfortunately, he did get the worst of the draw, landing in post 13.
ZOFFANY took tons of money into Gio Ponti last out in the Shadwell and proceeded to “reward” his backers with a flat, dead last finish. Zoffany hasn’t won in nearly 15 months and never past seven furlongs. He’s also lost both starts against older rivals.
* Front Runners: Courageous Cat, Get Stormy, Sidney’s Candy, Strong Suit
* Mid-pack: Byword, Compliance Officer, Goldikova, Jeranimo,
* Closers: Court Vision, Gio Ponti, Mr. Commons, Turallure, Zoffany
The toughest thing to do in here might be to separate your head and wallet from your heart. If you love this sport, it’s hard not to root for either Goldikova to make history or for a horse like Gio Ponti, who deserves to win one of these, to stop it from happening. Good luck with that.
It scares me when a trainer like Andre Fabre knows horses like Goldikova and Gio Ponti are in a race yet puts his horse on a plane anyway, so he’s the play at 12-1 or better.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
The Classic Preview
By Anthony Stabile
1¼ miles; $5 million; 3up; Saturday, Nov. 5th at 7:00 p.m.
You knew this race was aptly named after the stretch run of the inaugural running when eventual winner Wild Again played bumper cars along with Slew o’ Gold and Gate Dancer. Ferdinand won the battle of the Kentucky Derby winners over Alysheba in 1987 before Alysheba claimed his own classic Victory the following year.
In the final chapter of their brief, yet intense rivalry, Sunday Silence held off the desperate surge of Easy Goer to win in 1989. Jerry Bailey won three in a row, starting in 1993 with Arcangues, the longest priced winner in Breeders’ Cup history and ending with the great Cigar in 1995 who capped a perfect 10 for 10 season with a fantastic score. Awesome Again split rivals in deep stretch to win a wild one in 1998 over Silver Charm and Swain.
Tiznow gutted out two of the greatest wins over a pair of tough Europeans in 2000 and 2001, making his trainer Jay Robbins and the great Charlie Whittingham the only two time winners of the race.
Volponi blew up the toteboard, then the Pick 6 scandal, in 2002 with his win at 43-1.Ghostzapper set the stakes record with a gate-to-wire, tour de force victory in 2004. Curlin capped his Horse of the Year campaign in 2007 with a win before finishing fourth as the sports leading money winner in 2008.
Finally, the great Zenyatta kept the undefeated dream alive with a remarkable last-to-first run in 2009 before falling a head short of Blame in last years renewal and finishing he career with 19 wins from 20 starts.
Favorites: 8 for 27 (29%)
Shortest: $3.40 (Cigar, 1995)
Highest: $269.20 (Arcangues, 1993) *Highest price in history of the Breeders’ Cup*
Average win price: $29.00
The role of 5-2 morning line favorite rests on the shoulders of UNCLE MO. In one of the more remarkable stories of the past decade, it’s amazing the Uncle Mo is even around to run in the Breeders’ Cup, let alone come into the race as the favorite and with a more than reasonable chance at winning.
After capping off an undefeated juvenile season with a crushing 4 ½ length score in the Juvenile, the next several months after are a mystery. Questions like “did he have ankle surgery to remove chips?, was he pin-fired?, was he sick?” were all questions that arose when he returned in the Timely Writer at Gulfstream, an overnight stakes that took the place of what was supposed to be his return, the G2 Tampa Bay Derby.
He didn’t look like the Uncle Mo people remembered from 2010 but he sure ran like him, galloping home almost four lengths ahead of his overmatched rivals while galloping out strongly after the mile affair. In the G1 Wood Memorial, what was supposed to be his final prep for the G1 Kentucky Derby, the rumors gained momentum as he tired in the final furlong after setting a strong pace throughout to finish third. And though he shipped to Kentucky for the Derby and was entered, he was scratched the day before the race when things just didn’t seem right.
The next few months would be critical in the survival of Uncle Mo. He was sent to WinStar farm to get evaluated and recuperate from what turned out to be a rare liver ailment and, after it was rumored he was at death’s door, starting gaining weight and resumed training.
The G1 King’s Bishop was the site of his return up at Saratoga and it looked like he was going to win but got nailed in the last couple of strides by Caleb’s Posse. There would be no doubts in the G2 Kelso however as John Velazquez put him on the lead, held off a middle move by Sprint contender Jackson Bend, and drew off to a three length win, stopping the clock in 1:33 4/5 over a muddy Belmont Park strip for trainer Todd Pletcher.
In recent days, many have questioned his fitness, have knocked his training style and continue to question his ability to get this trip. While they are all valid gripes, the great ones overcome these adversities. He’ll answer the question of his greatness, one way or another, come Saturday.
I must say, especially in the age where fillies like Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta have proved that when you’re great in this sport gender really doesn’t matter, I was surprised that HAVRE DE GRACE was not made the morning line favorite, because on paper no one in this field has accomplished more this season.
Starting her year with a romp in the G3 Azeri at Oaklawn, Havre de Grace came back to win the G1 Apple Blossom by the easiest ¾ of a length you’ll ever see. Her brilliance was on display again when she won the G3 Obeah, the local Delaware Park prep for their signature event, the G2 Delaware Park Handicap which was shaping up to be yet another showdown between Havre de Grace and archrival Blind Luck. They didn’t disappoint.
In what some have called one of the greatest races they’ve ever seen, the two powerful fillies hooked up at the quarter pole and weren’t separated by more than a half length with Blind Luck getting her nose down on the wire, making Havre de Grace winless in both starts at this distance.
Havre de Grace took on the boys in the G1 Woodward and rallied from mid-pack to win by 1 ¼ lengths before cruising to an 8 ¼ length romp in the G1 Beldame over a muddy track at Belmont last out. She finished third in the Ladies’ Classic last year for former trainer Tony Dutrow before being transferred to current trainer Larry Jones. Ramon Dominguez will ride from post 9.
The Classic will be a bit of a homecoming for FLAT OUT as he’s stabled at Churchill most of the year though he’s finished off the board in both of his starts under the famed twin spires for his trainer Charles “Scooter” Dickey.
Quarter cracks have plagued Flat Out for most of his career, but it seems he’s finally overcome them and has turned the corner. Since a sixth place finish in the G1 Stephen Foster at Churchill, Flat Out has raced exclusively in New York. It must be true what they say about the water, because it’s like he’s turned into a different horse, especially at Belmont. In his first start in the Empire State, Flat Out rolled to a convincing 6½ length score in the G2 Suburban back in July and just last out took the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in by a workmanlike 2¼ lengths over several rivals he’ll face again in here in his lone start at the Classic distance.
In two starts at Saratoga in between his Belmont wins, Flat Out finished second to the recently retired, one time Classic contender Tizway in the G1 Whitney before a runner-up finish to Havre de Grace in the Woodward. Much to the chagrin of Dickey, Flat Out will break from post 1 under Alex Solis, who won this in 2003 aboard Pleasantly Perfect, after Prayer for Relief was forced to scratch out of the Classic due to a fever.
One thing that is missing from the resume of international training superstar Aidan O’Brien is a Classic victory and this year he’ll try and scratch it off his bucket list by sending out 1¼ specialist SO YOU THINK.
O’Brien is adding both Lasix and blinkers to So You Think who’s coming into this off of a pair of defeats, the only time that’s happened in his career. Overall, he’s seven for nine at the distance, though all of his races have come on the turf. His pedigree doesn’t necessarily suggest he’s crying out to run on dirt, but his build and affinity for the distance should help his cause. Combine that with the fact that every contender in here have their own questions to ask, this might be O’Brien’s’ best shot to win one of these.
So You Think began his career in Australia, where he won six G1 races including the prestigious Cox Plate in both 2009 and 2010 before winning a pair of G1s this year in Europe. Ryan Moore rides from post 4.
GAME ON DUDE would certainly have to be considered a Horse of the Year candidate should he win the Classic. Like Drosselmeyer, Game On Dude was shelved after finishing fourth in last years Belmont and returned in January to win a second level optional claimer from just off the pace.
In one of the more controversial races of the year, Game On Dude gutted out a nose victory, then survived a 17 minute inquiry to win the G1 Santa Anita Handicap in his first start under Chantal Sutherland. He’d go winless in his next four races, finishing second in the G3 Charles Town Classic and in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup by a nose.
A fourth place finish in the G1 Pacific Classic off a brief layoff was followed by a ½ length score in the G1 Goodwood last out where he set early fractions before holding off a late rally of the nine-year-old Awesome Gem for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. His work this past weekend, which was supposed to be in company, turned out to be more of a trial race as the two Baffert workers came across two more workers and it forced Game On Dude extremely wide but also made him rate and actually close ground in the stretch. That could help him avoid a likely speed duel in here. He’ll break from post 7.
STAY THIRSTY, like Game On Dude, wave to be given a long look in regards to the top Eclipse honor should he find a way to mildly upset this field. In the shadow of Uncle Mo throughout most of his career, Stay Thirsty really stepped up to field his stablemates void since finishing twelfth in the Kentucky Derby.
His second place finish in the Belmont by less than a length might have turned into a victory had he not been stuck down along a dead rail. Upon returning to arguably his favorite track, Saratoga, Stay Thirsty put in two top notch efforts, winning the G2 Jim Dandy by a comfortable three lengths before turning in one of the best efforts in the G1 Travers in recent memory, overcoming a slight bobble at the break to run hard every step of the way en route to a 1 ¼ length victory for Pletcher.
Last out in the Jockey Cub Gold Cup, he raced a few lengths off the pace and held well to finish third despite not appearing to handle the muddy track, sentiments echoed by his regular rider Javier Castellano after the race. Castellano piloted Ghostzapper to a stakes record setting win in the 2004 renewal of this race. Stay Thirsty will break from post 8 and has been rumored to be training much better than his more popular stablemate
Much like last season, TO HONOR AND SERVE seems to be getting good at the right time. Last fall, To Honor and serve won the last three starts of his juvenile campaign in autumn, including the G2 Nashua and G2 Remsen in easy fashion at Aqueduct.
When he returned this year from a three month layoff in the G2 Fountain of Youth, To Honor and Serve tired after making a solid middle move into eventual winner Soldat and followed that effort up with a third place finish in the G1 Florida Derby after receiving a curious ride. It was discovered he had a slight suspensory injury after that race and was forced to miss the Triple Crown races.
He attended a fast early pace in the G2 Amsterdam going 6 ½ furlongs at Saratoga before tiring late then came back with an authoritative 8 ½ length score in an optional claimer. Last out, To Honor and Serve rolled home to a 2 ¼ length, track record setting score in the G2 Pennsylvania Derby for Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who won this back in 1995 with the incomparable Cigar. Jose Lezcano returns from post 11.
Another sent out by Mott is DROSSELMEYER, who’s been victorious in just one of his six starts since capturing the 2010 G1 Belmont Stakes. That win came in a minor stakes at Belmont, a prep for the G2 Brooklyn in his third start off an extended layoff, a race he finished second in to loose-on-the-lead stablemate and Marathon contender Birdrun.
Earlier this year he was off the board in his return, the G3 Skip Away and finished last in the G1 Sword Dancer on the turf. Last out, he raced inside early on, a place he doesn’t like to be before swinging wide on the turn to make up a good chunk of ground to be second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Drosselmeyer, who’s trained brilliantly since his Churchill return, the track he broke his maiden over, will be reunited with Mike Smith, who rode him in the Belmont. Smith, who won the 1997 Classic with Skip Away and of course piloted the amazing Zenyatta to her 2009 score against the boys, should be able to overcome their inside, post 2 draw.
RULER ON ICE parlayed his love of wet tracks into the biggest win of his career when he sat just off the pace en route to his upset of the Belmont Stakes back in June when he raced in blinkers for the first time for trainer Kelly Breen.
In his three subsequent starts, Ruler On Ice has been a bit further of the pace, with a third place finish in the G1 Haskell coming before he seemed to fire his best shot when fourth in the Travers. Last out in the Pennsylvania Derby, Ruler On Ice was taken further back than he had ever been in his career and responded with a hard charging second place finish in his first start under Garrett Gomez. Gomez is back aboard in here from post 3 and is looking for back to back Classic scores having been aboard Blame in his win over Zenyatta in one of the most memorable moments in the history of the sport.
HEADACHE has turned it up a notch in the past six months, winning three of his four starts with his lone defeat coming in the Whitney where he completely missed the break and found some traffic trouble on the far turn before winding up fifth.
In his two starts before the Whitney, Headache defeated optional claimers by 7 ½ lengths at Churchill before shipping in the Prairie Meadows to capture the G3 Cornhusker by 2 ½ lengths over Awesome Gem. In his last start, Headache rallied from far back into an ordinary pace to win the G2 Hawthorne Gold Cup by a ½ length in a field that included Marathon runners Cease and Giant Oak.
A former claimer, Headache has run 26 times, most for trainer Mike Maker, is three for seven with a second and third over the course and has hit the board in all three of his starts at the distance, including that win last out. Paco Lopez rides from post 10.
RATTLESNAKE BRIDGE was a late arrival to the dance, seemingly coming from nowhere as a last minute pre entry. Eligible for a second level allowance contest, Rattlesnake Bridge owns just a maiden score and neck victory in the Long Branch at Monmouth as far as the win column is concerned but has hit the board in several graded stakes and did finish second to Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer.
In his most recent efforts, Rattlesnake Bridge closed from the back of the pack to come within a 1 ¼ lengths of winning the Travers before tiring a bit after coming with a wide run on the far turn to end up third in the Pennsylvania Derby. Calvin Borel rides for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who won this in 2006 with Invasor, from post 6
ICE BOX hasn’t come close to repeating his efforts in the 2010 G1 Florida Derby or Kentucky Derby, races he won by a nose and finished second by 2 ½ lengths with a troubled trip, for Hall of Famer Nick Zito.
In fact in seven starts since the Derby, he’s manages to hit the board just once in an optional claimer at Saratoga three starts back. He beat just two horses in the Woodward before finishing dead last in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last out. Corey Nakatani rides from post 5.
* Front Runners: Game On Dude, Stay Thirsty, To Honor and Serve, Uncle Mo
* Mid-pack: Havre de Grace, So You Think
* Closers: Drosselmeyer, Flat Out, Headache, Rattlesnake Bridge, Ruler On Ice, Ice Box
I feel that every favorite has a serious question to answer, so this one appears to be up for grabs. A spread, especially in all multi-race exotics is suggested.
Headache should be a crazy price and could come running late at what figures to be a fast pace. If it falls apart, stranger things have happened. 25-1 or better is adequate.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Breeders' Cup Marathon Grade 2
RACE 3 Post Time 1:20 1 3/4 Miles | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up | G2
Breeders' Cup Marathon | Purse: $ 500,000
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta Daily Double / Pick 3 (Races 3-4-5)
Prg. # PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt. Claim $ Equip. Med. ML
1 1 Birdrun Velazquez J Mott W 126 $0 LA 7-2
2 2 Baryshnikov Smith M Maker M 126 $0 LA 12-1
3 3 Meeznah Queally T Lanigan D 123 $0 L 12-1
4 4 Pleasant Prince Rosario J Ward W 126 $0 L 12-1
5 5 Giant Oak Bridgmohan S Block C 126 $0 LA 9-2
6 6 Brigantin Leparoux J Fabre A 126 $0 8-1
7 7 Harrison's Cave (GB) Moore R O'Brien A 122 $0 LA 30-1
8 8 Afleet Again Velasquez C Reid, Jr. R 126 $0 LA 30-1
9 9 Cease Gomez G Stall, Jr. A 126 $0 LA 6-1
10 10 Eldaafer Castellano J Alvarado D 126 $0 LA 10-1
11 11 A. U. Miner Borel C Hanna C 126 $0 LA 3-1
Birdrun will take the lead right out of the gate with Cease stalking the pacesetter from the outside. A moderate pace is expected.
1st Selection # 9 CEASE 6-1 GOMEZ G STALL, JR. A
Trainer Al Stall has been a mainstay on the Kentucky circuit for years, winning many races at all class levels. It was not until Blame narrowly held on to win last year's Breeders' Cup Classic over the undefeated Zenyatta that the world took notice of him. In this year's BC Marathon, Stall will go for his second straight year with a Breeders' Cup win with Cease. He is owned and bred by Stall's main clients, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, who is also the breeder of Blame. Training for one of the world's most successful operations allows Stall to be very patient when developing a young horse that Claiborne thinks highly of. His management of Blame to have him in peak form for the Classic was a work of art. Stall also trained Apart and My Pal Charlie to several graded stakes wins, but it was the Louisiana bred Star Guitar who proved Stall was a "star in the making". Since 2007, Star Guitar has won an amazing 17 stakes races, including 4 in 2011, and has earned $1,365,862. Cease, a 4 year old son of War Chant, is yet another horse trained by Stall who is on the brink of stardom. Cease was always earmarked for a career going a distance of ground, and Stall wasted no time entering him at 1-1/8 miles in his debut in October 2010 over Polytrack at Keeneland. Despite being bumped hard at the start, Cease recovered to finish very well for second. With a bit more ground he would have won. Stall put him on the farm to give him time to develop and begin his master plan for an eventual start in the BC Marathon. A wide trip when switching to the grass June 12 off an 8 month layoff was Cease's launching pad for a start three weeks later back on turf. He was very game in victory, but in deep stretch, Cease forced a rival out very wide and was disqualified. This put a damper on Stall's plan to reach his main objective, as time was not on his side. Cease needed to break his maiden and improve quickly enough to prove that he could compete on racing's biggest stage, the Breeders' Cup. Every summer Stall ships his better horses to Saratoga, and Cease was one of them. A 13 length maiden win in the mud followed by another easy score over a sloppy track at the Spa was just what the doctor ordered, but it was not enough. Stall needed to find a graded stake at 1-1/4 miles to see how Cease fit "class wise" with other quality older marathoners. He found just the right spot at Hawthorne in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup four weeks ago. There was no doubt that Cease was a huge "wet track move up", but could he run just as well in his first start over a dry surface? It took just 2 minutes and 4 seconds for Cease to seal the deal that he was on his way to Churchill as one of the favorites for the BC Marathon. Rating comfortably just off the leaders into the far turn, rider Miguel Mena, who has been aboard in all but one race, moved a tad too early to poke a neck in front. Through the length of the long stretch at Hawthorne Cease had to fend off several challenges, but in the end, he could not withstand the closing run of Headache. He had to settle for third, beaten just a half length. Cease proved what Stall and Claiborne felt all along, that he possessed the class and heart to compete at the highest level, and I feel that he still has upside potential that we just might see in the Breeders' Cup.
2nd Selection # 6 BRIGANTIN 8-1 LEPAROUX J FABRE A
After racing at distances of 1-7/8 miles or longer in 8 of his last 9 starts, Brigantin will probably find this 'cutback' to 1-3/4 miles to be like a walk in the park. When others in the field are struggling in the final furlong or two, this 4yo colt will just be getting his second wind. The main question, of course, is whether or not he can maintain his good form with this move to dirt after having previously raced on turf in all 17 career starts. That's the gamble that his backers will be taking in this spot, and there are worse connections to bank on than legendary French trainer Andre Fabre and owner Team Valor International. The head of Team Valor, Barry Irwin, is one of the sharpest people in all of racing, and I have faith that he would not be running Brigantin in this dirt race if he had any reason to believe that he would not do well over the surface. As far as class goes, Brigantin won the Group 1 Swiss Derby last year, as well as another Group 3 race. This year, he's been even better, winning a Group 2 race at nearly 2 miles and finishing 3rd in two Group 1 marathon events. Those races were at the top-class meets at Ascot and Longchamp and included legitimate Group 1 fields. Brigantin usually races somewhere in the middle of the field. If the pace today is on the slow side, as expected, then he won't be compromised too much, as the closers will be. With a square price expected off his 8-1 morning line odds, Brigantin is one of the 'classiest' members of this field, and he has a chance to upset the race if he were to really relish this initial move to dirt.
3rd Selection #11 A. U. MINER 3-1 BOREL C HANNA C
The biggest buzz from the first day of the Breeders' Cup in 2010 was not generated by a horse but rather by two humans. Jockeys Javier Castellano and Calvin Borel, both known for being gentlemen who would seldom hurt a fly, engaged in winner's circle fisticuffs after the Breeders' Cup Marathon. AU Miner was at the forefront of this fracas as Borel felt he was interfered with around the far turn while on board this son of Mineshaft. Castellano's mount, Prince Will I Am, was eventually disqualified and AU Miner was placed 3rd. A year later AU Miner has had a similar campaign in 2011 but with a later start to his season. His first start of the year was purely to shake some rust off as he finished a non-threatening fifth in a Friday night optional claimer under the lights. Trainer Clark Hanna had his eye on bigger objectives, with the first of them being the Greenwood Cup at Parx, a "Win and You're In" event. AU Miner ran a tremendous races in the Greenwood Cup, roaring by his competition late to win going away. Horses rarely win 12f events with last-to-first moves but this veteran exploded through the stretch. He was shelved for the rest of the summer and made his final prep in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Racing over a sloppy track at a distance that's short of his best he made a good late move to finish fifth beaten just under four lengths. It was a race that set him up perfectly to go 14fs, much as the Hawthorne Gold Cup did a year ago. AU Miner is at home at Churchill Downs as 2 of his 4 career victories have been earned under the Twin Spires. He is training forwardly and will once again be piloted by Churchill's most famous son, Calvin Borel. The pace in last year's Marathon was moderate as it was set in isolation by Gabriel's Hill. The same scenario seems to exist this year with Birdrun as the main frontrunner. That will not hurt this long-winded 6YO as he has proven impervious to negative pace setups. When most horses are beginning to shorten stride and call it a day AU Miner is rising to the occasion as he seemingly has no limitations in terms of distance. Though it's not often that you'd seek a one-run closer at this marathon distance, he is certainly a major player.
4th Selection # 1 BIRDRUN 7-2 VELAZQUEZ J MOTT W
With the advent of the Breeders' Cup Marathon, a number of "blue collar" type stayers can have their day in the sun. You'd never think horses like Muhannak, Man of Iron, and Eldaafer would ever be referred to as Breeders' Cup winners, but they are having won this event. Birdrun is a horse that Bill Mott saw as a Marathon possibility when he narrowly missed in the 10 furlongs One Count at Belmont in May. He followed up that win with a handy score in the Brooklyn, where he went wire-to-wire and was never headed. The first opportunity he had beyond 10f came in the Greenwood Cup at Parx in July. Birdrun battled from start to finish before being easily passed late by AU Miner. Mott gave him the rest of the summer off and sought a final prep for the Marathon. It came in the Jockey Club Gold Cup where he never made a serious impact on a sloppy track. He now goes second off a mid-range layoff, the same setup Mott used with BC Ladies Classic winner Unrivaled Belle a year ago. In this race last year Gabriel's Hill made a clear early lead and held gamely to snag the place dough at a huge price. That is the approach that will be taken with Birdrun as he has the most early speed in the prospective field, along with outsider Tutti Buona Gente. The pace in a 14 furlong race is generally very soft. The son of Belmont winner Birdstone has proven to be quite dangerous when left to his own devices on the front end. Trainer Bill Mott went through a lengthy period of Breeders' Cup futility before the aforementioned win by Unrivaled Belle last year. He has always known exactly what to do with a top level racehorse and it was nothing more than a coincidence that he went winless for so long. He has given Birdrun plenty of time to prepare at Churchill Downs, a racetrack where Bill Mott is the all-time leading trainer.
* Play (9) CEASE to WIN and PLACE. * Equal exacta boxes 1-9. 6-9, 9-11.
* PICK THREE, Races 3-5, with suggested tickets as follows:
* TICKET 1: 1-6-9-11 / 3-4-10-12-13 / 1 = 4x5x1x$1 = $20
* TICKET 2: 9 / ALL / 1 = 1x14x1x$1 = $14
* TICKET 3: 6-9 / 3-4-10-12-13 / 1-5 = 2x5x2x$1 = $20
TOTAL WAGER = $54
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Grade 1
RACE 4 Post Time 2:02 1 Mile | Open | 2 Year Olds | G1 Breeders' Cup
Juvenile Turf | Purse: $ 1,000,000
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta Daily Double / Pick 3 (Races 4-5-6) Pick 4 (Races 4-5-6-7)
Prg. # PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt. Claim $ Equip. Med. ML
1 1 Gung Ho Smith M Maker M 122 $0 LA 20-1
2 2 Fantastic Song Castellano J Brown C 122 $0 L 20-1
3 3 Shkspeare Shaliyah Solis A Shivmangal D 122 $0 LA 15-1
4 4 Farraaj (IRE) Callan N Varian R 122 $0 L 15-1
5 5 Wrote (IRE) Moore R O'Brien A 122 $0 L 12-1
6 6 Coalport Alvarado J Catalano W 122 $0 LA 15-1
7 7 Caspar Netscher (GB) Fallon K McCabe A 122 $0 6-1
8 8 Majestic City Gomez G Miller P 122 $0 LA 4-1
9 9 Daddy Nose Best Leparoux J Asmussen S 122 $0 LA 30-1
10 10 Animal Spirits Albarado R Stall, Jr. A 122 $0 LA 8-1
11 11 Excaper Wilson E Black I 122 $0 Blk-On L 30-1
12 12 Lucky Chappy (IRE) Rosario J Motion H 122 $0 LA 10-1
13 13 Finale Velazquez J Pletcher T 122 $0 LA 5-1
14 14 State of Play Dominguez R Motion H 122 $0 LA 5-1
Majestic City, Excaper and Finale will contest the pace into the first turn with State of Play being hard ridden from the far outside to take up the chase. Lucky Chappy was a front runner in Europe but a slow start in his US debut cost him a closer finish. With a clean break from the gate, he will track the leaders.
1st Selection #12 LUCKY CHAPPY (IRE) 10-1 ROSARIO J MOTION H
No matter what happens this weekend or over the next 8 weeks, the year 2011 will be a banner one for Team Valor International and Graham Motion. They scored a Kentucky Derby victory with Animal Kingdom at this racetrack six months ago and have picked up numerous stakes wins since. The run really started in this race last year as Pluck was victorious from the far outside post. This son of two-time Breeders' Cup Turf winner High Chaparral, made his first start in North America in the Bourbon at Keeneland 27 days ago. Breaking from the 11 post in a 12 horse field, he was away slowly from the gate, as often happens with European shippers. That put jockey Ramon Dominguez in a tough spot as the pace in the Bourbon was extremely slow. As the field rounded the far turn he could have attempted to swing out and avoid traffic, but Dominguez knew that would give this lightly raced juvenile a lot to do in the stretch drive. So, being the patient rider that he is, Dominguez decided to keep him inside and work his way through traffic. When Here Comes Frazier shied away from the whip at the 3/16ths pole, chaos ensued as a number of riders were forced to take up and avoid the stricken horse. Dominguez was able to keep riding to the wire. Lucky Chappy made a nice late run to finish third beaten two lengths. Motion has done well for years with European shippers and a number of them, including Grade 2 winner Daveron, have improved with experience in this country. Across the pond, Lucky Chappy had been a frontrunner at shorter distances, so getting accustomed to North American racing was going to be a tall task. He still has quite a bit of upside having only four races under his belt and the Bourbon should prove a great learning experience. Ramon Dominguez has opted to ride State of Play in this affair on the far outside as he rode that colt to a victory in the With Anticipation at Saratoga. He has drawn a difficult post given his running style, while Lucky Chappy should be able to not lose too much ground into the first turn. Should the pace develop the way it seems on paper, this colt will benefit greatly and be a major late player under a great finisher in jockey Joel Rosario.
2nd Selection #13 FINALE 5-1 VELAZQUEZ J PLETCHER T
This son of outstanding first-crop sire Scat Daddy was underwhelming in his first two career starts, one over a muddy track and the other on a dry dirt track. However, once top juvenile trainer Todd Pletcher moved him to the turf, he became a totally different animal. He won his July 15 turf debut as easily as can be, drawing off by nearly 6 lengths while flying thru his final furlong in :11-3/5 under a hand ride. Pletcher then stretched him out to a mile on August 20, and the result was even more impressive. It was a stakes field, but not a good one, and Finale won by 10-1/2 lengths at miniscule odds. The real test came in the G3 Summer Stakes on Sept 17, also at a mile, and he passed that one as well. He had to battle the length of the stretch, but prevailed gamely over some rivals that he'll face today. Pletcher has freshened up Finale since the Summer Stakes, with a steady stream of works in October that culminated in a sharp bullet move over this turf course on Oct 30. While his far outside post is a tough one, Finale just may be talented enough to overcome it. He has good tactical speed that jockey John Velazquez can use to try to gain a decent stalking position, from which they will make their move ahead of the closers. Finale is 3 for 3 on turf, winning over three different courses, and certainly handled this one well in his most recent work.
3rd Selection # 4 FARRAAJ (IRE) 15-1 CALLAN N VARIAN R
Trainer Roger Varian is a Breeder's Cup newcomer, but he will start two horses with big chances this year; Nahrain in Friday's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, and this son of Dubai Destination. Both are coming off of solid performances in Europe and have shown tremendous potential in their brief careers. When dealing with European invaders in the Breeders' Cup, you can try to deduce how good they may be from replays and Racing Post Ratings. You don't often get the opportunity to analyze company lines because of a lack of familiarity with the horses running in Europe. However, situations will arise where you have a horse who has kept legitimately top company, which goes beyond the "group" designation in his/her PPs. That's the case with Farraaj. In the VVB Engineering Novice Stakes at Sandown in September, Farraaj finished 5 lengths clear of Tell Dad. In 3 starts since, Tell Dad has won twice, including a Group 3 event in Europe. Kinglet was the third place finisher in the Novice and he won an allowance race in his next start. In the Somerville Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket, Farraaj made a bold late run to finish second at 13-10. The horse he edged for second in that race, Zip Top, came back to finish second in the Racing Post Trophy behind Camelot, a horse most regard as Europe's best 2 year old. The fourth-place finisher in the Tattersalls was Crusade, who came back to win the Group 1 Middle Park and is 12-1 in this afternoon's Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Those notes show that it can often be risky to judge a horse based on the group/grade designations of his prior races. Varian is a young trainer who learned under English sensation Michael Jarvis. One thing he made clear after Nahrain's win in the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp, was that Jarvis taught him to take a chance with a horse who's doing well. Farraaj would not be in America unless he proved himself worthy of the opportunity. With Frankie Dettori serving a suspension, Neil Callan is on board. He piloted this colt to his maiden win at Warwick in August. Considering his humble beginnings, a win by Farraaj would be a "rags to riches" story. He has solid credentials to pull off the upset.
4th Selection # 3 SHKSPEARE SHALIYAH 15-1 SOLIS A SHIVMANGAL D
When you make your name as a claiming trainer whose time to shine is on Aqueduct's inner track, you rarely find yourself in a Breeders' Cup event. Trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal knows what to do with a good horse and he lamented this colt's debut defeat on a day where he was set to run a big race at 22-1. In his two victories since, he's proven that he inherited his sire's incredible turf kick, and is a major player in this event. In order to get Shkspeare Shaliyah into this field, Shivmangal was forced to supplement him for $100,000 When you are a Floridabred by a freshman sire out of an 0-7 mare, you're usually not Breeders' Cup nominated. This colt was not, but his owner-trainer decided to pony up the dough because he feels he belongs. Though his dam, Tricky Mistress, enjoyed no success on the track, she has produced a turf winner in $118,000 earner Zip Trick. When Shakespeare himself was healthy, he was a top notch grass runner who won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational in 2005, then the Woodbine Mile in 2006. After his promising debut performance at Saratoga, Shivmangal sent this colt to his base at Belmont and entered him in a MSW at 8-1/2 furlongs three weeks later. Racing over a firm course that had a bit of moisture, Shkspeare Shaliyah rallied from well off the pace and passed all of his rivals to get up by a half-length. He was immediately sent to stakes company and wound up getting bet down to 2-1. With a carbon copy of his maiden win two weeks earlier, he roared down the center of the turf course to get the money. What Shkspeare Shaliyah proved in consecutive starts is that he is unfazed by wet turf courses as well as negative pace setups. These are signs of serious talent, especially from a 2 year old with just three career starts. Since arriving at Churchill a couple of weeks ago, this colt has been training beautifully, as indicated by the Daily Racing Form clocker Mike Welsch, who has been at Churchill the last 2 weeks. Welsh labeled Shkspeare the "work of the day" designation for his October 31 half-mile drill. He will benefit from a contested pace in this event, as Majestic City and State of Play will ensure a sharp early clip. Jockey Alex Solis is masterful when it comes to late runners on turf. 2011 has proven to be the year of a career renaissance for this Hall of Fame worthy rider. He fits Shkspeare Shaliyah like a glove and will have him rolling in the stretch drive.
5th Selection #10 ANIMAL SPIRITS 8-1 ALBARADO R STALL, JR. A
In his debut at Saratoga on Aug 20, Animal Spirits nearly won the 1-1/16 mile race on turf while gaining valuable experience. He rated off the pace, made a wide move on the far turn, then finished fast to miss by just a head. Trainer Al Stall, who is exceptional with juvenile runners, winning at a rate of 26% in 2010-11, didn't rush Animal Spirits back, giving him until October 9 for his next start. This time Animal Spirits was bumped up in class to take on G3 company despite still being a maiden. He rated near the back of a full field and was still in tenth position while behind a fairly slow pace of 1:14 flat. At that point, jockey Robbie Albarado swung Animal Spirits wide into the stretch, he kicked in to another gear, and ran by 9 rivals to get up late, roaring thru his final 5/16 of a mile in :29 flat. That's a great finishing time for any horse on turf, but for a second start, 2yo maiden, it was sensational. Animal Spirits has been stabled here at Churchill Downs since mid-September, and put in a nice work over this turf course on Oct 24. With a strong pace expected in this race, his closing kick should prove to be a huge asset. He also still has plenty of upside potential in just his third start.
* Play (12) LUCKY CHAPPY to WIN and PLACE.
Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint Grade 1
RACE 5 Post Time 2:37 6 Furlongs | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up | G1
Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint | Purse: $ 1,500,000
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta Daily Double / Pick 3 (Races 5-6-7)
Prg. # PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt. Claim $ Equip. Med. ML
1 1 Euroears Bejarano R Baffert B 126 $0 LA 4-1
2 2 Giant Ryan Velasquez C Parboo B 126 $0 L 8-1
3 3 Aikenite Castellano J Pletcher T 126 $0 LA 8-1
4 4 Hamazing Destiny Albarado R Lukas D 126 $0 L 10-1
5 5 Jackson Bend Nakatani C Zito N 126 $0 LA 7-2
6 6 Force Freeze Velazquez J Walder P 126 $0 LA 10-1
7 7 Amazombie Smith M Spawr W 126 $0 L 5-1
8 8 Big Drama Dominguez R Fawkes D 126 $0 LA 5-2
9 9 Apriority Rosario J Fawkes D 126 $0 LA 30-1
Euroears will gun to the lead from the rail with Giant Ryan, Force Freeze and Big Drama in close pursuit. The pace is expected to be fast.
1st Selection # 1 EUROEARS 4-1 BEJARANO R BAFFERT B
Trainer Bob Baffert has certainly done well in the BC Sprint over the years, including winning back-to-back renewals with his champion sprinter Midnight Lute. While Baffert trained Midnight Lute throughout his career, he didn't get Euroears in his stable until after his 6-year-old season. To that point, Euroears hadn't done anything at all that would lead one to believe that he could eventually make the starting gate of the BC Sprint, let alone have a good chance of winning it. However, Baffert has worked his magic on the 7yo horse, and the results have been miraculous. Baffert picked the G2 Palos Verde for Euroears' return from a 6-1/2 month layoff, certainly an ambitious spot for a horse that was coming off a long layoff, and who had never won a graded stakes race. Sent off at 9-1, Euroears broke from post 2, rocketed to the lead while setting an absurdly fast pace, but was never challenged. He won by 2-1/4 lengths in what was the best race of his career, and a new sprint star was born. Baffert was so encouraged that he then packed up his bags and took Euroears to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen two months later. Once again Euroears set sail up front along the 6F straightaway, and he would have won that rich race if not for the presence of Rocket Man, who many would say is the best sprinter in all of the world. Rocket Man caught Euroears in the final 100 yards, but the pacesetter did hold on for second money, which was a very nice pay day in this case. Most horses need some time to rest and recover after a trip to Dubai, so Baffert didn't start Euroears again until the G1 Bing Crosby. As has become his style, Euroears took a clear lead out of the gate while setting a hot pace, and he held safe all the way to the wire over favored Smiling Tiger. In three starts since the move to the Baffert barn, Euroears now had won a G1 race, a G2 race, and had finished 2nd in another G1 race. Could he have another champion sprinter in his barn? Setting his sights on the BC Sprint, Baffert gave Euroears his final 'prep' in the G1 Vosburgh at Belmont on Oct 1. The muddy track was a bit of a concern, but its speed-favoring nature favored Euroears. Unfortunately, he never had a chance in the race. He was taken out of the race by a rival who came over right out of the gate and forced Euroears to check. He plummeted to the back of the field, losing all chance. The jock of the other horse, Rajiv Maragh, was given a suspension for his actions, and Baffert was livid. Today could be redemption day. Although there's some other speed to his outside, Euroears still has a nice chance to wire this field from his rail post. He'll have the shortest trip to the winner's circle while skimming the rail all the way, and I like seeing Bejarano back aboard. He rode him perfectly when aboard for the first time in the Bing Crosby. Recent works have been faster than fast, including a :56-3/5 5F work on October 24 over the dirt track at Santa Anita, and I feel that Baffert has Euroears on course for the best race of his career.
2nd Selection # 5 JACKSON BEND 7-2 NAKATANI C ZITO N
As a two year-old, Jackson Bend won 5 of 6 races at Calder, including four stakes. He won from 4-1/2 furlongs to 1-1/16 miles, overcoming trouble on more than one occasion. The question was whether or not Jackson Bend could continue his dominance as a 3 year-old if shipped out of the confines of south Florida. Trainer Nick Zito and his long-time owner Robert Lapenta felt that he could. Lapenta reached into his deep pockets and purchased the son of Hear No Evil, who stands at stud for a measly $3,500 and sports a modest pedigree on his dam side. Their goal was to have a horse for the Kentucky Derby, and Jackson Bend was their best hope. They began his 3 year old campaign at Gulfstream. His 5-race winning streak came to a halt in the G3 Holy Bull, when Jackson Bend finished a close second. It was a promising performance and one to build on. Jackson Bend looked to redeem himself in the G2 Fountain of Youth. Once again he ran second, but this time he was beaten 8-1/2 lengths. It became evident that Jackson Bend had not progressed from age 2 to age 3. Zito has had great success in the past using the G1 Wood Memorial as a final Kentucky Derby prep. He won the Derby twice with Strike the Gold (1991) and Go for Gin (1994) using the same move. In the Wood, Jackson Bend continued his string of second place finishes but once again was trounced, losing ground in the final 1/8 of a mile. His connections felt he deserved to start in the Derby even though he had not won a race as a 3 year old. Jackson Bend proceeded to run his worst race in his first start over a sloppy track, checking in twelfth, beaten 19 lengths. With the exception of a strong showing when narrowly defeated in the Preakness, in three subsequent starts facing weaker, Jackson Bend never hit the board. Without a victory in eight starts, the wheels seemed to have fallen off. Lapenta felt that Jackson Bend had to return to Calder and back into the barn of trainer Stanley Gold for his 4 year-old campaign, with the hopes that Gold held the secret to his success. However, four more starts produced four more defeats. Jackson Bend seemed to have lost his will to win. The only option left was to cut him back in distance. No more 2-turn races. Lapenta decided to ship Jackson Bend back to New York and into Zito's barn. The plan was to run him at Saratoga in a small stake at 7F, hoping to regain his confidence with a victory. If the plan worked out, it would serve as springboard for the G1 Forego at the end of the meet. After 12 defeats in a row, Jackson Bend finally found the winner's circle, dominating a very strong field. It was his finest performance to date. With another huge victory 42 days later in the Forego, it was now evident that cutting him back in distance was the "key" to his success. The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile around one turn was clearly the race Jackson Bend would point to now. The G2 Kelso on Oct 1 at Belmont would be his final prep. Unfortunately, he would have to face off with 2 year old champion Uncle Mo. Jackson Bend was a clear second to Mo over a muddy track while going a one-turn mile. Even in defeat, he ran very well in fast time over a speed-friendly track. Just days before the Breeders' Cup Zito decided to call an audible and entered Jackson Bend in the Sprint rather than the Dirt Mile. Among his reasons were that a victory in the Sprint would make him a shoo-in for the Eclipse Award as champion sprinter. He also saw the Sprint as a race that would set up better for Jackson Bend, as there is ample early speed in the compact field. He has done well when cutting back in distance in the past and will do so once again. With his excellent tactical speed and jockey Corey Nakatani, who has been aboard in all 3 starts since returning to NY, Jackson Bend will be very dangerous. He'll have to answer questions about whether he can handle six furlongs as well as he'd handled seven, but his perfect record under one mile is significant and makes him one of a short list of win candidates in this field.
3rd Selection # 7 AMAZOMBIE 5-1 SMITH M SPAWR W
Much like Ultra Blend on Saturday, this veteran Cal-bred will make his first start outside of the Golden State in search of the biggest prize of his career. His 2011 campaign has been very strong with wins in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, Potrero Grande, and Ancient Title. His record on dirt is nearly perfect with 3 wins from 4 tries. Amazombie had fallen off the radar of major Breeders' Cup contenders this summer as his spring successes seemed to be a distant memory. He was defeated in consecutive Grade I tries, the first of which was the Los Angeles Handicap, where he was beaten at odds of 3/2. In just over one minute and eight seconds he was back on the list of potential winners of the Breeders' Cup Sprint. You have to be realistic about Amazombie's win in the Ancient Title. The Factor was strictly the horse to beat in that affair but this gelded son of Northern Afleet was a deserving second choice. When another rival went on a suicide mission and dueled with The Factor through the opening quarter-mile Amazombie was the prime beneficiary as he picked up the pieces into the stretch. As The Factor faded, Amazombie seized the lead and won going away late. He is a classy and consistent gelding who has not missed the trifecta in 13 months. The pace in the BC Sprint is going to be very fast. With Euroears drawing the inside post he'll have no choice but to be sent to the early lead. With Giant Ryan and Big Drama drawn on his outside, he will have company through the opening half-mile. That will ensure a fast pace for a horse like Amazombie to run into through the final quarter-mile. The lengthy Churchill Downs can only benefit his late kick. The BC Sprint has been kind to Californians over the years, specifically at Churchill Downs. In the last four running's, California shippers have been third in 2010 (Smiling Tiger), first in 2006 (Thor's Echo), first in 2000 (Kona Gold) and first in 1998 (Reraise). That bodes well for Amazombie as he ventures out of the friendly confines of Southern California. He was not given an opportunity to train at Churchill Downs and that is a negative. This gelding is simply not a horse who needs to bring his racetrack with him. He will be a major late player in a compact but contentious field.
4th Selection # 8 BIG DRAMA 5-2 DOMINGUEZ R FAWKES D
Only once in the 28 year history of the Breeders' Cup has the same horse won consecutive running's of the Sprint. That horse was Midnight Lute, who was victorious in 2007 and 2008. Big Drama will bid to pull off the same feat and comes into this event under different circumstances from 2010. Last year he was a top level sprinter from mid-summer, as he won the Smile Sprint before consecutive runner-up finishes in the Vanderbilt and Forego. He faced top level competition at Saratoga and was training strongly prior the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Two days before he won the Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter of 2010, Big Drama scored a smashing win in the Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park. He cemented his status as the nation's best sprinter and most racing fans had an eye towards him having a tremendous 2011 campaign. Reality set in shortly after the Mr. Prospector, as he came up with a series of ailments that kept him on the sidelines for nearly 8 months. He finally came back in the Whippleton at Calder, an overnight stakes worth $72,000. Facing a field that he completely outclassed on paper, he was victorious at odds of 1-10. His final prep was supposed to come in the Vosburgh at Belmont, but he was scratched a day before after spiking a fever and the decision was made to train him up to the Breeders' Cup. Trainer David Fawkes is one of the best in the country. He will have to pull off an incredible feat in having this 5 year old ready to run a big race today. His task is similar to that of the aforementioned Midnight Lute, whose second BC win came with just one prep race in 2008. Big Drama has trained steadily at Calder and made a favorable impression earlier this week at Churchill. Given that he's capable of stalking the pace and being effective, the outside draw was ideal for Big Drama. The main pace player, Euroears, is on the rail and will have to be asked hard right from the gate. Big Drama will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez for the first time today, but he is one of the best around when it comes to getting horses to relax. Class-wise, you won't find a better horse in this field, and the relative lack of overall quality makes him an obvious contender. If you feel that his ability and recent training assuage fears created by his inactivity, then he's a logical favorite.
* Play (1) EUROEARS to WIN
* EXACTA BOX: (1) EUROEARS - (5) JACKSON BEND - (7) AMAZOMBIE = $12 for a $2 wager
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Grade 2
RACE 6 Post Time 3:21 5 Furlongs | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up | G2
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint | Purse: $ 1,000,000
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta Daily Double / Pick 3 (Races 6-7-8) Pick 6 (Races 6-11)
Prg. # PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt. Claim $ Equip. Med. ML
1 1 Grand Adventure Castellano J Frostad M 126 $0 LA 20-1
2 2 Holiday for Kitten Rosario J Ward W 121 $0 L 30-1
3 3 Broken Dreams Gomez G Proctor T 123 $0 LA 20-1
4 4 Perfect Officer Carmouche K Pino M 126 $0 LA 12-1
5 5 Great Attack Sanchez J Ward W 126 $0 L 20-1
6 6 California Flag Valenzuela P Koriner B 126 $0 L 15-1
7 7 Hoofit (NZ) Prado E Motion H 126 $0 LA 15-1
8 8 Regally Ready Nakatani C Asmussen S 126 $0 LA 3-1
9 9 Rapport Hernandez, Jr. B Werner R 123 $0 LA 30-1
10 10 Havelock Albarado R Miller D 126 $0 L 9-2
11 11 Country Day Graham J Margolis S 126 $0 LA 20-1
12 12 Camp Victory Leparoux J Mitchell M 126 $0 LA 12-1
13 13 Caracortado Talamo J Machowsky M 126 $0 LA 4-1
14 14 Chamberlain Bridge Theriot J Calhoun W 126 $0 LA 5-1
Holiday Kitten, Great Attack, California Flag and Rapport will be mixing it up early. The pace is expected to be fast and furious as most of these 5f turf sprints are.
1st Selection # 8 REGALLY READY 3-1 NAKATANI C ASMUSSEN S
When a horse starts his or her campaign in the early winter, their form will often slide at some point. That's what happened with this son of More Than Ready. Regally Ready lost two races in a row following a layoff during the summer. By the time fall had set in, he had lost his status as the turf sprint division leader and was in need of a rebirth of sorts. That occurred on the expansive EP Taylor turf course at Woodbine, winning the Nearctic in wire-to-wire fashion at almost 10-1. Regally Ready has won twice at Churchill Downs, the first of which happened to be his turf debut almost one year ago. He won that N2X allowance race by nearly 8 lengths, a margin that's almost unheard of in a turf sprint. He has run on nothing but grass since. After a loss on New Year's Day, he won three stakes races in a row. Among those victories was a handy score in the Churchill Downs Turf Sprint on the Kentucky Derby undercard. What he showed in that event was that he's capable of rating just off the pace if the early tempo proves to be very strong. Such talent only enhances his win credentials in here, given the likelihood of a fast pace. So the question remains, what happened at both Monmouth and Parx when he was twice beaten as a heavy favorite? After the aforementioned win on Derby day, he was given a bit of time off, and that could have been because something went awry. Trainer Steve Asmussen opted for the My Frenchman at Woodbine instead of the Troy at Saratoga, which was to be run just two days later. That leads you to believe that he might have been a bit short of 100% and needed an easier race. Though he was narrowly beaten in the My Frenchman, Regally Ready ran well while in tight and stuck towards the inside. In the Turf Monster at Parx, Regally Ready faced a large and competitive field of eleven. He drew a post in the middle of the pack and endured an awful trip. In the opening quarter-mile he was steadied and lost position and then was checked on the far turn. He was shuffled back several lengths and lacked sufficient time to make up that ground. Any good trip handicapper had Regally Ready on his radar ready to jump aboard wherever he landed next. Though the Nearctic was won by Regally Ready in wire-to-wire fashion, he is a horse who's capable of stalking the early pace. That makes him extremely dangerous in this event. The quality of this field is lacking, given that there are ZERO European participants and the de facto division leader was not supplemented to participate. That makes this gelding the one to beat as the likely favorite.
2nd Selection #10 HAVELOCK 9-2 ALBARADO R MILLER D
With the first two running's of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint coming at Santa Anita, it was a race that went to a Hillside Turf Course specialist. Both Desert Code and California Flag had previously won stakes races going down the hill at Santa Anita and they parlayed that experience into BC glory. The 2010 version of the Turf Sprint went to a specialist of sorts too, in the form of veteran Chamberlain Bridge. A multiple winner over the CD lawn, he went off 6-1 after coming up with a minor injury during Cup week. If you're searching for a specialist in this field, you can land in a number of different spots. Morning line favorite Regally Ready is 2-2 going 5F on the lawn at CD and won the Turf Sprint on the Kentucky Derby undercard earlier this year. Havelock has currently won three stakes races in a row at 7F or less. The only time he went 5F on this course, he broke slowly and came up a bit short when finishing third, beaten a length. He has matured since then and has improved significantly of late. In the Woodford at Keeneland last time out, he was well back of a very strong pace going 5-1/2 panels, and that provided a perfect setup for him. Shortening up to 5F, he will need to be in gear a bit earlier under jockey Robby Albarado. As can be expected in any turf sprint with a large field, the pace should be very hot in this affair. The outside draw Havelock received will help his chances as Albarado will be able to avoid a great deal of inside traffic. He has been remarkably consistent sprinting on the turf going back to the spring of this year and seems capable of rising to the occasion in his biggest race to date. Trainer Darrin Miller attempted to put a bit more zip into him with a half-mile move on Sunday. If he can be just a bit closer through the opening half-mile, his chances will dramatically improve. There are knocks on nearly every entrant in this field, and given that the main ones related to this gelding have to do with distance, he truly has an excellent chance to catch them all in the lane. If the field gets a bit "hungry" in the last furlong of this event, he'll be in line to benefit.
3rd Selection #13 CARACORTADO 4-1 TALAMO J MACHOWSKY M
Breaking from a far outside post, with an abundance of speed to his inside, Caracortado will have the chance to sit the right stalking trip and run down the speed in the final furlong. He's been a very versatile runner throughout his career while usually racing at the highest class level, whether on turf, dirt, or synthetic, or in sprints or routes. Twice he has lost by just a head and a neck in G1 turf races at a mile, and the only time in his career that he raced in a turf sprint, which came off a 6-month layoff, he won in exceptional time. In fact, Caracortado has a history of running some of the best races of his career off of layoffs, including a win last year in the G2 Robert Lewis, and that loss by just a neck in the G1 Shoemaker Mile. That's why I'm actually glad to see that he hasn't raced in a little more than two months, and will be coming into this race fresh, with a best-of-65 work on October 30. Jockey Joe Talamo has been aboard for the last 9 races and certainly knows Caracortado very well. They should be in good position throughout, and Caracortado just may be a bit more classy than the rest of the horses in this field.
4th Selection # 7 HOOFIT (NZ) 15-1 PRADO E MOTION H
Trainer Graham Motion has had a "career" year highlited by Animal Kingdom's thrilling victory in the Kentucky Derby. Motion has won several graded stakes races that have gone under the radar. Hoofit is an example of 1 of his success stories. He aquired the 4 year old gelding in the spring. Motion had him ready to strike in his US debut adding lasix for the first time in an allowance race at Presque Isle cutting back to a sprint and making his first start over a synthetic surface. 1 month later Hoofit proved he was not a "1 hit wonder" when he got up by a nose in the Gr 3 Phoenix at Keeneland. New rider Edgar Prado made a premature middle move into a blistering second quarter, too a narrow lead into the stretch and then fought off several challenges to victory. Hoofit is back on grass today which he handled just fine in his native New Zealand. Motion seemes to have found the "key" to his success cutting him back in distance. His ability to sit in mid pack and pounce or take further back and make 1 run are valuable attributes in this 5f Turf Sprint where the pace is always hot.
* $1.00 EXACTA WHEEL: 8 over ALL = $13.00
* $1.00 EXACTA WHEEL: ALL over 8 = $13.00
* EXACTAS: 8 over (7) HOOFIT, (10) HAVELOCK and (13) CARACORTADO. Reverse for smaller.
* PICK SIX (Races 6-11)
Note: This is obviously a very difficult wager, and I usually do not play the Pick 6 on Breeders' Cup day, as it is so hard to hit, and
there are plenty of other opportunities on the card for a big score. However, for those who are interested, I have constructed three
different tickets, each for a different budget level.
LARGE BUDGET: 7-8-10-13 / 1-9 / 2-7 / 5-7-9-10 / 1-3 / 2-10-13 = $576
MEDIUM BUDGET: 8-10-13 / 1-9 / 2-7 / 5-7-9-10 / 1-3 / 2 = $192
SMALL BUDGET: 8-10-13 / 1-9 / 7 / 7-10 / 1-3 / 2 = $48
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile Grade 1
RACE 7 Post Time 4:01 1 Mile | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up | G1
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile | Purse: $ 1,000,000
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta Daily Double / Pick 3 (Races 7-8-9)
Prg. # PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt. Claim $ Equip. Med. ML
1 1 The Factor Garcia M Baffert B 123 $0 LA 7-2
2 2 Shackleford Castanon J Romans D 123 $0 LA 7-2
3 3 Tapizar Gomez G Asmussen S 123 $0 LA 20-1
4 4 Tres Borrachos Rosario J Jones M 126 $0 LA 30-1
5 5 Wilburn Leparoux J Asmussen S 123 $0 LA 4-1
6 6 Irrefutable Bejarano R Baffert B 126 $0 LA 12-1
7 7 Jersey Town Velasquez C Tagg B 126 $0 LA 15-1
8 8 Caleb's Posse Maragh R Von Hemel D 123 $0 L 5-1
9 9 Trappe Shot Velazquez J McLaughlin K 126 $0 LA 3-1
The Factor will gun to the lead from his rail post with Shackleford, Tapizard and Irrefutable in close pursuit. The fractions are expected to be fast.
1st Selection # 9 TRAPPE SHOT 3-1 VELAZQUEZ J MCLAUGHLIN K
A year is a long time. Trappe Shot's 2011 campaign is a great example of the type that we so often see in modern thoroughbred racing. By the middle of the summer he was clearly the top sprinter on the east coast and barreled into the Alfred G. Vanderbilt a heavy favorite to snag his first Grade I win. He battled gamely but was beaten a nose in that event while racing against a serious speed bias. While he lost very little in defeat, it became clear that he'd need to take a step forward in his next start, which would likely be his final Breeders' Cup prep. That race came in the Vosburgh on Super Saturday, a race in which he was sent off at even money. There are a number of ways to look at Trappe Shot's defeat in the Vosburgh. He was mired on the inside much of the way and could not cut into the lead held by eventual winner Giant Ryan. The sloppy main track on Super Saturday strongly favored speed and that hurt his chances. Giant Ryan was also able to get away with rather moderate fractions considering the caliber of competition in the Vosburgh. While Trappe Shot did not quicken in the last furlong, he ran a race that did not hinder his status as a serious sprinter. With a choice to be made between the Sprint and Dirt Mile trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Mill House have opted for the latter. While that came as a bit of a surprise, they have taken the approach that he is a bit better at distances beyond six furlongs. With him now stretching out a couple of furlongs he'll be able to use his sprint speed in a race that should be run at a more relaxed early clip. The outside draw is absolutely ideal for him given his style, and for jockey John Velazquez, who loves the outside stalking trip. He is quick enough to stay very close early but will have a great target to run at with the freakishly fast The Factor breaking from the inside. Trappe Shot is a versatile and talented horse. He has proven in the past he can stretch his speed out to a route of ground. His win in the Long Branch as a 3YO was a race that springboarded him to engagements in the Haskell and Travers. While ultimately he proved to be a sprinter, today's distance of one mile is well within his scope. He will be in position to take the initiative when the speed horses begin to falter, shortly before the closers hit top gear. That makes him a major player in crunch time.
2nd Selection # 1 THE FACTOR 7-2 GARCIA M BAFFERT B
When a 2-year-old horse breaks a track record for 6F in his second career start, you know he's got a bright future ahead of him. Bob Baffert has loved this horse from the time that he got him, long before he ever ran, and told me so a couple of summers ago. While falling short of the term superstar, The Factor has won one G1 and two G2 races thus far, and could do a lot more to add to his resume' in the future. Baffert originally thought that The Factor might be talented enough to stretch out and become a Kentucky Derby prospect. He won his initial route debut in convincing fashion in the G2 Rebel back on March 19, setting a very fast pace for the distance, then widening his margin gradually in the stretch. However, the wheels fell off the bus in the G1 Arkansas Derby, after which The Factor needed some time off to recover. He certainly came back from the 4+ month layoff on August 28 feeling as good as ever. He won the G1 Pat O'Brien in that return effort, notching his first G1 victory while also taking on older horses for the first time in his career. He dueled along the inside, then edged away to score in very fast time at 7F. Cutting back to 6F on Oct 8, The Factor was favored in the G1 Ancient Title, but was hooked in a suicidal speed duel which produced fractions that were just too fast. The Factor tired to finish 4th at odds of 2-5, and that race made Baffert re-think his plan to run this speedball in the BC Sprint, where he would most likely encounter similar enervating fractions, as well as stable mate Euroears. The solution is go in the Dirt Mile. The Factor has shown that he can win a route race, and this is shorter, and around one less turn, than the G2 Rebel. Furthermore, the pace will be much more moderate than that of the BC Sprint, so The Factor won't have to expend nearly as much energy in order to assume command out of the gate. While Shackleford and Tapizar have speed to his immediate outside, they are expected to take back a bit and press or stalk the pace, leaving The Factor as the controlling speed from the rail, which gives him the shortest path to victory. He's won 4 of 5 career starts when on the lead, with the only loss being last time out.
3rd Selection # 8 CALEB'S POSSE 5-1 MARAGH R VON HEMEL D
It's not every day that you see a trainer in the winner's circle for a Grade I at Saratoga with a cowboy hat atop his head. That was the case after this son of Posse won the King's Bishop, pulling off an upset of heavily favored Uncle Mo. It was this colt's second consecutive graded stakes score over the Saratoga oval and made it clear that Caleb's Posse is a very dangerous late running sprinter/miler. Even after he had seemingly proven that sprinting was his game, trainer Donnie Von Hemel decided to enter Caleb's Posse in the Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park. He ran the race many expected as he loomed boldly on the far turn before hanging late. It was an effort very typical of a horse being asked to go a distance that's farther than their ideal range. He had two options in terms of the Breeders' Cup, and Von Hemel opted for the Dirt Mile rather than the Sprint. That decision likely had a lot to do with the abundance of pace in this field. When The Factor drew the inside, Von Hemel had to smile, as it all but guarantees a fast pace as that fleet-footed colt will have to be ridden aggressively from the starting gate. With Preakness winner Shackleford just to his outside, there will be ample pace pressure. That might turn this event into a carbon copy of the 2010 Dirt Mile, which featured a sub-:45 opening half-mile and turned the race into an elongated sprint. Such a setup would be ideal for Caleb's Posse as he'll once again be allowed to lay back and fire one late run. In his 15-race career, Caleb's Posse has compiled a phenomenal 7-5-1-1 record around one turn. His only blemishes came in his career debut (second) and the Arlington-Washington Futurity (where he finished third, beaten 1 length). Flat-mile races are not available at many racetracks across America and they seem to play differently at each locale. In general, one-turn miles at Churchill end up as elongated sprints with a lengthy run to the far turn and a high likelihood of a fast pace. If you look at the two graded stakes races run on the opening day card last Sunday this theory plays out in actuality. In order to hold off the late runners going a mile at Churchill you have to have plenty in the tank. The biggest knock on Caleb's Posse is that he has yet to face older horses. However, given the class he has shown and the fact that he was able to knock off a quality horse like Uncle Mo just two months ago, it is merely an underlying question mark. He is going to benefit from a tremendous setup, is back at a trip that suits him perfectly, and should offer value given the contentious nature of this field.
4th Selection # 5 WILBURN 4-1 LEPAROUX J ASMUSSEN S
Even when you shell out $625,000 for a horse, you can often end up being disappointed. When Wilburn collected his third consecutive defeat and fourth in five starts back in July, it seemed as if he was a lost cause. Trainer Steve Asmussen regrouped, and suddenly he rolls into the biggest test of his career on a 3-race winning streak. That streak began in a N2X optional seller at Monmouth in August, when he ran down the graded stakes-placed Tempted to Tapit. From there he scored in the Smarty Jones, then stepped up in class to crush Preakness winner Shackleford in the Indiana Derby. As a son of Bernardini, it's not surprising that he has needed some time to get to his best. Bernardini himself progressed gradually and took until the middle of his 3 year old campaign to really pan out. This will be Wilburn's first opportunity around one turn since his debut 8 months ago at Santa Anita. In that race he scored convincingly from just off the pace in a race that was good enough for him to subsequently go off at 3/5 in an Allowance N1X one month later. With experience, he has become a very tractable horse who can rate comfortably off the pace before making a quick move. In the aforementioned Indiana Derby, he made a sudden move on the rail to seize the lead and kick clear late. It stands to reason that a one mile event with a fast pace will really play to his strengths. Wilburn has only faced elders once, and it came three months ago in his optional claiming win at Monmouth. He has moved forward immensely since that race and seems to have reacted in a positive way to Asmussen's slow, steady workout regimen. In his final drill for this race he went a smooth half-mile in :49 and 4/5 and finished full of run. He will once again be piloted by Julien Leparoux, who has had a great deal of success riding for Asmussen this year. They are a perfect pairing, as Asmussen trains his horses in a very patient way, much the same way that Leparoux usually rides. On paper, this race figures to be run at a high-octane early clip. With The Factor, Shackleford, and Tapizar lined up next to each other, a pace duel could occur. That would open the door for horses from off the pace, and this colt is among the best of that lot. The Breeders' Cup has been a proving ground for late blooming 3 year olds over the years and few horses in this field have the upside that this colt does. His best race to date should come forth this afternoon.
* Play (9) TRAPPE SHOT to WIN.
* EXACTAS: (9) over (1) THE FACTOR, (5) WILBURN, (8) CALEB'S POSSE. Reverse for half as much.
* SMALL SAVER EXACTA: (9) over (7) JERSEY TOWN, reverse for a small amount.
Re: 2011 Breeders Cup Breakdown
Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf Grade 1
RACE 8 Post Time 4:45 1 1/2 Miles | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up | G1
Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf | Purse: $ 3,000,000
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta Daily Double / Pick 3 (Races 8-9-10) Pick 4 (Races 8-9-10-11)
Prg. # PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt. Claim $ Equip. Med. ML
1 1 St Nicholas Abbey
O'Brien J O'Brien A 126 $0 L 9-2
2 2 Sarafina (FR) Lemaire C De Royer-Dupre A 123 $0 5-2
3 3 Dean's Kitten Dominguez R Maker M 126 $0 LA 10-1
4 4 Stately Victor Smith M Maker M 126 $0 LA 30-1
5 5 Teaks North Castellano J Sallusto J 126 $0 LA 20-1
6 6 Await the Dawn Leparoux J O'Brien A 126 $0 L 7-2
7 7 Sea Moon (GB) Moore R Stoute S 122 $0 L 4-1
8 8 Brilliant Speed Velazquez J Albertrani T 122 $0 LA 20-1
9 9 Midday (GB) Queally T Cecil H 123 $0 L 4-1
In a race which lacks a confirmed front runner, it is likely that Dean's Kitten can assume command early. The pace is expected to be slow.
1st Selection # 7 SEA MOON (GB) 4-1 MOORE R STOUTE S
You have to do something special to be knighted by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. For Michael Stoute it was his numerous accomplishments in racing, which include the Dubai World Cup, Canadian International, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and 5 Breeders' Cup races among many others. He is the type of trainer that simply needs to be in a race to receive attention. Sea Moon is from the powerful Juddmonte operation and is a homebred by Arlington Million winner Beat Hollow out of four-time winner Eva Luna. He began his career almost 13 months ago in a maiden race at Leicester where he finished second beaten a nose. Little did Stoute know at that point in time what was in store for this colt. He broke his maiden in his final start as a 2YO and was given some time to develop before returning for his sophomore season. His first start of 2011 came in a listed stakes race at York in July, which he won handily by almost two lengths. As a late bloomer he was held out of a number of big 3 year races in England but made it into the gate for the Group II Great Voltigeur at York in mid-August. What ensued was tremendously impressive as he drew off to beat a solid field by 8 lengths. Sent off at 5-1, he was still an unknown quantity but proved that afternoon that he was a very serious three year-old. Stoute decided to move him up in class to the St. Leger at Doncaster in early September. Dispatched at 2-1 in a field of 9 he endured an absolutely brutal trip after settling in at the back of the pack. Jockey Olivier Peslier repeatedly tried to get him in the clear through the final half-mile and was unable to do so, which left Sea Moon in hand as the winning moves were made. It was a very strong effort at the odd distance of 13 1/2 furlongs and set him up perfectly for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Twice in the last five years a runner from the St. Leger won the Breeders' Cup Turf. Red Rocks in 2006 scored impressively over this course after finishing third in the St. Leger. Two years later at Santa Anita Sir Michael Stoute's Conduit came in off a win in the St. Leger to take the Breeders' Cup Turf at almost 6-1. There are few opportunities for a horse to be cutting back into a 12f race but the St. Leger provides that for participating 3 year olds in the Breeders' Cup Turf. It virtually ensures that Sea Moon will have plenty to offer in the final quarter-mile. Immediately after the St. Leger the Juddmonte camp, headed by racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe made it clear that the Breeders' Cup Turf was Sea Moon's target. When a European horse is pointed to a Breeders' Cup race so far in advance they often are in position to offer their very best. Given Sir Michael Stoute's incredible success on America's biggest stage, you can rest assured trusting him without issue. In addition to Conduit's two Turf victories, Stoute has also scored with Kalanisi and Pilsudski. He won the 2003 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf with Islington as well. With these top notch connections on his side and a tremendous amount of upside, Sea Moon is an incredible play at his morning line of 4-1. Jockey Ryan Moore, who has done very well when riding for Sir Michael Stoute, is aboard today and he's piloted this colt to victory twice. No matter the pace scenario you can plan on him being a major player in the stretch this afternoon.
2nd Selection # 2 SARAFINA (FR) 5-2 LEMAIRE C DE ROYER-DUPRE A
The Aga Khan has a history of excellence in European racing that goes well beyond recent sensation Zarkava. This filly has shown flashes of brilliance in her tremendous 10 race career with three Group I wins and 9 ITM finishes. She enters off what is the worst race of her career on paper but there were extenuating circumstances in that race that hindered her in crunch time. Entering the Prix de l 'Arc de Triomphe, Sarafina was considered a breakthrough candidate who was quietly ready to pounce on the continent's biggest stage. With regular pilot Christophe Lemaire aboard she endured a horribly wide trip and flattened out late as the 3-1 second choice. As eventual winner Danedream pulled clear late she left a major battle for 2nd in her wake and Sarafina was in that mix. She missed second by just a length and a half as a crush of horses reached the wire together. While it was not the effort that trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre had hoped for, she was hardly disgraced and could have easily snagged the place dough with a better trip. Over the last five years Royer-Dupre has run four horses in North America. Of that group he has one win as Reggane took the EP Taylor at Woodbine in 2010. He picked up 2nd place finishes in the Beverly D in 2007 and Secretariat earlier this year. His most recent try came with Adventure Seeker in this year's EP Taylor at Woodbine but that runner was beaten only one length. What Royer-Dupre has proven is that he can have a horse ready to go in North America, even racing without Lasix. Sarafina could have run in Friday's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Friday but she has been entered in this race against males. It could have been the larger purse or the longer distance, but whatever the rationale is, the move signals a great deal of confidence. This filly has spent the majority of her career facing males so that is not a concern and she gets a nice weight break facing the opposite sex this afternoon. What Lemaire will have to deal with today is an expected moderate pace as she does her best running in the latter stages. Facing a smaller field she should be able to save more ground and the fact that she's handled firmer turf courses in Europe is a positive sign. She excels at 12fs and will be absolutely rolling in the latter stages today.
3rd Selection # 9 MIDDAY (GB) 4-1 QUEALLY T CECIL H
One of the safest bets of the weekend in Breeders' Cup XXVII was Midday in the Filly and Mare Turf. She entered as the defending champion and had won three straight Group I races for Sir Henry Cecil. The public hammered her to 9-10 in an 11-horse field. However, she was upset by outsider Shared Account, who became one of the biggest longshots to ever win a Breeders' Cup race. The 2011 campaign of Midday has been one that was a bit more scattered. She began the year with a win in the Middleton Stakes at York, a rather soft Group 2 event. Midday is 1 for 5 since then, with her only win coming in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood back in late July. Whether she was being pointed to the Breeders' Cup or not is questionable given that Cecil tried her in the Champion Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day. She could do no better than fourth against Cirrus des Aigles and So You Think, but ran on well over a course that seemed to be tilted towards speed. The European racing scene this year has lacked a standout outside of the undefeated Frankel, and that had a lot to do with the biggest event, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, going to a longshot filly from Germany. Many of the top level horses took turns beating each other, with So You Think being the closest thing to a divisional leader. Midday has had a difficult campaign, given some of the historic and strong events that she's contested, and she'll now be asked to put forth her best effort off a three-week break. In each of the last two years, she was coming off a longer break when she arrived for this race. The British Champions Series will change the landscape in terms of European participation in the Breeders' Cup. Many horses are going to be pointed to the BCS rather than the BC, and how they will handle the trip to America creates a major question mark. Few European imports that were not specifically pointed to Breeders' Cup races have been victorious on this continent. Midday's participation in this race was a bit of an afterthought, given that the Champion Stakes was a major goal.
4th Selection # 3 DEAN'S KITTEN 10-1 DOMINGUEZ R MAKER M
The collective sigh of relief made by bettors after Cape Blanco won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational could be heard around the country. This son of Kitten's Joy came a nose shy of pulling off a serious upset as he narrowly lost a stretch long battle with that heavily favored multiple Grade I winner. It has taken time, but this colt has developed into a legitimate turf horse with three straight placings in graded stakes races. There might not be an owner who enjoys winning at racing's top level more than Ken Ramsey. With his far flung stable he has had many chances in the Breeders' Cup but owns just one win to date. That came with Furthest Land at Santa Anita two years ago in the Dirt Mile. He was an outsider in that event, much like this colt will be today. He represents Ramsey's prize possession, Kitten's Joy, who he has effectively made into a prominent stallion by campaigning the majority of his offspring himself. After a third place finish in the Arlington Handicap, trainer Mike Maker decided to run Dean's Kitten in the Arlington Million. Viewed as a rank outsider by the wagering public, he went off at 19-1 but ran a credible race, missing the place dough to Gio Ponti by just a neck. That race was good enough for him to be given an opportunity in the Turf Classic at Belmont, and it ended up being his best race to date. There's no denying that this will be the best field Dean's Kitten has ever faced but there may be an aspect of this race on paper that gives him a chance. This field of 9 is completely devoid of early speed, but Dean's Kitten has shown some zip in the past. His win in the Dallas Turf Cup earlier this year came in wire-to-wire fashion and he set a legitimate pace that afternoon going the opening half-mile in :47 and 2/5. Jockey Ramon Dominguez kept him close to the pace in his last start, just behind Mission Approved and eventual winner Cape Blanco. In this race he looks to be the controlling speed and should be on the lead passing under the Twin Spires for the first time. The major question with Dean's Kitten will be whether he's good enough. He has not won a graded stakes race since the Lane's End at Turfway on the Polytrack in March 2010. He has not won a graded stakes race on turf in his career. With that being said, he's a different horse at this point in time and possesses what could end up being a major tactical edge. While he'll never be confused with the Europeans in here from a talent standpoint, he is a game horse who loves a fight, so don't expect them to just blow by him in the stretch drive if he gets clear early.
* Play (7) SEA MOON to WIN.
* LATE PICK 4 WAGER, Race 8-11, with three suggested tickets, as follows:
* TICKET 1: 2-7 / 4-5-7-9-10-11 / 1-3-5-8-11 / 2 = $30 for a $0.50 wager
* TICKET 2: 1-2-3-7-9 / 7-9-10 / 1-3 / 2 = $15 for a $0.50 wager
* TICKET 3: 7 / 7-9-10 / 1-3 / 2-5-10-13 = $12 for a $0.50 wager
TOTAL SUGGESTED WAGER = $57
* DIME SUPERFECTA WAGERS, with suggested tickets as follows, each for a dime:
* 7 / 1-2-3-6-9 / 1-2-3-6-9 / ALL = $12.00
* 7 / 1-2-3-6-9 / 1-2-3-6-9 / 1-2-3-6-9 = $6.00
* 2-7 / 2-7 / ALL / ALL = $8.40
* 2-7 / 2-7 / 1-3-6-9 / ALL = $4.80
* 7 / 2-9 / ALL / ALL = $8.40
TOTAL WAGER = $39.60
Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Grade 1
RACE 9 Post Time 5:25 1 1/16 Miles | Open | 2 Year Olds | G1 Grey
Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile | Purse: $ 2,000,000
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta Daily Double / Pick 3 (Races 9-10-11)
Prg. # PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt. Claim $ Equip. Med. ML
1 1 Take Charge Indy Graham J Byrne P 122 $0 L 30-1
2 2 Dullahan Desormeaux K Romans D 122 $0 LA 8-1
3 3 Crusade Leparoux J O'Brien A 122 $0 L 12-1
4 4 Drill Garcia M Baffert B 122 $0 Blk-Off LA 8-1
5 5 Hansen Dominguez R Maker M 122 $0 LA 10-1
6 6 Prospective Contreras L Casse M 122 $0 LA 30-1
7 7 Creative Cause Rosario J Harrington M 122 $0 L 7-2
8 8 Speightscity Nakatani C Contessa G 122 $0 L 20-1
9 9 Alpha Gomez G McLaughlin K 122 $0 15-1
10 10 Union Rags Castellano J Matz M 122 $0 LA 2-1
11 11 Daddy Long Legs Moore R O'Brien A 122 $0 L 12-1
12 12 Fort Loudon Jurado L Gold S 122 $0 L 20-1
13 13 Optimizer Albarado R Lukas D 122 $0 Blk-On L 15-1
Hansen will assume command right out of the gate and will go as far as his speed will carry him. Union Rags will be in good striking position with several others racing in the first flight. The pace is expected to be lively.
1st Selection #10 UNION RAGS 2-1 CASTELLANO J MATZ M
Long before trainer Michael Matz burst onto the national scene with Barbaro's victory in the Kentucky Derby, he was known for being a careful and prudent horseman. However, one type of horse that he never really excelled with were 2 year olds. Things seem to be different in 2011. Matz will saddle prohibitive favorites in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies Turf. The story of Union Rags can be characterized as one where sometimes things work out better when you give them a second thought. Breeder Phyllis Wyeth sold the son of Dixie Union as a weanling at the Fasig-Tipton August Sale for $145,000. She had six months to think about it and decided to buy him back at the Fasig-Tipton February sale in Florida for $390,000. Union Rags was sent to trainer Michael Matz for his 2 year old campaign and blossomed quickly, which enabled him to make his first start in July. After a debut win that was workmanlike but hardly knocked your socks off, Union Rags was entered in the Saratoga Special. Racing over a sloppy track, he absolutely walloped his competition, powering clear late to register a victory by more than seven lengths. In lieu of a start in the G1 Hopeful, he was given a brief rest and pointed to the G1 Champagne at Belmont. Racing at a mile for the first time and asked to come from a bit off the pace, Union Rags was incredibly professional in his authoritative Champagne win. That victory made him the clear favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, a race in which Michael Matz has not had a participant throughout his career. The steady progression in distances that Union Rags has gone through eases any fears about whether he can handle a mile and a sixteenth. His three wins so far have come at 5, 6.5, and 8 furlongs, so the extra sixteenth should be right up his alley. His second dam, Terpsichorist, won multiple graded stakes races on turf at 10 furlongs or more. She was a sibling of a Mirthful Flirt, who was the granddam of 1993 Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair. Union Rags' sire, Dixie Union, was a millionaire whose biggest win came in the 2000 Haskell Invitational at 9 furlongs. He can count among his progeny route stakes winners Dixie Chatter, Gone Astray, and Dixie City. The Champagne had gone through a dry spell as a Breeders' Cup Juvenile producer, but Uncle Mo reversed that trend last year. The concern that many horsemen have with using the Champagne as the final "prep" is that it does not give a horse an opportunity to go two turns. These are secondary concerns when dealing with a horse who has the talent of Union Rags. The way he has seamlessly transitioned from a pair of sprints to the one-mile Champagne suggests that he can overcome the difficulty that comes with traversing a second turn. With Hopeful winner Currency Swap going down with an injury and the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland being won by a turf horse in Dullahan, the 2 year olds east of the Mississippi are a rather lackluster group. The major concerns for Union Rags will be the west coast invaders, Drill and Creative Cause. Matz will have Union Rags at Churchill early enough to guarantee that he has ample time to prepare. With a lightly raced 2 year old such as this son of Dixie Union, there's still a great deal of upside, and his improvement is likely to continue in this race.
2nd Selection # 7 CREATIVE CAUSE 7-2 ROSARIO J HARRINGTON M
Generally speaking, when a 2 year old debuts with a stellar performance in the middle of the summer, he or she is gone and forgotten by late fall. It looked like this son of Giant's Causeway would suffer such a fate when he was beaten by Drill in the Del Mar Futurity. Veteran horseman Mike Harrington did not waver in his belief that he was a top level colt, and pointed him to the Norfolk. With one smashing victory, he made it clear that the top of the 2 year old division on the West Coast has two horses worthy of winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Creative Cause was purchased for $135,000 at the Keeneland sale in September 2010, a relative bargain given his tremendous pedigree. His sire, Giant's Causeway, was a champion across the pond and made only one start in North America, a gutsy second place finish in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic behind Tiznow. Giant's Causeway, a son of the multiple graded stakes winning mare Mariah's Storm, made it a virtual certainty that he would take to conventional dirt. Creative Cause's dam, Dream of Summer, was a Grade I winner with her victory in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn in April 2005. She also won the Gardenia, Rancho Bernardo, and A Gleam in her 20-race career. That aspect of this colt's pedigree made one think that Creative Cause would step forward on dirt, and that's exactly what he did in the aforementioned Norfolk. After the Norfolk, trainer Bob Baffert was incensed with jockey Martin Garcia over the ride he gave the heavily favored Drill. Given the way that Drill had run in the Del Mar Futurity, the white-haired legend was incredulous that Creative Cause would somehow be able to turn the tables. What the Norfolk showed is that tactical speed can often be the mitigating factor in bridging the gap between two horses at a route of ground. As Drill was taken back off the pace Creative Cause stayed very close, just one length off the pace setter. As is the case with most 2 year olds, Creative Cause has a background racing in sprint events. That often makes a horse capable of withstanding demanding early fractions when the distances get longer toward year's end. The pace in the Norfolk was rather ordinary for a two-turn event at Santa Anita and Creative Cause capitalized. However, given the way he has run around one turn, he can easily sit closer to a faster early clip. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill has almost always been a race that is run at a rapid pace, and that will not significantly hurt Creative Cause's chances. His pedigree indicates that he will be just fine with longer distances as well, which ends up making him a very dangerous horse.
3rd Selection # 9 ALPHA 15-1 GOMEZ G MCLAUGHLIN K
When you have as high profile a barn as Kiaran McLaughlin does ,you rarely have a 2 year old slide under the radar in their debut and run as well as this colt did. Alpha won his debut at Saratoga on closing weekend as part of an entry that was largely dismissed by the wagering public. It was the second time in 7 days that McLaughlin won with a debuting 2 year old who was overlooked in the wagering (good example is Miss Netta on Travers day). McLaughlin had few options in terms of where to run Alpha as he could have opted for an Allowance N1X in September. The Grade 1Champagne wound up being the best option, as it would give him a major test and prove whether he has the ability to run in a race like the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. At first glance, Alpha ran a good race in the Champagne. As you dig deeper into his performance, you find yourself liking his race even more. It's important to keep in mind that he was yielding a major seasoning/ experience edge to the favored Union Rags. A slow beginning to the Champagne and a speed favoring track made Alpha's task that much more difficult. Even when he hit his best gear, jockey Alan Garcia kept him very wide while attempting to rally form off the pace. He finished with interest, giving the impression he's a horse who will relish more ground. Garcia has been replaced aboard Alpha by jockey Garrett Gomez, who is the best off the pace rider in the country. As is the case with most horses owned by Godolphin, Alpha is beautifully bred, as his dam has produced 8 winners, including Numaany, who was a multiple winner for these connections. Progeny of Bernardini, while precocious with some horses, have generally improved with time and experience. McLaughlin has always been a trainer who gave his horses time to develop and that leads you to believe Alpha will only improve down the road. The pace scenario in this event will work out perfectly for an off the pace type like Alpha. With Hansen on the front end and Creative Cause and others sitting a stalk and pounce trip entered in here, the early clip should be strong. Gomez will almost certainly take Alpha back so that he can make one run and that will make him a major stretch player. The Juvenile is a race that generally goes to a horse who can finish best of all as it is run at a distance longer than most have contested before. That makes Alpha a serious win candidate.
4th Selection # 5 HANSEN 10-1 DOMINGUEZ R MAKER M
This is the type of horse that I would refer to "all or nothing". If you want to see who will be on the lead out of the gate, keep your eyes on stall # 5. That's where this speedball will be breaking from. There is not a horse in the field who can run with Hansen early, which is why he is dangerous. I love lone speed, but in his case it is a very "tricky read" for me to predict his outcome. Even though Hansen has 2 blow-out wins for a combined 25 1/2 lengths in 2 career outings, both came over polytrack at Turfway Park against horses who are basically claimers. What Hansen faces today is light years away from the field's he has met. The son of Tapit has never been looked in the eye. Unless he is some kind of "freak", he will face intense pressure at some point in the stretch. That's when he will have answer the bell for class and deliver a knock out punch. Hansen trained over the Churchill training track which is a dirt surface and all of his workouts have been very good. I love the rider change to Ramon Dominguez who is the best in the country at relaxing a horse on the front end and rationing out there speed. Trainer Mike Maker is the "king" of Kentucky racing and also wins a high % of races at any track he invades. I would not be the surprised if the bettors underestimate his chances and the result is a front running score at generous odds. I certainly respect his chances, but until Hansen shows me how he will react to pressure, I am going to take my chances that he will be run down. Nevertheless, I respect his chances enough that I will be using Hansen in my wagers.
* Play (10) UNION RAGS to WIN.
* EXACTAS (10) over (7) CREATIVE CAUSE and (9) ALPHA, reverse for half as much.
* SMALLER EXACTAS: (10) over (4) DRILL and (5) HANSEN, reverse for a small amount.
* PICK THREE, Races 9-11, with suggested tickets as follows:
* TICKET 1: 7-9-10 / 1-3 / 2-5-10-13 = 3x2x4x$1 = $24
* TICKET 2: ALL / 1-3 / 2 = 13x2x1x$1 = $26
TOTAL SUGGESTED WAGER = $50
TVG Breeders' Cup Mile Grade 1
RACE 10 Post Time 6:07 1 Mile | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up | G1 Tvg
Breeders' Cup Mile | Purse: $ 2,000,000
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta Daily Double / Pick 3 (Races 10-11-12)
Prg. # PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt. Claim $ Equip. Med. ML
1 1 Goldikova (IRE) Peslier O Head F 123 $0 L 7-5
2 2 Zoffany (IRE) Moore R O'Brien A 123 $0 LA 20-1
3 3 Courageous Cat Valenzuela P Mott W 126 $0 LA 8-1
4 4 Mr. Commons Smith M Shirreffs J 123 $0 LA 20-1
5 5 Gio Ponti Dominguez R Clement C 126 $0 L 4-1
6 6 Get Stormy Gomez G Bush T 126 $0 LA 15-1
7 7 Jeranimo Garcia M Pender M 126 $0 L 20-1
8 8 Byword (GB) Guyon M Fabre A 126 $0 12-1
9 9 Court Vision Albarado R Romans D 126 $0 LA 30-1
10 10 Sidney's Candy Velazquez J Pletcher T 126 $0 LA 15-1
11 11 Strong Suit Hughes R Hannon R 123 $0 L 10-1
12 12 Compliance Officer Solis A Brown B 126 $0 LA 30-1
13 13 Turallure Leparoux J Lopresti C 126 $0 L 8-1
Sidney's Candy know one way and that is taking the lead early which will again happen today. He will have to contend with Get Stormy who will be breathing down his neck. Courageous Cat will be sitting in perfect stalking position. Goldikova will be racing be positioned towards the back of the pack. The pace is expected to be strong.
1st Selection # 3 COURAGEOUS CAT 8-1 VALENZUELA P MOTT W
It is almost impossible to believe that Hall of Famer Bill Mott went 13 years without a Breeders' Cup win. After Ajina's win in the 1997 Distaff he won the same race 13 years later with Unrivaled Belle. As Churchill Downs' all-time leading trainer he will look for one of the biggest wins of his career under the Twin Spires with this beautifully bred son of Storm Cat. Two years ago Courageous Cat began his 2009 campaign on the main track after debuting on turf the year before. He was supposed to be a dirt horse given his regal pedigree being out of G2 dirt winner Tranquility Lake. When Mott finally committed him to turf the decision immediately paid dividends. He won his first turf start at 3 going 7fs on the Widener turf course at Belmont. Mott rarely moves a recent maiden winner into stakes company but he did that with Courageous Cat in the A Gift at Belmont. He scored by almost a length and was destined for graded stakes company. His graded stakes debut came in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga and he won by almost two lengths. That win quickly vaulted him to the top of the 3YO turf division and the GI Jamaica was on deck. An odd run and 3rd place finish made Courageous Cat an outsider in the Breeders' Cup Mile. The race he ran on November 7, 2009 at Santa Anita was one of the best efforts in defeat a horse has ever put forth in the 27 year history of the Breeders' Cup. Finishing just a half-length behind international superstar Goldikova at that stage of his career was truly a breakthrough effort. The year 2010 was basically a waste for Courageous Cat. An ill-advised trip to Dubai set him back and Mott was never able to get him to 100% fitness. He was shelved and pointed towards a 2011 campaign. With wins in the Poker and Shoemaker Mile he was rapidly back at the top of his division once again and entered the Woodbine Mile a solid favorite in a large and competitive international field. The race he ran that afternoon was nothing short of tremendous as he survived a strong pace and kept fighting the entire way. In upper stretch on the EP Taylor turf course he seemed destined to be engulfed by rivals from every side. However, with dogged determination, Courageous Cat dug in and fought off nearly every challenge before being collared late. He proved that he is a tough customer when he gets a lead of any amount and immediately stamped himself a major BC Mile contender. Mott made a shrewd decision in sending his main BC contenders to Churchill very early so they could maximize training time at the Downs. Courageous Cat has worked three times under the Twin Spires on both turf and dirt and he has received rave reviews by morning clockers and workout observers. He is coming up to the race perfectly and will give a great account of himself. The main question with Courageous Cat is whether he can handle the challenges he'll meet in the stretch drive. He is a versatile horse who can be very close to the lead or take back a couple of lengths. There's good speed in this field and with his inside post this 5YO should be able to save ground from the outset. Jockey Patrick Valenzuela has ridden him to perfection in his last two starts and has spent months lobbying to keep the mount in this event. As the closers begin to get in gear Courageous Cat can get into an advantageous position coming off the turn with a clear lead. From there he can prove very tough to catch at a very square price.
2nd Selection # 1 GOLDIKOVA (IRE) 7-5 PESLIER O HEAD F
The races have been run at two different racetracks, there have been dozens of different winners, but one thing that has remained the same in the last four Breeders' Cups is the participation of Goldikova. She came to America as a virtual unknown in 2008, a 3 year old filly with a big reputation and a trainer who knows what it takes to win in the Breeders' Cup. She left as the most scintillating winner of that two-day session, and the love affair with her from Europe to America ensued. One thing that's different about Goldikova when you compare her 2011 form to that of 2008,2009, and 2010 is that she has had a difficult time winning this year. Just 1 for 4 in 2011, she was recently beaten in the Prix de la Foret, a race that she won in 2010. Her only win this year came in the restricted Prix Rothschild, a race that she only ran in to try to rebuild her confidence. In the Prix Jacque le Marois and Prix de la Foret she was outfinished late, unable to exhibit that same turn of foot we have grown to expect from this daughter of Anabaa. The field that Goldikova is facing this year compares favorably to that of 2010, as there are a handful of American runners and Euro imports who are capable of upsetting perhaps the greatest turf miler of all time. Unlike the last three years, there are concerns in 2011 about whether or not Goldikova is the same horse. She is still a top level performer who's perfectly capable of winning the Breeders' Cup Mile. However, she is going to be a heavy favorite. Goldikova has been the future book favorite for the Mile for months. There are viable options in lieu of taking this mare as a heavy favorite, which casts doubt over her value. When considering her main rivals, you have the classy old veteran in Gio Ponti, who recently turned things around with a win in the Shadwell Turf Mile, his first victory in 2011. Mix in other top American prospects like Turallure and Courageous Cat, the 1-2 finishers from the Woodbine Mile, and the European invaders. When analyzing those runners, you have a mixture of styles that could make things difficult for Goldikova to win her fourth consecutive BC Mile.
3rd Selection # 5 GIO PONTI 4-1 DOMINGUEZ R CLEMENT C
Trainer Christophe Clement mapped out a plan this year for Gio Ponti to have this outstanding 6 year in peak form for the Breeders' Cup Mile. The Graded stake races Clement entered Gio Ponti in 2011 to achieve his ultimate goal are a "mirror image" of what he designed last year. The result in the 2010 BC Mile was a fast closing second to Goldikova, probably the greatest grass miler of either gender that we've ever seen. There was only one minor difference last year and that was a "prep" race off a layoff at Tampa. In 5 subsequent outings were a fourth place finish in Dubai, a second in the Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont, a neck victory in the Grade 1 Man O' War at Belmont, followed up by a second in the Grade 1 Arlington Million and a victory in the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile. Similar results from the same sequence of races this year. Every time that Gio Ponti races, I always keep one eye on him and the other eye watching how the race is developing, knowing that it is just a matter of time before he rallies from well back and overhauls the leaders in deep stretch. 4 weeks ago in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland, there was a subtle difference which leads me to believe that Gio Ponti could be better than ever in his quest to win the BC Mile. The Daily Racing Form comment was "good trip, closed fast". There was more to his performance than what was noted. Gio Ponti showed more tactical speed with Ramon Dominguez securing a rail position early. He was quickly pinned in by horses to his inside, as Dominguez waited patiently to angle him off the rail in mid-stretch. He waited and waited, but time was running out. Only a miracle could propel Gio Ponti to victory. Finally it came just in the nick of time inside the 1/16th pole when Dominguez found a small opening to come off the rail and let him loose. With a tremendous burst of speed, Gio Ponti ran down Get Stormy in the shadow of the wire. The Racing Form comment "closed fast" was correct, but it was far from the good trip that was indicated. I expect the fractions to be quicker in the BC Mile, and Gio Ponti is expected to find himself further off the leaders in the early going. Dominguez, who has ridden him in 19 of his 28 starts, is a master at avoiding traffic in a full field. Even if he is faced with adversity, Dominguez does not panic while waiting for just the right time to call on Gio Ponti for his best which could land him in the winner's circle. For all of his accomplishments throughout an illustrious career, there is no miler in the world who deserves to be crowned champion more than Gio Ponti.
4th Selection #11 STRONG SUIT 10-1 HUGHES R HANNON R
In racing, you rarely get an opportunity to exact some revenge on a rival. Trainer Richard Hannon was able to do it earlier this year as his superstar Canford Cliffs defeated the mighty Goldikova. She had absolutely dominated his now retired star Paco Boy for the better part of two years from 2009-2010. Hannon will take another chance at her today with this son of Rahy. The representatives for Qatar Bloodstock likely had no idea what Strong Suit would turn into when they purchased him for 27k at the Keeneland November Bloodstock Sale in 2008. The purchase paid immediate dividends as he won his first two starts, which included the prestigious Coventry at Royal Ascot. What was not supposed to happen after that win was what did. Over the next 12 months he lost three straight races and was in need of some class relief after finishing last of 6 behind Frankel in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury in April of this year. Seeking some confidence, Hannon tried him in the Jersey Stakes in June and he broke through for a win at 11-1. After a narrow miss in the Prix Jean Prat he won the Lennox Stakes and Burj Khalifa, both in England. As the fall began to set in across the pond, Hannon began to contemplate a Breeders' Cup bid with this colt. Hannon has had a mostly negative opinion of America, ever since Mr. Brooks broke down in the 1992 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Gulfstream Park. He went so far as to say he would never set foot in the US prior to Paco Boy's Breeders' Cup Mile bid last year. There's nothing negative coming out of the Hannon camp this year. In the aforementioned Burj Khalifa, Strong Suit showed good speed as he tracked a solid early pace. When jockey Richard Hughes asked him to go he responded willingly to take the lead and pull clear handily. That race was at 7 panels but he is GI placed at a mile and should handle the added ground without issue. He has more speed than the average European trainee and Hannon has said on multiple occasions that he expects Strong Suit to be forwardly placed in the Mile. He'll be treated with Lasix and enters off a career best effort. The Bookmakers in Europe have been bullish on Strong Suit's chances, listing him at 4-1 in the latest round of odds. That's a far cry from his 10-1 morning line in this event, making it look like an overlay. While all eyes will be on one particular European it could easily be this steadily improving colt that steals the show.
* Play (3) COURAGEOUS CAT to WIN and PLACE.
* EQUAL EXACTA BOX: (1) GOLDIKOVA and (3) COURAGEOUS CAT.
* EXACTA PART WHEEL: 1 - 3 over (5) GIO PONTI and (11) STRONG SUIT.
* SMALLER EXACTA PART WHEEL: 1 - 3 over ( 8) BYWORD and (13) TURALLURE
*WIZARD'S PICK OF THE DAY*
Breeders' Cup Classic Grade 1
RACE 11 Post Time 7:00 1 1/4 Miles | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up | G1
Breeders' Cup Classic | Purse: $ 5,000,000
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta Daily Double / Super High Five
Prg. # PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt. Claim $ Equip. Med. ML
1 1 Prayer for Relief Bejarano R Baffert B 122 $0 LA 30-1
2 2 Flat Out Solis A Dickey C 126 $0 LA 6-1
3 3 Drosselmeyer Smith M Mott W 126 $0 LA 15-1
4 4 Ruler On Ice Gomez G Breen K 122 $0 LA 30-1
5 5 So You Think (NZ) Moore R O'Brien A 126 $0 Blk-On L 5-1
6 6 Ice Box Nakatani C Zito N 126 $0 LA 30-1
7 7 Rattlesnake Bridge Borel C McLaughlin K 122 $0 LA 30-1
8 8 Game On Dude Sutherland C Baffert B 126 $0 LA 10-1
9 9 Stay Thirsty Castellano J Pletcher T 122 $0 LA 12-1
10 10 Havre de Grace Dominguez R Jones J 123 $0 LA 3-1
11 11 Headache Lopez P Maker M 126 $0 LA 30-1
12 12 Uncle Mo Velazquez J Pletcher T 122 $0 LA 5-2
13 13 To Honor and Serve Lezcano J Mott W 122 $0 LA 12-1
Game on Dude will assume command leaving the gate with Uncle Mo and To Honor and Serve from posts 12 and 13 moving up quickly to to stalk the pacesetter into the first turn. The fractions are expected to be brisk and quicken on the far turn.
1st Selection # 2 FLAT OUT 6-1 SOLIS A DICKEY C
When trainer Charles "Scooter" Dickey brought Flat Out back in the Suburban on just two weeks rest back in July, the wagering public dismissed him. As the longest shot on the board in a field of six he absolutely walloped his foes en route to a breakthrough score. Suddenly he was vaulted towards the top of the handicap division, a group that was in desperate need of a leader. The Saratoga meet was going to be a proving ground for Flat Out as he attempted to validate the huge Suburban victory. His first opportunity came in the G1 Whitney. He ran a strong race to finish second to Tizway while racing in traffic over a quirky strip. Four weeks later he went off as the second choice in the Woodward and wound up second best behind top class filly Havre de Grace. Some felt like the bloom was off of Flat Out's rose with that loss, but he silenced the critics again four weeks later with a decisive win in the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. That win came against Jim Dandy-Travers winner Stay Thirsty in what is now the only 10 furlong Grade I race for older horses run east of the Mississippi. Clearly, Flat Out has an affinity for Belmont Park, so it's not surprising that he ran so well in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. However, what we can really take from that score is that his versatility really shone through. He was asked to stalk the pace by jockey Alex Solis, since the wet surface was playing to speed that afternoon. Flat Out did it willingly, rating outside of rivals and wresting control at the top of the stretch. Dickey knew at that point in time that the Breeders' Cup Classic was exactly where Flat Out belonged. In a career that has included multiple prolonged layoffs because of injury, Flat Out has now won two graded stakes in 2011 and placed in two more Grade 1 stakes. The return to Churchill Downs, Dickey's summertime home, will enable him to once again run on a track over which he has trained extensively. The ironic thing about Churchill being his home is that Flat Out has run quite poorly in the afternoon there on two occasions. The first of those outings was his debut race way back in the fall of 2008, when he wound up sixth as a horse who clearly needed a race to get to his best. The other time was this year's Stephen Foster, when he made up ground late while stuck on a rail that was dead for the duration of the 2011 spring-summer meet. How much should you read from Flat Out's pair of lackluster efforts at Churchill Downs? It is a similar situation to when Gio Ponti returned to Santa Anita in 2009 after a poor effort in the Strub the same year. By the time the Breeders' Cup rolled around, Gio Ponti was simply a different horse, having won four Grade 1 races since. Similarly, Flat Out is a different horse at this point in time than he was back in June when he contested the Foster. He is a horse who has bonded very well with jockey Alex Solis, and who's enjoying a career renaissance of sorts after moving eastward. It took Solis a pair of races aboard Flat Out to realize that he's a horse that prefers racing outside of horses rather than being stuck on the rail. That has a lot to do with his size and long stride, so don't be alarmed if Solis seems willing to lose some ground during the Breeders' Cup Classic. In a year when we yearned for a handicap division star to step up, Flat Out has run one strong race after another in recent months and has stamped himself as one of the deserving favorites for the Classic. He will benefit from what shapes up as a very strong pace. Flat Out has proven unequivocally that he can adapt to any type of pace scenario. While he once again faces horses like Tiznow and Havre de Grace, both of whom have defeated him this year, it is the 10-furlong distance that makes this son of Flatter much more likeable. He will not struggle with the last furlong in any way and the classic distance routinely exposes horses with limited stamina. Flat Out will be moving in the right direction when it counts and is a horse you can count on to offer another big effort on racing's grandest stage.
2nd Selection #10 HAVRE DE GRACE 3-1 DOMINGUEZ R JONES J
Trainer Larry Jones, who took over the training of Havre de Grace for her 4 year old campaign, mapped out a plan with owner Fox Hill Farm to attempt to close out this year with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic and an Eclipse Award. Havre de Grace began the year with victories in the Grade 3 Azeri, defeating last year's 3 year old filly champion Blind Luck, followed by wins in the G1 Apple Blossom and the Gr 3 Obeah at Delaware Park. Havre de Grace was well on her way to the Ladies Classic and chance to avenge her third place finish last year at the hands of Unbridled Belle. There was only one obstacle that could stand in her way. Her name was Blind Luck, trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Holendorfer. Great rivalries do not happen very often in racing. The last ones were the battles between Affirmed and Alydar and Easy Goer and Sunday Silence. This one was starting to look just as good. Last year as 3 year olds, the two faced off four times, with Blind Luck getting the better of Havre de Grace in three, by a nose, neck, and a length. The race Blind Luck lost was by a neck. In the end it was Blind Luck who scored another narrow victory over her nemesis, winning the 2010 Eclipse Award. Both exceptional fillies returned off a well-deserved winter respite and wasted no time continuing their rivalry, beginning March 19 at Oaklawn Park. This time around there was no doubt who was best. Havre de Grace handed Blind Luck a 3-1/4 length defeat. The two would meet for the final time July 16 at Delaware Park. Blind Luck returned with a vengeance, defeating Havre de Grace by a nose in a stirring stretch battle. The two fillies would not meet again. Blind Luck finished a surprising last in the $250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes on October 1 at Santa Anita, beaten by 19 lengths. It was the first time in 22 career starts that Blind Luck finished worse than third. Fortunately, Blind Luck was not injured. On the same day the Lady's Secret was run, the connections entered Havre de Grace in the Gr 1 Woodward against males at Saratoga. With Blind Luck on the sidelines, they were mulling over the idea of running in the Breeders' Cup Classic rather than the Ladies Classic, where she would be odds-on to win. It only took one minute and 49 seconds to decide that it would be the Classic and a chance to win horse of the year. Havre de Grace defeated Flat Out by 1-1/4 lengths, and he is expected to be one of the favorites Saturday. Havre de Grace must overcome some obstacles. First, she has never raced at Churchill Downs. Also, she has not won at the distance, but in two starts at 1-1/4 miles, she ran second to Blind Luck, losing by a nose and neck, so the trip should not be an issue. My main concern is whether or not Ramon Dominguez can get her to relax off the leaders into the far turn. He must time his move perfectly when he asks Havre de Grace for her run from 3-4 lengths back. If Dominguez moves too early, she could face intense pressure through the long stretch at Churchill, setting the race up for a horse making the last move from off the pace. What is certain is that Havre de Grace will battle tooth and nail right to the wire with her powerful stride and tremendous heart, which can result in her second and most important victory over males and a well-deserved Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.
3rd Selection #13 TO HONOR AND SERVE 12-1 LEZCANO J MOTT W
It seemed to take 8 months, but this robust son of Bernardini finally became the top shelf 3 year old we all expected him to be in the spring. When he made his 2011 debut in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, trainer Bill Mott feared that he was short onconditioning. He ran like a horse who needed a race as he backed out on the far turn after making a middle move. The Florida Derby was supposed to be his bounce back race but it was nothing of the sort, as he finished a sluggish third at 7/2. Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with a minor suspensory injury and a trip to the sidelines loomed. Mott made a very old-fashioned decision when it came to where To Honor and Serve would start the second half of 2011. He chose the Amsterdam, which would be his first start at less than a mile since his career debut 11 months earlier. After showing good speed out of the gate, he tired badly and only beat one horse home in a field of 7. Now it was time to regroup, so he was dropped into an optional claimer at Saratoga on Travers eve. The old To Honor and Serve showed up. He contested a hot pace and pulled clear with authority down the stretch. A similarly strong effort in the Pennsylvania Derby made him a legitimate BC Classic contender. Along with his stablemates Royal Delta and Courageous Cat, this colt was shipped to Churchill early to begin his preparation. Like those two, the reports on his training have been outstanding. To Honor and Serve has already faced and beaten older horses, which is a feather in his cap. He has a masterful horseman on his side. Bill Mott will saddle three horses this weekend who have big chances to reach the winner's circle (Royal Delta and Courageous Cat are the others). One of the most important things about To Honor and Serve is that he has withstood early pressure in the past going a route of ground and survived. He did so in both the aforementioned optional claiming win as well as the Pennsylvania Derby. In the latter of those two, he rated comfortably just off the solid pace and moved as jockey Jose Lezcano pleased. That will help his chances today as there's plenty of pace in this affair and he is drawn on the far outside. You are virtually guaranteed that this colt will offer value in this contentious affair and he has a legitimate chance to spring the upset.
4th Selection # 5 SO YOU THINK (NZ) 5-1 MOORE R O'BRIEN A
Despite being one of the best horses in the world, So You Think is hardly known at all to us in America. He's never raced here, but he's won eight Group 1 races in Europe and Australia, and has earned more than $7.5 million. He's won 12 of 19 career starts, hitting the exacta in 18 of those 19 starts, and 8 of the victories were against Group 1 company. Now that we know a little about this globetrotting superstar, what makes him a horse to consider in this race. He's never raced on anything but turf, and his pedigree would make one think that he would not handle the surface switch at all. First of all, he's made his career what it is by excelling at the 1-1/4 mile distance of the BC Classic. Seven of his eight Group 1 wins have been at 1-1/4 miles, and he's lost two others by a neck and 3/4 of a length. Furthermore, he's trained by Aiden O'Brien, who is on anyone's short list of the best trainers in the world. O'Brien sent a similar turf star, Giant's Causeway, to run in the BC Classic in his first start on dirt. Giant's Causeway nearly won the race, giving Horse Of The Year Tiznow all he could handle back in 2000. Other European turf stars have also done very well in the Breeders' Cup Classic when trying a dirt track for the first time. Arcangues won the race at 133-1 in 1993 and Raven's Pass won in 2008. Back in 2001, Sakhee finished a game 2nd to Tiznow. Given his class, his connections, and his versatile running style, So You Think could win the race if he does handle the switch to dirt. One thing that I did find odd was that this will be his third race in five weeks, which one would think would have a horse like this at less than his best for such an important race. However, then I noticed that last year at this time, So You Think raced three times in 10 days. All three of those races were Group 1 events. He won the first two, both at 1-1/4 miles, then finished 3rd of 23 in the final race, the prestigious $5.9 million Melbourne Cup. So You Think appears to truly be a 'freak of nature' who seemingly thrives on a busy schedule, and obviously O'Brien is well aware of this fact.He'll be getting Lasix for the first time in his career, which often propels a horse forward in terms of form, and he'll also be adding blinkers. All of this adds up to a very interesting horse at an expected square price.
5th Selection #12 UNCLE MO 5-2 VELAZQUEZ J PLETCHER T
Racing needed a healthy Uncle Mo. After a saga that included being the morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby, being scratched, falling ill with a mysterious liver ailment, returning, winning, and now stretching out to try the toughest race in the country, he may go post ward as the favorite. The path that includes a 120-day layoff, a 7F sprint, and a 1-mile race around one turn is hardly a conventional one to the Breeders' Cup Classic. However, nothing about Uncle Mo has ever been conventional. From the moment that he crossed the wire in his debut win on Travers Day in August 2010, Uncle Mo was in racing's spotlight. His 2 year old campaign was nothing short of electric, the likes of which we see roughly once per generation, as he finished a perfect 3 for 3. However, the first half of 2011 was a disaster. After winning a manufactured stake race at Gulfstream, he lost the Wood Memorial at odds of 1-9, and question marks suddenly surrounded his Kentucky Derby potential. Long before he was shelved due to a liver condition, it was widely held that Uncle Mo had been exposed as another distance-challenged son of Indian Charlie, who also had health issues. It was going to take a minor miracle for him to even make it back to the races, according to his connections. The G1, 7-furlong King's Bishop was targeted as a potential comeback spot, and his effort in that race was outstanding. Returning off a layoff, he made a bold move to grab the lead turning for home and was just out finished by Caleb's Posse. The old Uncle Mo was back, and it was onward and upward from there. His most recent win in the Kelso was arguably his best race to date, as he beat a small yet talented field in sensational time. Off that race he seems perfectly suited for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, but his connections have different ideas. Uncle Mo will be asked to stretch out from a pair of one-turn races at 7 and 8 furlongs to 10 furlongs in the Classic. His only career start beyond 1-1/16 miles was the aforementioned Wood Memorial, where he shortened stride badly in the stretch to finish third. There are excuses for that effort, as he was subsequently diagnosed with an ailment that sidelined him for the majority of the summer. The race that many will point to in an effort to bolster Uncle Mo's Classic candidacy is the Kelso. When picking apart that particular race there are two important notes. First, he was able to procure a very easy lead on a racetrack that was highly conducive to speed. More importantly, he set a very moderate half-mile that left him with plenty in the tank when he was confronted by second choice Jackson Bend on the turn. While the Kelso was a strong effort all in all, you must not be blinded by the high Beyer speed figure he earned. As all figures are, it was situational. The biased racetrack and easy lead made it possible. When you look at Uncle Mo and his chances in the Classic, you have to separate being a fan and being a gambler. Every person who follows racing should be a fan of Uncle Mo. He has done special things in just over a year on the racetrack. Mo has immense talent and remarkable speed. With that being said, he is expected to be grossly over bet. Taking a price of 3-1 or less on a horse that's stretching out from a mile to a mile and a quarter in just his third start off a lengthy layoff and facing battle-hardened and successful distance performers is a bad gamble. Uncle Mo has not made it clear that he'll be comfortable with a mile and a quarter. He figures to take heat from the start and is basically going to have to have the proper amount of conditioning on workouts alone. While recognizing that he is a win candidate in the BC Classic, he is a horse that I am going to look to beat.
* Play (2) FLAT OUT to WIN and PLACE.
* $1 EXACTA WHEEL: (2) FLAT OUT over ALL = $12
* $1 EXACTA WHEEL: ALL over (2) = $12
* EXACTAS: (2) over (5) SO YOU THINK, (10) HAVRE DE GRACE, and (13) TO HONOR and SERVE, reverse for half as much.
* SMALL SAVER EXACTA: (2) over (12) UNCLE MO, reverse for a small amount.