The 18th Breeders’ Cup unfolds at Belmont Park on Oct. 27. The following is an early analysis from world-class professional gambler, clocker and bloodstock agent Gary Young, who provides his typically candid insight on racing’s greatest day.
DISTAFF: Flute showed she was not invincible (finishing second to Exogenous in the Beldame). She got beat with not much of an excuse. Did she need the race, like (trainer Bobby) Frankel said afterwards? Before the race, he’s sounding like she can’t lose. Then she gets beat and he says he didn’t train her that hard for the race. Bleep or get off the pot. Exogenous (who survived an inquiry to win the Beldame) is still learning to run and she ran very well. That rider (Javier Castellano) has got to get a left hand (whipping finesse). They’ve done a great job with Tranquility Lake, but I don’t know if she can handle the (Belmont) track. Lazy Slusan needs to go to Betty Ford.
JUVENILE FILLIES: Bella Belluci won the Astarita, but she didn’t win like the next coming of Ruffian. (Neil) Drysdale horses generally get better (as they race). Habibti is back on the track; she looks OK. You (61/4-length winner of the Frizette), I don’t know. All of a sudden Frankel’s a 2-year-old trainer. You will be favored (in the Fillies) because Drysdale’s filly only won the Astarita by a half-length. I thought Tempera was going to be the next coming, then at Del Mar, she kind of lost weight on them (Godolphin and trainer Eoin Harty). They’re aware of that, but they’re between a rock and a hard place because they want to train her up to the Breeders’ Cup on works alone. But at the same time, they want to keep her from losing weight, so they’re in a tough spot. At one time, I thought she could really run.
MILE: Val Royal’s win in the Oak Tree Mile was no accident. He’s a good horse. Hap comes from great connections (Bill Mott and Jerry Bailey), but to me, he’s just a horse. Irish Prize, again, great connections (Drysdale and Gary Stevens), but just a horse. Forbidden Apple when he runs his race runs a very good race. Jim and Tonic just keeps running hard. I’m not real familiar with some of the European horses in here, but knowing what I do about the American-based horses, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a European horse win this race, let’s put it that way.
SPRINT: Swept Overboard’s win in the Ancient Title was unbelievable. El Corredor has his good days and bad days, but he’s a war horse. So is Kona Gold. Usually, the Sprint is won by a California horse and one that comes from behind. With Squirtle Squirt and Caller One in the race, the pace will be suicidal. No matter how Caller One’s aches and pains are on that day, for a quarter of a mile, he’s as fast as they get. Ain’t no one gonna outfoot him.
FILLY AND MARE TURF: England’s Legend ran great in defeat (in the Flower Bowl). Lailani beat her, but now you’ve got to worry about the Euro-bounce with her. Voodoo Dancer is a really nice filly, especially with the Lasix, but a mile and three-eighths might be a little bit farther than she wants to run. She might be a little short-legged, but God, she can run. Janet’s all right. I can’t knock her. England’s Legend and Lailani would be choices over Janet, but I could use Janet as my third choice.
JUVENILE: Officer and Came Home are very good horses, and so is Siphonic. It looks like those three until the cows come home. Essence of Dubai might be a good horse next year, but going from winning that Norfolk to running against those three horses . . . those three horses just stand out. There have been rumors (of ailments) about every good horse, and Officer is no different. Conformationwise, he’s not the best horse I’ve ever seen, but he runs, and he’s never been asked.
TURF: Sakhee was very impressive winning the Arc (de Triomphe). If he and Fantastic Light run, that would be something to watch. With Anticipation and Senure are probably the two best American horses, but if those two European horses come for this race, they’ll win it. If Fantastic Light runs in the Turf (he’s also eligible to the Classic), I mean, kiss it good-bye.
CLASSIC: Aptitude’s turnaround is astonishing, to say the least. Fantastic Light and Galileo probably are the only two horses that would have a chance of beating him. I know Fantastic Light and Galileo are great horses, but can they come over here and run like Giant’s Causeway did (against Tiznow last year) and win the race? I don’t know.
BEST BET: England’s Legend in the Turf.
THE HOMESTRETCH: Siphonic’s owner, John Amerman, says jockeys are “waiting in line” to get the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile mount on the impressive winner of the Lane’s End Futurity, since Chris McCarron is expected to ride Hopeful winner Came Home in the race for the 2-year-old colt championship. McCarron rode Siphonic for trainer Dave Hofmans in the Lane’s End. If I was a betting man, and I am, you know, I’d wager that Gary Stevens rides Siphonic in the Juvenile. “Siphonic was awesome winning the Lane’s End,” said Amerman, the former Mattel Toys magnate. “He reminded me of the way his father, Siphon, used to run. He was on the front end, and, as other horses came to him, he looked them in the eye and won, in this case by six lengths. While Officer and the competition in the Juvenile is rough, Siphonic is still a very good horse.” Undefeated Officer has won all five of his races in a consummate gallop. I’ve seen more demanding workouts . . . Came Home will ship to New York on Oct. 23, co-owner John Toffan says . . . The 10-race Breeders’ Cup day lineup: Sport Page Handicap, 9:05 a.m. post, (PDT); Stuyvesant Handicap, 9:40; Distaff, 10:20; Juvenile Fillies, 10:55; Mile, 11:35; Sprint, 12:10; Filly & Mare Turf, 12:45; Juvenile, 1:20; Turf, 1:55; and Classic, 2:35 . . . Rather than supplement Lido Palace to the Classic for $800,000, Amerman plans to run the Woodward winner in the Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo Race Course on Nov. 24. The 15/16-mile race pays $1.1 million to the winner. Second is worth $472,000; third, $300,000; and fourth, $181,000.