I just love the Breeders Cup, even though my recollection of winners that I actually bet on is sketchy. But let’s take a quick look at what could unfold on Championship Day.
First, at press time there are several runners entered in two different races, and others that will scratch if course comes up wet (a possibility in Chicago), so the weather will have a lot to do with what happens on race day.
This is called Championship because these horses are the best of the best from all over the world — the best on dirt and grass, all ages, male and female; the best trainers and the best jockeys.
Remember almost all of these races are wide open, anyone and everyone has a chance, so look for some prices because they are always there. Also, keep an eye on the first couple of races to see how they are running — it could help if you see speed holding or it looks like they are coming from off the pace.
BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF
The shortest field of the BC races is packed with quality and tons of speed. First, Azeri who looks like a monster will face the most speed and quality she has ever seen. She may get the job done but not with my money. She will be hooked by Imperial Gesture with Take Charge Lady just tracking and ready to pounce.
I like the chances of Farda Amiga coming off a layoff. She is proven off a rest and she can beat this kind on dry or wet surface. Farda will be my key. Also, Summer Colony has some long shot look to her.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES
This race is just loaded with question marks, as well as speed horses that haven’t run this far. So the main question is who will be able to handle the pressure and the distance. The favorite Storm Flag Flying looks like the real deal and is trained by Shug Mcgaughey, who has won this race before. This filly looks like a must at first or second. Next we have they Bob Baffert duo of Composure and Santa Catarina. Baffert also won this race in the past and has the best shot at the upset with Composure. I love the way this filly is coming up to this race. She can rate and get the distance and looks to be improving with every start. As for Santa Catarina, Jerry Bailey stated that he was going to try and rate her but if Storm Flag Flying doesn’t regress, everyone will be running for second. Reach For The Moon has the most longshot potential as she is shipping in from the powerful O’Brien stable, so beware.
BREEDERS’ CUP MILE
This is a real tough race, mostly because I don’t know the status of Rock Of Gibraltar. If he goes he will be hard to deny since he has reeled off five straight Grade 1 wins this year and a flat mile his his best distance. But his trainer has stated that he probably will show up in the Classic mainly because the Classic is worth 4 mill and this race is only worth 1 mill. Trainer O’Brien also has Hawk Wing and Landseer entered. Of the two he also said Hawk Wing will go in the Classic, so keep an eye on Landseer for a price if the other two don’t go. Of the American milers it looks like Beat Hollow, who has won on this course before and Forbidden Apple may have the best shot with the other B. Frankel horse Aldebaran and Euro invader Gossamer with some long shot potential.
BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT
Speed is the name of this game and you won’t see a race with more speed than this one. D Wayne Lukas holds a slight edge yet he is oozing with confidence that Orientate will win this race. He looks to be no worse than second, but I am giving a big push to Crafty C.T. This one just ran a super race coming out of the dead one hole at Santa Anita, running best at the end and will be sitting in the garden spot. No one has run a bigger sprint than Bonapaw in the Vosburgh, but he had little pressure on the front. With the likes of Carson Hollow and Xtra Heat this will be a blazing first quarter, so I think the winner must come off the pace. The old timer, Kona Gold, may also fit in this category. Swept Overboard has the talent but what was wrong in last? If ready he can beat these.
BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE TURF
Well this race will be a weather race as several trainers have said that they will scratch if the turf course comes up soft. Banks Hill (last year’s winner of this race) and Voodoo Dancer will probably scratch, so the race could be wide open. Overall it looks like a three horse race — Banks Hill, Voodoo Dancer, and Golden Apples. All three exit the same highly-rated Yellow Ribbon which was won by Golden Apples. Any of the other two may turn the tables. Bobby Frankel will be listed as the trainer of Banks Hill for the first time with Jerry Bailey in the irons. Frankel also has longshot Starine ready to roll. Owsley is on the big upswing and has a big look at a big price.
THE BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE
This one may produce a big price as the undefeated favorite Sky Mesa will be underplayed. So look for contenders with some upset possibility. First, trainer Aidan O’Brien (remember Johannesburg?) has three shots with Hold That Tiger, Tomahawk, and Van Nistelrooy, any of which could pop at a big price. Another with some potential is Most Feared, who has won at Arlington going a mile and is trained by Ronny Werner. The owners of Whywhywhy put up $90,000 to run her in this spot and she is fresh and dangerous. Toccet has improved as the distances have increased and ran her biggest race in the Champagne at a mile and sixteenth, but may be a bounce candidate. Of the Bob Baffert horses, Kafwain has the best shot at getting the distance. Note that this will be the first time in BC history that D. Wayne Lukas won’t have a starter in the Juvenile.
BREEDERS’ CUP TURF
With Anticipation needs firm footing, so if the course is soft I think you can look elsewhere. If the course is firm he is the horse to beat. Denon and High Chaparral can handle either condition, but they will be more effective on an off course. High Chaparral has never been off the board and is another trained by A. O’Brien.
BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
It looks like O’Brien really wants this race badly so give extra looks at whatever horses he decides to enter. Of the American three-year-olds, it looks like Medaglia d’Oro has progressed the most and can handle any track condition. Frankel puts Edgar Prado on Milwaukee Brew and that gives this guy a super shot at a big price. Evening Attire has been bedded down at the track since his big win in the Jockey’s Gold Cup and he has never been better so must be considered the horse to beat; you might even get a good price on him.