Upset brewing at the Breeders' Cup

Oct 27, 2015 3:01 AM

Breeders’ Cup 2015 this Friday and Saturday at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, is upon us and it’s time to crawl out on the proverbial limb to offer some betting suggestions and a few horses that may be able to pad your bankroll and mine as well.

Private Zone in the sprint at a projected 3/1 seems like a solid play. He fires every time for trainer Jorge Navarro and rider Martin Pedroza. Although, he finished third in this race last year at Santa Anita, he’s as honest a horse as you can find. He’s won 10 of his 30 lifetime starts and could be nearing the end of what has been a remarkable career for the six-year-old gelding. Private Zone’s striking royal blue and black colors with vertical stripes on Pedroza’s back and on the gallant sprinter’s hood should flash across the Keeneland finish line ahead of his rivals.

Liam’s Map is another chalk horse coming into the Dirt Mile in fine fettle. The PP’s will tell you all you need to know. The projected 6/5 odds are a deterrent, but the advice here is to take what you can get on this speedball.

In the long shot department, here’s hoping wily trainer Wesley Ward’s The Great War can offer up a winning effort in the Turf Sprint. This is one of the widest open races on the Saturday card. Projected odds for this son of War Front are at least 20/1. He was headed toward the Kentucky Derby in the spring after a razor sharp effort on January 31 on the Turfway Park synthetic surface. However, he bled badly in the next start four weeks later and went to the bench for several months. He’s flashed two bullet works at Keeneland so far and Ward is one of the best in this type of situation.

The marquee race of the weekend is the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic and the pick here is Tonalist. The Tapit-sired four-year-old is likely to be fourth favorite at a projected 8/1 behind Triple Crown hero American Pharoah, super mare Beholder, and the late-closing Honor Code.

It’s often noted that “value” is the convergence of quality and price. The two-time Jockey Club gold cup winner and 2014 Belmont victor offers more of that than any of his rivals.

In the “pithy advice” department:

• If you do the work with the past performances, go with your own choices. Do not let the so-called experts, especially those on television, derail your thought process.

• If you didn’t get the time to handicap the card to your own satisfaction, latch onto the advice of one of the professionals who has done the work. They’re easy to find online or at one of the many local betting seminars.

• Picking winners sometimes requires a little luck and requires lots of luck most of the time. If you find you are running lucky, press up your winnings to angle for a big score. It’s the best two days of the year for that move. If things don’t seem to be going your way, back off for a while and enjoy the racing spectacle. The cash you win after the Breeders’ Cup is over will spend just the same.

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