It’s definitely getting serious now. The Breeders’ Cup starts just two weeks from Friday. All of the preps have been run and we’re down to the final few workouts leading up to the two-day event. Those looking to be as prepared as possible should use the final 14 days to sharpen the axe.
The first time I studied the Breeders’ Cup early past performances was in 1997. My girlfriend and I were taking a trip to Bluefin Bay, a beautiful area about an hour from the Canadian border in Northern Minnesota. There may not be a better spot on earth in the fall. We had a cabin that sat right on Lake Superior. Our room didn’t have a TV. I had printed off the early past performances and spent the three days going over each race in between activities. I loved sitting in the hot tub overlooking the lake with the pp’s in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.
I used to believe in paralysis by analysis. In other words, I felt there was a point where the analysis wasn’t going to yield further fruit, that your opinions were formulated and not likely to change. In 1997, I proved to myself that was not true. I must have spent 15-20 hours, off and on, reviewing each of the races. That might have equaled the total amount of time I had spent reviewing all of the Breeders’ Cup past performances since 1986.
That was the year I played a small pick 6 ticket singling 16-1 Elmhurst in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He won with a furious late rush with Corey Nakatani aboard. I was 4 for 4 in the sequence leading up the Breeders’ Cup Turf. I had two horses covered, Borgia and Flag Down. They finished 2nd and 3rd at 9-2 and 14-1 in a three-horse photo, losing to the 9-5 favorite, Chief Bearhart. I ended up with 5 out of 6 on a $32 ticket when Skip Away won the Classic.
The detailed review of the early pp’s put me in a great position for a huge payout on an extraordinarily cheap ticket. Now that the Breeders’ Cup has extended to two-days, the advance work is even more important. You should get the early past performances as soon as possible and start reviewing who is likely to be in each race. Focus less on finding the horse or horses you like and more on gathering information. Make notes, watch race replays, drill down on pedigrees and look for historical similarities. If you don’t have the time, you can always get the Track Phantom analysis sheets to do the work for you.
I will not be able to make it to Las Vegas this year. I really appreciate the invitation from Palace Station Sportsbook Director Mike Corrigan to be a part of his wonderful seminar with Richie Saber of GamingToday. The good news is “Race Day Las Vegas” host Ralph Siraco will join Saber and Gordon Jones for the Friday morning event. As was last year, the seminar starts at 8 a.m. PT in the Palace Station sportsbook. They have coffee, fruit and donuts available for those in attendance. Please drop by if you can make it.
Play Of The Week
The Horse Racing Play of the Week comes at Keeneland on Wednesday in the 6th race. It is a maiden allowance at 6 furlongs on dirt. The play is No. 2 SIR SAHIB. He ran 3rd in a key race in his debut. The 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th place finishers all came back to win. This colt came running on six wide to get up for third at 33-1. Trainer Ian Wilkes is only 5 for 101 with a two-year-old sprinting on the dirt in their career debut. But he improves to 9 for 37 (24%) in the same condition with a second time starter.
The dam is a half to 2010 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Unrivaled Belle, who earned nearly $2M in her career.
You might want to consider No. 6 PRIVATE EYE in the race, as well. He is also making his second career start and was 6 lengths behind Sir Sahib in the same race. He got a poor start from a difficult rail draw in that race. He comes back with two strong works and also gets first time Lasix.
SIR SAHIB is 3-1 on the morning line. PRIVATE EYE is 12-1 on the morning line. Play them both. Post time for race 6 at Keeneland on Wednesday is 12:51 PT.