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Breeders Cup overview

Wider coverage of the Breeders Cup two-day meeting, this time from world traveller and international racing enthusiast, Jon Thompson.


Breeders Cup Overview
Friday 31st October and Saturday 1st November
Santa Anita

The Breeders’ Cup is not only a spectacle for horse racing fans it also presents a golden opportunity for serious players to make a gambling profit. These huge wagering Breeders Cup pools are filled with ‘square money’ making the payoffs, especially for exotic wagers, often incredibly high.

There are some that will confess to not being a fan of the extended Friday/Saturday format but with 13 races instead of the original ‘Great Eight’ this is what we are faced with. It presents an enormous task in trying to comprehend all the global form on offer as well as the changing circumstances of those racing on Lasix against those not.

This is not a guide on every horse, and in fact it is not a guide on every race, but it is an attempt to point out some apparent value on runners that should be included when looking for those priced higher that will add value to exacta, trifecta and other exotic payoffs.

I would like to acknowledge the input from my ‘US Insider’ Pete Mitchell.

Friday 31st October:

BC Juvenile Turf:
#5-Hootenanny is quite the world traveller at the ripe old age of two and he’s done rather well for himself along the way, leaving 23 rivals gasping in his wake at Royal Ascot before missing by just half a length in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville to the highly-regarded The Wow Signal. The Wesley Ward-trained colt won on his career debut at Keeneland so he’s effective turning left and the bigger question is probably whether Frankie Dettori can settle him in the early stages. The dynamite Aiden O’Brien/ Ryan Moore combo looks lively with #7-War Envoy who has put up Racing Post Ratings of 110 and 111 in his last pair and will receive Lasix for the first time on his North American debut. The other U.S.-based runners don’t look like they can threaten the Coolmore-owned pair.

BC Dirt Mile:
The rail draw could be the clincher for speedy favorite and defending champ #1-Goldencents. If he breaks sharply he should be gone. He’s in excellent form and continues to train impressively for fill-in trainer Leandro Mora who replaced the banned Doug O’Neill. He looks to be the single NAP of the night in multi-race wagers and a key on top in exactas, trifectas and super’s.

BC Distaff:
The two favorites in this event are marooned in posts 10 and 11 with plenty of speed to their inside. #10-Untapable will have to tuck in somewhere in mid-pack before hitting the first turn while #11-Close Hatches may find herself in the pace scramble and lose ground early. Close Hatches has a latest flop to forgive and it’s on that basis the 3 year old Untapable is the selection. Brilliant in the Kentucky Oaks and the Mother Goose Stakes back in June she came undone in the Haskell in a race won by front running Bayern who seems to have a huge impact whenever he races – win or lose. Untapable then had a nice comeback win from a two-month layoff and Steve Asmussen reports her in rare form.

Saturday 1st November:

BC Filly and Mare Turf:
In a race where the European fillies head the market #4-Dayatthespa could be the value in this race. She’s a multiple Grade 1 winner in career form and looms as the lone speed in a race devoid of that commodity. The 1 ¼-mile distance is a question but she has won a Grade 1 at 1 1/8 miles and could get away with soft fractions. #3-Dank heads the market but last year’s winner really needs to be taken on trust having had just 2 outings since and off the track since Royal Ascot. The Qatar owned pair #2-Just The Judge and #5-Secret Gesture would both require career bests to be good enough and the US trained #10-Stephanie’s Kitten has to be ridden to receive all the luck in running which is so often not the case at the top level.

BC Juvenile:
With the unfortunate scratch of the brilliant American Pharaoh, Todd Pletcher’s duo of #9-Carpe Diem and #12-Daredevil will receive tons of support. However the unbeaten (3-for-3) and untested #8-Souper Colossal could be the answer. This son of War Front fetched $350K as a yearling and trainer Edward Plesa has been raving about him. He absolutely blazed through his local 5-furlong work on Monday and did it effortlessly with a huge gallop-out. He looks one to take a chance with to upset the big two and the Irish raider #4 The Great War.

BC Turf:
#9-Hardest Core scored last time when he won the Arlington Million at 11-1 and had been mightily impressive in his initial stakes win at Delaware Park two runs back. This lightly raced 4 year old could be inflated once again in the betting due to taking on rivals from ‘sexier’ stables! There can be no denying that #7-Flintshire’s run in the Arc was eye catching but that race is a notoriously hard race to recover from and he is by no means a frequent winner at the top level. #1-Telescope has been a ‘talking horse’ all of his life and also races at the highest level in his career to date. #13-Big John B could also be interesting at a huge price if his last run can be forgiven and with the benefit of BC legend Mike Smith in the saddle.

BC Mile:
The favourite #5-Toronado has been a top-class performer in Europe and he’ll receive Lasix for the first time but there is some question about how he’ll handle the sharp left-handed turns. He also has to overcome the torrid record of the Hannon stable at this meeting over the years. #13-Tourist can go well here at a big price dropped back to a mile after running a huge second to Adelaide in the Million at Arlington. There is no question that Tourist will not be able to dominate as he did on that occasion but the form is strong and Adelaide has probably been the most underrated horse in Europe in 2014.

BC Classic:
#13-California Chrome appears to be rounding back into top form and got the outside draw his connections were looking for. As mentioned earlier #7-Bayern requires matters all his own way at this distance and against this level of competition. With a horse like #4-Moreno to his inside challenging him for the early lead in honest fractions his job is only made harder! The undefeated #6-Shared Belief could be the horse that America has been waiting for. Injured for the Triple Crown season he has been gradually stepped up by his master trainer and showed true class last time in overcoming a rival that attempted to carry him six wide throughout the race! He showed a new dimension last time out…that of a horse with a powerful will to win and should round off the meeting with a worthy performance.


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