Breeders’ Cup 2018 – Saturday Analysis

Day One is in the books and now it is time to look forward to Day Two of the Breeders’ Cup, where we will see the queen Enable go for a Turf crown and an excellent collection of horses going for the Classic.  It is sure to be a blast!

Race 3 – Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
7 Furlongs – Dirt – 3yo & Up Fillies & Mares – $1,000,000 – by Michael Tartaglia

I am usually never a huge fan of the FM Sprint, but this year it looks like a race that has a lot of talent, and more importantly, one that I’m confident in hitting.  Marley’s Freedom is the 8/5 morning line favorite, coming off a layoff after an easy win in the Ballerina to cap of four straight stakes wins.  But in her way are 13 other females that would love to win this one.

Chalon gets the bid for me just over Marley’s Freedom.  Even in defeat, I was very impressed with her run in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes off of a layoff since her gliding in the Regret at Monmouth Park.  She has been up close and pouncing in every start and her figures have been improving well since last year.  She should improve off of her last start and even that would be enough to put her on top here.

Marley’s Freedom was amazing last out when she shipped to Saratoga and ran away with the Ballerina.  Now, she gets a bit of a tougher test, but she has been improving and no one has been able to touch her since Baffert took over.  She has been training lights out and the 7 furlong trip might be her best.  I just cannot bet her with how short a price she will be and I still think she might bounce off the layoff.

Mia Mischief should be the top of the field at first call and could be the one to loop them all around.  She loves going the 7 furlong route of ground and absolutely adores Churchill Downs.  Her figures have been even, but very consistent, something I love to see in a sprinter.  She has a great chance to hit the board at a big price, especially if she can hold serve as the dominating pace.

There are a couple you should use underneath, such as the returning Selcourt, who beat Marley’s Freedom in her last start in the spring, Finley’sluckycharm, who loves Churchill Downs, and Golden Mischief, who knows when to move.

Race 4 – Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
5.5 Furlongs – Dirt – 3yo & Up – $1,000,000 – by Michael Tartaglia

Stormy Liberal would love to defend his crown in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, but needs to get past a tough group of sprinters, including stablemates Conquest Tsunami and Richard’s Boy.  13 of the 14 horses in this field are coming out of a top three finish last out – lots of horses in form – this should be fun.

Stormy Liberal has everything going for him to win back to back, and just looks even better than how he did last year.  He has put away fields in three straight, all from last second rallies.  Only question he hasn’t answered is how he will do when the turf is slightly soft, but even then, he looks to be much the best.

World Of Trouble switched to turf after the Woody Stephens, and never looked back.  He might not have beat the strongest of fields in his last two, but he has looked more than impressive and really shocked me last out.  His turn of foot and driving ability is very strong for a 3yo and he looks like he may be “trouble” for Stormy Liberal.

Will Call gets the price play for me after his Woodford effort.  A lover of Churchill Downs, Will Call for Brad Cox has been getting better with each run, even if his finishes don’t show it.  Winner of the Twin Spires Turf Sprint earlier this year, Will Call kicks away with ease and closes quick down the long stretch.  He just needed a bit more room last out as he was flying to try and catch Bucchero.

Underneath, Disco Partner is one you can’t leave off your ticket, and the two fillies Ruby Notion and Chanteline will be sharp.  Finally, Conquest Tsunami is great on your exotics as he always seems to sneak his way into the money.

Race 5 – Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
8 Furlongs – Dirt – 3yo & Up – $1,000,000 – by Michael Tartaglia

If you are looking for a lock of the day, look no further than here and Catalina Cruiser.  I don’t like saying a horse is a lock, especially in the Breeders’ Cup, but I can be fairly certain here – everyone would need to gain about five lengths if they want to win.

(10) Catalina Cruiser is much the best here and has been targeting this race since the San Diego Handicap.  Ratings have been improving in last two, though the best was off the layoff in the seasonal debut.  Going to be tough to beat.

(7) Firenze Fire looks fantastic around one turn going long – he crushed in the Dwyer and then went to sprints to prep for this.  He should be fresh and one to watch in this one.  Had the second best last out race behind Catalina Cruiser.

(6) Seeking The Soul is the one for Dallas Stewart, who has been upsetting races for as long as I remember, and finally gets to do it on his home track.  Last out was a great prep and was fresh coming in.  Cutting back to a mile might have been exactly want this closer needed who roared home very quickly late.

Underneath, City of Light, Giant Expectations, and Seven Trumpets look like ones to use.

Race 6 – Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
11 Furlongs – Turf – 3yo & Up Fillies & Mares – $2,000,000 – by Michael Tartaglia

The Prix de l’Opera winner Wild Illusion tops this very contentious field in the Filly & Mare Turf.  This is a very nice edition of the race with a lot of international talent to have to shuffle through and contend with.

(3) Wild Illusion looks to be the best and should relish this surface.  She has been getting very sharp these last two and, although rival Magic Wand has been improving, she looked excellent last out.  This race does go through her and her last race was the best of this field.  Going to be fun to watch.

(4) Paved was second in her first start against older in the Rodeo Drive.  Joel Rosario rode her in a perfect stalking spot and was able to get her gunning late to just be beat.  I think she will be better for that run now that Rosario had a mount prior.  Really like her stuff and a nice price too.

(9) A Raving Beauty might be the top one for the US contingent in this one, getting the call for Chad Brown.  She easily went wire to wire in the First Lady going a mile, but her true talent does look like its going longer on a wet-firm turf.  I think she is sitting on a huge race and should fit really well here.

Others to watch are Magic Wand, Santa Monica, and Sistercharlie, though the value underneath may be with Princess Yaiza.

Race 7 – Breeders’ Cup Sprint
6 Furlongs – Dirt – 3yo & Up – $2,000,000 – by Michael Tartaglia

Roy H comes back to defend his crown, entering in much like he did last year, off a win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.  Now he has to face a very tough group of horses, including the tough trio of Promises Fulfilled, Whitmore, and Limousine Liberal coming out of the Phoenix at Keeneland – which has been proven as a great prep for this race when its on the East Coast.

(2) Promises Fulfilled is the lone speed in this spot and I don’t know who can catch him.  Last year, Roy H had a very quick pace to stalk and close to, but you won’t see that with Promises Fulfilled, who will take to the lead and hold the pace to his liking.  He has been getting better with each start and looks to be sitting on one here.

(8) Limousine Liberal has loved Churchill Downs over the past few years, winning race after race against good competition, especially the sloppy Churchill Downs Stakes back in May.  Now, he gets the best on his home court.  Prep races have been solid coming in and has looked really well in the mornings.

(9) Roy H comes back to the race he won last year ready to run.  He took care of his “Dubai Bounce” with a great second in the Bing Crosby and followed it up with a win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.  I can’t leave him off my tickets what so ever, especially when he looks to fit in this race just as well as he did last year.

I like B Squared, Whitmore, and Imperial Hint underneath, but really think this race goes through the above.

Race 8 – Breeders’ Cup Mile
8 Furlongs – Dirt – 3yo & Up – $2,000,000 – by Michael Tartaglia

The best value race of the day has to be in the Mile, where lots of good pries can be found in top quality horses.  But of course, that means we hit the race which isn’t an easy task.  Oscar Performance looks to be the best the US has, but he probably wants a lot more than just a mile, where both is mile wins were in races where the whole front of the race fell apart.  There is not clear favorite here, especially after Hunt and Polydream were scratched, but let’s see what we can do.

(7) Expert Eye brings in very attractive form and looks to be better on a slightly wet turf track.  He stayed behind the leaders and hits the front late.  He got run down by a tough Lightning Spear three back, but his City of York win was fantastic to watch.  Last out he was gaining well but just a bit too late.  Should care a lot for the ground and gets Dettori back aboard.

(2) Next Shares has now won back to back races to gear up to here.  Last out in the Shadwell Turf Mile, he drew away easily against very good company.  He will see a turf course very similar to what he had that day and a quick pace too.  This race could fall into his lap.

(15) Divisidero draws into this field and deservingly so.  He loves running at a mile and just didn’t get the right footing in his last two.  Neither race really shaped up to his liking but this one looks like it will.  He was strong in the Arlington Handicap and really likes this track.  In a race where a lot could happen, this is one that I think fits Divisidero well.

Elsewhere, Lightning Spear and One Master look like good ones to use underneath, but this is a wide open race where almost anyone has a shot.

Race 9 – Breeders’ Cup Distaff
9 Furlongs – Dirt – 3yo & Up Fillies & Mares – $2,000,000 – by Michael Tartaglia

The Distaff has always been one of the highlights of the Breeders’ Cup weekend and now it gets back to its place on Saturday.  So many legends have etched their names into history in the Distaff and new ones will look to do the same today.

(11) Monomoy Girl is one of the most deserving favorites in this field, and one who has been so impressive this year, finishing first (although DQ’ed last out) in every single race this year and a winner of four straight Grade One races.  Brad Cox and Florent Geroux have found the way to win on this one and she loves to run from the front.  She looks to be pretty much the only speed here (Vale Dori second fastest, but not as good up front) and if the track plays the way it did Friday, she will runaway here.

(9) Wow Cat has been improving in her races for Chad Brown since coming over from Chile.  A winner of the Beldame last out, she has looked to be still trying to find her stride and getting close to it. She runs well at all facets of the race and looked like Jose Ortiz find her best last out.  Still needs to improve to win, but could be sitting on one here.

(3) La Force has been looking very sharp in her last three, but all were second place finishes.  She had to deal with Vale Dori and Unique Bell in her past three, but each one has been a much better performance.  She has been getting wide trips thus far, but the way she easily closes has been something to watch.  I think she will appreciate the extra sixteenth.  And the price will be nice.

Others to watch are Abel Tasman – can she bounce back and Blue Prize who has been looking sharp in her last three and won here two of those three times.

Race 10 – Breeders’ Cup Turf
12 Furlongs – Turf – 3yo & Up – $4,000,000 – by Michael Tartaglia

Once again, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner comes to the Breeders’ Cup, but still looking for a first double for the Arc and the BC Turf in the same year.  The queen, Enable, has to deal with last year’s winner Talismanic, the US’ top Beyer earner, Channel Maker, the Arlington Million winner Robert Bruce, the British Champions winner Magical, and eight others if she wants to take home the blanket.  Good thing she has already beaten much of this field previously.

(2) Enable won her second Arc just last month, in her second start on the year and first on turf, by coming from well behind, which is not her usual style.  She is very versatile and can come from almost anywhere to win.  Hasn’t lost with Frankie Dettori aboard and I think she will love the Churchill Downs turf.  She probably would be one of the favorites if she ran in the Classic – she is just that good.  Flying dismount time.

(3) Channel Maker was sensational last time out, with a win that was arguably better than Enable’s Arc.  He had to do everything on the front end and just coasted on home on soft ground at Belmont in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.  I do not want to go against him today and he has been training very well as of late.  Very impressive this year and just looks to be getting better.  Even a bounce here is good enough to finish second.

(12) Waldgeist ran a nice fourth in the Arc last out after beating last year’s Turf winner Talismanic in the Prix Foy.  Both were trained by Andre Fabre, but Fabre wouldn’t send a horse to the Turf if he didn’t think they had a great chance to win.  Waldgeist won four straight before running into Enable, but should improve off that run.  Good chance.

Underneath, Robert Bruce and Glorious Empire look like ones to not leave off the ticket, and for value, Quarteto De Cordas coming from Brasil could be one to watch.

Race 11 – Breeders’ Cup Classic
10 Furlongs – Dirt – 3yo & Up – $6,000,000 – by Michael Tartaglia

The premier race of the weekend is the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and with a full field of fourteen, it is gearing up to be one of the best editions we have seen in years.  Going through the line we have Thunder Snow (Dubai World Cup), Roaring Lion (Queen Elizabeth II & Irish Champion Stakes), Catholic Boy (Travers), Gunnevera (2nd in Woodward), Lone Sailor (Oklahoma Derby), McKinzie (Pennsylvania Derby), West Coast (3rd in 2017 Classic), Pavel (Stephen Foster Handicap), Mendelssohn (UAE Derby & 2017 Juvenile Turf), Yoshida (Woodward), Mind Your Biscuits (Lukas Classic), Axelrod (Smarty Jones), Discreet Lover (Jockey Club Gold Cup), and Accelerate (Gold Cup, Pacific Classic, & Awesome Again).  This race looks to have a lot of speed, but from top to bottom, it is full of talent.  There isn’t really a true standout here, even with Accelerate finding his way here.

(10) Yoshida has been one I loved since before his Old Forester Turf Classic win here earlier this year.  He didn’t have enough distance in the Queen Anne and then was given a complete disaster of a trip in the Fourstardave Handicap.  So, the obvious choice is to switch to dirt, and boy was it the right choice.  Now Bill Mott let his Classic contender rest up and prepare for this race.  Last two times he had a long layoff, runaway wins.  This race has a lot of speed and that will play heavily in Yoshida’s favor.  Also, the last time the Classic was run at Churchill Downs, the WinStar silks were flying high as Drosselmeyer came from the clouds to win.  Interesting note, many say that the Churchill Downs dirt course plays very turf favoring.

(14) Accelerate wasn’t fully cranked up for the Awesome Again, but still came away well.  He has had problems breaking, which could cost him in this field, but he has a lot of talent to overcome it.  This will be the toughest field he has faced since the Oaklawn Handicap, where he finished 2nd, his only loss this year.  He should adjust to this track well and a fast pace should prove no trouble.  If he can break well, he might just run away here.

(7) West Coast needed his last race to tune up here.  It wasn’t his best, but he could have it this Saturday.  His best win of his career came on a closer favorite track in a closer favorite pace – that was the Pennsylvania Derby just last year.  He wants a fast pace and he will surely get one – and that could be the key for this fresh horse.

Underneath, Thunder Snow should run well with the fast pace and Roaring Lion has the pedigree to win on the dirt – remember as a 2yo he romped on the A/W at Kempton, one of the few tracks in Europe that translates well to the American dirt.

 

With that, enjoy the packed card on Saturday of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup – one of the best days of racing we have seen in a long time!

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