Category: Breeders’ Cup

Breeders’ Cup 2021 – Saturday Selections

Logos | Breeders' Cup

Day One of the World Championships of Horse Racing proved to be full of excitement and surprises. From dominant performances from Twilight Gleaming, Echo Zulu, and Corniche, to the oddity that was the Juvenile Turf, Future Stars Friday gave us everything and then some of what we had hoped. But now onto the meat and potatoes of what makes this weekend tremendous – Saturday.

A full slate of races are on tap for today, capped off with the Breeders’ Cup Classic – which includes the Pacific Classic winner returning to the site of his greatest victory, the Pennsylvania Derby winner, the Belmont & Travers winner, the Pegasus World Cup & defending Dirt Mile winner, the Woodward winner, the Kentucky Derby & Awesome Again winner, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup winner. One of the most stacked Classic fields we have had in years. Also on the undercard we find champions Gamine looking to win two straight in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, multiple Group One winner and champion Love, sprinting star Jackie’s Warrior, and champion distaffers Shedaresthedevil and Letruska. This day is filled with the best horses in the world,


My Top Three for Each Race of Future Stars Friday

Race 4 | Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1)
$1,000,000 | For Older Fillies & Mares | 7 Furlongs | Dirt

5 – Gamine
Am I really going to bet against Gamine going around one turn? Nope. She is deadly in one turn races. Instant lock. Next race.

Race 5 | Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1)
$1,000,000 | For Older Horses | 5 Furlongs | Turf

6 – Lieutenant Dan
Turf sprints at Del Mar are some of my favorite races to handicap. The 5 furlong course at Del Mar has two specific angles that play out more often than not – dropping down in distance and being a horse for course & distance. Lieutenant Dan is both of them, dropping from the downhill Eddie D Stakes and having already marked two 5f wins at Dmr this year, the Steven Miyadi trainee could be a steal in a wide open turf sprint with no clear choice. Last year’s winner Glass Slippers – who was much the easy choice then – doesn’t have the same form nor is on her favorite going to be a threat, while others just don’t seem to be peaking right.

2 – Emaraaty Ana
Last year international speed showed the way and this year it could again, with this Kevin Ryan trainee. Emaraaty Ana was a longshot type who just kept stunning races across the pond and now takes his form to San Diego to try on firmer turf. That seems to be what this gelded son of Shamardal has excelled the best on and is coming into form well. Lots to like about his back class and might just be the one Euro to take home this usually speedy race.

3 – Golden Pal
At the end of the day, Wesley Ward has one great little colt by Uncle Mo that might steal this one on the front end. Super quick and super dangerous. Think he might be overmatched here, but can’t ever leave a Ward off the ticket in these turf sprints.

Race 6 | Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1)
$1,000,000 | For Older | 1 Mile| Dirt

5 – Life Is Good
If he is on his game, he is an easy winner. The best dirt miler in America right now and looks to add another to the books.

2 – Pingxiang
The Hideyuki Mori pair intrigue me. While Jaspar Prince has no shot (though good to see him back after his poor showing in the Sprint last year), Pingxiang, one of Mori’s best horses currently in training, is coming into this race in good form and showing a lot of speed in his 7 furlong efforts. Now, stepping up in distance, Pingxiang should favor this spot, get the early lead, and maybe hold on for a spot of the money late. Definitely one not to forget about.

3 – Ginobili
This one is interesting – he fits my angle for betting dirt mile races at Del Mar and seems to favor this track. I’m not 100% sure he is genuine, but his back races fit with what should be expected of a top choice. If he can find a clean trip, he might be able to pounce on Life Is Good late and take this one.

Race 7 | Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1)
$2,000,000 | For Older Fillies & Mares | 1 3/8 Miles | Turf

1 – Going To Vegas
This is not the greatest of editions of the Filly & Mare Turf, with most of the probable favorites coming in with just so-so form, so anything can happen. I’m going to lean towards the likely front runner here, the Richard Baltas trainee and daughter of Goldencents. She is in solid form, always runs well, and is coming in with some strong workouts. The form cycle is favoring her to run a big one here. The only question is if it is big enough to beat the best in this field.

12 – Audarya
Last year’s champion is back to contend again, and while not in the same form as she was last year, she gets back to firm turf which she favors and looks to be finding her way back to form. She needs to step up a bit to go back-to-back, but in a weaker field, maybe she has a chance. I favor her over a lot of others in this field.

Race 8 | Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1)
$2,000,000 | For Older Horses | 6 Furlongs | Dirt

9 – Dr. Schivel
There is a ton of speed packed into this Sprint, with plenty of the pack looking to press Jackie’s Warrior. Which leads me to the horse on the outside who has already won once at Del Mar this year in Dr. Schivel, the Bing Crosby & Santa Anita Sprint winner. This is a horse that loves this course and loves this distance, has tactical speed, can rate well, and can do just about anything even with trouble. Every time that the field has gotten tougher, he has stepped up more and more. He is a fighter and should be the one hitting the wire first. I’ll be using him with Jackie’s Warrior, C Z Rocket, & Firenze Fire underneath.

Race 9 | Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1)
$2,000,000 | For Older | 1 Mile| Turf

7 – In Love (BRZ)
One of the new kids on the scene is the aging veteran from South America for Paulo Lobo, In Love. after moving through allowance class, Lobo stepped In Love up to stakes company to rousing success, capturing the TVG Stakes and the Keeneland Turf Mile in his last two. The Brazilian-bred does have a much tougher group, but his turn of foot is near the top of this group and puts him in a good spot to take this at a slight price.

10 – Blowout (GB)
It wasn’t long ago that she was a top choice of mine in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile. Since then, she has gotten better. Although slayed by the graveyard of champions at Saratoga, she came away well and captured the First Lady at Keeneland last out. She is familiar with Del Mar and has been improving in form with each start. This will be her most difficult test yet. I’ll side with her and hope for the best.

3 – Space Blues
Love the angle of horses stepping up in distance to a mile on the turf at Del Mar. Space Blues fits the profile for winning this type of race at Del Mar, has great turn of foot, and might be the most talented horse in the field. Plus, who is going to doubt Charlie Appleby this year.

Race 10 | Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1)
$2,000,000 | For Older Fillies & Mares | 1 1/8 Mile| Dirt

8 – Shedaresthedevil
Letruska might have gotten the best of Shedaresthedevil earlier this year, but this daughter of Daredevil has the advantage across two turns. Brad Cox has given her a very easy year, only giving her a few freshen ups on her road to the Distaff. She has a great form progression heading into this race and is poised to run her best.

11 – Dunbar Road
If a speed duel grows on the front end, don’t forget about Dunbar Road. This Chad Brown trainee always shows up and is an excellent stalker. She is the type that just waits and waits until she finds a spot where there is a fast pace and then pounces to take a spot. The outside draw should help keep her going and is one to include on exotics.

Race 11 | Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1)
$4,000,000 | For Older | 1 1/2 Mile| Turf

11 – Gufo
All year, Gufo has been a prime contender at these long distance turf races. He has dueled with the best, been just less than a few lengths away from Domestic Spending at times, and has been getting stronger each race. He tends to get in trouble when drawn to the inside, but now gets a clean trip on the outside and doesn’t need to worry about his rival in Domestic Spending. With a clean run, Gufo should be able to beat this field easily.

1 – Rockemperor
A strong winner of the Turf Classic at Belmont Park, Rockemperor is coming on to his own at the right time. He’s been prone to wide trips in the past, something he won’t have to deal with drawing the inside, and seemed to pop well taking the blinkers off. He is a different animal this year and looks to be getting better. Dangerous in this spot.

7 – Walton Street
Everything Charlie Appleby brings over this year is live and this one is no exception. This 7yo gelding by Cape Cross has been a major player throughout the year in international trips, winning the Canadian International at Woodbine last out, finishing just a few length behind eventual Arc Champ Torquator Tasso, and not being too far back from champions Mishriff and Chrono Genesis in the Dubai Sheema Classic. Tough to say that the Breeders’ Cup offers him some class relief from what he say in Germany and Dubai, but that seems to be the case. Godolphin stable jockey James Doyle returns with a very live mount here.

13 – Tarnawa (IRE)
The defending champion returns, with better form than she had when she shocked Magical last year. The runner up by less than a length in the Arc and Irish Champion Stakes, Tarnawa wants to cap off her fall with a win – and maybe this is the right spot. She gets a much lighter crowd than what she beat last year, but she doesn’t get the pace that she had last year – she was aided by a slower pace at Keeneland, but this field tends to be quicker. She is uber talented and a must include on all tickets, but winning might be a bit tougher.

Race 12 | Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)
$6,000,000 | For Older | 1 1/4 Mile| Dirt

9 – Max Player
Tactical speed is the name of the game here – the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Suburban winner looks to be one of the few that doesn’t need to get the lead early. Likely this race will come down to a duel between Max Player and Essential Quality down the stretch, and I’ll take the older gent here. He is a very different horse from what he was last year. I give him the benefit of the doubt in his first two starts this year – the trip to Saudi Arabia going one turn wasn’t easy for a type that likes the long, classic distance, and trying to rebound for Pimlico in just a few months isn’t something to go well. But since getting acclimated back to the states, he has been dominant on the NY circuit, being two really awesome horses in Mystic Guide and Happy Saver – who both would’ve gotten play from me had they been in this spot. He has taken to Del Mar well and finds himself in a good spot. This is a perfect race for him to step up.

4 – Essential Quality
The other horse with tactical speed, Essential Quality has followed up his Belmont Stakes victory with wins in the Jim Dandy and the Travers. Now, off a long layoff, he looks to notch another championship win for Godolphin. Could he go from Juvenile winner to Classic winner? Perhaps. I would’ve preferred for him to have had a start between the Travers and here, as he doesn’t tend to run his best off a long layoff, but with just one blemish on his resume, how can you not like him. Lot to like in him if he gets to the front at the top of the stretch.

Breeders’ Cup 2021 – Friday Selections

Logos | Breeders' Cup

The World Championships of Horse Racing are Back where the Surf Meets the Turf at Good Ole Del Mar! One of my favorite racecourses in the world plays home to the two best days in racing in North America. Most of the stars of the thoroughbred world are out for these two days, ready to show off their best against all of the best the rest of the world has to offer.

This year’s Breeders’ Cup is one of the most interesting – and even – in recent memory. While there are the usual big favorites, most of the races are wide open, which is sure to make a great betting weekend. Let’s see what we got going on with the Future Stars Friday card.


My Top Three for Each Race of Future Stars Friday

Race 6 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2)
$1,000,000 | For Two-Year Olds | 5 Furlongs | Turf

6 – Twilight Gleaming (IRE)
Here is one that will improve in the return to the US. The Wesley Ward trainee excelled in her two starts on this side of the pond before heading off to Europe and being a close second in the Queen Mary before capturing a race a Deauville in France, both on her off-preferred surface. The return to firm ground will help her excel and she should be fond of taking the lead early. Based on the training form of Ward’s pack, look like he wants Irad to send her to the lead early. Looking for her to go gate-to-wire here.

1 – Twilight Jet (IRE)
Wouldn’t a twilight-exacta be night? When was the last time we saw a 2yo go out for their 11th start of their career, let alone one in the Breeders’ Cup. But here we are. Now… is he a longshot – yeah… and does he have a great chance… not quite – but a great angle at Del Mar is taking 6f-7f horses cutting down to 5f. He won last out at this distance, contended with similar company, and has been so consistent this year. Looks like he needs a bit firmer ground to run his best compared to what he got in England and Ireland. While the price will be huge, this one has a lot of speed and ready to use.

7 – Armor (GB)
Hard to leave this race without considering Armor. Ryan Moore would love to collect his first Juvenile Turf Sprint and he has one horse that has a lot in the tank. Cutting back from 6f is a great angle and getting back to firmer ground will help. He has been getting closer and closer with every stride – I’ll take him in the trip over from England.

Race 7 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1)
$2,000,000 | For Two-Year Old Fillies | 1 1/16 Miles | Dirt

5 – Juju’s Map
The Florent Geroux-Brad Cox combo is my single here. She is far and away the best in this field and keeps getting better with each start. She has been training so well and is just a driving winner of success. Should cruise easily in the tepid upset of Echo Zulu.

Race 8 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)
$1,000,000 | For Two-Year Old Fillies | 1 Mile| Turf

6 – Hello You (IRE)
Give me the Rockfel winner every time in this field – Hello You has been a slowly growing wonder as the races get longer in England. Loved her going into the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and just had too much to deal with in Sandrine. Now she has improved tremendously and continues to get better. She did have a slipup at Goodwood back in August, but Goodwood isn’t for everyone. I’m impressed with what she has done and looking at her being a very strong finisher. A standout here for me.

7 – Consumer Spending
Klaravich & Chad Brown team up for this daughter of More Than Ready. She has been up against weaker company at Laurel last out, but it was an excellent prep for this one. Her training has been going well at Belmont and she fits well in this field. Her adaptable turn of foot puts her in the right spot and could be sitting on a big one with Flavien Prat aboard.

11 – Haughty
Young… very young… but showing lots of promise. Going to play her here as she is at the right spot in her form cycle. Don’t want to miss her at a very big price.

Race 9 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1)
$2,000,000 | For Two-Year Old C&G | 1 1/6 Miles | Dirt

1 – Jack Christopher
Oh man, is Jack Christopher a standout here! Romping winner first time out and then easy winner of the Champagne, Jack Christopher has been the ideal son of Munnings through two starts. Finds himself against a pretty average field of 2yos otherwise. If you need a lock on Friday, Jack Christopher looks to be the one.

5 – Double Thunder
While more of the money will be on the other Pletcher here, Double Thunder might just be the better of the two. Improving in each start, this son of Super Saver runs one of the best races of the field when he stays out of trouble. His closing kick is dangerous and Flavien Prat is one of the best at getting everything from who is under him. Getting blinks on should keep him out of trouble and into the winners circle.

9 – Pinehurst
Baffert has a few here as he makes the trip down to Del Mar. I’ll stick on the one that is two-for-two at Del Mar, Pinehurst, over the others. Solid winning effort in the Del Mar Futurity over this course and has been training well. Looks to have the most adaptable running style compared to all the other Bafferts.

Race 10 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1)
$1,000,000 | For Two-Year Old C&G | 1 Mile | Turf

4 – Tiz The Bomb
It wasn’t too long ago that longshot Hit It A Bomb was lighting up my Breeders’ Cup weekend. Now his son Tiz The Bomb hopes to do the same. The Bourbon and Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile winner has not let anything get in his way enroute to Del Mar. Kenneth McPeek has him in top form and on the best form cycle for this race. His turn of foot is far above the others in this field and the overall pace sets up well for him to stalk and pounce late. Looking to win big here.

2 – Albahr (GB)
Does Frankie get a chance at a patented leap in the winners circle this year? The ageless Italian has a great shot with this Appleby trainee for Godolphin. Winner of the Summer Stakes at Woodbine last out, Albahr has won his last four in great fashion, leading and then pulling away late. The son of Dubawi is regally bred and has a lot to like. Only question is how he will handle the faster pace here in this race, but otherwise he’s going to be one to want throughout.

6 – Mackinnon
Doug O’Neill has a sleeping giant in his barn with this son of American Pharoah. Winner of three straight, including the Del Mar Juvenile Turf over this course and distance and the Zuma Beach last out, Mackinnon has been inching closer and closer to top turf 2yo company. Well bred and showing lots of late burst, this young trainee is one to watch on Friday. While needing a bit of luck to get out of what is sure to be a bunched field, if he can get free, he will be tough to stop down the stretch.

Breeders’ Cup 2018 – Friday Analysis

The Breeders’ Cup 2018 Weekend is about to begin, and what a way to kick off the festivities at the end of the main portion of the racing calendar.  On Friday, the Breeders’ Cup debuts the new Juvenile Turf Sprint, the start up to the rebranded Friday card – Future Stars Friday.  Five championship races for two year-olds will be on tap as we begin the World Championships of Thoroughbred Horse Racing.  Joining me to cover the Friday card is John Piassek (@theyreoff), the co-founder and handicapper for The Daily Gallop and the managing editor and handicapper for DanonymousRacing.com.

Continue reading “Breeders’ Cup 2018 – Friday Analysis”