Breeders’ Cup Friday is the first day of the World Championships. Today is mostly devoted for the ladies, with the five championship races for the females, but the Cup races will start off with the Marathon. There are other races on the undercard, but this blog will mention only the one precedent the Breeders’ Cup races, the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap, then delve into the BC races. This blog has done well on the undercard, and cannot resist pointing out a horse that could be a future star in the making. We shall start with that race.
(Don’t forget to enter the “Off The Board” contest run by this blog. So much fun for chucking a low-odds horse it shouldn’t be legal!)
Ack Ack Handicap – Grade 3 – 1m & 1/16th
This race has some upcoming three year-olds and a couple of wily veterans. The defending champion returns in this race in #4 Demarcation, although the distance was only a mile last year. He ran alright last time out, and picks up jockey Calvin Borel. He appears to have a tough task ahead of him versus three improving three-year olds. The morning line favorite, and the selection for this blog, is #1 Apart. This son of Flatter has been training in the morning with the best horse in the Al Stall Jr. barn, Blame, who is the 2nd choice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic tomorrow. He has been holding his own in the morning and is ready for his first race against older. #2 Colizeo won last out over #6 Jackson Bend, who was returning off the layoff. Colizeo likes this track, having won 2 of 3 races at Churchill Downs. He drew off to a nice win on that day, and should be on the lead. Jackson Bend should stalk him. Both have worked well in the interim. The other two in the field are the other two elder statesmen in the race, #2 Stream Cat and #3 Silver Edition. Stream Cat comes in off a year layoff and this has all the makings of a prep race for him. Silver Edition stretches out for the first time in a while, and looks to be overmatched.
Selections: Apart / Colizeo / Jackson Bend (maybe a straight trifecta to maximize value?)
Now we hit the Breeders’ Cup races. First up is the Marathon, going a mile and three-quarters on the main track.
Breeders’ Cup Marathon – Grade 3 – 1m & ¾
The morning line favorite is the Grade 1 winning #7 Awesome Gem. This gelded son of Awesome Again always comes with the same late kick no matter that distance, and should not be affected by the increase in distance. The one they will have to catch is #6 Gabriel’s Hill. He appears to be lone speed, and will take them as far as he can go. His pedigree states that he should be fine at the distance, and several close finishes at shorter distances. The buzz horse has been #2 Prince Will I Am, who is the co-2nd choice on the morning line at 4-1. He rallies from well back in the pack, and his pedigree just begs for as much distance as you can give it. The blog’s choice is a 15-1 longshot named #11 Precision Break. This son of Silver Deputy has been racing in Europe over the turf and synthetic in races no shorter than a mile and a half recently, and has plenty of stamina built in. He races on dirt for the first time on Friday, but has an American dirt pedigree on both sides. He may not have the class as some of the field, but he is worth a shot at 15-1.
Precision Break (win/place bet)
Prince Will I Am
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf – Grade 2 – 1m (turf)
This field of 14 is filled with all types of horses, and this group proved to be quite a handful to come up with a selection. I ended up on #13 Together. She is a European invader who last time out finished third in a field of 20, so the large field will not be a factor. That race was a straightaway race, and her previous races shows that she may prefer racing around a turn. While she goes two turns for the first time, she should not have a problem with the distance. The favorite is #7 Winter Memories. This daughter of international known turf sire El Prado won the Grade 3 Miss Grillo Stakes last out at Belmont in fine fashion, with a burst she blew by the field and caught the eye of this blogger. She figures to be a short price favorite to remain undefeated, and one has to worry whether she will get encounter traffic problems. #11 More Than Real comes in off a 2nd place finish in the Grade 3 Natalma at Woodbine, behind the #10 New Normal, but that race was around one turn. In her maiden win, More Than Real won a two-turn race at Saratoga rather nicely. She could spice up the exotics at 10-1. While I like Together, this race looks like a good spot to spread in the multi-race wagers if you think the favorites are vulnerable.
More Than Real
Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint – Grade 1 – 7 furlongs
The first Grade 1 on the day is the Filly & Mare Sprint. This race has a full field of 14, and anyone of about 9 horses has a chance at winning this race. There are many speed types, a good amount of stalkers, and a few closers mixed in. The 7 furlongs distance is a specialist distance, and some may struggle to get that final furlong. The morning line favorite is #13 Rightly So, who hopes to continue her lifetime streak of never finishing off the board. She won the Grade 1 Ballerina last time out at Saratoga. She is a true speedball, and look to take the field wire to wire. However, her last win was over a track that was very speed-favoring, and will certainly find company on the front end. The defending champion is #4 Informed Decision. She won this race over a synthetic surface, in which is 10-12 lifetime. With the race on dirt, where she has run well, but not always her best, she looks to be vulnerable at short odds. The selection is #1 My Jen. This rapidly improving 3 year-old filly took the Grade 3 Gallant Bloom over #2 Sara Louise and #6 Moontune Missy. She relaxed a bit further off the pace than normal, and just got up. She should appreciate the extra 1/16th of a mile. At 15-1 morning line, I’m going to take chance at blowing up the toteboard. Sara Louise is another who I would use in the pick 3s & 4s, as that race was her first since November of 2009. #8 Switch and #9 Sweet August Moon ship in from Southern California, and look to maybe have a chance to add some value in the trifecta.
My Jen (WP bet)
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – Grade 1 – 1m & 1/16th
Another tough race on this Friday card, as an evenly matched group of 12 is entered. #1 Indian Gracey has been scratched due to heat in her hoof. The favorite is #8 A Z Warrior. Daughter of freshman sire Bernardini won her first race on dirt in style when capturing the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont. The extra 1/16th of a mile could prove to be her undoing, but she has at least shown the ability to rate. The selection is #9 Delightful Mary. This daughter of Limehouse, who has some of his greatest victories over this very Churchill Downs track, will be running on the dirt for the first time. Losing as the favorite last time out to a loose on the lead leader, she projects to be sitting about 4th or 5th going down the backstretch. Hopefully she will kick on in the stretch. Another trying dirt for the first time is #12 Tell a Kelly. This daughter of Tapit made her two-turn debut last out when finishing second to Rigoletta in the Oak Leaf. She went straight to Churchill after the race and has put together three steady drills over the surface. With Calvin Borel as her jockey, you cannot discount her at all. Also of interest is the foreign invader #2 Theyskens’ Theory, who is also sired by Bernardini, and has a classic American distance dirt pedigree. A definite spread race. Anyone with a strong opinion in here should be handsomely rewarded if correct.
Tell a Kelly
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf – Grade 1 – 1m & 3/8 – (turf)
This field is filled with international flair, as 5 nations have a chance at claiming the title. The favorite and defending champion is #7 Midday. This daughter of Oasis Dream has won her last three races this year, and looks like a strong candidate to defend her crown. She has already won at a distance further than this, and may be the shortest favorite the entire weekend. #2 Red Desire ran an okay 3rd last out in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl last out, and looks to be the one with the best chance of upsetting the favorite. She has better acclimated to the states, and should not have a problem with the distance. The best local hope is either #2 Éclair De Lune (SoCal via Germany) or #6 Harmonious.
Harmonious / Éclair De Lune (box the top 2 in an exacta. Play those over the other two in a trifecta)
Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic – Grade 1 – 1m & 1/8
For a more detail analysis, visit the Thorofan Handicapper’s Corner, where I handicapped this race. But any of you who read this blog know that I have said since April that #1 Life At Ten would win this race, and here win in the Beldame certified she will be tough to beat. I also think that all the travel Blind Luck this year catches up to her, and she finishes off the board.
Life At Ten
Malibu Prayer/Unrivaled Belle/Acoma/Acting Happy (key Life at Ten on top; put these four underneath in the exacta and trifecta).
There is the rundown for Friday’s Breeders’ Cup races. Tomorrow brings thought on Saturday’s card. Until then, good capping and great betting!