Breeders' Cup Saturday comes bringing high intrigue, high drama and a high bar to top Friday's wild outcomes. After a solid 4-for-10 yesterday, can this blog keep it up? Let's get right into the action with the first race on the card.
The first race is a entry-level allowance race for females going a one-turn mile. Two horses catch the eye here. Jump Up will be the probable favorite based off a fast maiden win in her debut at Keeneland. She has worked well here at Churchill and her pedigree states that dirt will not be a problem. The other one that catches the eye is Dreamingly. While she has never been on dirt, it doesn't look like it will be a problem. These two look like they will appreciate the one-turn and will be on or near the lead.
Pick: #8 Jump Up - Others to consider: #5 Dreamingly
Confidence Rating: 8.5; 9 that one of two will win
The second is the $65k Dream Supreme Stakes. There is a very vulnerable morning line favorite.in Dancinginherdreams. She has not shown much improvement from her two year old form (which included a win here) and looks to be beatable. Grandacious has a chance to gate to wire, but can pass if needed; Salty Strike is 3-for-4 over the Churchill Downs track; Splendor Town has shown occasionally ability that could win this at a big number.
Pick: #8 Salty Strike - Others to consider: #1 Grandacious, #9 Splendor Town
Confidence Rating: 8.5; 9.6 that one of the three will win, 10 that Dancinginherdreams will not win.
BC Marathon is the first big race of the day. This blog is just taking a stab in this race, as it has no real opinion. Birdrun looks like he might be able to go gate-to-wire here in this 14 furlong race.
Pick: #1 Birdrun
Confidence Rating: 1, as the scale does not go any lower.
Next up is the Juvenile Turf. Another tough race where contention runs deep. The very tepid selection is Wrote. This son of multiple BC Turf winner High Chapparal has won two of four, with the two wins coming on courses with turns (albeit right-handed). The others this blog would use in multi-race exotics are the undefeated on turf Finale, Bourbon runner-up Coalport and another Euro in Caspar Netscher.
Pick: #5 Wrote - Others to consider: #13 Finale, #6 Coalport, #7 Caspar Netscher.
Confidence Rating: 3.3
The Sprint is another tough race, though this blog is going to take a stand. The pick is Force Freeze. He blew away the competition in first start in the U.S back in July. He valiantly tried to get to fellow runner Giant Ryan last time out when he just could not get there while running against a speed-favoring track at Belmont. He has two nice works and looks to have first jump on the closers.
Pick: #6 Force Freeze
Confidence Rating: 6.7
The Turf Sprint starts the $3m Ultra Pick 6 with a well-matched full field of 14. The pick is Regally Ready, as he has experience over the course, a solid post, can be on the lead but does not need it. If one wants to look past him, it becomes a wide open affair with many, many options.
Pick: #8 Regally Ready
Confidence Rating: 5.5 (Turf sprints at Churchill Downs is not one of my strengths)
The BC Dirt Mile is a race that has a short history but all of its winners have one thing in common: They all ran their last race at nine furlong. The only member of the field to do that was Tres Borrachos. But his form is very suspect and he will be used only because of the above angle. The pick is Irrefutable. Coming off a good second in the Ancient Title, the "other Baffert" looks to finally get his chance at this extended sprint. With a win over the track earlier in the year, he looks primed for a big effort. The other horse being used is Trappe Shot. The whole year this son of Tapit has been running at six furlongs, and each time this blog played against him. Now he finally stretches out to a distance that allows him to use his track-and-attack skills to better use, he can get the jump on likely favorite Caleb's Posse.
Pick: #6 Irrefutable - Others to consider: #9 Trappe Shot, #4 Tres Borrachos
Confidence Rating: 6.9; 9 that one of these three is the winner.
This blog's thoughts on the Breeders' Cup Turf can summed up with one sentence: "Any European-based horse that gets beat by an American based horse isn't allowed back on the plane to Europe."
Pick: #1 St. Nicholas Abbey (because he is the 1st Euro they will load into the gate) - Others to consider: The other four Euros: #2 Sarafina, #6 Await The Dawn, #7 Sea Moon, #9 Midday
Confidence Rating: 4; 10 that a Euro will win.
The Juvenile is another Classic East-West match-up as Champagne winner Union Rags faces off vs. Norfolk winner Creative Cause. This blog is going to go out on a limb and not pick either or those or Norfolk runner-up and Del Mar Futurity winner Drill. Instead the pick is Champagne runner-up Alpha. Making his first start around two turns is a big key for a horse his trainer said is still learning the game. Along with Dullahan, this is another spread race.
Pick: #9 Alpha - Others to consider: #7 Creative Cause, #2 Dullahan, #4 Drill, #10 Union Rags
Confidence rating: 4, 9.5 that the winner is one of those five listed.
The race that the world cannot wait to see is the Mile, as Goldikova looks to win an unprecedented 4th straight Breeders' Cup Mile. Some say she has lost a step, some doubt whether she can win this, but to play against her is a dangerous proposition. However, this blog will have a different horse as its top pick while using the mare in everything. If she has traffic troubles and just can't find her way to the winner circles, Jeranimo could be the one to take advantage. He ran a monster race in the Oak Tree Mile and is coming blazing. He will be sitting just off of Sidney's Candy, and when that one loses the lead in the stretch, he will have first jump on the come-from-behind horses. At a big price, he is worth a flyer.
Pick: #7 Jeranimo - Others to consider: #1 Goldikova
Confidence rating: 4; 9 that if he doesn't pull the upset, she completes the 4-peat.
So here we are at the main event, the Classic. This blog makes no apologies for being a huge fan of Flat Out. Since the beginning, way back before this blog was even a possibility, way back in late 2008, Flat Out caught the attention of this writer. He was at one point the choice for the Derby. Thought to be another casualty of the Derby trail after he was hurt, he made his comeback off a 20 month layoff with a win in December. After a false start over the winter, he returned with a 2nd, then a flop in the Stephen Foster while stuck on a dying rail. Bouncing back with good performance after good performance, he won his last start to give his trainer the long sought after first Grade 1 win. Now it is his time to reward his connections with a win in the biggest race of the year. The only horses that can stand in the way of this goal is the globe-trotting So You Think and the stubborn front-runner Game On Dude. No one else scares this blog. Not Uncle Mo (too far, poor preparation), not Havre De Grace (too far), not To Honor and Serve (cannot pass, will not get the lead).
Pick: #2 Flat Out
Confidence Rating: 7.8 (So You Think wins if he takes to dirt.)
There you go, all...Wait, there's another race after the Classic? Why? "Traffic Considerations"? Alright. (looks over the PPs, cracks a big smile)
May Day Rose caps off a possible huge day for Bob Baffert by going gate-to-wire in what race caller and the current voice of the Breeders' Cup Trevor Denman " a stylish performance".
Pick: #9 May Day Rose
Confidence rating: 9.6
Good luck folks. Go Flat Out!