Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Main Track) (Dirt) 7f
The Breeders’ Cup races on Day 2 of the Championships kick off with the Filly & Mare Sprint. Nine horses will take to the track to compete for USD$1,000,000 over seven furlongs.
With the dirt track riding very dead on Friday, pace horses are favoured more so than before this weekend at Santa Anita. In this race, however, no pace horse has held on to hit the board but this should be the year to buck the trend judging by the way the track is riding. Recency is less of a key factor in this one, with horses such as Fines City and Judy The Beauty won after their previous runs being in August/September.
The huge pace bias at the track favours the home-trained Bellafina (USA) who has the top early pace figures in the race, however she needs to break well in order to utilise it. The Quality Road filly should also be out of favour with the punters as a result of poor away days at Parx, Saratoga and Churchill Downs, and therefore should be a decent price in the betting. She does, however, have an unbeaten record at Santa Anita on both the turf and the dirt. Simon Callaghan is a wise operator and will not doubt have her in great shape for this one.
Covfefe (USA) has produced the best figures in the field along with Come Dancing (USA), but Danuska’s My Girl (USA) is another track specialist and produced a 114 performance the last time she ran at Santa Anita. The Dan Ward trained filly is also the pace horse of the race and has produced speed figures equitable to those of Covfefe (USA), however, her run style is to make the pace so she shapes up well to succeed on this front running Santa Anita track. The main concern is the ability of Danuska’s My Girl (USA) to stay the distance.
The other consideration in the race is Come Dancing (USA), who has won 4 of her last 5 starts and has finished out of the frame just twice in her whole career. Carlos Martin has done a cracking job to keep the daughter of Malibu Moon performing at the highest level so consistently and she certainly is the class horse in the race.
Danuska’s My Girl (USA) should go forwards with Selcourt (USA) and give Covfefe (USA), Come Dancing (USA) and Bellafina (USA) a target to stalk. Covfefe (USA) heads the market and looks the horse to beat considering the latekick implied probabilities. Bellafina (USA), however, has to be given consideration at a double figure price, while the consistency of Come Dancing (USA) is undoubtedly the punters friend.
3. Come Dancing
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Turf) 5f
The Breeders Cup Turf Sprint is emblematic of the European effort at the Breeders’ Cup; In a race you think there would be ample competition from the region supposedly superior on the turf, the region fields no runners in the race.
Much like the Juvenile Turf Sprint, the Turf Sprint has been shortened and the omission of the downhill chute and the shortening of the race to five furlongs completely changes the complexion of the race; previously horses would benefit from an outside draw on the downhill course whereas now a presser or pace horse from an inside post has the greatest advantage.
Peter Miller has targeted the race with a strong trio of sprinters, while Doug O’Neill is the next best with two saddled for the USD$1,000,000 contest.
Miller’s worst drawn horse - Belvoir Bay (USA) - appears to have the best chance out of his trio and the fact she last ran in June is a positive with her best runs coming when fresh. On the other hand, Totally Boss (USA) is in great form at the moment and the draw in stall one is not a worry considering he’s won from stall two before. Stubbins (USA) has also run well of late and has a good kick so is certainly one to consider.
Miller’s Belvoir Bay (USA), however, is the class horse in the race and has produced the best figures despite not hitting the frame as much as some of her counterparts. The draw should not be a huge disadvantage here and with some decently early pace she should get the job done
1. Belvoir Bay
2. Totally Boss
Big Ass Fans Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Main Track) (Dirt) 1m
The Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile has attracted plenty of attention, not only because of the Big Ass Corporation’s astute sponsorship of the event, but also because of the inclusion of a true star in US racing.
Omaha Beach (USA) lines up in the Dirt Mile instead of the sprint despite being exceptionally gifted over both distances. It is hard to look past the son of War Front in this one considering he not only has the best form in the race, but also a Hall of Fame trainer (Richard Mandela) and a prolific jockey (“Big Money Mike” Smith) in his corner.
He trumps the field with his figures and has an exceptional comeback story to bolster the gravity of any positive result in the race. The majority of the racing wise guys believe he would have won the Derby had he not been out with a serious injury and his exceptional comeback run only added to that fire.
Mandela’s colt, however, is up against quality horses and there are none more able of giving Mike Smith’s mount a run for his money than Coal Front (USA), Improbable (USA), and Blue Chipper (USA). Coal Front (USA) enjoys running a big race and has done so a few times in his career, while Improbable (USA) boasts consistent performance ratings from 113-119 and is therefore a threat if Omaha Beach (USA) runs under par.
The latter, Blue Chipper (USA), will go off at a decent price and is somewhat of a freak and has experience on deep tracks that are similar to the way Santa Anita has been riding this year. The Korean raider also has the best jockey in California on board and should out-perform his odds, if not hit the frame and give Omaha Beach (USA) something to think about.
1. Omaha Beach
2. Blue Chipper
3. Coal Front
Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Turf) 1m2f
The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf shaped up to be one of the best races on the card when Aidan O’Brien alluded to Magical (IRE) entering over the Turf. The fairytale battle of Magical (IRE) vs Sistercharlie, however, was quashed when Magical (IRE) spiked a temperature just before she was set to leave to the states.
As a result, the race is really Sistercharlie’s to lose. The Chad Brown trained filly Is undoubtedly the best horse in the race given her performances against classy fields. In addition, Chad Brown is pretty dominant in the races and has loaded his best shots in the 2019 renewal. She runs fairly prominently which is certainly a positive given the way both tracks are riding and has the metal completely over her American counterparts, so with no legitimate European challenger she looks the one to bet at any price above evens.
The main play in this race is to figure which horses will follow the dominant five-year-old filly home. Fleeting (IRE) has produced decent figures consistently but is an unknown here given how poorly O’Brien horses performed on the first day of the Championships, while Billesdon Brook is exceptional at bucking trends and has a couple of big price wins to her name, including her last two runs - of which the latter was her best performance to date.
Of the other Europeans, only one stands out and that’s Fanny Logan (IRE) who has an abhorrent draw but may be able to overcome it given the distance of the race. She comes into this off the back of a top class performance at Newmarket, has plenty of room for improvement as a three year old and with the old master on board she could spring a surprise at a decent price.
Finally, Vasilika (USA) loves the track and therefore is worth consideration, while history does often repeat itself and Mrs. Sippy (USA) ran second to Sistercharlie (IRE), so is worth consideration for exotics at a price – especially if horses begin to pick up the leaders on the Turf this Saturday. Mrs Slippy has the best late speed in the race.
2. Mrs Sippy
3. Billesdon Brook/Vasilika
Breeders' Cup Sprint (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Main Track) (Dirt) 6f
The Breeders’ Cup Sprint is shaping up to be one of the more exciting contests of the meeting with nine speedsters going to post to contest the USD$2,000,000 prize.
The race is rammed full of exceptional speed and is set to be the most exciting race in terms of the actual running, alongside the renewal of the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
The ante post favourite, Mitole (USA), looks worth every bit of money coming for him. The Steve Asmussen trained colt comes into this off the back of a screamer at Saratoga, where he posted a performance rating of 125 and boasts a speed rating in the top three of the field. With a near perfect record, Mitole (USA) has never finished out of the frame and has already beaten a few in the field in prep races, however the draw of post position four is a slight negative in the context of the track running dead given he does not have the best early pace in the race.
Of the other older horses in the race, Catalina Cruiser (USA) is primed for a big run with John Saddler alluding to his proficiency around one turn as opposed to the two turns he had previously contested. The son of Union Rags posted some monster figures as a 4yo and still has the potential to replicate them after some classy work at Santa Anita this week - especially when considering he is unbeaten in South California.
The main pick in the race, however, is Shancelot (USA). By Shanghai Bobby out of an Is It True mare, Jose Ortiz’s mount is built for pure speed and boasts the figures to support his pedigree. He tops the field in average late speed, total speed, and recent performance figures, consistently performing around 115 pounds in his last three runs. With Ortiz on board he’s in good hands, but will have to watch out for Imperial Hint (USA) who has produced exceptional performances in his last three runs and looks to have the highest ceiling of the field albeit at six years old.
That said, there should be improvement to come from Shancelot (USA), and if there is then he is a great chance to win the race. With the track riding the way it is, Shancelot (USA) has a really upside, while Catalina Cruiser (USA), Mitole (USA), and Imperial Hint (USA) will all be there or thereabouts.
2. Imperial Hint
3. Catalina Cruiser/Mitole
TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Turf) 1m
The Breeders’ Cup Mile has historically provided a few big prices in the frame and this race should be no different.
Generally horses prepping in Europe get a leg up in the race and closing types on the turf are less favoured in the Mile for one reason or another. While it’s also important to note that US based horses producing a lifetime top pastime out generally underperform in the race.
Despite Europe bringing over a depleted and somewhat week string of horses, the Breeders’ Cup Mile looks to be the most likely opportunity of scoring for the region. Circus Maximus (IRE) heads the market off the back of a decent performance at Longchamp, beating Romanised and Line Of Duty - a Breeders’ Cup winner.
Uni sits second favourite for Chad Brown but is somewhat false given the gap in figures to the favourite, while Carla Gaines saddles the older stalwart Bolo (USA), who is certainly one to watch being seven years old and still performing at such a high level.
Lord Glitters (FR) had been tipped up in the week but it is hard to see how his run style would suit on ground that he has never produced an exceptional performance on. In this one it’s best to keep it simple and it shapes up as a very chalky race with the Euros potentially bagging the trifecta with sleepers like Suedois (FR) coming into the race off the back of a good performance over at Keeneland.
Space Traveller also looks to have a decent chance with an astute trainer bringing him over with his own jockey off the back of a Group 2 win at Leopardstown. Circus Maximus (IRE), however, should be too good for the field though if there is any domestic horse to upset a Euro trifecta, it could be Got Stormy (USA) who comes into this in great form.
1. Circus Maximus
2. Got Stormy
Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (Grade 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Main Track) (Dirt) 1m1f
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff sees yet another short price favourite grace the track at Santa Anita. The market dominance of Midnight Bisou (USA), however, is not as a result of lack of class in the field with four other winners of ‘Win And You’re In’ series races in Blue Prize (ARG), Paradise Woods (USA), Ollie’s Candy (USA), and Street Band (USA).
Midnight Bisou (USA) is undoubtedly the class horse in the field coming into the race unbeaten in seven starts in 2019. Her seven wins included three Grade 1, two Grade 2, and two Grade 3 races from which she amassed USD$1,845,000 in prize money. This one shouldn’t be as straightforward as her previous victories, with the Midnight Lute filly facing one of the major players in the older mare division.
Argentine-bred Blue Prize (ARG) comes into this off the back of a classy win in this Spinster (G1), in which she beat Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Elate (USA) and Joe Bravo’s mount will most likely present the best value in the field with a profile that is less popular with the public.
Having also run in the Spinster (G1) off the back of a 50-day break, Dunbar Road (USA) ran like a horse that wasn’t fully fit yet still finished third and therefore poses a decent threat to the favourite alongside Blue Prize (ARG).
Midnight Bisou has posted consistently top-class figures all year, recording a performance rating of 120 in three of her last four starts, which is 7lb above the next best in the field. Although very short, Midnight Bisou ‘s price is warranted and represents a fair indication of her true probability of winning, but if there is an upset then it’s most likely to come from Blue Prize (ARG) who rates a good value selection.
1. Blue Prize
2. Midnight Bisou
3. Dunbar Road
Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Turf) 1m4f
The Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf probably poses the greatest prospect of a European winner as twelve take to the turf to compete for a USD$4,000,000 purse.
This years renewal sees the Derby winner - Anthony Van Dyck (IRE) - return to the Breeders Cup in the hope of avenging his terrible run at Churchill Downs in last years’ Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. His trainer, Aidan O’Brien also saddles Mount Everest (IRE) in the race who, much like his name, faces a lofty task to get near the frame in this one. That said, Aidan O’Brien second strings are often overlooked in the betting and can sometimes offer value.
The ability of Alounak (FR) is somewhat of an unknown but form lines with Old Persian would suggest that the German raider is out of the running in this one. The latter, however, will be spearheading the European attack in the race and comes into this one off the back of a win in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (Grade 1) at Woodbine but still falls short of the best Domestic contenders on figures.
Bricks And Mortar (USA) stands out from the field and comes into the race off the back of a lifetime best performance at Arlington Park, however the Chad Brown stayer has not experienced Santa Anita before. Of the other domestics, Arklow (USA) has produced consistently good figures and is peaking at the right time; he will have no trouble staying the distance and should run a cracker this Saturday.
1. Bricks And Mortar
3. Anthony Van Dyck
Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Main Track) (Dirt) 1m2f
The 2019 renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Classic is one of the most open races to date.
Surprisingly, McKinzie (USA) is the morning line favourite despite losing last time out to Mongolian Groom (USA) in the Awesome Again Stakes (Grade 1), in which the Street Sense colt showed similar frailties when coming under pressure that he encountered earlier in his career. Considering there are also concerns of his ability to stay one-and-a-quarter miles at the highest level, McKinzie (USA) is one to avoid and is great from a betting perspective taking out a decent chunk of the market.
Mongolian Groom’s performance in the Awesome Again was a one off and he should struggle to reproduce the same again against an all-star field. The real battle in the race is between Vino Rosso (USA) and Code Of Honor (USA).
The latter is ultra consistent with a range of 114-117 performances in his last four races, which comprised of two wins and a second at grade one level and a win in a grade three at Belmont. He’s certainly one to trust with regard to consistency of performance, much like the main competition in Vino Rosso (USA). The battle between the pair also comes with exceptional drama after Code Of Honor (USA) was promoted to first last time out as a result of interference from Vino Rosso (USA) in an incident that certainly wouldn’t have been presided over in the UK.
Yoshida (JPN) is in with an each-way shout given his consistency and versatility to ship long distances and hit the frame.
In terms of value, War Of Will (USA) looks as though he is a sleeper and should go of at a decent price having been at 33/1 earlier in the week. The son of War Front has recently been fitted with blinkers and Mark Casse confirmed a stark improvement in work runs while being pretty keen on the long shot.
The talk of the track has been that War Of Will is nowhere near good enough but even just a repeat of his performance last time out (without the newly fitted blinkers on) would land him on the edge of the frame. He’s certainly one for the exotics behind Code Of Honor (USA) and Vino Rosso (USA).
1. Code Of Honour
2. Vino Rosso
3. War Of Will
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Grade 2) (2yo) (Turf) 5f
Twelve speedsters line up for the third renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. This years’ field will contest for the USD$1,000,000 prize over a shortened distance as a result of safety precautions taken by the track to minimise the possibility of injury.
With the iconic downhill chute closed for the Breeders’ Cup sprints, the field will run over five furlongs round one bend and head down one of the shortest home stretches in US horse racing, which has severely downgraded the chances of some of the European raiders.
The draw produced a nice set up in the race with the best early speed out wide in stall nine in the form of Four Wheel Drive (USA), which may force the hand of Chimney Rock (USA) and Dream Shot (USA) in stalls one and four respectively.
Despite having Jamie Spencer on board, Archie Watson-trained Band Practice will want to get out early to produce his signature front running race. The 2yo son of Society Rock, however, will have to overcome his quirkiness when jumping out of the stalls to get on the pace early.
Encoder (USA) should benefit if the inside carries the early pace, but a good break from Four Wheel Drive (USA) from an outside stall would force the likes of Chimney Rock, Band Practice (IRE), Another Miracle and Dream Shot back in the field on the rail and severely degrade their chances.
At the same time, such a break will set the race up nicely for A’Ali (IRE) and potentially Kimari (USA) with stalking runs. In other words, the inside post positions could see a similar fate to last years favourite Soldiers Call.
Although there is very little historical data available for the race - now only in its third year - a winning profile shapes up with a sharp run in the horse’s prep race, previous experience on turf, best figure last time out and experience over further than five furlongs. For fillies in the race, it’s also important they’ve run against colts before.
As they say - the market never lies, in particular in this contest. Kimari (USA) and Four Wheel Drive (USA) look to have the best shots in the race; Kimari having won three of her four starts with her only loss coming in adverse conditions in a deep sprint at Royal Ascot and Four Wheel Drive (USA) having the early pace to have the edge to avoid traffic on the bend and hit the short home stretch in front - a major hinge point of the race.
The Ward-trained Filly receives weight off the boys but probably doesn’t have the exceptional early pace of Four Wheel Drive (USA) so she should stalk her stable mate. Velasquez’s mount, however, is yet to hit the winning post in front in a graded race - something which the American Pharoah colt, Four Wheel Drive (USA), did manage second time out.
Despite finishing second, Kimari’s Ascot performance was exceptional given the circumstances and she has produced better figures than her two stablemates in the race. Cambria (USA) sits in the outside post position as Wesley Ward’s deservedly third string and shouldn’t have a look in if the race goes to form, but you can’t write off a Ward 2yo sprinter - especially considering the price (12/1).
While the Europeans haven’t shown up well in the previous two renewals and the bend adding another variable for the straight course sprinters, A’Ali (IRE) provides a very interesting angle sitting third in the market and having had a private gallop round the bend at Wolverhampton in preparation for this challenge.
Essentially having a pacemaker one inside him, Simon Crisford’s colt will have ample opportunity to stalk the pace and stay out of trouble round the bend from his wide position. Dettori’s mount has produced the most consistent top-quality figures in the race and the former champion jockey has a promising attitude about his chances which is a big positive.
King Neptune (USA), however, provides the best value in the race at 20/1. His best figures came last time out at Newmarket in the Middle Park Stakes (Group 1) over six furlongs, which also stands as the joint best figure in the race, tied with the performance of A’Ali (IRE) in the Norfolk Stakes (Group 2).
The War Front colt is undoubtedly primed and hitting the form of his life for the biggest race of his career to date. The fast going is also a positive for Ryan Moore’s mount. Aidan O’Brien confirmed: “We think the fast ground is key to him. The better the ground, the better he’ll be”. The Coolmore colt should get the same lead into the race as A’Ali (IRE) and looks a live chance at a big price.
This race really is a battle between the top three in the market and A’Ali (IRE) draws the biggest negative of the trio with his inexperience sprinting around one turn despite having some practice at Wolverhampton in the lead up. Kimari (USA) receives weight off Four Wheel Drive (USA) and should just edge it in this one.
3. Four Wheel Drive
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf presented by Coolmore (Grade 1) (2yo Colts, Geldings & Ridglings) (Turf) 1m
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf has been dominated by European shippers when hosted at Santa Anita, with European raiders winning five of the last six runnings of the race when hosted at the Southern California track.
Coolmore have enjoyed success with horses such as Wrote, George Vancouver, Hootenanny, Mendelssohn and have won four out of the past nine races since the turn of the decade. Their retained trainer, Aidan O’Brien, has also trained four winners of the race since 2010, including all but one of Coolmore’s winners.
The best trainer of Juvenile Turf winners is among a group of successful European trainers, however, with European’s being responsible for eight of the last twelve champion horses. An illustrious trio of Appleby, Gosden, and O’Brien stand responsible for such dominance, though the latter is the only trainer to saddle a live chance in this year’s renewal and will send Arizona (IRE) and Fort Myers (USA) to post on Friday.
The former looks to have everything going for him and is rightly heading the market. The son of No Nay Never should benefit from the track bias towards pressers and horses coming off the pace and has performance ratings far superior to the rest of the field. Even a run 10lbs below his best would do the job in this race, and even then the next best will be Fort Myers (USA). Arizona (IRE) has been running in behind the highest rated juvenile since Celtic Swing in Pinatubo, so there is no surprise he doesn’t have more 1s in his form.
Arizona (IRE) has consistently produced figures of over 100 since his second start and is coming into the race off the back of a career best performance rating of 117, which is 14lbs higher than any of the domestic contenders’ best performance.
If anything is to come out of the American milers, Decorated Invader (USA) and Structor (USA) look like the biggest threats in the field and shape. The latter, however, is trained by Chad Brown who usually has his colts over-bet and represents poor value in the market - especially considering he is yet to win this race.
This contest looks to be dominated by the couple of Euros in the field again this year and Arizona (IRE) should do the job barring any major issues in-running, while Decorated Invader (USA) should be one to hit the frame out of the domestic charges.
2. Decorated Invader
3. Fort Myers
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) (2yo Fillies) (Main Track) (Dirt)1m½f (1m110y)
This year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies renewal comprises of four main contenders with Bast (USA) heading a fairly open top of the market, followed by Donna Veloce (USA), British Idiom (USA), and Wicked Whisper (USA). Interestingly, however, renewals of this race hosted at Santa Anita have produced two of the longest price winners in the history of the race - a race that usually has offered little value in the frame elsewhere in the country.
Historically, pace and presser types have accounted for a majority of the winners of this race when run on dirt however closers have often picked up the pieces behind a pace winner. While when hosted at Santa Anita, horses that had their last prep race at the home track have won three of the last four runnings. Both Donna Veloce (USA) and Bast (USA) won their prep races at Santa Anita, while a sleeper lower down in the field K P Dreamin (USA) trailed Bast (USA) home in third in her prep.
Simon Callaghan is looking to make history in this years’ Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies by winning with a filly off the back of only one career start; Donna Veloce will line up as the most inexperienced horse in the field which is a major negative in the context of the race’s trends.
Bast (USA), on the other hand has registered three starts and a career best rating of 120 last time out, achieving five clicks better than her second start in what is a definitely progressive profile. To put it in context, Donna Veloce (USA) could only manage a performance rating of 95 when breaking her maiden, and although that was four pounds better than Bast’s maiden performance, she will need to improve an unprecedented amount to beat Bast, among other top performers in the field at their best.
Away from the chalk, British Idiom (USA) progressed off the back of her maiden to win the Alcibiades (Grade 1) - a prep race capable of producing a winner of the Juvenile Fillies - and looks to be the best choice outside the favourite assuming she comes forward from her second start. The eyecatcher of the field, however, is K P Dreamin (USA), who produced a performance rating of 114 last time out when trailing Bast (USA) home and could be dangerous if the favourite runs below par.
Wicked Whisper (USA) looks set to take the early pace alongside Donna Veloce (USA), which will allow the likes of Bast (USA), British Idiom (USA), and K P Dreamin (USA) to get a nice lead into the race and close to hit the frame. As a result, Bob Barrett’s filly looks a fair favourite but we could easily see one of either British Idiom (USA) or K P Dreamin (USA) shocking the Santa Anita crowd when having a tiring and inexperienced target like Donna Veloce (USA) to run at down the back end of the home stretch.
2. British Idiom
3. K P Dreamin
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1) (2yo Fillies) (Turf) 1m
The Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf has been an uncharacteristically tough race for European-trained horses on the turf. European raiders have won the race just twice out of the eleven runnings of the race since its inception in 2008. Both wins came from fillies with a similar profile and a late closing run style.
The master trainer in the race, however, is Chad Brown. The New York based trainer has dominated the Juvenile Fillies Turf, winning 4 of the last 5 renewals of the race (including a win last time the Championships were hosted at Santa Anita).
Despite having a poor record in the race, the European contingent this year looks a promising group albeit with no stand-out stars. Shadn (IRE) comes into the race off the back of a win in the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte (Group 2) over 6f. A step up in trip could suit given she is by a mare out of Sadler’s Wells, however, the No Nay Never filly is bred to have speed which should suit given the historically more tactically run nature of the race.
Europe also fields two of the best juvenile fillies in the UK. Daahyeh has proven class and comes into this off the back of a Rockfel Stakes (Group 2) win at Newmarket, while Irish-trained Albigna (IRE) ran exceptionally well to win the Prix Marcel Boussac (Group 1) at Longchamp over the same distance as this Friday’s contest.
Chad Brown saddles Selflessly (USA) and doesn’t look as though he will continue his dominance with a filly that has produced some of the worst figures in the field. On the other hand, his Irish adversary Aidan O’Brien has had little luck in this race and his fillies should typically be avoided, especially when the race is held at Santa Anita.
He saddles Etoile (USA) and Tango (IRE). Etoile (USA) broke her maiden in a Group 3 at Naas first time out, while the prolific Irish trainer has put a lot of runs into her stablemate, Tango (IRE). The No Nay Never filly, however, won her freshening prep race in mid-October with her best ever performance and produced top-standard figures in her two runs prior – she certainly looks to be in decent form at the right time of the year.
Of the domestics, Fair Maiden (USA) has produced the best figures and looks a live chance at a big price, while the best American on implied probability has showed very little to suggest she is much better than European Raider Living In The Past (IRE), who is double the price of Jose Ortiz’s mount.
This year looks to be one to buck the historical trends with Albigna (IRE) rightly heading the market. Despite lacking success in this race, O’Brien brings a horse with a good amount of scope in Etoile (USA) and a horse in great form in Tango (IRE) and should hit the board with one of them. Fair Maiden (USA) will be in the mix for the domestics, while Selflessly (USA) and Sweet Melania (USA) look to be the negatives of at their prices.
2. Fair Maiden
TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade 1) (2yo Colts, Geldings & Ridglings) (Main Track) (Dirt)1m½f (1m110y)
Following the scratching of Maxfield (USA) as a result of a foot abscess, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile was all but reduced to a head to head instead of a three way challenge in the markets.
Dennis’ Moment (USA) and Eight Rings (USA) can’t be separated at 13/8 a piece in the betting which is suggestive of the inferiority of the majority of the rest of the field. Eight Rings has posted the best figure in the race, registering a performance rating of 123 last time out at Santa Anita, while Dennis’ Moment posted a 121 when winning the Iriquois (G3) at Churchill Downs in September. Dennis’ Moment also seems to have the more progressive profile of the two horses so his best performances at lower grades than the grade 1 winning Eight Rings (USA) can likely be built upon.
The early pace in the race comes from Wrecking Crew (USA) who just edges joint-favourite Eight Rings (USA) for the best pace out of the gate. This poses an issue for the son of Empire Maker as a fight for the lead is a certain negative in the context of the race. In addition, considering only one pace or one presser horse has finished in the superfecta each year there’s certainly value to be found in horses coming off the pace.
Mike Smith’s mount, Scabbard (USA) is the value in the field and should hit the frame at a decent price. As long as he is in touch with the leading group his closing run style will suit albeit on a short straight and the son of More Than Ready is indeed primed and ready for the race having achieved a career best performance rating of 117 last time out at Churchill Downs.
The race should shape up with Wrecking Crew (USA) and Eight Rings (USA) going forward, with Dennis’ Moment (USA) stalking if he is able to avoid being swallowed up in the pack from stall one. Scabbard should come late with a closing run and is good enough to pick up the pieces if not to cause a shock upset. Eight Rings (USA) will feel at home having won at Santa Anita last time out and such a home advantage counts for a lot at the Breeders’ Cup. Iran Ortiz’s mount, however, has won away from home at Ellis Park and has a more favourable run style than Eight Rings (USA).
Generally, one of the favourites have won most editions of this race run at Santa Anita so it’s a wise move to follow the chalk. Dennis’ Moment (USA) looks set to build on his Grade 3 win if he can handle the track and Scabbard (USA) is a great outsider to have in your armoury and should pick up the pieces either side of Eight Rings (USA).
1. Dennis’ Moment
3. Eight Rings
This year, the Breeders’ Cup returns to Santa Anita for a record 10th time in the Championship’s 36-year history, bringing arguably more discussion about the track than the exceptional class of animal competing on the 1st & 2nd of November.
Last week’s pre-entries created an air of excitement around a deep Juvenile Sprint and the potential clash between Magical and Sistercharlie in the Filly and Mare Turf - the seemingly preferred race of Magical’s connections despite their official first preference of the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The main talking point today, however, was the withdrawal of Magical just 15 minutes before the Galileo filly was set to leave Ballydoyle. Unfortunately, a spiked-temperature for the four-time Group 1 winner denied fans the most interesting clash of the week - a supposed course of nature that will now see Magical head to the breeding sheds for likely another illustrious career as a broodmare.
Of the other pre-entries, Catalina Cruiser left Omaha Beach alone in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with John Saddler’s official preference for the five-year-old being in the Sprint, having suggested the son of Union Rags went better around one turn earlier in the week.
Chad Brown had fired two shots in the Juvenile Fillies Turf with Princess Caroline and Selflessly, who were to come up against three quality European raiders in Shadn (IRE), Daahyeh, and Albigna (IRE), while Eight Rings (USA), Dennis’ Moment (USA), Maxfield (USA), and Scabbard (USA) remained live chances for a clash in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Friday.
Much like the Juvenile, the majority of the battles across the meeting shaped up to be a spectacular contest, however the post position of horses often changes the complexion of the fields at the Breeders’ Cup and that can be even more exaggerated at Santa Anita.
Typically, it’s a track that is overtly biased to home-based and California-trained runners, Santa Anita’s quirks make top-class racing just that bit tougher for horses travelling to the track for the first time. In particular, horses tend to struggle closing on the dirt because Santa Anita has one of the shortest home stretches in horse racing, measuring at just 990 feet on the dirt track. The turf, however, is not exempt of issues, particularly in this year’s running of the Championships which will see the Juvenile Turf Sprint and the Turf Sprint run over five-and-a-half furlongs as a result of speculation over track safety. For the European shippers in these races, the configuration of 5.5f around one tight turn poses serious problems for straight course UK sprinters.
In general, the home contenders seemed content with the post positions dealt from the draw, however the allocation threw up a few issues for some connections on both days of the championships. In particular, Arizona (IRE) copped a tough draw out in stall 12 of 12 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, though he still looks the standout player in the race despite the slight handicap.
Of the other European players, Daahyeh looks to have profited the most and will be leaving the stalls from gate 5; considering her run style, she will be able to stalk the pace and capitalise.
On Saturday, the draw pulled no major upsets with the most interesting duel coming in the Filly and Mare Turf between Billesdon Brook, Fleeting (IRE), and Sistercharlie (IRE) lining up alongside one another. Fleeting (IRE) has a plum draw in stall three with Ryan Moore on board, but will bump into a superstar in the form of Sistercharlie (IRE), who has stall two and should capitalise from a perfect post position come Saturday.
Circus Maximus (IRE) takes stall nine in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile and may struggle to stalk and produce a typical grinding run against the front runners if there is early pace on the inside of the field at the rail. In the same race, the stars may have aligned for Lord Glitters (FR) drawn in the 12 berth. Considering the run style of David O’Meara’s contender with Jamie Spencer on board and a draw that is perfect for late closers, owners Geoff and Sandra Turnbull have a great opportunity on their hands.
Finally, McKinzie remained the morning line favourite after the Classic draw which threw up no major issues for the field of 11, however, second favourite Code Of Honour will not benefit from starting in outside stall with Vino Rosso and Mongolian Groom 10 and 9 respectively.
The full draw proceedings can be viewed here