Breeders'Cup 2020 Analysis

Saturday 7th November 2020

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1)

Gamine comes into this following her all but unbeaten record (one DSQ having finished first past the post) being ended by Shedaresthedevil in the Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1). That said, over seven furlongs, around one turn, she remains untouchable and boasts the best speed figures in the race. She looks the part and the atmosphere around her training at the track suggests she’s been training very well too. Her early pace should carry her well out of gate 2 and she will be a tough filly to catch given prime position.

If there was one to catch her, however, it would be Serengeti Empress. The Alternation filly has posted some of her best speed figures over 7f and possesses the early speed to be prominent or in prime position to produce a run down the lengthy Keeneland stretch from a stalking position. While she was edged out by Bell’s The One on her last start, it looked as though the run was great preparation for a sterner test this Saturday, producing figures just shy of her lifetime best.

Irad Ortiz Jr. partners Come Dancing for Carlos F Martin and comes into this in career best form and has been training well since her Grade 2 win last time out; she represents value at 14/1. At a similar price, Speech is dropping back in trip and given she has shown a decent late kick in this format, she could capitalise with if there is a pace collapse. That said, Gamine is the clear pick here, with Serenget Empress being too short to warrant selection to oppose the favourite.

Gamine win (13/8)
Box forecast suggestion:
Gamine, Come Dancing, Speech


Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1)

The turf sprint should, as usual, be absolutely enthralling. Five furlongs around a bend leaves very little room for error out of the gates and despite that extreme jeopardy, HK Racing snipped last year’s winner at 16/1 so it sits fondly in the memory for analysis.

Imprimis and Leinster head the market with two-time Breeders’ Cup bridesmaid Got Stormy just in behind as third-favourite. Rather unsurprisingly Leinster and Imprimis come into this with the best speed figures in their last two performances with both finishing first past the post in those efforts.

It’s hard to split the two and, while Imprimis slightly edges it on the ceiling of his speed figures, Leinster clearly thrives at Keeneland and has cleaned up in two Grade 2 races on his two starts this season; he looks to have turned a corner following disappointment at the Breeders’ Cup last year.

Got Stormy, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have the early pace to get a favourable position out of gate 12 and all her best figures have come over a mile as opposed to the 5.5 furlong trip this Saturday.

Glass Slippers catches the eye out of a decent draw in gate 6. She comes into this off the back of her second best lifetime performance from a bad draw in the Abbaye (Group 1) and exhibited good early speed at the Curragh (‘Win and You’re In’ Derrinstown Stud Flying Five) where she booked her ticket to the Turf Sprint.

Whether that early speed matches up to that of her American adversaries in their specific conditions is yet to be seen but she certainly matches up on the base figures from the Curragh. Kevin Ryan has openly alluded to her being a better filly with cut in the ground, but she was runner up on good to firm in the King George Qatar Stakes (Group 2) at Goodwood (to Battaash) so firm may not be a massive issue.

It would be negligent to leave out the Peter Miller trained Texas Wedge, who comes into this out of form but from the yard that won it last year’s renewal at a big price. If he can re-find his penultimate performance when a close third over 6f at Belmont he should be there or there abouts and at 22/1 he’s an outsider to play under a main bet; he will need to run his race though.

Glass Slippers e/w (17/2)
Box forecast suggestion: Glass Slippers, Leinster, Texas Wedge


Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1)

History says that to be in with a chance of winning the Dirt Mile, you need to have faced Grade 1 competition before and have clocked a top performance on one of your two prep races before the Breeders’ Cup.

Art Collector struggled at Pimlico in the Preakness (Grade 1) last time out, ending a five race win streak following a foot injury that kept him out of the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) – a race in which he was considered a potential favourite against Classic contender Tiz The Law. His figures all but supported such a view and he should be considered as a serious contender if he is able to bounce back from the foot issue.

Chad Brown’s Complexity comes into this off a career best performance in the Kelso Handicap (Grade 2) over a mile. The 4yo colt has a progressive profile and coming into this in such great form installs him as the one to beat in the race. With an exceptional pilot like Jose Ortiz on board, the versatile son of Maclean’s Music has good tactical speed and everything going for him in this one.

On the other hand, Sharp Samurai has been exceptionally consistent, posting figures among the best of any horse coming into this race while knocking on the door behind top quality domestics such as Mo Forza, Maximum Security, and United in his last three starts. The eyecatching booking of Irad Ortiz Jr. by trainer Mark Glatt should aid the 6yo gelding to go one better; he looks the pick at 9/1

Sharp Samurai e/w 9/1


Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (Grade 1)

Chad Brown saddles four in the Filly and Mare Turf with Sistercharlie returning for a third bite of the cherry. This time the 6yo is joined by rank outsiders My Sister Nat and Nay Lady Nay, and her more esteemed stablemate Rushing Fall.

Rushing Fall
is three from three as a 5yo and comes in with the best figures in the field. She’s renowned for being a tough horse to get by and judging by the speed bias on day one her prominent run style should suit. She is a classy horse having won 11 of her 14 starts and now shapes up in this one with a similar layoff that Chad Brown employed on Bricks And Mortar before he won the Breeders Cup Turf last year.

Of the rest of the field, Terebellum certainly has the class to challenge the favourite but has regressed since her two career-best runs in June this summer. Aidan O’Brien trained Peaceful lacks the consistent figures to suggest she can knock off the prolific Rushing Fall, while Cayenne Pepper, on the other hand, comes in off a Moyglare Jewels Blandford (Group 2) win and is a fair proposition to hit the frame at a decent price for Jessica Harrington. That said, it really is Rushing Fall’s race to lose.

Rushing Fall win (10/3)
Box forecast suggestion: Cayenne Pepper, Rushing Fall, Terebellum.


Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade 1)

Vekoma’s withdrawal from the race has left it rather open with a number of good sprinters towards the head of the market. Yaupon unsurprisingly sits favourite, boasting an unbeaten record over sprinting distances. The 3yo colt is lightly raced, however, and hasn’t come up against the battle-hardened veteran sprinters yet so lines up somewhat untested; this is problematic considering he is a short-priced favourite.

C Z Rocket offers an interesting angle as an extremely progressive individual, coming into this off the back of a lifetime best performance since being claimed for $40,000 by Peter Miller. The Californian trainer has the midas touch when it comes to sprinters and he is probably the best placed to get one ready for this race, given he did the double with Roy H and has won the past three turf sprint renewals. With his best performances coming over six furlongs, this is a massive spot for C Z Rocket.

Diamond Oops hasn’t fired the same this year and while Frank’s Rockette has improved on last year, the 3yo filly hasn’t provided a performance yet that would suggest she has the tools to take this year’s renewal. The rest of the field don’t offer a lot of upside, though Firenze Fire and Collusion Illusion have posted season best season best performances last time out.

C Z Rocket win (9/2)
Box forecast suggestion: C Z Rocket, Collusion Illusion, Firenze Fire.


FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (Grade 1)

This mile is a very tough one to call. Kameko is a proven miler and his step back to a mile was a step in the right direction. He may well be a Newmarket specialist and while you can’t knock the untouchable concoction of Oisin Murphy, Newmarket and Kameko that landed the 2000 Guineas for Qatar racing, he has failed to do the business outside of Suffolk.

Siskin is another live contender at a decent price (10/1), he heads off to stud after this season and consequently the trainer’s hand was forced to send him to the Breeders’ Cup which suggests he may not be in the best of spots for the race in his career profile. Some improvement on his best will be needed to win this and given that he struggled to get past Circus Maximus on his two starts prior to this Keeneland foray, it may be better to look towards his adversary from Ballydoyle.

The Aidan O’Brien trained battler is exceptionally likeable. Aidan O’Brien has exuded positivity about his chances this Saturday and also pointed to his suitability to Keeneland compared to Santa Anita last year. The Galileo colt holds everything required of a European shipper, travelling (logistically) well – as seen with his 4th place last year’s renewal on the East Coast. When travelling in the race, he was denied a clear run by the wall of horses in front and had to switch out a little to stay on well for fourth – considering he was also slowly away it was a very good run and he should do better from the inside gate this time round.

This year’s Euros are met by defending champion, Uni. She follows the same prep path that led her to the title last year and comes into this off the back of a good win at Keeneland. The rest of her prep has been less than impressive, however, and her figures are lower than those produced in the same spots leading up to last year’s victory. She certainly has less upside than some of her American peers but is tried and tested and therefore cannot be overlooked; she is a steep betting proposition as second-favourite, though.

Out of the other domestics, Factor This produced two big performances coming into this and is among the leaders on recent figures. That said, he was originally heading to be somewhat of a pacemaker for Arklow in the Turf which suggests Cox doesn’t necessarily fancy his chances at the highest of elite levels. He pretty much can only go from the front and will probably look to win this in the same fashion – a racing style that has only come up trumps once in the history of the race.

Digital Age comes into this at the peak of his powers and looks a great pick at just shy of double figures out of Chad Brown’s barn. Ivar and Raging Bull met in the Shadwell Mile in preparation for this race with the former coming out on top. Both enter the race off great performances in preparation, but the odds compilers look to have the measure of their chances.

Circus Maximus e/w (12/1)
Box forecast suggestion: Circus Maximus, Digital Age, Raging Bull


Longines Breeders Cup Distaff (Grade 1)

The Distaff is an amazing prospect of a race. The exceptional mare Monomoy Girl returns of a massive lay off looking for a second career Breeders’ Cup win. She will likely come to blows with the red-hot Swiss Skydiver, the Kenny McPeek filly who outbattled Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) winner Authentic in the Preakness Stakes.

Lightly raced Valiance also threw her hat into the mix last time out with a great prep race at Keeneland. She won the Juddemonte Spinster Stakes (Grade 1) and beat the Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1) winner Shedaresthedevil easily - Shedaresthedevil also has the metal over Swiss Skydiver following that win. The Tapit filly has an ultra-progressive profile and looks to be hitting this race at the perfect time.

Elsewhere in the field, Horologist impressed last time out and is excelling under Bill Mott this summer. She had not produced a Beyer figure above 94 in her 16 starts before the switch but has since produced a 102 and 100 under Mott. Clearly rejuvenated, along with Valiance she is one to play at a big price under a main player out of the top two in the market. Valiance is preferred out of the two as a proven performer at Keeneland.

Valiance e/w (16/1)
Box forecast suggestion: Monomoy Girl, Swiss Skydiver, Valiance


Longines Breeders Cup Turf (Grade 1)

Historically in the Breeders’ Cup Turf European raiders have dominated; they’ve won 80% of the contests despite making up less than 50% of the entrants in the race. This year the Europeans make up half of the field with the great mare Magical spearheading the attack before she heads to the breeding sheds at the end of the season.

Tarnawa is unbeaten this season with two Group 1 victories to her name, but hasn’t yet produced the figures to trouble even a below average performance from Magical. Lord North has the ceiling to blow the race apart but is yet to win on quick ground and comes into this off the back of a terrible race at Ascot.

It looks as though Channel Maker will go forward in the race with United up there too and, while the pair provide the best look in for the locals, they don’t have the quality on the base form to trouble the elite European raiders. That said, domestic trained Fire At Will took yesterday’s Juvenile Turf – a race that is historically dominated by the Europeans.

Mogul, much like Tarnawa, hasn’t yet clocked the figures to go with his Group 1 winning status. He won the Grand Prix de Paris (Group 1) last time out in a statistically average performance that the handicapper clearly deemed to be very good, stamping an official rating of 119. Those heights seem to have skewed his position in the market – now second favourite – and although he is clearly a classy colt, he will need to improve further to do it against these older horses. His run style also leaves more to be desired with the switch over to the US and the racing style that comes with it.

A recent documentary on sky sports showed a clip where jockey, Pierre Charles-Boudot, was explicitly instructed to keep him covered for as long as possible and produce him late; it is hard to fathom how that will be possible here – by the time he is ‘produced’ it may be too little too late.

Magical is without doubt the legitimate favourite and this time she doesn’t have an all-time great like Enable to deal with, so it is certainly her race to lose. Mogul looks fairly short in the betting in the context of his profile, while Lord North provides the value outside of the favourite with an extremely high ceiling on his day, and being reunited with Frankie may well be the key to get him firing at that level again.

Magical win (9/4) NAP
Box forecast suggestion: Magical, Lord North


Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1)

The younger horses generally have the greater upside in this race. Kentucky Derby rivals Tiz The Law and Authentic fly the flag for the three-year-olds, while Improbable and Maximum Security are the headline contenders from the four-year-old division. Interestingly, Bob Baffert saddles three of those four contenders and will be going for his fourth Breeders’ Cup Classic since a back-to-back treble in 2014-2016.

Barclay Tagg trained Tiz The Law is without doubt the fastest of the four main protagonists and comes into this with a point to prove after losing as odds-on favourite behind Authentic in the Kentucky Derby. Despite losing out at the big dance, he has consistently posted the best figures in the three year old division and, interestingly, his loss at Churchill downs was only second best to his monster figures posted in the Holy Bull Stakes (Group 3). Since a freshening up from March to June he has only improved performance on performance so comes into this best placed since his seasonal debut.

Maximum Security has failed to reach the highs experienced in the alleged Servis doping regime since switching to Baffert’s barn and he comes into this off the back of a flat performance at his new home track. On the other hand, his stablemate and winner of that Awesome Again Stakes (Grade 1), Improbable, comes into this in exceptional form. He’s been working really well of late and last year’s Classic winner Irad Ortiz Jr. on board is a massive positive, though at 3/1 favourite he’s a tough betting prospect.

Authentic’s Kentucky derby win appears to be an anomaly with him posting lifetime best figures on the day and it appears as though he has somewhat regressed since. That said, the Preakness has proved the stumbling block for some Derby winners that go on to become fine middle-distance horses and the seemingly anomalous performance may be a representation of his ceiling as opposed to a fluke. His running style should suit and if John Velazquez can nail judging the pace, he’s on a good track to be the major player.

Finally, of the older horses, Tom’s D’Etat rolls up as a seven year old after a lengthy three month layoff. He should be competitive but will need to re-find his best performance from last year to win this one and unfortunately the layoff suggests he has had issues in preparation.

Authentic win (6/1)
Box forecast suggestion: Authentic, Tiz The Law, Improbable


Friday 6th November 2020

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Grade 2)

The Future Stars Friday opener always looks a tricky affair given the annual carnage from the jostle for position before the bend. As a result, the much touted favourite Golden Pal seemingly took an almighty knock at the post-position draw copping the car park gate 14.

That said, Wesley Ward has surprisingly gone on record saying he would have chosen 14 had he been given the chance and there is no better man to have on board to secure prime position than Irad Ortiz Jr., who blitzed the field gate-to-wire from gate 9 on last year’s favourite Four Wheel Drive. Out five wider than last year, however, poses a distinctly harder task for the Classic winner and his mount and, given he’s head and shoulders above the field in the market there’s sure to be value elsewhere.

Second in the market Bodenheimer provides a more attractive proposition with a good deal of early speed - second only to Blame The Booze – which goes hand in hand with the favourable gate-to-wire racing style that has prevailed in the two Juvenile Turf Sprints since its inception in 2018. The Valorie Lund trained colt is also coming into this off the back of his best performance to date when winning over the distance at Keeneland and, having also worked well at the track since, the course and distance winner poses a huge threat to Ward’s favourite.

While it’s a wild ride for position to hit the first bend in front in this race, Keeneland has a 1190ft stretch which is among the longest turf stretch runs in North America so there is also scope for a closing run to win it this time round, though it’ll likely show more with increased race distances. Irish raider Lipizzaner provides a refreshing angle in double figures (14/1 at the time of writing) having stayed on and closed on tiring leaders from out of the pack on the majority of its previous starts, most notably winning the Doncaster Stakes (Listed) in the same fashion on heavy ground. The longer stretch should play into his favour having shown sprinting stamina when saluting the judge last time out over 6f and hitting the frame on two of his three other starts over the same distance. The Aidan O’Brien trained colt, however, hasn’t yet run around a turn.

Of the rest, After Five poses a similar closing angle to Lipizzaner but lacks the top figures to justify winning a race of this magnitude and quality, so improvement is required to take this and while there is no better than Wesley Ward to ready a juvenile sprinter for the big stage, it should be noted Irad Ortiz Jr. has opted for Golden Pal over the plethora of contenders at his disposal (After Five included). However, by consequence, he’s partnered by a quality pilot in the form of Jose L Ortiz – Irad’s brother. Following the Ortiz name is not the worst idea in racing and the two proved that to be the case at last year’s Breeders’ Cup with Irad claiming the Annual Bill Shoemaker Award in (backing up a win in 2018), while the brothers took the spoils in 5 of the 14 cup races.

Bodenheimer e/w (10/1)
Lipizzaner e/w
Box Forecast suggestion:
Golden Pal, Bodenheimer, Lipizzaner.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1)

Chad Brown may have reigned supreme in the 2019 renewal with Structor, but it is certainly the European raiders who have dominated this race in previous years. European raiders have now won eight of the thirteen renewals of the race and have had proportionately less representation than the locals. Europe’s eight wins in the event have come from horses trained by Aidan O’Brien (4), John Gosden (2), and Charlie Appleby (2), but of those three only Aidan O’Brien fields a runner in Battleground.

While the big guns are light on ammunition, Ralph Beckett fields two and will attempt to better his 0-5 record at the Breeders’ Cup. New Mandate is clearly thriving on his racing and has improved 31lbs since copping an official mark of 81 towards the back end of August. He has a legitimate shot as a proven Group 2 winner at a mile. Dewilawa, however, seems to be more of a shot in the dark from the trainer and gives top young jockey Rossa Ryan his first ride at the Breeders’ Cup.

Favourite Battleground comes into the race off a less desirable layoff owing to a problematic back end of his summer campaign. That said, he is both a Listed and Group 2 winner from just three starts, the latter of which came at Goodwood on his last start (28th July). While it was only over seven furlongs, he is bred to stay further being by War Front out of Found (a Galileo mare) and consequently his seemingly faultless bloodline should see him thrive over a mile. The layoff shouldn’t be an issue with master trainer O’Brien being able to get them ready even under the toughest of circumstances.

The other European raiders of note are Jessica Harrington’s Cadillac and the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Group 1) winner Sealiway. The former burst on to the scene when winning his Leopardstown maiden with figures that projected him to a Group level performer. Those projections were then franked when he won the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (Group 2) over a mile, but the Lope De Vega colt subsequently ran flat on soft Ground in the Dewhurst (Group 1). That most recent run can be forgiven, and a reproduction of his Group 2 win certainly puts him in with a shout here but there are other contenders with more upside in the line-up.

Sealiway is not one of those and although an eight-length win of a Group 1 on his ultimate start was visually impressive, it was exaggerated by the deep ground on the day. The Rossi trained colt is also yet to perform on any ground better than good too soft and leaves to many question marks than the potential upside of his anomalous win last time out.

All of the European raiders line-up to take on the top US selections, Gretzky The Great and Mutasaabeq. Both have a progressive profile and cashed in last time out at 8 furlongs and upwards with both employing styles closing a leader which provides somewhat of an advantage in this race with no gate-to-wire winner in the history of the race. Gretzky The Great looks the better angle of the two given his proven higher ceiling (Grade 1 winner) and with little separating the two, he looks the best of the domestics to take on the favourite.

New Mandate win (11/2)

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1)

This year’s renewal is an all American affair with four fillies coming into the contest unbeaten. The most visually impressive of which comes out of Bob Baffert’s stable; Princess Noor has won all three starts and has a very progressive profile. The Not This Time filly comes into this winning her prep – the Chandalier Stakes (Grade 2) – with complete ease and, while the field wasn’t star studded, it theoretically cemented her position at the top of the division; this is no doubt reflected in her position at the head of the market.

Kenny McPeek saddles two of the seven in his search for a first Breeders’ Cup victory. He looks to hold the key to his search in this one with Simply Ravishing. The unbeaten filly produced somewhat of an ordinary performance to break her maiden on debut (turf), but has since switched to the dirt and produced a performance worthy of winning a Grade 2 on her second start (7 furlongs). She has subsequently backed up, winning the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (Grade 1) with figures worthy of an elite Grade 1 win and excellent finishing splits to back them up – something that hot favourite Princess Noor has yet to do.

Of the other fillies, the market Dayoutoftheoffice also comes into this off the back of her best performance to date which culminated in a classy victory in the Frizette Stakes (Grade 1) and her progressive profile certainly puts her in the mix but at just a point bigger than Simply Ravishing, the Timothy Hamm filly doesn’t appear to represent value.

Simply Ravishing win (3/1)

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1)

In stark contrast to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1), the domestic horses have dominated this race – most notably through Chad Brown, who is 5-12 since the race’s inception. Within that stretch one of his horses has saluted the judge in 4 of the last 6 races. He runs one this time round and Editor At Large is his biggest price contender in the contest joint with Rymska, who trailed home her winning stablemate New Money Honey in 2016. This is undoubtedly Chad Brown’s weakest hand to date on the face of the form, that said, it would be erroneous to write off the master trainer.

It’s hard to fault the favourite, Aunt Pearl, who comes into this 2-2 with a Grade 2 to her name and has also won over the distance before, but she’s a little short as a betting proposition at 3/1. She is joined by Plum Ali in the same category, coming into this 3-3 off the back of a win in the Miss Grillo (Grade 2) – the premier prep route for this race. Her trainer, Christophe Clement, is in search of his first Breeders Cup victory after 38 attempts.

Campanelle comes in with a faultless record too, having grabbed a duo of Group wins across the Atlantic over six furlongs. The filly still has serious questions to answer with regard to the trip and her pedigree, combined with the lengthy stretch conducive to staying on, doesn’t fill the boots with enough confidence to take her at 9/2.

Miss Amulet has a similar profile and asking the Condon-trained filly to step up in trip, grade, and uptake the mammoth travel looks a step too far for the European raider. The well-raced Mother Earth cuts a more attractive profile, coming into this off the back of a good second when stepping up to a mile for the first time in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile (Group 1) at a sodden Newmarket. She handled good to firm on her debut in June but hasn’t run on the surface or firmer since, so there are some questions over the ground. That said, it’s very plausible she could hit the frame at double figures along with Spanish Loveaffair, who’s proved herself over the distance and produced good figures last time out at Keeneland; she looks far too big at 22/1.

Plum Ali win (11/2)
Spanish Loveaffair e/w
Box Forecast Suggestion
: Plum Ali, Spanish Loveaffair, Mother Earth.


TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

The juvenile presents the best opportunity to bet the favourite in any race on Friday’s card. Jackie’s Warrior has, over his past three starts, produced a consistent level of performance to win a race of this quality having won Grade 1 races at both seven and eight furlongs. He posted the best and second-best speed figures in the field and his progressive profile would suggest he is open to yet more improvement. He’s undoubtedly the one to beat under his regular rider, Joel Rosario.

Reinvestment Risk has trailed hot-favourite Jackie’s Warrior on both of his Grade 1 wins without posing any real threat though he has posted better and more consistent figures than the majority of the field; he should be one to fill the frame with Irad Ortiz Jr. on board.

Essential Quality is a lesser known quantity but a proven Grade 1 winner with the Claireborne Breeders’ Futurity (Grade 1) last time out in early October. Proven at the class, over the course and distance, Essential Quality has been training well and Brad Cox has suggested there is more in the tank than already showcased. The mount of Luis Saez poses the biggest threat to the favourite in this one.

Jackie’s Warrior win (7/4)

All prices qouted at time of publication.