Breeders' Cup 2021 Analysis

SATURDAY 6th November 2021

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1) 

Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup racing opens with the return of the prolific filly Gamine after taking last year’s renewal by 6.5 lengths. The Into Mischief filly comes into the race in worse form since her comeback run after the Breeders’ Cup demolition with her performance figures dropping markedly by 7-10lbs and her speed figures to a greater degree. That said, she has still been getting the job done at the highest level and has a great amount of experience that will stand her in good stead.  

Only five line up now for the $1,000,000 purse after Estilo Talentoso was scratched earlier in the week. Edgeway and Proud Emma simply don’t have the level of performance to challenge the market principals, while Ce Ce possesses the ability and run style to take advantage of a pace boil over if Bella Sofia and Gamine take each other on with too much vigour.  

Bella Sofia has the most upside out of the five contenders; she comes into this off the back of a career best performance on her last start, is lightly raced and open to further improvement which is dangerous given her most recent performance figures from the Gallant Bloom Handicap (Grade 2) rate higher than that of the favourite’s. The scales are also flipped in her favour.  

If Gamine is at her best there is no question she should run away with the race, but she hasn’t been since April and it looks a perfect opportunity for the upward trending Bella Sofia to spring an upset.  

Bella Sofia win (5/2  Bet365, BetFred, Betway, Boylesport)


Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1) landed a good scalp in the form of Glass Slippers winning this event last year at 17/2, but this year’s renewal is a very different prospect. It will just be the flying five today, as opposed to the 5.5 furlongs for the 2020 edition which should benefit the favoured Golden Pal. Glass Slippers, on the other hand, has it all to do from gate 1 and been a fair way below her best on all three starts this season.  

Wesley Ward’s horse will need all the help he can get, however, having performed well below par when faced with top turf sprinters from Europe and only being able to replicate the same figures when winning his graded stakes races in the US. He has a cracking draw in 3 and should be able to get to his favoured position in the lead to then try to hold on for the rest of the five furlongs on rattling firm ground.  

Of the rest of the domestic charges, Lieutenant Dan comes into the race unbeaten in 2021 with average figures over five furlongs, Kimari appears to have had problems with just one run this year – though it was a quality one, and Chaos Theory brings consistently solid figures as well as a five furlong win at Del Mar to his name; the latter looks value to hit the frame at 40/1 with a master at Del Mar on his back in Kent Desormeaux.  

The winner looks like it will come from Europe, where two sprinters are at the top of their game. A Case Of You comes in to the race off the back of a career best performance, winning the Abbaye (Group 1) with top class figures on testing ground. Adrian McGuiness’ horse, however, has never raced on quick ground before nor shown the ability to replicate anything near the Abbaye performance previously in his career.  

Kevin Ryan saluted last year with Glass Slippers and he may well do the same this year with Emaraaty Ana. The 5yo gelding has produced a career best performance on his last two starts, both on good to firm ground, and produced performance figures well clear of the field without A Case Of You. The only negative for Andrea Atzeni’s mount is being drawn in 2 with Golden Pal in the stall outside of him. That said, if Atzeni can avoid being shuffled back too far, he should be in perfect position to employ a stalking tactic and pounce when Golden Pal tires, as he did when leading at Ascot and more recently York – where Emaraaty Ana fell foul of only Winter Power.  

Emaraaty Ana win (9/2 Paddy Power, Betfair)


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

Life Is Good is expected to set an unmatchable pace early on and blow away his opposition. It is hard to see otherwise; Eigth Rings will need to repeat a career best performance from 2019 to be on par with the average standard achieved by the favourite (something he has not got within 10lbs since), while Snapper Sinclair and Restrainedvengence have not produced performance figures this year to be in the conversation.  

The Japanese horses – Jasper Prince and Pingxiang – are somewhat unknowns. Jasper Prince is yet to produce at this kind of level and hasn’t shown the ability to do so yet at any point in his career. Pingxiang, on the other hand, has a similar profile having won nothing near this level but comes in to the race off the back of a big conditions stakes win on the dirt but a fair lay off from June is not ideal at all.  

Ginobi and Silver State provide the sternest test for the favourite, especially as the latter has a Grade 1 victory to his name (albeit with below average figures for the Grade), but they should not be able to match Life Is Good for quality for the duration of the race. Life Is Good has so much upside; the best performance figures in the race by 7lbs, a prior win on the Del Mar surface (where he produced a career best speed figure), and a running style to his advantage against this field that marries perfectly with Irad Ortiz Jr. on board. 

Life Is Good win  (8/11 Bet365)


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

The Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf distance change from the originally scheduled 9f to the current distance of 11f has undoubtedly changed the complexion of the race. Given the fairly open nature of the race it sets up as one of the better betting opportunities on the card.  

Interestingly this is another turf race where there is very little to split between the domestics and the European raiders on historical record. That said, when contested over 11f the advantage swings in the favour of the domestic horses; US trained horses have won six of the eight editions.  

The European charge this year is very strong, however, with the return of last year’s champ Audarya and Aidan O’Brien’s classy Love. Audarya hasn’t matched the winning performance of a year ago since and, on current form, Love would be the one to take forward from the pair despite not having taken the spoils in her last three. She has posted consistent figures (better than those of Audarya) to be able to win a US Grade 1 against this field without having to revisit the level of performance that saw her land her biggest prizes from York and Epsom and Aidan knows how to get them ready for the Breeders’ Cup. 

War Like Goddess brings the best form of the domestics and produced a career best (on figures) performance when landing the Flower Bowl Stakes (Grade 1). She travels well – she has won on four different turf courses – and has a running style that will suit Del Mar, however she is yet to put up a performance to match the likes of Love. Rougir is the other European consideration, though the 3yo filly’s best form has come on soft and there is nothing to say she can perform better than Group/Grade 3 level on good ground in her previous form.  

Loves Only You is the obvious main threat to Love and you have to respect Japanese raiders with a form profile like this mare. Her 3rd in the Sheema Classic behind Mishriff is arguably the best piece of form in the race. It garnered sectional projections well in excess of what is needed to beat this field and that was over 12f. Love’s ceiling, however, is higher than that of Loves Only You so she is preferred with the context that O’Brien believes she is fresh for this race and that everything is back to normal since her temperature that forced her to miss the Arc; freshened up she should be back to her fighting best.  

Love win (3/1 generally available)

Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade 1) 

Steve Asmussen looks to back up his emphatic win in the Juvenile Fillies on Friday with another short priced favourite in Jackie’s Warrior here. The Maclean’s Music colt disappointed at last year’s Breeders’ Cup despite going into the race with the best figures in the field and he comes into this on in exactly the same emphatic form from his Parx win. I am not sure whether Peter Miller’s charges always catch the eye in Breeders’ Cup Sprints but last year we sided with CZ Rocket and he underperformed his best figures set at Santa Anita in September 2020. He has not reached anywhere near the level since and won’t be one to have on side, despite his knowledge of the host track this year. On the other hand, the fast progressing Following Sea could be poised to cause an upset having shown a great amount of ability on his last start at Belmont, but I wouldn’t hang your hat on him yet.  

Matera Sky has shown flashes of the quality to win this race but comes into the race off the back of a fifth place (last) finish in a Group 3 on home turf that followed a stinker at Meydan in March, while domestically trained Special Reserve is has produced uber consistent figures on his last three starts and looks good value to use in exactas under the favourite.  

The one to upset the short priced favourite would be Dr Schivel, who is three from three at Del Mar and comes into the race off the back of a career best performance at Santa Anita with his jockey losing a rein – which uses the same surface as Del Mar. He has the plenty of quality and home advantage, but Jackies Warrior is a winning machine, and at his best is near on unbeatable with a plum draw in 2. We should see Jackies Warrior take it on from the front and not get caught.  

Jackies Warrior win (Evens Bet365,WHill, Unibet)

Fanduel Breeders’ Cup Mile (Grade 1) 

Mo Forza comes into the race as the best Turf Miler on the West Coast and is a serious consideration from the domestic charges in the race. His late turn of foot paired with his ability to travel well makes him a very dangerous horse for the short priced favourite Space Blues. Mo Forza has prior at the track and a reproduction of his performance in the Del Mar Handicap could leave the rest of the field flailing behind, the Uncle Mo colt has the most upside of all the domestics.  

Godolphin’s attack consists of Space Blues and Master Of The Seas. The first of which will have his first try over a mile since April 2019 in the biggest race of his career. There have been plenty of ‘experts’ making the lazy assumption that winning well on heavy ground over 7f (his last start) translates to being able to stay a mile on firm ground at this level. This is a complete misconception and is likely being translated into the Charlie Appleby trainee’s price, which looks far too short at 9/4. No doubt, he has plenty enough speed to run with any of his competitors in the race while producing solid enough figures but he has never hit the highs (performance ratings) of a top end Group/Grade 1 winner.  

Master Of The Seas, on the other hand, has the highest ceiling of the domestics and has a run style paired with a turn of foot that looks ideal for this track. Appleby seemed to suggest he needed the run at Ascot and wasn’t worried about him not going on the softer surface, so ran him anyway to the detriment of the horses form on paper. As a result we are likely getting an uplift in price, with recency bias theory suggesting that he will be underestimated after the seemingly poor run. He has a really good shot from his draw; he should get perfect cover along with a ground saving run and if Doyle can produce him at the right moment he has the turn of foot to get the job done. He has the most upside.  

Master Of The Seas e/ (10/1 generally available)
Reverse forecast Master Of The Seas, Mo Forza 

Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Grade 1) 

The Distaff sees the return of the extremely game filly Letruska, who has danced the dance at six tracks this year and won at all of them. She’s a proven traveller and comes into the race off the back of a season best performance in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (Grade 1) ahead of Dunbar Road. The pair meet again today and the latter will struggle to reverse the form without marked improvement and a degradation in Letruska’s.  

Malathaat sits justified second favourite having exhibited ability akin to that of Letruska’s once in her career. The 3yo filly is, however, lightly raced and open to more improvement in the great hands of Todd Pletcher. Royal Flag has justified claims to hit the frame but will need to do a lot more to challenge the favourite on performance figures, but if the race is run in her favour I would not be surprised to see her pick up the pieces and with that said she is the one to stick in the box forecast.   

Letruska win (7/4 WHill, Unibet) 
Box forecast Letruska, Royal Flag

Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade 1) 

Tarnawa returns to defend her Breeders’ Cup Turf title and is in the best form of her life. Dermot Weld gave her a huge break off after her win in last year’s renewal and it has done her the world of good, having improved with every run this season even if not winning while doing so. She will be more popular in the market than she was last year and lines up as favourite in this one, but her tough draw has taken some part of that hype out of her defence. Unfortunately, statistically her performances have been of a lower quality – despite running in behind St Mark’s Basilica - than that of some of the animals lining up for the big prize and she looks a rather vulnerable favourite. 

She meets a tough competitor in the form of Domestic Shipping, who has a Del Mar win to his name and top-class figures to boot from his Belmont Park performance. With Flavien Prat on board I find him a tough one to oppose. Gufo was excellent when putting Japan to the sword at Saratoga, though he has since run a little flat in October in the wind up to the Breeders’ Cup preparation. That said he looks a great price to hit the frame at 25/1.  

Charlie Appleby fields yet another live chance with Walton Street, who comes into the race off a career best at a higher level than the favourite and out of a yard that is absolutely flying this season. For those reasons alone the 7yo gelding is worth consideration. Stablemate Yibir gets weight off much of the field and has a great run of form coming into the race; she should be there or there abouts too. European raider Teona sits second in the betting and is one to be avoided, having performed well below a level that is acceptable to win this race. Her stock is inflated from winning an extremely below par renewal of the Qatar Prix Vermeille; there are far better options in the race. 

Walton Street e/w (9/1 Bet365)
Box forecast Walton Street, Gufo, Yibir 

Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1) 

This year’s Classic is has a mouth-watering set up. The ever-impressive Knicks Go will predictably go to the front but will have a pace battle on his hands with the likes of Art Collector and Medina Spirit, which will cause the favourite all sorts of problems with controlling the tempo. He needs the lead and appears to do anything to keep it and, with a pair or so of game challengers, the horses up front will likely suffer from going to quick. Since Bob Baffert has been under greater scrutiny, Medina Spirit hasn’t been producing the same exceptional figures posted in at Churchill Downs earlier in the year, while Art Collector, by contrast, comes into the race of a career best performance at Belmont in the Woodward Stakes. He also has the great Breeders’ Cup jockey on board, which only adds to his upside that makes him the one to take out of the supposed prominent running trio. 

The race appears to set up perfectly for Godolphin’s Essential Quality. The four time Grade 1 winner has only one loss to his name and should get a perfect stalking trip in behind the front runners who will basically be setting it up for the Tapit colt. He produced solid figures in all his starts this season and will give you a very game run for your money, which this time should be another Grade 1 winning run.  

Essential Quality win (3/1 Bet365) 

Box forecast suggestion Essential Quality, Knicks Go, Art Collector 


 FRIDAY 5th November 2021

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Grade 1) 

As a fairly new race, the sample size for historical trends is all but too small to hang your hopes on but the past four renewals will go some way to help decipher the outcome of this year’s Juvenile Turf Sprint. The 2021 renewal will be the second held at Del Mar, with European raider Declarationofpeace winning the inaugural Juvenile Turf Sprint in 2017. That said, the subsequent three winners have been domestic horses. 

In theory, early speed and the ability to obtain A1 position before hitting the turn is key in this race given the short stretch on the Del Mar turf course (818 feet – the shortest home stretch seen in the history of the race). Overall, Wesley Ward’s Averly Jane is the fastest American filly and will likely fight it out for the lead with the gelding One Timer, who is equally as fast and produced Grade 1 level figures on debut at Arlington Park on synthetic. Both unbeaten, the pair are drawn 8 and 9 respectively and will be the main winning prospects on this speed favouring track. Of the pair, One Timer has greater appeal at a bigger price towards 8/1.  

That said, the fact that they will be fighting it out for the lead amongst themselves and, with potentially others adding to the pace mix, could well lead to a boil over. If that is to happen, the door could open for the European raiders, which are characteristically less early speed favouring. Armor looks the best placed to take advantage of such a situation given he has produced the best performance over 5 furlongs of the Euro raiders (when winning the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood).  

The No Nay Never colt also comes into this off the back of a career second best performance on good to firm ground at Newmarket over 6 furlongs in which he travelled well and finished strongly despite having somewhat of a checked run home, so he should have both the pace to stay in touch and the stamina to finish off 

One Timer win @ 8/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair) 
Armor @ 10/1 e/w (Paddy Power, Betfair) 


Breeders’ Cup NetJets Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) 

This year’s Juvenile Fillies renewal has somewhat of an underwhelming feel to it with a field of only six lining up to take a shot at the $2,000,000 purse. The redeeming feature of the race, however, is the favourite - Echo Zulu – who produced top class figures last time out in the Frizette (G1) at Belmont. The speed figure, and consequently the overall performance figure, that the Gun Runner filly produced on her last start backed up the visually impressive nature of the victory that left some racing commentators to query the quality (or lack of) of her competitors, which puts paid to such a misconception.  

As we all know, races aren’t run on paper and, while Steve Assmussen’s filly looks head and shoulders the best, she must beat what is in front of her on the day (or behind in this case - hopefully). The most likely of the six to challenge the odds-on favourite looks to be Juju’s Map; Brad Cox’s filly possesses the early and middle speed to put Echo Zulu under pressure she has not yet experienced given the ease with which she has won her three starts. In addition, she looked most at home when stretching out to a mile, producing her best speed figure to date before going on to produce a career performance over the 1 1/16th distance they will contest on Friday. She is also the only other contender to produce a speed figure better than the lowest produced by the favourite.  

Sitting just below Juju’s Map in the market is Hidden Connection. The Bret Calhoun trainee has demolished the two fields she has taken on this year, most recently in the Pocahontas (G3) and while she hasn’t beaten a whole lot on her journey to the Breeders’ Cup, her potential means she can’t be ignored in the equation. Tarabi and Sequist have both taken on the favourite already this season (in the G1 Spinaway) and were well and truly schooled by Echo Zulu. The former had a good trip tracking the leader and was pretty much run into the ground by the pace set by Echo Zulu, but is said to be training the house down since. The latter, however, has some excuses having broken slowly out of the gates racing well detached from the field to then close strongly into fourth. That said, Sequist was subsequently put to the sword in the Alcibiades (G1) by Juju’s Sword despite an improvement on the performance.  

Finally, the outsider of the lot – Desert Dawn – has far more on her side than her 80/1 price suggests. Philip D’Amato’s filly produced a career best speed figure in her last race and has home advantage to lean on, having won at Del Mar in August. Having improved with each run so far, it would be no surprise to see her outrun her odds in this short field.  

Echo Zulu win @ 11/10 (William Hill) 


Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1) 

Historically dominated by the domestic fillies, this year’s renewal should be no different. The strong hand held by the domestic trainers is headed (in the betting) by Koala Princess, who has been faultless in her two starts to date, though she faces an unknown challenge when going around two turns this Friday. Her pedigree, however, suggests there should be no issues for the Arnaud Delacour trained filly.  

Chad Brown chips in with a classy sort of his own in the form of Consumer Spending. The More Than Ready filly looks solid and professional without doing anything special and takes an added positive with Flavien Prat jumping on board. Bubble Rock adds an interesting dimension to the equation having achieved the best speed figures of this field when winning last time out. Brad Cox’s filly also has a good post position to execute a favoured stalking run and if she can get a good tow into the race then she should have enough ability to finish off with the master Irad Ortiz Jr. on board. Having not breached 6f yet is the main concern. 

Haughty provides another angle for Chad Brown but comes into the race with a less flattering CV, having only won a Keeneland MSW from two starts. Her prominence in the betting would suggest connections think highly of the filly and are expecting a big run from her, though she may have a tough time getting to her preferred wire running position from an outside gate. At the other end - drawn 1 - Pizza Bianca produced a turf figure higher than par for this race on her previous start in the Natalma (G1) and goes into the race with the best chance of those tried and tested at 8f+; a win in the race will also break Chrictophe Clement’s winless record at the meeting.   

Of the European raiders lining up, Mise En Scene offers the most upside. Lightly raced with only three starts in the bank, the Siyouni filly most recently finished a promising fourth behind top class UK filly Inspiral in the Bet365 Fillies Mile (Group 1). The late closing run was particularly eye-catching with Mise En Scene closing well in the final stages, looking to have relished the step up in trip from 7f to 8f. She also produced sectional projections in her Goodwood run comfortably of a level to hit the frame in this year’s Juvenile Fillies Turf – on only her second start.  

Mise En Scene e/w @ 11/1 (Skybet, Paddy Power, BetFred - all 5 places)


TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade 1) 

Corniche has inherited favouritism with the late scratching of Jack Christoper, but his outside draw is a big handicap and the Baffert trainee looks well worth opposing. 

In fact, with Jack Christopher out, Commandperformance boasts the best figures thanks to his Champagne Stakes second place and with Irad Ortiz on board he looks set to continue in a similar vein of form. Outside of the top two in the market Pappacap looks far too big of a price given his consistently progressive profile, though he will need a massive improvement to land the main prize. Keep him safe to juice up the exotics. The favourite’s stable companion, Pinehurst, also looks lively given how unexposed he is despite having won a Grade 1 on his second (and most recent) start, he is another obvious one to use in the exotics.   

Commandperformance win @ 4/1 (Bet365) 


Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1) 

The previous two renewals were taken by US trained horses, with Fire At Will winning against the odds at Keeneland and Structor saluting for Chad Brown at Santa Anita in 2019. Despite that, the Europeans hold an 8-6 advantage in the race having only had 33% of the starters over the 14 editions; they are winning above expectation. Three European raiders line up at the head of the market with Modern Games the clear favourite ahead of Dubawi Legend and Albahr.  

Modern Games comes into this off the back of a fruitful 2yo campaign having avoided prolific stablemate and top European 2yo Native Trail. The Dubawi colt has a game attitude and will definitely handle the ground with two of his best efforts coming on good to firm. Charlie Appleby also saddles Albahr, who brings another dimension to the Godolphin attack having already won overseas with the Summer Stakes (Grade 1) at Woodbine. The gelding brings rock solid form and is worth consideration.  

Dubawi Legend, on the other hand, faced Native Trail on his last start and trailed him home to finish second in the Dewhurst at Newmarket. He produced career best figures on the Rowley Mile that also stand as the best of the European raiders in the race. Having only raced on straight tracks in the UK, the two turns at Del Mar is an unknown but one that and, while the colt would have preferred a better draw, he is in great hands with James Doyle on board. Lightly raced, his progressive profile is one to be on the side of and the Hugo Palmer trained colt looks value at 7/1.  

Of the domestic horses, Dakota Gold stands out having produced top turf figures in Monmouth Park’s Nownownow Stakes. Unbeaten in two runs and off the back of a career best performance the son of Freud is well worth consideration at 14/1. Portfolio Company is the best fancied of the American horses, but the Chad Brown trained colt may struggle to execute at his front running best when drawn out in gate 10.  

Dubawi Legend win @ 7/1 (William Hill) 

Box Forecast Modern Games, Dubawi Legend, Dakota Gold.