Breeders' Cup Saturday
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1) 7f
The 2022 renewal Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint has attracted an interesting field, headed by five from six four-year-old Goodnight Olive (USA).
In recent years it has paid to be a three-year-old in this race, however, with the sophomore division taking three of the last four renewals after having come up short in 11 straight editions. There has also only been one winner that has dropped back in trip from a mile on the dirt, while the inside three gates hit at 6.67% and only one horse has ever won with a wire run.
Hailing from Chad Brown’s barn, Goodnight Olive stands as a fair favourite on the bare form. Having won a key prep race in the form of the Ballerina (Grade 1) and the task was made somewhat easier for her after multiple Grade 1 winner was scratched from the race earlier on in the week.
She will have to contend with defending champion Ce Ce (USA), however, but she should be able to improve past the fairly consistent level that the defending champ usually pumps out. Frank’s Rockette (USA) comes into this off the back of two performances that probably warrant a shorter price than 8/1 currently offered in the books.
Echo Zulu (USA) brings a class angle, having produced dominant 118 and 117 figures over 8 and 8.5 furlongs – the latter of which came at the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar last year. She is yet to hit those heights on her starts at 8.5, 9, and 7f but has all the scope to improve at her preferred trip round one turn. She is drawn in gate 13 and should not be worried with her early speed being one of her best assets and her jockey in Ricardo Santana Jr. can take advantage from out wide as he showed on the Friday undercard.
The dirt track appears to be operating with a big pace bias which should benefit Echo Zulu but Irad Ortiz Jr. has been riding it like a machine and sits atop favourite Midnight Olive. Irad Ortiz Jr. is a tough one to oppose but the value lies with Echo Zulu at 6/1.
Echo Zulu / Goodnight Olive / Franks Rockette
Advised: Echo Zulu win 6/1
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1) 5.5f
The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint is a fascinating affair with Golden Pal returning to his favourite stomping ground in Keeneland.
Wesley gnashers are yet to feature in full force this Breeders’ Cup and this looks his best chance to exhibit his shining assets. Golden Pal’s best performance came at Keeneland in April, clocking a speed figure of 122 before disaster struck at his Royal Ascot tilt later in the season. Undoubtedly Irad Ortiz Jr. shared a large part of the blame when turning Golden Pal into some form of quarter horse after missing the break on English soil.
He surely won’t make the same mistake again and if/when Golden Pal breaks and grabs the good ground on the rail, it is unlikely he will be caught if he reproduces anywhere near his previous level at Keeneland.
That said, if he’s too fast on the fractions in a potential pace duel with Flotus (IRE) there are plenty of closers that will make him pay. Highfield Princess (FR) will stalk and should be hoping for the rain to come and soften the turf for her to give her best and extend her winning run to four.
Naval Crown, Emaraaty Ana, Go Bears Go, and Creative Force all offer a stamina angle having been campaigned over 6f a significant amount. The best recent figures of the four come from Creative Force, while Dancing Buck has a good speed figure of 108 to his name and should be under bet for one to consider under the favourite in the exotics.
Golden Pal – Dancing Buck – Creative Force
Advised: Golden Pal win 15/8 (Saturday Next Best)
Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1) 1m
The Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile plays host to a below par field this year with the field’s best speed rating of 114 coming from Cody’s Wish in mid-2022. The second best comes from Informative part way through 2021. That, however, is far from Informative given he has run well below that on every start since.
Simplification comes into this one and is one from one at a one turn mile and he will get his conditions. He sits at 10/1 and looks the value play in this one behind Cody’s Wish, who gets the vote on a class angle over Cyberknife.
Cyberknife (USA) simply doesn’t have the level of figures to land this renewal off the back of an average performance at Parx last time out.
Senor Buscador exceeds that level of form with a speed figure of 108 last time out and looks incredible value for Todd W. Fincher at 16/1. Third favourite, Gunite is extremely consistent, and I can see him filling the frame with a good trip for Steve Asmussen.
Cody’s Wish / Senor Buscador / Gunite
Advised: Cody's Wish win 2/1 + box exacta with the 1-2-3 selections.
Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1) 6f
The Filly And Mare Turf provides a great opportunity to oppose a short priced favourite in Nashwa and Hollie Doyle.
The Frankel filly comes into the race having won the Prix De Diane and the Nassau and undoubtedly brings a class angle over from Europe. That said, she has been beating a weak cohort of 3yo fillies and does not even posses the best figures in this race as a result.
Lady Speightspeare (USA) provides the speed from the inside gate and should figure in the finish if she can replicate her 107 speed figure last time out at Woodbine. Woodbine, however, has an exemption for Lasix so her best performance will be tough to replicate under the Stakes Race rule of no Lasix within 24 hours of the race. Tyler’s Tribe was found out in a similar way in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and I don’t fancy taking my chances with an unknown like that.
Above The Curve (USA) is extremely progressive and possesses the figures to compete with Nashwa but is yet to be tested on quick ground. Tuesday boasts the best performance figure of the lot with a 110 to her name and, with Aidan O’Brien running hot, I would not be surprised to see her land the prize with Toy underneath in the exotics.
That said, In Italian – while she may not have it as easy as she has done on her last two starts – looks the horse for the race having progressed from run to run to come into this with her best form and figures on the table last time out in preparation for this big dance at Keeneland. She is not one to be overlooked – and she may well be – due to the popularity of Gosden and Hollie Doyle.
In Italian / Tuesday / Nashwa
Advised: In Italian 11/2 each way + box exacta with Tuesday (6/1).
Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade 1) 6f
We switch back to dirt with the Breeders’ Cup sprint and an old friend of mine (Royal Ascot) – Kimari – is looking me in the eye having produced two 110 performance figures alongside a speed figure of 111 on her last two starts.
Her best form has come at Keeneland when she scored on debut over 4.5f so the track is undoubtedly a positive for the Wesley Ward trainee who should be buoyed by this point after Golden Pal winning earlier on the card.
Outside of Kimari, O Besos (USA) will not be as influential as his namesake who controls the supply and demand of our parcels across the world and is some way below the level needed to take this contest.
American Theorem (USA) on the other hand, boasts a race topping 111 from the Del Mar performance over six furlongs – which rates as career best form on one try over a sprint distance. C Z Rocket (USA) caught the eye earlier on the week and looks far from the ripe age of 8 in terms of his condition and I am confident to include him in behind Jackie’s Warrior in the exotics purely on the eye test.
The odds on favourite certainly deserves the odds-on favouritism and should get the job done here providing he does not create another excuse for himself to falter under the bright lights and on the biggest stage. With a general performance far above the rest of the contenders, he should head any exotics and be bet outright when being offered an improved price on the account of his two Breeders’ Cup performances prior – both of which can be explained due to a lack of stamina and injury.
Jackie’s Warrior / C Z Rocket / Kimari
Advised: Jackie’s Warrior win 5/6
FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (Grade 1) 1m
Look no further than Modern Games here. Our HKracing analyst is very happy to die on this hill as he did so on Future Star Friday with Meditate in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
The confidence was only boosted after being stung by Silver Knott in the night cap with Charlie Appleby appearing very bullish about his two main chances – in particular Modern Games – this Saturday.
On firm/fast ground – on which he boasts his best form (a 117 speed figure at Woodbine) – he simply should not be beat and possesses the quality to beat this decent cohort of US turf horses even when performing a few pounds below par.
Order Of Australia returns to a venue he enjoys with a consistent performance level this year that should see him land in the frame alongside Annapolis (USA) who is the not only progressive but the best US turf horse in the race with on fire Irad Ortiz Jr. on board.
Kinross lines up as second favourite but clearly brings his best on ground with a bit of cut so he will be hoping the rain comes and throws the race right open. The jockey booking is also a negative having watched Frankie Dettori’s lack of enthusiasm in the closing stages of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint on board Persian Force.
Modern Games / Annapolis / Order Of Australia
Advised: Modern Games win 7/4 (Saturday Best Bet)
Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade 1) 1m4f
Nations Pride’s stock only increased after Friday’s races with the European horses performing so well and is no doubt the one beat but the price now reflects that at 2/1.
Considering the European form, Stone Age appears to be an exceptional price at 9/1 given he has the best performance figures in his last start at Ascot. The American contingent in this race can only wish for a speed figure of 112 with the majority falling at least 5lb below that figure produced by the Aiden O’Brien trainee.
Channel Maker would be able to keep up on his old form but his eight years appear to be catching up with him this season, while Mishriff encountered similar problems at Longchamp last time out.
That said, the son of Make Believe brings a class element to the race that, if repeated, should land the spoils for John and Thady Gosden. Once again, Dettori on board is not helping reap value in being one of the more over bet jockeys in international racing so I find it hard to get stuck in with any hope/promise of value at 6/1.
Coolmore and Aidan O’Brien managed to buck the trends on Future Stars Friday and expect them to continue that here with Stone Age, who looks excellent value at 8/1 outside of favourite Nations Pride following Appleby’s bullish interview after Silver Knott was touched off by Victoria Road in the Friday nightcap.
Following that trope, Broome is uncomplicated and represents a consistent level of mid-high quality form in the race and therefore is a no brainer for the exotics with Irad Ortiz Jr. on board at a nice price of 14/1
Stone Age / Nations Pride / Broome
Advised: Stone Age 8/1 each way
Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1) 1m2f
This feels like a race that shouldn’t be bet unless you are considering place and show terms.
It will be one to behold with Flightline having a season – and producing the figures to back it up – that suggests he is a once in a lifetime talent. A speed figure of 133 last time out quite simply belittles the elite 125 posted by Life Is Good when wining the Whitney (Grade 1) in June which has caused him to go off as an underdog in his final career start.
Should Flightline not get the trip he would like, he has previously shown that a versatile run style can be employed when needed as shown in the Metropolitan (Grade 1). Add on top of that the fact that he has been working extremely well since his last start and therefore would be unlucky to regress; It looks pretty open and closed if you look at it that way and I for one, am not willing to oppose the odds on Classic favourite under the bright lights on Saturday afternoon.
I just hope we see something special.
Advised: Flightline by 20 lengths
Breeders’ Cup Future Stars Friday
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Grade 1) 5.5f
Long time ante post favourite The Platinum Queen has eased somewhat in the market after her grim draw out in the car park Gate 12. The draw gods did the racing punters somewhat of a favour in opening the race up a little and Richard Fahey’s Cotai Glory filly has now been joined at the head of the market by domestic trained Love Reigns.
Indeed, we may well see Wesley Ward’s pearly whites out early on in the meeting given Love Reigns has done her best work at the Keeneland track, clocking a 104 speed figure over the same distance she’ll attack on Friday. It would be no surprise given Ward has won this race three years in a row.
Her co-favourite The Platinum Queen may not be as disadvantaged by the draw as the majority are making out. Gate 12 possesses a good angle into the turn, so if Hollie Doyle can jump quick and avoid trouble she will turn a small negative into a big positive. Given a drift in price she could become value that is not to be sniffed at with her speed figures topping the lot. She also has plenty of experience travelling and most notably won in a tough situation in France last time out so she should be able to handle the baggage that comes with travelling and performing at foreign environments.
Where speed is concerned, Dramatised and Persian Force both possess the ability to win the race and sit some way above co-favourite Love Reigns on speed figures. What can find them out, however, is the trip of 5.5 furlongs. Foreign to all European raiders in the race, it is a muddling distance that requires somewhere in between blistering speed and 6-furlong stamina. Persian Force has the class edge over Dramatised at six furlongs and looks the value play at 8/1 with his stalking run style, perfectly drawn outside pace horses such as Love Reigns and Dramatised with likely very little Mischief (or) Magic coming from William Buick’s mount in 5.
The Europeans have a historically poor record in this race – of which only five renewals have been run – but the only European win came at Del Mar in 2017 so not all hope is lost. Outside of the European hopes, American fans can look towards Private Creed - who has continually improved with blinkers on – and Speed Boat Beach. The latter is trained by Bob Baffert and has been training the house down at Santa Anita off the back of a perfect 2 from 2 start to his career. He posted a track record Beyer on debut (dirt) before landing the Speakeasy at Santa Anita, showing a good turn of foot. The turf surface in Keeneland differs those in SoCal so he will need to navigate that but should still be a player in this wonderful opener.
Persian Force / Love Reigns / Dramatised
Advised: Persian Force e/w 8/1
NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) 1m0.5f
A handful of standouts line up in this Juvenile Fillies renewal and all of which have achieved Topseed ratings of 108 or better. Two of whom – Wonder Wheel (USA) and Chop Chop (USA) have already met and both clocked 108 over 8.5 furlongs at Keeneland in the key Alcibiades prep race in early October.
Joining them on 108 is Raging Sea, who landed the 108 figure on debut but failed to repeat in the Alcibiades when trailing home Wonder Wheel (USA). Chad Brown will not be thrilled with the draw but he can certainly be trusted to have got this filly back to her best. The final standout tops the lot with a 109 figure on debut at Saratoga before running third when stretching out to this distance at Churchill Downs. Grand Love is amazingly a double figure price despite that.
The bookmakers have made an extremely bold move installing Chocolate Gelato as co-favourite with Chop Chop despite the Practical Joke filly achieving well below the standard set by the likes of Wonder Wheel and Chop Chop – perhaps they have taken her breeding a little too literally. That said, she has won a key prep in the Frizette and has the dirt master Irad Ortiz Jr. is on board – we all know what he can do.
This surely presents inherent value in the rest of the market to be taken advantage of. We’ll take our shot with Chop Chop – she made a marked improvement with a switch from the turf to the dirt in the Alcibiades and any amount of further improvement should be enough to get this race won. Brad Cox knows what he is doing and the market support would suggest she is due. Raging Sea and Grand Love both look big enough to be worthwhile in the exotics on the bare figures alone.
Chop Chop / Raging Sea / Grand Love
Advised: Chop Chop win 11/4
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1) 1m
The European fillies have been dominated in this race despite the talent on offer with Chad Brown winning five of the fourteen editions, including four of the last eight. The Europeans may well have their strongest assault in this renewal, however, with Coolmore’s Meditate (IRE) sitting well clear on figures after having achieved a speed rating of 110 when finishing second in the Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1).
That’s a whole 9lb clear of the next best in Xigera (USA) who clocked a 101 speed rating last time out.
She has also topped that figure two more times on her previous two starts at the Curragh which were over seven furlongs. Naysayers will point to no experience at the distance or around a bend and that may well find her out but she still has 9lb to play with if she merely repeats her performance last time out – and that is suggesting she will not progress from that run as she has after every run in her career to date.
If you are looking to get her beat or for another filly to join her in the exacta, then it would have been G Laurie before the scratch but next best falls to another Euro in Midnight Mile (IRE). Richard Fahey has been very keen on this filly for this race - who has improved from run to run – given she has taken the travel well she is one to box with Xigera (USA).
Meditate – Xigera/Midnight Mile
Advised: Meditate win 11/4 (Friday Best Bet)
Fanduel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (Grade 1)
Cave Rock has no doubt provided breath-taking performances on the dirt this year and those performances are backed up by stellar figures with the best being his 121 speed figure when demolishing the field in the Runhappy Futurity (Grade 1) ahead of stablemate Havnameltdown (USA). That said a switch from the West coast turf has proved troublesome and leaves the door open for the somewhat equally impressive Todd Pletched trained Forte (USA).
The Violence colt backed up a cosy win at Saratoga in the Hopeful Stakes (Grade 1) (119 SR) with a win over the distance at Keeneland in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (Grade 1) while clocking a speed figure of 118. The experience over the track and the backing up of a top-class performance with another at a shipping track shows the hardy nature of this colt who, clearly, doesn’t warrant a price of 9/2 vs the favourite Cave Rock (USA) at 4/6.
An added positive with Irad Ortiz Jr. on board, he should be able to take on the favourite at a good price and come out on top to land the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Filling the frame should be National Treasure. Facing Cave Rock again, the improving colt has presented increasing speed figures to suggest there is more to come and flashes of brilliance in his two starts should see him into the frame if not higher honours.
Forte / Cave Rock / National Treasure
Advised: Forte e/w 9/2
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1) 1m
One of Charlie Appleby’s strongest favourites of the meeting in terms of price, Silver Knott brings a strong class angle to the Juvenile Turf.
This is now reflected in an extremely short price for the Lope De Vega colt who is slated at a best price of evens to get the job done and follow in the footsteps of Modern Games.
He boasts the most consistent figures in the race prior to his stretch out to a mile at Newmarket last time out in the Emirate Autumn Stakes (Group 3) and improved for the extra furlong. He should have no problem going around turns having had experience at Sandown and Kempton fairly recently in August and with Charlie Appleby’s experience in the race he does indeed warrant the top spot in Friday’s closer. The market move from short priced to odds on favourite for Silver Knott also can’t be ignored, and would suggest he is live and ready for this one.
That said, Packs A Wahlop produced a speed figure last time out five pounds better than that of Silver Knott and has also gained high praise from Hall Of Fame jockey Mike Smith. If there is an upset to be had then the Jeff Mullins trainee looks good value at 11/1 to be the one to deal it.
Andthewinneris sits third in the market at 17/2 and has fair claims on his most recent performance in Keeneland’s Bourbon (Grade 2). He is a good mover and Wayne Catalano thrives under the pressure of the bright lights so it wouldn’t be a shock for his aptly named Oscar Performance colt to go close.
Silver Knott / Packs A Wahlop / Andthewinneris
Advised: Packs A Wahlop e/w 11/1 + Silver Knott/Packs A Wahlop box exacta.