Breeders’ Cup Friday includes a few of the less established Breeders’ Cup races and four Breeders’ Cup races restricted to Fillies and Mares. The headliner is the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic where Royal Delta will look to defend her title for trainer Bill Mott. Here’s a look at how our expert handicappers view the races. More information about Breeders’ Cup Saturday will be posted tomorrow!
Race 4 – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint
The juvenile sprint lost a lot of its intrigue when two of the fillies pre-entered (Beholder and Kauai Katie) went to the Juvenile Fillies instead. With that in mind, this race swings strictly in favor of the males. Unfortunately, the two favorites stand pretty far above their competition. I will end up with Bob Baffert starting his weekend with a win in the Juvenile Sprint – #5 Super Ninety Nine.
This horse was entered in the Tim Conway stakes to make his debut (won by favorite #3 Merit Man) but was scratched in favor of a MSW the next day. I’d presume it was because he drew the rail in the Tim Conway, but he didn’t disappoint the next day when racing from the same post he’ll break from today. When Baffert sends out some of his best sets of workers in the morning, this one comes with them. His stablemate, Shakin It Up, came back impressively in his next start to beat MSW runners. Two strong works since that last race indicate that all systems are go for Super Ninety Nine.
Merit Man, the aforementioned winner of the Tim Conway, has two starts to his credit and has successfully employed a stalking strategy to keep a perfect record. The Tim Conway wasn’t bubbling over with talent, but the colt still impressively went about his business with PVal up. The favorite that day, Scherer Magic, had defeated most comers in the two-year old ranks and completely failed to fire. Valenzuela rejoins the son of With Distinction and should put in another good effort. While both of those colts should take the majority of betting action, one to consider with the No Lasix rule is European Ceiling Kitty. She has never raced with Lasix and is quite used to winning without it, having three wins already in a seven race two-year old campaign. Graded foes have got the best of her in recent races, but some of the times produced from her wins are on the quick side for European races. Keep in mind that all two-year old races at the Breeders Cup do not allow Lasix or other race day medication, and horses that have performed well without it are worth taking a look at.
Betting Suggestion: Use #3 Merit Man & #5 Super Ninety Nine in horizontal wagers (Pick 3, Pick 6) and call it a day. Exactas or tris with either of them finishing on the board aren’t going to yield much profit.
Race 5 – The Breeders’ Cup Marathon
Success at the track often hinges on knowing what you do best and the Marathon is not in this handicapper’s wheelhouse. This would be a fine time to try the Mexican Buffet served on Club Level. That is a well-spent $10. Then dive back into the dessert that is the remainder of the BC card.
American horses are rarely asked to run this distance, begging the question: Why is this a Breeders’ Cup race?
The Marathon certainly does not attract the best and the brightest. Even the multi-continental contingent of imports entered here are a cut below.
Gun to the head, I would take a long look at Eldaafer who won this test in 2010 and at Romp because he has speed, a positive jock move, and should be a million to one.
Race 6 – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
Rolling Pick 3 plus a very enticing Pick 4 begin here. Lots of talk about the Euro invaders, five in all, in this field of 14 plus two AEs. Sky Lantern, a Richard Hannon trainee with an impressive race record including a recent G1 stroll at The Curragh, is the 3-1 morning line favorite. This will be her first try around a left hand turn. Prior races were either the opposite direction or on the straightaway.
Bombs away: Summer of Fun is 30-1 on the line and rates a long look. She finished third recently behind two others entered here after making an early move that found her on the lead a furlong out. A more patient Dominguez is assigned to ride this time. He will have this filly close enough to strike. Beyers are a slice below which guarantees a huge price. Use in the pick 3s and p4 along with Spring Venture and Watsdachances.
Race 7 – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
While it appears a rather short field on paper, the quality of the favorites make up for lack of field size. The fact is, these fillies have scared a lot of their competition off and should provide us with quite a horse race down the stretch regardless of their prices. That being said, three of the four morning line choices are almost entirely speedballs.
Beholder, Dreaming of Julia and Kauai Katie all like to motor right out of the gate. If you think they’re all set to burn each other up, either you default to the favorite Executiveprivilege or you throw in every other bomb that’s proven she can close. However, if you’re thinking one of those pace fillies could shake loose the question is: Which one? I’ll wave my California flag and say it’s Beholder, simply because of the raw speed she showed last time around. She drew the rail, and if rather conservative Mandella thinks she’ll fare better in this spot than the sprint who am I to argue?
Executiveprivilege must be left in the mix, as she may just be the best horse in the race. This, like the Juvenile Sprint, simply isn’t the place to shop for a price. Historically, the Juvenile Fillies is the most formful of the Breeders’ Cup races. Favorites just show up and run their race more often than not, and since the fillies progress a bit quicker than the males at this age you pretty much know what you’re going to get with them. Spring In the Air and Kauai Katie are not the top prospects from their stables by admission, leaving underneath prospects wide open. Take a chance, but don’t expect a bomb on top.
Betting Suggestion: Pretty similar to the sprint. Pick two or three of your favorites and key them in horizontals or pick two and key them on top of tris & supers. Unless the wheels come completely off, the favorites look tough.
Race 8 – Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
Don’t be afraid to play the Americans in this race as they have performed well. The European steamers are led by morning line favorite The Fugue and Prix de l’Opera winner Ridasiyna. Both are legitimate and will justifiably take money.
Zagora, competent at this distance, caught an off course in two of her last three races. She is better when the going is firm and firm it will be Friday. Castellano gets the nod from trainer Chad Brown. This graded stakes winning mare should be all of the 8-1 morning line.
In Lingerie draws outside and will race on turf for the first time. She drilled quickly over the sod at Santa Anita Saturday, prompting her connections to enter here rather than the Ladies’ Classic. There is little other speed which could allow Velazquez to rifle from that outside post and secure the front. Bred for grass, a theft is not impossible and the odds should be double-digit.
Race 9 – The Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic
This year’s Ladies’ Classic is the race envisioned by the inventors of the Breeders’ Cup. Six members of the field are multiple grade one winners, with Grace Hall a grade one and multiple grade two winner herself. Class Included comes off a grade 3 win at Hastings and has never been worse than second. Many horizontal tickets will include this leg as an ALL, simply due to the depth and quality.
The favorite Royal Delta arrived in California with a superficial cut but all in all appears set to defend her title with a top effort. Awesome Feather is undefeated and a must use with the surface playing as it is. This race could be a cavalry charge into the first turn, as nearly all entered will be seeking a spot on the lead or rating just a length or two off it – Love and Pride and Royal Delta could take the worst of it if not drafted in behind the leaders quickly out of the gate. One horse who does not care where she sits early in the race is Include Me Out. She’s just as happy rallying from last as she is stalking the pace. This is by far the toughest field she’ll meet, as the west coast fillies in all are a cut below. Love and Pride proved that by dusting them in the Zenyatta, but Include Me Out had been laid off for nearly two months by trainer Ron Ellis and most likely needed that effort to prepare for the Ladies’ Classic.
The only confident toss I have is Class Included, but I will focus on the four-year olds lined up against one another – Awesome Feather, Royal Delta, and Include Me Out. The three-year olds on the inside need to prove that they’ve got the goods outside of their age group, and until they do I will not use them on top. Good luck figuring this one out!
Betting Suggestion: The super high-five pays HUGE at Santa Anita typically, and this is the perfect race to take a swing if you can key a few in the top spots. I’d start using the three-year olds in second or third, probably with My Miss Aurelia before Grace Hall or Questing. I’d even use Grace Hall before Questing, but they will be in third or lower in my H5. Keep in mind this is a dollar bet, so it can get on the expensive side. But unless you think the favorites will finish 1-2-3-4-5, you will get your money back and then some if you hit!
Watch and wager on the 2012 Breeders’ Cup at Canterbury Park! Advance wagering on Saturday’s card begins at noon on Friday. Come Play!