by Jerod Dinkin
Breeders’ Cup Turf:
1. FRI GUY (6,000,000-1 ML): I’m trying to be more positive since I’m an inherently cynical person. Therefore, instead of saying something bitter and sarcastic about this horse, I’ll say something nice. How’s this: This horse might not suck that bad.
2. RED ROCKS (7-2 ML): Not in the same form as he was last year when he took this event. DYLAN THOMAS easily defeated him twice this year and should do so again. On the glass is half-full side, he gets the services of Dettori and is probably better than most, if not all U.S. challengers.
3. BETTER TALK NOW (9-2 ML): Seems to be at his best at this time of year, credit Graham Motion for the wise handling of this BC Turf Champ and runner-up. The hard knocking eight year old needs another career effort off the big layoff.
4. SHAMDINAN (20-1 ML): Average European form translated to suspect U.S. form. Looks overmatched here unless a huge turnaround ensues.
5. GRAND COUTURIER (10-1 ML): Scored a three length victory over the 5-2 ML English Channel. The Euro transplant has a shot in here if DYLAN THOMAS isn’t at his best. I’d back this one if you’re looking for value.
6. ENGLISH CHANNEL (5-2 ML): Overrated as the best stateside hopeful, he’s up against it at a terrible price. He beat a soft group at Belmont, lost by 3 to GRAND COUTURIER and only beat the hard knocking mare HONEY RYDER by one over this strip in a weak United Nations. Fool’s gold.
7. DYLAN THOMAS (7-5 ML): This is a generous Morning Line. 4:5 is more like it for the Arc winner. It’s the easiest group of horses he has faced since 2005. Sure, he prefers firm ground, which might not happen at Monmouth in October. However, he could run his “C” race and still take this. The most solid favorite on the card.
8. TRANSDUCTION GOLD (30-1 ML): See FRI GUY.
Breeders’ Cup Distaff:
This is easily the most contentious race on the entire BC menu with a number of evenly matched ladies entered.
1. BALANCE (20-1 ML): Currently not at the top of her game. In her career, she has failed as the post time favorite four times. She does well at the distance, but the morning line is an accurate reflection of her chances.
2. PROP ME UP (50-1 ML): The locally based Monmouth specialist gets a huge class tackling G1 types in a championship event. She is 8 for 9 cracking the Exacta at the BC track and has hit the board in some G2 and G3 events. I’ve seen worse 50:1 shots, but she’ll have to run the race of her life
3. TOUGH TIZ’S SIS (20-1 ML): The Baffert filly out of Tiznow is another outsider that isn’t the worst stab play in the world. She finished a game third to Lear’s Princess and Rag to Riches in the Gazelle before winning her recent prep on the Cushion at Santa Anita over Hystericalady. Threat at a price….
4. GINGER PUNCH (7-2 ML): The versatile and consistent G1 performer is an absolute threat to take this. She is equally effective from 7F to 1 1/8. I’m not a huge backer of Frankel on big race days and the value will not be there in a deep field, but she is tough.
5. LADY JOANNE (6-1 ML): This is a gutty filly getting a five pound break from the older folks. She put in a solid prep race on the Poly after taking the Alabama by grinding out a win down the lane. Top choice in a crowded field.
6. BEAR NOW (15-1 ML): The Canadian invader gets tested for class and steps up in distance. Yet another with a shot, but other price plays rate higher.
7. LEAR’S PRINCESS (6-1 ML): The lightly raced filly is full of talent, but lacks a bit of seasoning. She has a very nice turn of foot and her pressing style is a key in a race with some zip.
8. OCTAVE (10-1 ML): Won two G1’s this year, yet still seems like an underachiever. A tremendously talented filly that is at her best at 1 1/8. Not sure her best gets it done, but still a threat to crack the board.
9. TEAMMATE (30-1 ML): The Giant Killer trains this filly that looks overmatched. One of two horses in the field I can toss with confidence.
10. INDIAN VALE (3-1 ML): The morning line favorite is 6 for 7 at the Distaff distance and put forth a game effort in her prep race. The big knocks on her are the lack of a G1 win, presence of a lot of other early speed, and price. Too many checkmarks against for the ML favorite in a tough race. I like her for horizontal wagers, but not a key horse for the verticals.
11. UNBRIDLED BELLE (9-2 ML): Expect a bit of regression of that impressive prep in the Beldame. I like her preferred running style, but can’t help but think she may bounce enough to be vulnerable.
In a total crap shoot, I’ll go with LADY JOANNE-LEAR’S PRINCESS-INDIAN VALE