There are plenty of opinions on the running of each Breeder’s Cup race this year, but however you fared this year at Santa Anita the question remains – where will they go from here and will 2014 be as fruitful for the victors as this year?
The Marathon – London Bridge – This son of Arch was the only three-year old in this year’s marathon, and proved his endurance and quality on another surface in his first race in America. He won in nearly identical (though not quite as impressive) fashion as Caliedoscopio, at about half the price. Not only will he leave this continent again, he’ll head to Australia to resume his career. While we simulcast plenty of Australian racing, seeing him again in this country may be a long shot.
The Juvenile Turf – Outstrip – As with most of the turf races this year, the Europeans proved their dominance by filling a short-priced exacta in the Juvenile turf. One has think that the Lasix issue helps the foreign animals that don’t use it regularly, besides the fact that their turf racing is simply a cut above most of our races in America. Outstrip wasn’t favored but took a fifth victory in this race in its seven runnings back across the Atlantic. While he seems well-adjusted to racing here, there is simply more for him in the three-year old ranks overseas on turf and if we see him at all next year it won’t be for a long time.
The Dirt Mile – Goldencents – He’s sort of had the look of a speedy miler his entire career, and after playing bridesmaid following his failed Triple Crown campaign all of the pieces came tomorrow. Things played pretty perfectly into his hands, from the tracking outside post position to the front-end favoring dirt. That’s not to take anything away from the grueling race he turned in, as he earned this victory from start to finish. However, he’s one that really thrives in his back yard and may be overbet should he ship East again. He seems to have found his niche and he will win races, but don’t accept too low of a number when he’s not in California. The connections intend to race their colt as a four-year old the Strub Series certainly looks like a good fit.
The Juvenile Fillies Turf – Surprisingly, a European winner scored again at a decent price. Yes, she was an upset in the group 1 she won overseas but she validated that in a big way on Friday. However, like the above colt and many other Euros we’ve seen score on Breeders’ Cup day there’s no certainty that we’ll ever see her again. Testa Rossi, one of four Chad Brown entrants, ran a bold second but she was nothing special in Europe. The only real conclusion to be drawn from this bunch is if that runner returns better as a three-year old she will be doubly tough.
The Distaff – Beholder – Wow. I have never been accused of being a Beholder believer despite liking her in her BC race last year, but she silenced me big time after Friday. Yes, she was holding home court advantage but all entrants proved they can bring their best on the road and she wiped the floor with them. Gary Stevens fits her like a glove, and right now both of them are in a zone. Royal Delta was a no-show, and the rest simply don’t have the race in them to beat Beholder when she’s on. Boy, was SHE ON. If she decides to carry forward in 2014, she will win races at short prices but she will be a blast to watch. In fact, her crop is one of the stronger generations of females we’ve seen in a while and they will win all over the place.
The Juvenile Fillies – Ria Antonia – The heartbreaker that cost many a gambler the early pick five on Saturday is a puzzling preposition. She came in with a few accolades and really didn’t leave with many more, as her win via DQ was only the second of her career. She’s a Tiger ran the more demanding race of the two and will certainly be the more heavily touted filly going forward, but neither of the exacta pair really make you think “Oaks Winner” in the replay. She’s a Tiger’s brother too, has to make one think that distance may not be in her future. Talent at this point in her career may have carried her this far rather than actual desire to route. This appears to be a group with a lot of growing up to do, and no standout leader at this point. No one can say that either ran poorly or didn’t deserve the win, but it just wasn’t a race that caught the eye visually or final time-wise. Rosalind, the show filly, was picking up checks in similar fashion all year and wasn’t threatening those two. I’ll be searching for an Oaks filly elsewhere most likely.
The Filly & Mare Turf – Dank – What else can you say? This race went exactly according to plan & the odds board. They finished in a clump but the best mare won and the second best mare ran second. Neither one really has reason to stay here or return for a while, and even if they do the value will not be there. Hats off to a couple of fantastic fillies but they shouldn’t be padding wallets in the US anytime soon.
The Filly & Mare Sprint – Groupie Doll – With only one faint possibility at seeing the champ again (Cigar Mile), discussion of next year is off the table. She was just bought for $3.1 million and we’ll likely discover Atlantis before seeing her race again.
The Turf Sprint – Mizdirection – See Groupie Doll.
The Juvenile – New Year’s Day – The little boys finished up even slower than the girls, but the winner seems to have a little more promise/upside than his counterpart. This was only his third start, and each one seems to be a bigger step forward than even Bob Baffert expects. The difference between the two juvenile races seems to be that many more of the males showed up, whereas some of the fillies turned in complete duds. Havana ran a brave, wide race but was just out of horse when the challenge came on the inside. Tap it Rich just didn’t pick it up but is another with upside considering his inexperience. That one will probably need some time to fill out his big frame too, but will most likely not provide value considering his conditioner. It was sort of a stagger-fest down the stretch but I’ll be watching a few of these down the road, including the winner.
The Turf – Magician – It’s a pattern in this year’s cup, but the best two took the money across the ocean again. The Fugue ran a huge race but the winner got the smarter trip after the early fractions, and finished better than yours truly could imagine after that kind of layoff. Hindsight is 20/20 though, and won’t change the result. Oodles of credit go to all runners in a pretty cleanly run race, but as usual the local troops were overmatched.
The Sprint – Secret Circle – He’s a unique sort like Beholder, and joins a select list of winners of two different Breeders’ Cup events. The problem is his obvious delicacy, but the speed & natural ability are glaring. As with New Year’s Day though, the problem with this colt going forward is the sure lack of value. There are enough sprint stakes in California to keep him home all of 2014 and enough on the East Coast to prevent another challenge like the one put forth on Saturday. The good thing about the Sprint is that the most common distance in America produces the biggest pool of contenders at the beginning of each year and usually keeps things interesting right up to the wire in November. Trinniburg is a perfect example of how hard it is to stay competitive in these ranks and why this race only has one repeat winner.
The Mile – Wise Dan – What a guy. For as tough as he is to beat, beating him twice in a row is damn near impossible. He’s another… what do you say? Different jock? No problem. Different trip? No problem. Different course? You see where I’m going… His connections take the best of care with him and he takes care of himself. No price will ever be found until he loses twice in a row, but he’s not the sort of horse that you go to the track to get rich with. He’s the reason you pay admission. There’s no telling how long he can stay this good, but until he proves otherwise just keep enjoying the show.
The Classic – Mucho Macho Man (pictured above right) – Holy Gary Stevens. He had so much good karma in tow with those 126 pounds, how can you not feel good about his win? I know personally my tickets didn’t care for the result, but in retrospect leaving him out of anything was a mistake after his win in the Awesome Again. He doesn’t always get the job done (ahem, 2012) but his campaign led up to this spot perfectly and the ride he received could not be matched by anyone else’s in the field. Many will claim that Will Take Charge should have won, but that’s the difference the hot-riding Stevens made. He’s somehow conned MMM into a win streak, but the possibility of it continuing is iffy. His stud value will probably never exceed the present, and with the breeding industry being as lucrative as it is he may join a couple of others in this year’s classic in the breeding shed in 2014. Both he and the distaff winner shut me up, and kudos to the connections of both. It is not an easy thing to do.
In all, I will not be playing as many winners from this year’s cup as last year’s. I must give credit to the connections of many of the 2012 champions though, as this year saw a brave return by more of them than I ever expected. Hopefully many of you cashed in the cup and best of luck in the remaining weeks of 2013!
This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela just completed her third year as Canterbury Park’s Analyst.