Farewell 2013

2013 BlogChange is in the air. The final days of the year are upon us, Hollywood Park (I refuse to refer to it as Betfair posthumously) has made its final race official, and a new era of racing in California has begun. Santa Anita has taken its short strolls through the spring/fall and made their season into a road trip… and that’s where the final In the Money contest of 2013 will take place this Saturday. The card is not anything that will set an attendance record at the Great Race Place, but there are a couple of stakes worth a glance. Their grass will take the stakes cake on Saturday with the features being the Eddie Logan and the Daytona. Though they’ll take place on the same course, they’re two very different races so let’s dig in:

The Eddie Logan (Race 4) In recent times, this race has actually not been a euro-dominated event. I don’t say that because a $75,000 listed stake is supposed to draw the cream of Europe, but they are constantly bet in these types of races and the morning line favorite is trying the grass here for the first time. The same goes for a couple of others in this field, but do not be afraid to take a chance on a US based runner with some experience here. None of the invaders did much overseas with the exception of Craftsman, and he should be in the neighborhood of 8/5 or perhaps less with his connections and grade 3 win. However, Simon Callaghan has started four imported two year olds in the past five years and none have won. Three of them made their stateside debut in stakes and none were over 7-1. For purposes of In the Money, the play is probably Enterprising. He should be at least the second choice in wagering despite only a maiden win to his credit due to his connections. Proctor & Stevens’ numbers speak for themselves, but they’ve really been consistent lately. In the recently concluded Hollywood meet they only missed the board twice in eight starters. Furthermore, in listed stakes over the past few years they’ve hit the board with four of five starters, the only miss being Procurement (narrow runner-up on opening day.) The rate-able colt drew perfectly in a field that seems to have plenty of pace to it and with a family that includes Stravinsky & Moscow Ballet the first start on dirt can be excused. Remember, prices are not as important as staying alive in this contest. Do not try to get cute with a kill-shot type of horse this early in the contest–Bragging rights over a longshot are for real money, not contest money.

The Daytona (Race 8) – Ah, the Hillside. These races are some of the most fun to play due to the close finishes & unique course, but the stakes take that fun up a notch due to fresh faces usually giving it a go for the first time. Next Speaker is the only one of this group doing that, but he’s a talented horse with a bright future. I’m inclined to give him one and pass on using him for contest purposes, but there’s something to be said for the quality of horses he’s faced simply due to geography. This is still such an adjustment for horses used to racing on flat courses that it usually doesn’t work out the initial try. If Chips All In or Unbridled’s Note miss the board, the contest could be over in the 8th. The chances sit somewhere between slim & nil of that happening, but if you’re looking to separate yourself from the competition at this point (if you think you’ll have a ton), there are other options.

Gallant Son hasn’t missed the board all year and is an obvious alternative but one I’d use with caution. Those winning races in Southern California are getting further away… his year started in a five horse field that was basically a two horse race between the winner & runner up. Something must have gone wrong in 2012 with only four starts and no wins, but he’s rebounded nicely in the confines of northern California. The problem is, all the same names show up in his running lines and some of them are up there because they couldn’t cut the mustard in SoCal. I will go against all normal logic of the hill and give El Commodore the slightest of chances to hit the board–He is too interesting at what will likely be higher than 5-1. I do NOT play the rail at 6 ½ but the rare exceptions are pure speedballs with jockeys that know this course well… check, check. The optional claimer he exits featured many a stakes runner or nice allowance horse, and he sizzled through the first part of the race only to get nabbed by a classy/delicate runner in Dubai You X Y Z. His fate will be determined a few steps out of the gate, for Gary Stevens has to know that he is aboard basically a one trick pony. In his six wins, El Commodore has not been behind a horse at any point of call. Most of his starts have been routes, but keep in mind that over this course two back on the flat, Gary got this horse to hang 1:09 and 2/5 in the Lure before folding late. He is a six year old now, perhaps age is just catching up with his old bones and sprinting may be all he wants to do anymore. Don’t be misled by the long races, this horse is quick. Looking through his works in the past couple of years is like taking a glance at the side of Bonnie & Clyde’s car.

For more details on how to play In the Money, click here. Hope to see you out here Saturday and Happy New Year!

Race of the Week: Awesome Again

DSC01825Santa Anita’s made its way back into the picture, as their fall meet begins this Friday. While the opening day feature, the Eddie D., is an intriguing race, we’ll focus on Breeders’ Cup Preview day on Saturday.

I mention the Eddie D. because of its significance as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Keep in mind that odd configuration in Arcadia and the distance that comes with it. Many of the stars that show up for the Turf Sprint are used to a bit less real estate than they’ll see at the Cup, and the jockeys/horses familiar with the hill showed last year what an advantage they hold. That’s not to say they’ll sweep the tri again, but the winner of the Eddie D. must be considered come November.

Now, back to the Awesome Again. The Classic prep formerly known as the Goodwood has a notable absentee, Game on Dude. He’ll opt to train up to the race but Baffert still has some bullets to fire while trying to capture his fifth edition. It’s hard not to root for Paynter but with that one likely to be a huge underlay there are some possibilities around the field for value. I won’t cover each slot in the gate but there are certainly a few that should be mentioned.

Liaison – The rail runner is the first of Baffert’s three in the Awesome Again, and he’s the least fancied by many. He’s not a bad horse but he’s basically in an equine version of senior slide. Those last two races at Del Mar were a far cry from the first three of his year at Hollywood and Santa Anita, and Liaison missed the board for the first time on a synthetic surface two back. He’s standing at Spendthrift in 2014 no matter what, so the main goals now are to keep him healthy and find reasons to raise his stud fee. I’d have to guess that the first is of greater importance and calls for greater caution in all aspects of his races. There’s already plenty on his resume: 12 of his 17 races have come against graded company, he won stakes at two and four, etc. Perhaps they’re looking to skyrocket the stud fee here, but it sure looks like Baffert is throwing a couple against the wall to see if they stick.

Take Control – Here’s the other one in that column. While the bills stacking up with him would probably bankrupt most of us, he’s obviously made progress and lands in DEEP water off the shelf. The morning drills are what you want to see out of a Baffert and Take Control’s won off a THREE year layoff in the past… but this is still not all that likely. I’d use him over Liaison, but this spot is still way ambitious for a fourth time starter. If Liaison’s on senior slide, Take Control is that sports car that’s always in the shop. Shah paid a pretty penny for the son of Azeri, and when that car’s out of the shop you want to drive it where everyone can see it.

Paynter – It’s so hard not to root for this horse. I am plenty guilty of making emotional bets at Canterbury, but with this horse I will pass. He’s got a chance, but he needs to step it up if he hopes to beat Mucho Macho Man. I shall try to explain this without being harsh… I apparently saw the Woodward a lot different than most. Yes, he hit the gate but he wasn’t out of the position he wanted to be most of the race. Paynter was hustled out of the gate, was mildly urged to keep up through modest fractions and just died down the stretch. Can a G1 horse suddenly run like a G3 animal simply because of a sloppy track? If he’s proven he hates it, yes. If his only other race in the slop was a hard trying third in a grade three coming from nearly the same place he traveled in the Woodward? No. Every brand of slop is different, but I hesitate to listen when Bejarano says he never felt comfortable right AFTER he was out of horse at the half mile pole. No connections of this courageous horse will want to come right out and say he got outrun by the four others. The trip home should cure his ills but that may not be enough.

Mucho Macho Man – He might just be the slightest cut below the best right now in his division but that very well could still trump this bunch. Typically I favor East Coast turf horses over their western counterparts, but it’s a little more even in the dirt ranks. However, this race does not feature much outside of Paynter as far as dirt stars in California. MMM obviously likes Santa Anita, but isn’t exactly in the same form that he was the last time he raced over it. He’s always full of questions because he always gets lots of rest between his races. They’ve still geared his campaign towards the BC Classic and this is a great place to prepare. The healthy ‘Macho works like he’s been working and the outside post works to his stalking style. He’s not a clever pick but he is the battle tested, classy vet that has found a nice spot to try and get his first W of 2013.

You Know I Know – After the standouts the rest of them are a very puzzling bunch of turf horses and synthetic specialists for the most part, and this guy is no exception. He only gave the dirt a try very early on in his career, and if Sadler’s going to take another swing at G1 company it bears notice. He was a heck of a claim out of his first start by Sadler, who’s tried a number of things with him and pocketed a lot of cash along the way. No one was close to The Dude in the Pacific Classic, but this horse outclosed now-retired Richard’s Kid on his favorite surface – a tall task. The longer the better it seems for You Know I Know and that isn’t a common theme in this field. There should be plenty of pace to propel his rally, but watch the early part of the card & Friday to gauge the dirt. It can be a very speed-favoring surface (even more so than most dirt), and if it appears to be a conveyor belt toss this one right out.

One More Thing…

If anyone listening to the musings between Mr. Gelfand and me, you know his favorite horse on the grounds. Mister Bernstein is going to race on closing day at Arlington Park in the 9th race, a starter/optional claimer on the grass. His last post-Canterbury venture was a complete FLOP in 2012, but he was favored that day in September at Delaware Park. MB has raced well on Arlington turf in the past and is in fine form after facing toughies in similar races up here. He’ll at least be a price. My Friday night partner in crime would absolutely bring it up on opening day 2014 if I didn’t mention his beloved Mister Bernstein.

May Super Saturday bring all of you nothing but winners!!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela just completed her third year as Canterbury Park’s Analyst.

Identifying a Track Bias

Opening DayIdentifying track bias is a very tricky thing. Deciding if a low-priced, inside-traveling, wire-to-wire winner benefited from a rail bias can be very subjective. To get to the heart of it, you really need to have handicapped the race and determined the likely pace scenario. If you are able to identify a trend or bias, it can be very lucrative. This was the case when spotting Sputey’s Cabin as the live longshot of the day on June 2nd.

Sputey’s Cabin had run against an inside bias on opening night. The track was sloppy and no one was doing much on the inside. While some of the winners had won near the lead, they were low priced and were likely to have won from anywhere. The exotics fillers were all coming from far back and on the outside part of the track. Sputey’s Cabin pressed a difficult pace from the rail and hung in until very late and faded slightly to finish 4th beaten only 7 lengths at 50-1 in the Lady Slipper. She was deserving of a big chance when she came back on June 2nd when she drew an inside post on a day that saw the first four races won by rail speed. She went wire-to-wire and hung in gamely to win at nearly 11-1.

There are a couple of runners who ran well against the bias that are running back on Thursday. Al Musaddad in the 8th race is coming off a race in which he closed right up the rail. While closers fared decently on that day, the rail was absolutely dead. He deserves a bump up. Jantzesfancyfriend was 5 wide the entire race on a day that the inside part of the track was golden. He is 4-1 in the 9th race. Ridgeofstone, in race 10, is 6-1 and might deserve a look after she set the pace on a turf course that was heavily slanted towards deep, outside closers. None of these runners should be played solely on the fact that they ran against a bias last time out, but be given additional credit for their effort.

Below is the track bias chart (click to enlarge) from the eyes of this handicapper. It might be worthwhile to refer to this chart this weekend as we are starting to see runners come back from race days where the bias was significant.

Track Bias

This blog was written by Track Phantom, a contributing handicapper for the Del Mar and Santa Anita websites. He has offered public analysis for Canterbury for 15 years and has closely followed Minnesota racing since he first visited the track in 1986. He was in person for most live races from 1986 through 2003 (when he relocated to Austin, TX). His analysis, information and blog can be found at www.trackphantom.com.

Road to Kentucky Continues

R2KThis is likely the last Kentucky Derby prep race for those entered in Saturday’s Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby. As the saying goes, its time to fish, cut bait, or go ashore. For many this means win or forget about the first Saturday in May.

The featured track for this week’s Road to Kentucky contest is Aqueduct plus the Santa Anita Derby is an added bonus race. Post time is 11:30.

In The Wood at The Big A we have a showdown between two undefeateds in Verrazano and Vyjack, both who have 50 Derby qualifying points and have secured a spot in the field. In other words, they do not need to win. Verrazano has been impressive in all three wins and has back to back triple-digit Beyer figures. None of the others here have approached a 100 fig, hence Verranzo is 4/5 on the morning line. He has pushed around mediocre competition and finally faces a legitimate threat in Vyjack.

Normandy Invasion went favored in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds and never threatened. He has 4 points and must either win or run again before the Derby if the connections intend to party in Louisville.

I’ll Have Another won the Santa Anita Derby last year and went on to win the Kentucky Derby. This year’s edition attracts an interesting group. Super Ninety Nine was the double-Beyer Figure advantage horse when he went postward at 6/5 in the Rebel at Oaklawn. He flashed and faded to fifth so keep that in mind before declaring Verrazano a slam dunk in New York. Super Ninety Nine has just 10 points. Bejarano abandons ship to ride Power Broker, a very live prospect who has been away since running fifth in the BC Juvenile at 5/2 odds. This colt has 10 points as well. If 50 is the assumed point level needed to make the cut then a top 2 finish is required. Baffert is asking a lot from Power Broker but at a fair price you might lean this way.

Goldencents has 29 points. A big finish Saturday would land jockey Kevin Krigger in the Derby for the first time. Hear the Ghost, a Hollendorfer trainee , has a passport to the Derby with his win in the San Felipe but Flashback, another Baffert runner, finished second in that race and needs more than the 30 points he has thus far acquired.

Must Pay in the Gulfstream Rainbow 6 on Friday

Assuming the Gulfstream Pick 6 does not get hit today by a single ticket, the carryover will be $2,000,000 and the pool is estimated by some optimists to reach as high as $8 million on Friday when it must be paid on the final day of the meeting. This diabolical bet normally works like this: 10 cent base wager but the only way to win the pot is to hold the lone winning 6 of 6 ticket. If there are multiple winners then they chop a percentage and the rest goes into the carryover. It works like that until the final day which is Friday. The bet is still a 10 cent per combo minimum but Friday all holding 6 of 6 tickets get a share. Pool your money with friends and swing big, and as always, bet it at Canterbury Park.

Keeneland Opens Friday

This is a sure sign of spring. First post is noon.

2012 Breeders’ Cup: Friday Analysis

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.

-Angela Hermann

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.

-Jeff Maday

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.

-Jeff Maday

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.

-Angela Hermann

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.

-Jeff Maday

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!

-Angela Hermann

Watch and wager on the 2012 Breeders’ Cup at Canterbury Park! Advance wagering on Saturday’s card begins at noon on Friday. Come Play!

Canterbury Connections: 2012 Breeders’ Cup

Not often does Canterbury’s Daily Racing Form Abbreviation CBY show up in a horse’s past performances at the Breeders’ Cup, but the 2012 edition includes the Mystic Lake Derby runner-up and a Minnesota-owned horse who already has a second place finish to his credit in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup. Here’s a little more about Delegation and Hamazing Destiny and how they got to Santa Anita for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup.

Delegation, on the left edge of the photo with the jockey in pink silks, finished second in the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury. How does that work? Why isn’t Hammers’ Terror in the dirt mile then? Because the far more experienced Hammers’ Terror caught Delegation in lifetime start number three.

This handicapper took Delegation that day, but the best obviously was yet to come for the Mark Casse-trained colt.  Since leaving Minnesota, he’s picked up two wins and a third in Canada.  That show finish came against grade two company, and one of the victories came in the grade three Durham Cup came at a mile and one eighth.

The Positive: He’s improving. Delegation is one of three three-year-olds in the field, with the other two (Fed Biz & Second City) coming off defeat in the Indiana Derby. He enters the Mile off his lifetime best speed figure in his first graded stakes win. His pedigree leans a bit more towards speed, being by BC Sprint winner Speightstown out of Del Mar Debutante winner Cindy’s Hero. However, there is plenty of dirt influence from both sides and he’s already handled the distance and beyond. Canterbury Park has only produced one recent Breeders’ Cup winner – Furthest Land in the Dirt Mile.

The Negative: While Delegation is clearly on the improve, those last two wins also came in wire-to-wire fashion on polytrack. The fractions he set in wiring those fields were crawling at best, which simply won’t happen with the field he’s drawn in against. Fed Biz, Shackleford, Emcee, Tapizar and Second City (all drawn to his outside) have early speed and will surely push if not crush Delegation should he decide to take the lead. Three of Delegations four wins have come in six horse fields and none of his competition dared show up in California.

The final verdict: Gary & Cecil Barber run a lot of horses in Southern California, and this may be them wanting a participation ribbon more than a medal.  They’ve never seen their gelding outside of a TV screen on the racetrack, and perhaps Breeders’ Cup was their only chance to pluck this Canadian away from home.

Hamazing Destiny does not have as much to prove for local owners Barry & Joni Butzow. His second in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint sent him down a rather difficult path of graded stakes. While he’s held his own against some of the best sprinters in the country, he’s only managed one win since that time in the grade three Maryland Sprint Handicap. Wayne Lukas is the king of the Breeders’ Cup, garnering the most wins of all time (many of them in the 1980s & 1990s.) He trains the six-year-old for the Butzows and brings him in as a fresh horse off a runner-up finish in the Forego. He’s been working over his favorite track Churchill Downs and just fired two half-mile bullets in preparation for the Sprint.

The Positive: His tactical speed is a huge asset over Santa Anita’s track. Winning Sprints from off the pace just doesn’t happen all that often, so Joel Rosario will need to keep him close. Rosario knows this track better than most, and should be able to get ‘Destiny in good position from his outside post.  He runs very well fresh, and thus has been rested since September. The Salt Lake horse has back class and the cutback from seven furlongs to six should help. Four out of his five lifetime wins are at ¾ of a mile.

The Negative: He is one for his last fourteen. He’s never touched the California main track, and has not traveled this far west for a race in his life. Lukas’ wins in the Breeders’ Cup are further and further in the rear view mirror, with only three since the year 2000.  This competition has seen him before and beaten him most of the time.

The final verdict: I will use him underneath in some exotic plays, but keying him on top of anything or singling him is out of the question for me.  He deserves a shot in here off the Forego, but with so many questions marks surrounding him and his trainer I’ll have to pass on him as a top pick.

I’ll be watching closely but wagering against these two. What do you think of our local connections?

If all else fails in your 2012 Breeders’ Cup Handicapping, here’s a look at how to find a hunch play!

Good luck to all this Friday & Saturday! Enjoy Breeders’ Cup 2012 at Canterbury Park!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann just completed her second year as Canterbury’s Paddock Analyst after previously serving in a similar role at Lincoln Racecourse and Columbus Ag Park. She blogs about both local and National racing.

Breeders’ Cup 101

With the largest two-day event in racing just around the corner, there are plenty of resources, opinions and thoughts out there on the Breeders’ Cup. However, here’s some quick advice on where to find what you’re looking for:

Who: Although post positions won’t be drawn until next week, pre-entries for all Breeders’ Cup races are now available.  Mike Watchmaker of the DRF gives his approximate line and a brief comment for each pre-entrant at this link.

Links for Past Performances:

DRF Past Performances

Brisnet Past Performances

Equibase Past Performances

There is a series of races run throughout the year called the Win & You’re In Breeders’ Cup Challenge, with each winner guaranteed a spot in the field of that race’s division. For example, the final “Win & You’re In” race winner in the Sprint division was Coil in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Thus, Coil is in the field regardless of his ranking in earnings with other nominees. Winners of these races are posted with their respective divisions here.

What: The Breeders’ Cup post position draw will be streamed online at www.breederscup.com on October 29th at 5:30 Central time.  Track conditions and bias trends are also available on the Breeders Cup main page. Friday is Ladies’ Day, as the last four BC races of the day are restricted to females.

The schedule of the races for both days:

Friday:

Race Name Distance Grade Purse Post Time (Central)
Juvenile Sprint 6 Furlongs Two $500,000 3:06
Marathon 1 & ¾ Miles Two $500,000 3:48
Juvenile Fillies Turf 1 Mile One $1,000,000 4:28
Juvenile Fillies 1 1/16 Miles One $2,000,000 5:08
Filly & Mare Turf 1 ¼ Miles One $2,000,000 5:48
Ladies’ Classic 1 1/8 Miles One $2,000,000 6:30

Coverage of Friday’s racing will begin at approximately 3:00 PM and continue until 7:00 PM on NBC Sports.

Saturday:

Race Name Distance Grade Purse Post Time (Central)
Juvenile Turf 1 Mile 1 $1,000,000 1:50
Filly & Mare Sprint 7 Furlongs 1 $1,000,000 2:35
Dirt Mile 1 Mile 1 $1,000,000 3:14
Turf Sprint 6 ½ Furlongs 1 $1,000,000 3:57
Juvenile 1 1/16 Miles 1 $2,000,000 4:36
Turf 1 ½ Miles 1 $3,000,000 5:18
Sprint 6 Furlongs 1 $1,500,000 5:58
Mile 1 Mile 1 $2,000,000 6:40
Classic 1 ¼ Miles 1 $5,000,000 7:30

Coverage of Saturday’s racing will begin at approximately 2:30 on NBC Sports.  The Classic will be shown on NBC from 7:00-8:00 PM Central.

Where:  This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.  Their configuration is unique:

The oddity at Santa Anita is their turf course for the Turf Sprint. Their turf chute contains the only right hand turn in American racing, and provides another small challenge for unfamiliar horses when they cross the dirt coming down the stretch.  It is also a downhill course for most of the way, providing particular momentum for closers on the outside. This particular handicapper tends to avoid the rail unless the runner has good early speed.  It is often difficult for closers & stalkers to find a way through in full fields unless taken to the outside very early on in the race.  The dirt overall tends to favor speed. The lack of rain in the area contributes to this, but even when wet or muddy it just isn’t the most fair of surfaces.  Keep this in mind when handicapping!  Further information on Santa Anita can be found at their website www.santaanita.com.

When:  Post times for each race are shown above in the schedule of Breeders’ Cup races, but keep an eye on races on Thursday to see if certain jockeys/trainers have come in from the East to get a test run over the track.  First post on Thursday is 3:00 PM Central.  Friday’s card begins at 1:15 PM, and Saturday’s at 12:05 PM.

Why: $1 Exactas, $.50 Trifectas, .10 Superfectas, and $.50 Pick Threes, Pick Fours and Pick Fives.  Small investments yield giant payoffs in the Breeders’ Cup!  The last time the Breeders’ Cup was held at Santa Anita (2009), average payoffs over the 14 races were:

Type of Bet Average Payoff
$1 Exacta $80.06
$1 Trifecta $704.49
$1 Superfecta $5,895.11
$1 Pick Three (All Three Legs BC Races) $1,473.71
$1 Pick Four (All Four Legs BC Races) $13,141.57

How:  Wagering on the Breeders’ Cup will begin when windows open Friday.  Advance wagering on Saturday’s races is also available starting at Noon Friday!  This year’s wagering menu:

For more information about Breeders’ Cup Weekend at Canterbury Park, visit www.canterburypark.com.

Don’t forget Canterbury College Alumni… join us November 1st for our Breeders’ Cup Seminar for tips, selections and more about the 2012 Cup from Santa Anita! Good luck to all!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann just completed her second year as Canterbury’s Paddock Analyst after previously serving in a similar role at Lincoln Racecourse and Columbus Ag Park. She blogs about both local and National racing.