My Breeders' Cup Playbook

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf:
Hootenanny is the morning line favorite  and although I expect Luck of the Kitten will actually go off favored here, they both figure in the same way for me, that being as pace presences. Both of these two are headstrong and quick, and to top if off they're drawn near each other, which makes the possibility of a speed duel a real one. Even if that doesn't formulate, though, the pace should be a healthy one and for that reason, I'm looking for runners who'll settle well off the pace early on. I've had Aktabantay penned in this spot for a while. He's one who clearly wants firmer ground, as well as a slightly longer trip and although he can be one to lose focus at times, the blinkers seemed to help as he stayed on well late against much tougher last time out. The probable race shape should suit him as well as Danny Boy, who although drawn poorly, I'd expect to drop out the back early and make one run late. He may be left with too much to do, but at those odds and coming off of a solid run in the G3 Bourbon last time out, he's worth using in my book. As far as a few of the more well fancied Euros in the betting go, Commemorative is an honest enough type, but I don't believe the pace will suit his typical running style and I'm not going to play a 2yo at single digits in essentially what will be a discipline test being that he's drawn between the two main speeds. War Envoy is presumably taking a bit of steam due to his connections, but he's the most exposed of the shippers in here and even if he did win somehow, he'll surely be an underlay in the betting, so I'll pass. 
Choices: #9 Aktabantay (12/1) (scratched), #14 Danny Boy (20/1)

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile: 
I really tried to find someone who I felt confident could beat Goldencents, but that didn't entirely work out, so instead I'll try to find a bit of value underneath (and box it just in case), although I'll play the race itself lightly. (Of course, pay attention to the probable payouts to ensure you'll make a profit on the day). Vicar's In Trouble isn't the flashiest type and I didn't like his race in the Indiana Derby (I was there and really thought he should've won). Regardless, he's remarkably consistent and has a big chance of hitting the board if he can pull the same move he did in the Risen Star going when turning for home. 
Play: Exacta box: #1 Goldencents (6/5) / #3 Vicar's In Trouble (12/1)

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf:
Sunset Glow is taking quite a bit of steam and while I understand how people view her talent level, she figures to struggle with a probable fast pace early and I'll instead look elsewhere. Osaila is a filly I've been a fan of overseas and class-wise, she's just better than these. A Group 3 winner in England, she finished no more than one and a quarter lengths behind perhaps the two most well regarded juvenile fillies in Cursory Glance and Found. Her most recent win was what I viewed as a perfect prep run. Quality Rocks was a runner-up behind Rainha Da Bateria last time out and in my opinion ran just as good of a race as the winner being that she chased a very fast early pace that burned several others. She'll be second time turf  and second time Mott. I'm not sure she can sit further off the pace here, but she's worth taking a gamble on at a big price. 
Choices: #2 Osaila (5/1), #10 Quality Rocks (20/1)

Breeders' Cup Distaff: 
She may have ran a bad one without excuse last time out, but Close Hatches looks to be the lone speed of this one and I'm more than willing to excuse her for that poor run given her class and due to the likelihood of her receiving a soft lead. Plus, we'll get a much better price than anticipated due to that clunker and the praise that Untapable is receiving despite looking quite tired when weaving down the stretch last time out. 
Choice: #11 Close Hatches (3/1)

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: No Bet

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf: 
Dayatthespa figures to get a soft lead here and anything near her best should be plenty good enough in a race where I have queries about nearly all of the top contenders. Dank will be a heavy favorite, and deservedly so, but coming off of the long layoff, I couldn't play her to win. That being said, I'm not leaving her off of my multi-race wagers. There just won't be the value there for a win/place/show wager, but she'll likely track Dayatthespa and could get a beautiful run if the former falters. Irish Mission has impressed in her two most recent stars and she ran on well in her most recent start despite a troubled trip. Her tactical speed and good form warrant a play on her at a big price. The pace setup likely won't work in her favor, but Stephanie's Kitten enters here in the form of her career and will be coming on late. She's a must-use in multi-race wagers, but similarly to Dank, we won't play her standalone in this race.
Choice: #4 Dayatthespa (8/1), #8 Irish Mission (20/1)

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint:
As has been the theme to this point, "pace makes the race" and here we have another potential lone speed in Stonetastic. The tricky seven furlong distance shouldn't be a query for her given that she used to run over further and in her limited tries sprinting, it took an all and out speed duel to defeat her and she still held well to get third in that one. A bullet work last weekend only adds to the appeal. 
Choice: #3 Stonetastic (8/1)

Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint: 
Everything about this race screams FAST EARLY to me particularly with the likes of Reneesgotzip, No Nay Never, Something Extra, and Bobby's Kitten in the field. Home Run Kitten, who is 2-for-2 over course and distance, caught my eye in a big way last time out when tackling a G3 going down the hill after putting in several solid runs routing on the turf this season. His turn of foot is something special and he'll most certainly get the pace setup, not to mention he's drawn well. If he gets any sort of a clear run, he figures to go very close. Bobby's Kitten is cutting back from the mile distance and has always shown talent despite his nature. He relaxed the best I've ever seen him in his most recent run, however, and is worth taking a shot on at a likely nice price. If his head doesn't get in his own way, he could be the first one to take a crack at the early speed. 
Choices: #6 Bobby's Kitten (10/1), #10 Home Run Kitten (12/1)

Breeders' Cup Juvenile: 
American Pharoah may not be in the field, but the Breeders' Cup Juvenile still figures to be plenty fast early on with most of the main speed drawn out wide. I've been high on Calculator since the Del Mar Futurity, in which he was seen running wide and off the pace aka exactly where you did not want to be on that day at Del Mar. He appeared to have closed the gap to American Pharoah in the Frontrunner and a ground saving trip plus a pace to close into could see this maiden taking the win. Texas Red is another who would benefit from a fast pace upfront in his second start on the dirt. Not sure what to make of The Great War routing, but the dirt shouldn't be an issue given his pedigree and he is first-time Lasix. I expect him to be relatively ignored in the betting given this is a dirt race, so he's one to use if his morning line price holds on the chance he puts in a big performance first time dirt. 
Choices: #1 Calculator (15/1), #4 The Great War (12/1), #7 Texas Red (20/1)

Breeders' Cup Turf:
Without much true speed in this race, Telescope and Brown Panther figure to go forward, which should give them a tactical advantage at this distance. Telescope is slightly preferred at this distance, but there are still queries on whether or not he'll take to the tight turns of Santa Anita. Brown Panther figures to be relatively ignored in the betting after running off in his last race, but that's not typical of him and his ability to carry his speed over a distance of ground could see him getting a nice run in a race that lacks a true speed horse up front. I can understand why Flintshire appeals to some, but his season was undoubtedly pointed towards the Arc and I'd be surprised if he didn't regress off that effort and that's on top of him being tough to win with in the first place.
Choices: #1 Telescope (4/1), #4 Brown Panther (8/1)

Breeders' Cup Sprint:
Rich Tapestry figures to get the run of the race with the main speed drawn just to his inside. He should be able to slot in behind them and allow the wider drawn speed to press forward. He made a big impression when winning in his debut on American soil and the fact of the matter is that he has on several occasions ran against far better sprinters than these, including Lord Kanaloa and Lucky Nine. He's impressed in video of every work I've seen of his over the Santa Anita dirt and taking all of that into account, he's my best bet of the meet. 
Choice: #6 Rich Tapestry (5/1)

Breeders' Cup Mile:
Toronado really should just win this race. He was impressive on debut, and his form via Kingman and Charm Spirit is rock solid. I've waited over a year for him to race in the states, as he was expected to make the trip last year before a poor work at home resulted in a change in plans, and in what will be his ideal conditions, we should see the best of him. 
Choice: #5 Toronado

Breeders' Cup Classic:
He impressed me in a big way when seen winning the Haskell and I've had him penned for this race ever since. For once, Bayern will be running against the big boys on his home turf (instead of having to ship east) and if the track favors speed in any way, shape, or form it benefits him more than anyone else. Moreno's most recent work was poor in my opinion and that only firms my opinion on Bayern, who is the only other real speed in the race. I've long said Bayern is plenty fast, but doesn't NEED the lead. He's shown no tendency of being headstrong in the slightest and if Moreno gets out front out of the gate, who's to say Bayern can't range up on him at the quarter pole? If he does, I think a clearly below peak Moreno could very well spit the bit and it's smooth sailing out front from there. In case something cooky happens out front pace wise, however, we'll also use Tonalist, who looks to have returned to his best when seen winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup, in multi-race wagers.
Choice: #7 Bayern (6/1), #11 Tonalist (5/1)

Photo by Lisa Andres


  1. Really a nice job here. You had at least 4 winners and 5-1 was the lowest odds. Wish I'd remember to check here BEFOREHAND the races. Thanks Candace

  2. Just stumbled upon your site & the selections for Japan.
    Never bet a single dime before tonight & you go 2-2. Great job & Happy holidays.
    I just added your site to my favorites


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