The two days of racing at Breeders Cup 2017 led to some thrilling finishes and some tremendous performances. We previewed all 13 races, but now it’s time to look back and see what we did right and what we did wrong.
Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
Recap / Notes – Rushing Fall ran an excellent race to win by a length on the wire. She was 2-3 wide on the first turn and then 4-5 wide on the second turn, covering nearly 50-feet more than the runner-up, Best Performance. Third-place finisher September ran very well after missing the break. She was able to tuck back and save a little ground but was basically out of position the whole race, farther back than she would have been. She was moving very well late. Significant Form and Fatale Bere also were wide. Significant Form was also up on the solid pace while Fatale Bere was wide and maybe made the first big off the pace move around the far turn. All in all it was a very good race and the top five finishers all seem like very good prospects moving forward.
Here’s the Trakus chart for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
What We Got Right – This was a frustrating race as we keyed everything around September, who finished third but was maybe best and no worse than second best. Rushing Fall was our second choice and Best Performance our fourth choice, but we still ended up with nothing. Oh well.
What We Got Wrong – We were too bullish on Happily, who was terrible and coming off two soft-turf Group 1 wins, we probably should have tossed her at a short price.
The remainder of the Friday races are below the fold.
Breeders Cup Dirt Mile
Recap / Notes – Battle of Midway upset the field as an outside pressing winner, wearing down inside speed Sharp Azteca to score the upset. Two of the favorites, Mor Spirt and Accelerate, didn’t run a step, while one-turn closers Awesome Slew and Practical Joke both ran well but were hurt by a moderate pace. Practical Joke is being retired after the Cigar Mile, a race in which he will be one of the horses to beat, while Awesome Slew is apparently being freshened and will come back in 2018.
What We Got Right – We did like Battle of Midway as a sneaky longshot in here but didn’t really think he could win and was more of an underneath use.
What We Got Wrong – Accelerate was completely dreadful and one of two John Sadler well-bet runners (Stellar Wind in the Distaff) to run terribly in the span of an hour. He was our top selection and with him running out, we missed our vertical wagers.
Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf
Recap / Notes – Mendelssohn was the winner for Team Coolmore and Aidan O’Brien but he benefited from a great trip under Ryan Moore. Breaking from the inside, he saved ground the whole way, tipped out at the top of the lane, and held off several wide runners for a perfect trip win. Untamed Domain had to make a very wide move around the far turn but ran very well. Voting Control was pressing up close and in between rivals, but tipped out an ran well after a troubled start in the Pilgrim. He is probably the American that we’d want most heading into 2018. Catholic Boy saved ground much of the way as he did in the With Anticipation last time. We’re still a little skeptical. Beckford never left the rail but made a big rally from well back. Masar, who was our pick, had to steady and lost position into the far turn when jockey William Buick lost an iron around the far turn. My Boy Jack, a California-based 2-year old, had a poor post (13) and ran 93′ (!) farther than the rail-scraping winner. He was still only beaten by about 2 3/4 lengths. he ran better than we thought.
What We Got Right – We can’t swear to it but Masar could have been a lot closer and maybe would have won had William Buick not lost the irons around the far turn. We did prefer Untamed Domain to Catholic Boy but…
What We Got Wrong – Untamed Domain ran better than we thought though we did prefer him to Catholic Boy (who won their matchup at Saratoga). We weren’t enthused with Mendelssohn coming into the race, and he did win, so that goes in this column. But he still benefited from a great trip and saved more ground than each of his 13 rivals. James Garfield ran a disappointing race to be 10th.
What We Don’t Know – We really liked Masar in here and since Buick lost the iron, it’s very tough to say how he would have finished, but he was moving well late and wasn’t even beaten three lengths even though he lost position on the far turn and couldn’t be ridden as he would have been otherwise. If these horses got together again in a few weeks, we’d bet Masar again.
Breeders Cup Distaff
What We Got Right – Not much!
What We Got Wrong – The rest! We preferred Elate and Stellar Wind, and while Elate was overbet as the 2-1 favorite, she was ridden hard early on turn and had nothing. Stellar Wind raced on what was probably the weaker inside but she also had nothing.
Here’s what we wrote about event winner Forever Unbridled.
Forever Unbridled has run just twice this year, and hasn’t run since an August 26th Personal Ensign win in which she ran down a loose Songbird in a tremendous performance. She was third in this race last year and put in a big run when the pace didn’t really develop as expected and the while the pace should be solid here, it might not be blazing. She’ll be far back and have to pass a lot of good horses, and that is our big concern.
John Velazquez had her closer to the pace today and in fact she was in front at the top of the stretch. She ran huge and was much the best. Abel Tasmen, who was our fifth choice among the five major contenders, rallied wide to get up for second and also ran well. Though they were both on the best part of the track, they were the two best in the race.
As for Paradise Woods, we’re not sure why she was rated, though it’s possible it wouldn’t have mattered considering the way the track played and the competition.
We’ll have upcoming posts looking at the first five on Saturday and the last for on Saturday, into the Classic.