After a few months away from the site, we’re back and will be firing away over Breeders Cup weekend. On this post, we’ll run down the Friday races and we’ll follow up with the Saturday races in our next post.
As you might expect, this race is completely wide open and we’ll try #4 Stillwater Cove (20-1) on top. She exits the one-mile Natalma at Woodbine where she was up on a very fast pace that incinerated late (the top four finishers were 10-7-9-12 at the first call). She gets back to 5.5 furlongs today where she won the Bolton Landing at Saratoga, beating one of today’s rivals #9 Chelsea Cloisters (8-1). Both of these are trained by Wesley Ward.
#12 Pocket Dynamo (20-1) will be a huge price coming out of a fifth place finish in the Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket. In that race, he was bottled up inside behind runners the entire way. That was also his first start in nearly three months and when he was clear, he was running a bit, though it was too late to win. The winner that day was #8 Sergei Prokofiev (6-1) for Team Coolmore. He was also back and inside, but was navigated outside and finished strong to get up and win.
#2 Soldier’s Call (9-2) is a 2-year old that faced elders in the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye last time and ran a huge race, pressing the pace and only getting run down late. He did not draw well, however, and will have to break well and be a part of the expected fast pace from down inside. #5 Bulletin (10-1) might be the inside speed and that could be the place to be with the rails coming down for the first time on Friday. That said, he has one easy win against overmatched foes at Gulfstream in September and he is probably going to be shorter than his 10-1 morning line price.
Vertical Strategy– We are going to build tickets around Stillwater Cove and Pocket Dynamo, trying to get one of them into the exacta.
A –4, 8, 12
B – 2, 9
C – 10
Juvenile Fillies Turf
This race features the horse that is most likely winner of the Friday sequence and possibly the most likely winner of all 14 Breeders Cup races, #6 Newspaperofrecord (2-1). She has dominated two fields, winning by 6 ¾ and 6 ½ lengths, including the latter race in the Miss Grillo. Both of her wins have been on yielding turf and that feels certain on Friday. She gives the impression that she could be any kind. She is clearly superior to her American rivals and the Euros seem a cut below as well. She’s one to lean on.
The other horse we want to use in here drew poorly, #14 East (20-1). Her win, albeit against weaker, at Saint Cloud on October 5thcame just 11 days after her debut win. That G3 victory included East getting shuffled back a bit into the lane, she had to wait, and when she tipped out, she flew home to win going away. The extra furlong should be no problem. She’ll have to work out a trip but she’s the other horse that intrigues.
#11 Lady Prancelot (30-1) might not be good enough and the likely-yielding going is a concern, but she had to overcome some moderate paces in her two California starts and maybe has some upside. Lastly, the field she beat likely was a cut below but #1 Concrete Rose (6-1) has run well in both of her starts, was very green in her debut and more professionally last time in the Jessamine, and has impressed visually both times. She should get a great trip from the inside post.
Vertical Strategy– We’ll play trifectas trying to get both Newspaperofrecord and East into the money, mostly leaning on Newspaperofrecord on top.
A – 6
B – 14
C – none
#10 Bellafina (2-1) is the horse to beat after three straight stakes wins in California for trainer Simon Callaghan. She labored home in the Del Mar Debutante giving the impression she might not want to go two turns, but that track was very slow and the pace was very fast. Last time in the Chandelier, she tracked the pace and destroyed the field, though that might not have been the best field. She’ll be stalking on the outside in likely a good spot. However, she is not so overwhelming that she should be shorter than 2-1 and that is likely to be the case. She’s a favorite you probably have to use but one that is worth trying to beat.
#7 Jaywalk (7-2) easily won the Frizette at Belmont last time but could take some additional pace-pressure today and has to go two-turns for the first time. She’ll be a shorter price today than she was last time (6-1). #2 Serengeti Empress (7-2) will probably be on the lead but she was able to destroy (by 13 and 19 lengths) two very weak fields in her last two starts, which flattered the margin of victory and the figures need improvement.
Our pick here is #4 Restless Rider (9-2). She caught our eye in June when she was so impressive in the Debutante over this track. She won by 11 against a weak field but had to steady hard around a fallen rival late on the backstretch, a move that might have cost some horses. She was a bit flat late in the Spinaway but that was off a two-month layoff and then she destroyed, albeit with a good trip, in the Alcibiades. Of the main contenders, she’ll be the biggest price and she is 2-2 over the track.
Vertical Strategy– We’ll bet Restless Rider to win and play her over Jaywalk and Bellafina, throwing in some longer shots like Sippican Harbor and Reflect in the trifecta.
A – 4, 10
B – 7
C – none
Historically, the Euros have, for whatever the reason, performed better in this race than the Juvenile Fillies Turf, and that might be the case again this year. Certainly the Americans are not sending out anyone of the caliber of Newspaperofrecord in this field, and there are some solid Euros. Our top selection is #5 Line of Duty(10-1) who goes out for Charley Appleby and Godolphin. He won the Prix de Conde at Chantilly on October 1st, a nine-furlong race. In there, he was bottled up down the lane, had to wait for room, and really exploded home to win going away. The distance here (one mile) might actually be too short for him but he will be a solid price and comes over for very good connections. We’ll be betting him.
The favorite is #14 Anthony Van Dyck (4-1) who drew terribly on the far outside. He’s 5-2 in Europe and comes off a loss to one of the top European juveniles in Too Darn Hot. He has had some gate trouble in two of his last three starts, though had speed last time. He’s very solid, and you probably have to use him, but he doesn’t have to win from that post at a short price.
Of the Americans, #12 Current (5-1) might be the best hope. He dropped well out of things last time at Keeneland in the Bourbon and flew home to get up by a nose. The pace was solid there, but it was still a strong finish and he looked beaten at the top of the lane. He is still a bit green and improving, though this one-mile distance might, like for our top choice, be even a touch short for him. We’re still using. One American that we’re somewhat against is #4 Forty Under (5-1). He’s run well for owner Bill Parcells in each of his turf starts but has been the beneficiary of two great trips under Manny Franco. #2 Uncle Benny (15-1) is a use stretching out for a win in the Futurity in which he went very wide at a time of the meet when you wanted to be inside in the Belmont Widener turf course. He is bred to go long (his second dam was a multiple-G1 winning router for John Sherrifs) and trainer Jason Servis could have run him in the Juvenile Turf Sprint for the same purse but chose this seemingly tougher spot.
We liked #8 Opry’s (15-1) win in the With anticipation at Saratoga and he had a yielding turf excuse last time, but will get that softer turf again this time. #7 Somelikeithotbrown (12-1) was close to a strong pace in the Pilgrim and made the first move in the With Anticipation. He has some ability and we’ll use underneath along with the other Maker, #6 Henley’s Joy (8-1).
Vertical Strategy– We’ll key around Line of Duty, playing tickets that require him to hit the exacta, and using Current and Uncle Benny as our top American options.
A –5, 12, 14
B – 2
C – 6, 7
The Friday action wraps up with one of the best head to head matchups of the weekend, pitting Complexity, from the east, against Game Winner, from the west.
#6 Complexity(5-2) was a very highly touted Chad Brown debuter on Labor Day when he easily beat his rivals despite a slow start. He came back with a wire to wire win in the Champagne last time and is the controlling speed here unless they send Knicks Go on what would be a suicide mission. #9 Game Winner(8-5) is probably the favorite after his easy win in the American Pharoah last time, though he did press a fairly moderate pace. Still, he is bred to be and runs like a route horse. The pair are the ones to beat.
Of the others, #11 Code of Honor(5-1) ran well behind Complexity last time after stumbling badly at the start, but he’s no bargain at his morning line price. His debut win, while a rare Shug McGaughey runner to show speed on debut, was aided by a slow pace and an inside-track.
Our alternative is #8 Standard Deviation(12-1). He was a strong debut winner at Saratoga in an off-the-turf race (it feels likely that Chad Brown entered him in that mile grass race hoping it would come off and be run at seven furlongs on the main so he could get some distance into the son of Curlin). In the Breeders Futurity, he drew post 13 (of 13) and had a very wide trip behind a wire to wire winner. He has to get faster, but if the pace heats up, he seems to have a lot of upside and will be a bit under the radar. It’s noteworthy that he’s even in this race considering the trainer and owner have Complexity as well.
We’ll also mention #1 Dueling(20-1) who was 4-5 against Game Winner on August 18thand when stretched out last time won easily. His inside draw is a positive her as well.
Vertical Strategy – We’ll play the race to try to get Standard Deviation into the number somewhere even with the two logical favorites and we’ll also use Dueling in underneath spots at a big price.
A –6, 9
B – 8
C – 1