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Analysis and potential plays for today’s Breeders’ Cup races at Del Mar

Jockeys start their race in the Breeder's Cup Dirt Mile Grade 1 race at the Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, California, on November 3, 2012, which was won by Corey Nakatani riding Tapizar out of lane 8. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

First off, my apologies for not having these out sooner. Between Harvey, the launch of SportsMap and the World Series, I have not had much time to do anything else.

This is not an excuse, but I have not been able to prep as much as usual for the Breeders’ Cup. I have usually by now seen every prep race at least four times. I have not been able to do that this year, but I have followed it enough to hopefully provide some insight and people have asked that I do these, so I decided to put something together and I hope you find it useful. Keep in mind these horses are the best of the best, and the fields are very competitive. We just need to be right once to be happy, more than once to have a big day.

If you have followed my plays for a while, you know it has not been our best year on the horse front. Barring a big day, 2017 will likely be a losing year. So let’s hope it’s rally time.

Hopefully you can make your way to Sam Houston Race Park to catch the simulcast.

Any profits I make today will be donated to Harvey relief.

BC Juvenile fillies (Race 4): This one is always interesting because so many of these young horses can improve so fast. Trainer Mark Casse has three serious contenders in here, including Heavenly Love (1), who freaked the first time around two turns. He also has Gio Game (4) an Wonder Gadot (11) and none of those would be a shock. The favorite figures to be Moonshine Memories (7), unbeaten and with a home track advantage. Our long shot will be Princess Warrior (3). She was a distant second to Heavenly Love, but that was just her second career start, first time around two turns and she closed into a slow pace. She was also favored that day. Will be playing her across the board (weighted heavier on show and place) and using in exactas with the horses mentioned above plus the 8, 12 and 13.

BC Turf Sprint (Race 5): Since this race was added, I don’t think I’ve ever been close. You are better off picking out of a hat. Will likely pass, but if you must play, take favored Lady Aurelia (3), wheel her on top with ALL in the exactas for a small amount and hope for a bomb in second.

BC Filly/Mare Sprint (Race 6): Unique Bella (11) will take most of the action here and deserves to be favored. She is an absolute win machine and will be very tough. Sky Diamonds (12) might be able to make a run at her and is 2 for 2 at Del Mar. Will probably just use those two on top in the trifecta; something like 11-12 with 1-4-11-12 with 1-2-4-7-8-9-10-11-12.

BC Filly/Mare Turf (Race 7): Boy, Lady Eli (9) is good at running in circles. She has done it 13 times in her career, finishing first 10 times and second 3. She just missed in this race last year to Queen’s Trust (10), who also returns. We will take her to win and place, wheel her in the exactas first and second with the 5-6-7-10-14. We will also take some across the board action on the 5, Wuheida, who will be a giant price.

BC Sprint (Race 8): Drefong (2) is an absolute beast of a runner and his only mishap the last two years was dumping his jock at the gate in a race in July. Came back with a powerful effort in his prep and will be tough here. Won’t offer much value in the win end but will play him in exactas over the 5-6-9.

BC Mile (Race 9): Going to go for the kill shot here with Lancaster Bomber (4) at 20-1. He will likely be much longer than that, but was a solid second in the Woodbine Mile, then shipped back to Ascot and was a disaster. But in two starts in North America, he has two strong seconds against top company, and his trainer would not put him in here if he wasn’t right. Will play small exacta wheels 4/all and all/4 and play him across the board.

BC Juvenile (Race 10): Bolt D’Oro (11) will be a strong favorite, but that post is no joke. I do think the horse he beat in his last, Solomini (2), could improve here and will throw a few win/place bucks at that one. In exotics, will go simple here and exacta box the 2-5-11-12. We will also start a pick three here with those four horses.

BC Turf (Race 11): This looked like a two-horse race between defending champ Highland Reel (3) and Ulysses (5), coming off a good third in the Arc behind an absolute monster. But Ulysses scratched late. So we will add Beach Patrol (12) instead. So we use the 3-12.

BC Classic (Race 12): Arrogate (1) was the best horse in the world for a nice seven-month stretch that culminated with a win over Gun Runner (5) in Dubai. Since then, he had a horrendous effort in his comeback race, then improved to be a decent second, but he looked nothing like the unstoppable force he had been before. And both those races were at Del Mar. It’s entirely likely he does not like the surface. Meanwhile, all Gun Runner has done is reel off three strong efforts in a row. But this is more than a two-horse race. Bob Baffert has three other strong contenders besides Arrogate — Mubtaahij (6), who I have always liked — No. 8 West Coast (6 wins in 8 starts with two seconds and five Ws in a row), and Collected (11) who beat Arrogate in the Pacific Classic. Bafftert just got Mubtaahij, and he won his first start in the barn. So to close out our pick 3, we will go 1-5-8-9-11. We are going to toss in Gunnevera (9), who will be closing late and might pull off a shocker. He had some big efforts early in the year, tailed off in the Triple Crown, came back with a good second behind West Coast in the Travers and has been freshened since. I will also key Mubtaahij 1-2 in the exactas and trifectas with the 1-8-9-11 and try to end the day with a bang.

Good luck.

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