Breeders Cup Friday
Real Writing on Racing 💯
A lot has happened at the Breeders Cup already and most of it’s been distressing, just capping off this most discouraging of years…but we aren’t going to focus on that today (though next week a reckoning is coming…). We have a couple of previews of the two “traditional” Breeders Cup events on Future Stars Friday, the Juvenile Fillies and Juvenile, both fascinating races with different themes. We have space limitations so we will have to narrow Saturdays card down to a few as well in tomorrow’s Digest, but check us out at RCNGhub for complete coverage. Barry and I and guest jockey agent Jason Beides are taping a special podcast this afternoon that should be out by 4pm today that covers all of Saturdays races and as a bonus my dad is releasing his vaunted list’s plays of the day for the BC!
💎 The DRF race of the day Friday is the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Get free DRF PP’s for the race by clicking here
The Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies (Gr I) brings together a diverse group of shippers taking on the highly touted west coast filly, Tamara.
A case can be made that Candied is the filly to beat here though she will be the likely 2nd choice behind Tamara. The Pletcher trainee doesn’t fit the usual mold from that barn as she doesn’t have a lot of early speed and hasn’t been changing leads in her races but it hasn’t affected her performances yet. Drawn down on the inside, the daughter of Candy Ride should save ground in the first turn, I’d imagine that Luis Saez will look to get her to the outside turning for home and try to use her late kick to run down Tamara and whoever is left from the early pace battle.
Jody’s Pride has been entered in turf sprints twice, has had those races moved to the main track twice and has gone on to easy wins twice. This will be her first route race though her pedigree suggests that shouldn’t be an issue and with her natural early speed, she should be well placed early. A long shot possibility to get a nice trip and land on the board at a good price.
Scalable is a graded stakes placed runner that is still a maiden after two starts. Her runner up finish in the Chandelier over the Santa Anita surface was a nice effort visually but she has to improve quite a bit to be a factor here as that wasn’t a highly rated race from a speed figure perspective.
The connections of Where’s My Ring made the Breeders Cup Juvenile fillies turf their 1st preference but due to that race being oversubscribed, the daughter of Twirling Candy lands here instead. Can’t say that I’m bullish on her chances in this spot as she hasn’t run particularly fast on either surface and needs to run the race of her life to even get a check here.
Omaha Girl won a minor stakes at Gulfstream last out going a mile, which at GP is a one turn race. She has improved but has to run much better to be involved against this caliber of competition.
Chatalas tried Tamara in the Del Mar Debutante but proved to be no match for that filly, fading late after chasing the early pace. The daughter of Gun Runner bounced back next out in the Chandelier, going to the lead, setting a moderate pace and holding Scalable safe late. Is she just better going longer and ready to tackle Tamara once again or was the Chandelier just a weak prep race? I’m leaning towards the latter.
Tamara has been expected to be great since she was born, being a daughter of hall of famer Beholder by the excellent young sire Bolt D’Oro. She served notice that she was going to be a force in this division when she ran by the field after breaking slow in her debut. Her next appearance was a destruction of the Del Mar Debutante where she stalked a fast early pace before Mike Smith asked her to turn the jets on heading for home and she responded by galloping away from the field, crossing the line close to 7 lengths in front. It’s always an unknown when a young horse tries to do something that they never have and, in this case, it’s a second turn to navigate but most signs point to her being able to handle that problem but I’m wary of singling her to be honest.
Espirit Enchante stretches out here off of a pair of sprints, including breaking her maiden last out over this surface. She is a daughter of Tapit which makes you believe that she will handle the added distance but she has to run much faster to be a factor at this level.
Brightwork looked like a star this past summer at Saratoga where she took down two graded stakes races including the grade 1 Spinaway which ran her record to four wins in four starts. Then came Keeneland and the Alcibedes where she stalked the leader from second while under a snug hold from Irad Ortiz, yet when Ortiz asked her for more turning for home, she had no response, fading in the lane and ultimately finishing 5th by 10 lengths. It was a strikingly poor performance and perhaps the series of tough races that started with her debut in April is catching up to her or maybe she just will be better around one turn but it’s difficult to have much confidence going into this spot
Accommodate Eva added blinkers for her last start and the Dallas Stewart trainee ran by far her best race, scoring by 2 in restricted maiden company. This is a lot more difficult spot for the Louisana bred filly by Munnings.
Life Talk broke her maiden impressively at Saratoga and looked poised to be ready to run by the early leaders in the Frizette when moving strongly up the inside on the sloppy track. Yet she wasn’t able to sustain her rally and was losing ground at the wire though the surface may have contributed to that late fade. Tough post though the second turn should play in her favor, she really needs to run by far a new lifetime best to have a shot in here.
Just FYI broke her maiden going 6 furlongs at Saratoga before stretching out to a mile in the Frizette, where she scored an emphatic 3 length victory. The daughter of hot stallion Justify, looks poised to find a stalking position going into the first turn and trying to rally in the stretch though jockey Alvarado has to be cognizant of losing too much ground on the turns. If he can workout the right trip, she will be dangerous.
Alys Beach flashed speed in the Alcibedes before tiring in the stretch but hanging on to be third. It’s tough to envision a trip from post 13 that works in her favor but she did rally from far off the pace for minor awards in the Spinaway prior to her Keeneland run.
This is a very strong version of the Breeders Cup Juvenile (Gr I) with all of the division leaders showing up to battle for the Eclipse, something that rarely occurs these days. No Cinderella stories here with super trainers Baffert, Pletcher, Brown, Cox and Maker duking it out but it’s an excellent race nonetheless
The Wine Steward is a NY bred colt that always seems to bring his A game, consistency has been a staple since his unveiling back in May. Ran very well when he just missed when 2nd to Locked in the Breeders Futurity at Keeneland in his latest. While he did save ground in that race it should have provided a good education for the Vino Rosso colt who drew the rail once again and should get a nice set up behind what might be a contentious pace. Probably will be overlooked on the tote board but he is interesting.
Baffert chose to skip the American Pharoh with Prince of Monaco so the son of Speightstown will head into this with no two-turn experience which might put him at slight disadvantage. Still, he has shown real talent and Prat should be able to workout a nice trip for him behind the expected quick early pace. Wouldn’t be a shock if won this but I’m leaning against
Wine Me Up ran well when Baffert stretched him out in the American Pharoh but he proved to be no match for his barnmate Muth. Respect his ability and with improvement he can get into the mix but seems like he is destined to be more of an early pace factor than a deep stretch one.
Timberlake has been a bit erratic in his career with some tremendous races wrapped around some mediocre efforts. Last out in the Champagne over a sea of slop at Aqueduct, he splashed home to an easy win though that came with a dream set up. Prior to that win, he had every chance in the Hopeful but came up short and he is another with no two turn experience.
Locked has run really well in all three of his career starts including scoring by a close but safe margin in the Breeders Futurity at Keeneland over The Wine Steward. He has a nice foundation coming into this, has shown that he can overcome trouble, has put up excellent figures and should be able to draft into a nice trip under Jose Ortiz for Team Todd. The one to beat IMO
Cuban Thunder (Ire) has routinely been thrashed whenever he faced top company in Europe, has little dirt pedigree and seems to be overmatched
General Partner is a quality horse that run really good figures but might have to tweak his racing tactics in order to not get drawn into what may be a very fast pace. This is a very contentious race but at a square price, you will want him on your tickets
Word was out prior to Fierceness’ unveiling on a rainy day at Saratoga where he demolished a good field of maidens, skipping over the muddy track in 109 and change. Stretched out to a mile in the Champagne, he got off to a poor start which put him in a tough spot heading down the backstretch. Irad had to move early just to get in range and combined with losing ground on the turn, those extra efforts took their toll and he faded late. Irad is replaced by the steady hand of Johnny Velazquez and if he breaks alertly, he is likely to be part of the early pace scenario. If you took him at 1-2 last time, you’d probably wanna take a shot here at a much more generous price.
Muth recovered from being upset in the Del Mar Futurity by Prince of Monaco to cruise to an easy win in the American Pharoah which set him up well for this Eclipse deciding event. Will be interesting to see where Juan Hernandez places him early but he must avoid ground loss on one of the two turns but he has a real chance in here.
Noted was meant for the Juvy Turf but with the strong European contingent on-hand, the nose loss at Keeneland in the Bourbon likely kept him from drawing into that race. Instead he gets to run in the Juvenile as a consolation price and curiously has drawn Irad despite looking like the 3rd best of the Pletcher trio. Seems like he will need a nuclear pace meltdown to pick up more than minor awards.
The first Breeders Cup that was held at Santa Anita was in 1996. D. Wayne Lukas was in his prime back then as the only Super trainer and he got the job done with the impeccably bred Capote in that year’s Juvenile. Capote didn’t do a whole lot after this win which garnered him the Eclipse for champion two year old colt but the horse that was a hard charging third in this race turned out to be pretty good.