Breeders' Cup 2013: Friday Staff Picks

Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

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The first day of the 2013 Breeders' Cup is upon us and our crack team of staff members - Siva's #3 Rose, TFTribe and JP Fanshawe - are here to present their picks for Friday's card. As we've done in the past, each staff member selects their top pick in each race, along with a value. longshot or "also interested in" pick. I threw my picks into the charts at the end but I'll let these three give you their analysis.

Let's get to it!

Breeders' Cup Marathon

Purse: $500,000
1 3/4 Miles, Dirt, 3&up
Post Time: 4:45pm ET / 1:45pm PT
TV: NBCSN / HRTV

Siva's #3 Rose

Top Pick: 7-London Bridge (8/1)
Value: 7-London Bridge (8/1)

Not exactly thrilled with any of the ten as a standout, as Cease already proved 1 3/4 miles is too far in 20102011 in this race and Ever Rider figures to be overbet.  I'll take a flyer on #7 London Bridge with Mike Smith aboard.  He's ran 1 7/8 miles in Europe, so he'll be conditioned to run this far.  Also, he gets weight as a 3-year-old and is out of Arch, so dirt isn't totally out of the question for him.  I'll likely use the favorites in exactas with him, though he's my top for the Marathon.

TFTribe

Top Pick: 4-Ever Rider (ARG) (7/2)
Value: 3-Commander (6/1)

Who the hell knows. I mean Jon White couldn't even make heads or tails of this race when making the morning with 4 runners at 8/1, 3 at 6/1, and another at 5/1. 4-Ever Rider (ARG) looks like he might have that "Calidiscopio" form, but really, who knows? But I'm going to try to beat him and my main play will be 3-Commander, in the hopes he can steal it on the front end.

JP

Top Pick: 1-Old Time Hockey 8/1)
Value: 2-Cease (8/1); 9-Pool Play (8/1)

Okay.  Is it just me or is this a rather ignominious beginning to the two-day Christmas for Horseplayers that is the Breeder's Cup?  Only two horses in here have wins at the G2 level -- 1-Old Time Hockey and 9-Pool Play -- at least, that is, as far back as the BRIS PP's go.  4-Ever Rider figures to be the favorite, and although Argentinians have done better in recent years shipping in, it doesn't look as if he has been running in many classy races.  But then, sometimes class ratings mystify me.  I look at a horse like 9-Pool Play, who, prior to a non-graded stake last out has run in 9 straight graded events, hitting the board in four of them, and think he would surely be a good class play.  But...he's last in Bris Class rating.  So...my top pick is the 1-Old Time Hockey, on the strength of some good late-running numbers and the fact that he might appreciate the distance (his pedigree numbers hint that he might).

My Also Like is the 2-Cease, largely on the fact that trainer Jacobsen owns him and he doesn't seem at first glance to fit.  He broke through with a win in an OC62 non-winners of two last out, and now rises to a BC race....?  But far back, he ran second in the Hawthorne Gold Cup and third in the Woodward.  This six-year old might be rounding into form, and can certainly hit the exotics.  I will also use 9-Pool Play here.  3-Commander is the speed of the speed and 10-Worldly also intrigues.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf

Purse: $1,000,000
One Mile, Turf, 2yo, Colts and Geldings
Post Time: 5:25pm ET / 2:25pm PT
TV: NBCSN / HRTV

TFTribe

Top Pick: 4-Outstrip (4/1)
Value: 11-Poker Player (12/1)

With Juveniles, I place a lot of emphasis on the quality of competition they've faced. With so many juvenile races and stakes, it is oftentimes a stakes winner has beaten exactly nothing. Outstrip has lost to two of the best three juvenile colts in Europe in War Command and Toormore. I'll bet that he can take a hold of the firm turf and win. My value is Poker Player, but for almost the exact opposite reason. While he hasn't faced much, I'm going to bet that the form of those really nice MSW 90k at Kentucky Downs is going to hold up in the long run.

JP

Top Pick: 11-Poker Player (12/1)
Also: 13-Bashart (6/1)

As is often the case with Breeder's Cup Turf races, the foreigners dominate the Class Rating numbers with the top 5 horses in BRIS Class all having foreign backgrounds.  But somehow, I have a feeling for the Americans in this one.  I am hanging my hat on the 11-Poker Player.  I like horses in BC Juvy races that have won a graded stakes, have raced at least 7 furlongs and won, and have recently been on the track.  Surprisingly, only the 4-Outstrip matches these requirements among the invaders.  Many will land on the 5-Bobby's Kitten, a 6 length winner of the G3 Pilgrim, but I like Poker Player's closing win in the Bourbon a bit better as I see potential pace considerations here.  He is tops in my late pace figs.

My Also Like also exits the Bourbon, the 13-Bashart, who two starts back won the G2 With Anticipation.  He is 3-for-3 in the money on turf and may appreciate the cutback in distance.

Siva's #3 Rose

Top Pick: 4-Outstrip (4/1)
Longshot: 9-Wilshere Boulevard (8/1)

#4 Outstrip was less than 2-1 at Newmarket in the Dewhurst in his last start.  He's never ran a bad race, though I'm a bit worried about his slow breaks in Europe.  Oddly enough, he's won both times he's shown either "off slow" or "dwelt" in the comment lines.  Pace from horses such as Bobby's Kitten, Bashart, and maybe Shamshon ought to help his chances to run well.  He's the likeliest winner to me on his game.

#9 Wilshere Boulevard hasn't looked much different from the #4 in his back class lines, really.  He ought to be fit after running about 7 furlongs on the Arc Day bog in the Grand Criterium/Jean-Luc Lagerdere in his last start, not to mention that this is his eighth career start in his young career.  Also has the classic "ignored" angle in the barn, as Giovanni Boldini will garner most of the attention for O'Brien's horses at the betting window.  I also like that his dad was precocious at 2 as well.

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

Purse: $1,000,000
One Mile, Dirt, 3&up
Post Time: 6:05pm ET / 3:05pm PT
TV: NBCSN / HRTV

JP

Top Pick: 2-Golden Ticket (12/1)
Also: 5-Fed Biz (6/1)

This one is just a tough, tough race.  Although there don't seem to be a lot of speedballers here (only one by BRIS designation, the 1-Taptowne), there are enough stalk-the-pace types that I think more than a few of them will try to get to the front early.  I will be expecting a closer to take this one.  And the closer that jumps out to me is the 2-Golden Ticket.  He is third best in my closing figs, but I expect the two ahead of him to get embroiled, and maybe broiled, in the pace.  Has three nice works for Kenny McPeek, who is hitting on just 9 percent of Graded Stakes entries, but this former winner of the Travers has the best dirt speed figs in the bunch, and has only run under a 104 once in his last five.  Also, he is turning back in distance, a factor for this race, as several outlets have reported that all six of its winners have been working the turnback.

Also Like is the 5-Fed Biz, who has three wins from five starts at the distance, and is 4-for-6 in the money at Santa Anita.  Baffert is 30 percent going All-Weather-to-Dirt, and Fed Biz exhibits one of my favorite graded stakes angles:  double bullets coming into the race, one of them at five furlongs - important because he is coming off a freshening.

TFTribe

The Pick: 10-Verrazano (3/1)
Value: 2-Golden Ticket (12/1)

This one is easy for me: draw a line through every race of 10-Verrazano's at over 9f and what do you get? An undefeated router with 5 consecutive triple digit speed figures. But the interesting thing is the shape of the race. There is at least 2/3rds of the field that wants to be on or near the lead. While the track will most certainly favor speed to an extent, this seems like a perfect spot to look for something coming off of the pace. For me, the difference between a 1 and 2 turn mile is important. The 1 turn at Churchill is a very peculiar animal, and takes a peculiar one to love it (eg Pants on Fire). Golden Ticket has shown he really wants two turns, and excels at a shorter-than-classic distance. Can he get there? I don't know, but I'm willing to back him to find out.

Siva's #3 Rose

Top Pick: 12-Goldencents (4/1)
Lonshot: 2-Golden Ticket (12/1)

Overall:  I loathe the post position that he drew at this distance, but his best career race did come here in April en route to a Derby effort that fell flat in Louisville.  I'm going with #12 Goldencents to take down the Dirt Mile.  He sat just off the pace when he won the Santa Anita Derby, which saw him take down a career best Beyer figure (at the time; he's bested it since on the grounds in the sprint race formerly known as the Ancient Title) and purse.  While it's also a pick of the heart since Rick Pitino is 1/20 owner and I am 100% an alumnus of the University of Louisville, he rates a chance from the pundit's eyes as well.  I worry he'll be wide if the track is like it was on 2012 Friday, though.

Longshot:  I think everyone's on this train on the site, though the longshot that seems appealing is #2 Golden Ticket for me.  While I think he wants more ground since his wins are mostly of the 9-10 furlong variety, he is 1/1 at the distance, albeit at Churchill in a 1-turn mile.  He might be able to pass if there's an insane speed duel, which could happen with the presence of Goldencents and Verrazano in wide post positions.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Purse: $1,000,000
One Mile, Turf, 2yo, Fillies
Post Time: 6:50pm ET / 3:50pm PT
TV: NBCSN / HRTV

Siva's #3 Rose

Top Pick: 6-Vorda (FR)(4/1)
Longshot: 11-Ready to Act (8/1)

I don't like picking favorites very much, but it's very hard for me to look past 6-Vorda in here.  Only No Nay Never has ever beaten her this year.  Olivier Peslier has won Breeders' Cup races in the past, so I'm not worried about his presence in the saddle.  Euros often like some degree of cover in races such as this; she'll get it drawn inside.  She's the pick to click.  I'd run to the window if I got 4-1 odds on her, though I think 5-2 or 2-1 is more realistic.

I doubt I'll see 8-1 if people have access to replays and such, but 11-Ready to Act would be 2/2 were it not for veering into the rail at Woodbine in her last start.  Not a bad thing that Joel Rosario picks up the mount, either.  Of the Americans, she looks the best to me.  The three to her outside are also contenders, but I can't pick anyone that wide in a two-year-old turf race unless they lay over the field like Vorda might.

TFTribe

The Pick: 6-Vorda (FR) (4/1)
Value: 12-Testa Rossi (FR) (8/1)

Easy again: Vorda ran a good second to the best Juvenile in the world, No Nay Never. Then she ran extremely well to win the Red Mills (that was an easier victory than the 3/4 lengths in the PPs would indicate). This race runs through her. The value is Testa Rossi and seriously? 8/1 here? I'll run with that all day long. She's already beaten two in the field and Chad Brown gets nothing but better in his 2nd start stats.

JP

Top Pick: 6-Vorda (FR) (4/1)
Also: 8-Chriselliam (IRE) (6/1)

Again, this race, for me, boils down to how you answer this question: how much stock do you put into BRIS Class Ratings?  Well, I put quite a bit of stock into them.  (I have a couple of friends who use them exclusively, and with success, to handicap any race not involving firsters.)  And the class numbers here indicate that all the foreigners (6-Vorda, 2-Al Thakira, and 8-Chriselliam) are better plays than any of the North Americans. In fact, only 14-My Conquestadory is within three points of the top horse in class rating, the 6-Vorda.  That is a substantial advantage.  My top pick will be Vorda, who sports a win and a place in Group 1's across the pond and has insane pedigree numbers for both distance and turf.  Does stretch out for the first time, but even if this horse is a second-flight Euro turfer, he may just be too classy for the statesiders.

Also Like is another Euro, the 8-Chriselliam. He is 1.2 points behind the 2-Al Thakira in class rating, but I like that she has won and placed at the distance, the last being a Group 1 win at 28-1.  I will also include the 10-Clenor in exotics.  She is 4-of-6 in the money on turf, and has three wins - her last three starts - at the distance.  She takes a big step up in class, but Bejarano wins for O'neill at a 36 percent clip.

Breeders' Cup DISTAFF!

Purse: $2,000,000
1 1/8 Miles, Dirt, 3&up, Fillies and Mares
Post Time: 7:35pm ET / 4:35pm PT
TV: NBCSN / HRTV

TFTribe

The Pick: 6-Princess of Sylmar (9/5)
Value: 3-Close Hatches (6/1)

Princess of Sylmar is remarkable; she's yet to disprove that she can catch anything in front of her and as the competition has increased, she's gotten nothing but better. But the only filly I see that could maybe get the drop on her is the only filly in recent memory to beat Princess of Sylmar, Close Hatches. We know Royal Delta will be out front, both on the track and in the win pool betting. I have to take a stand against her, and luckily I see two that could catch her.

JP

Top Pick: 2-Authenticity (8/1)
Also: 3-Close Hatches (6/1)

There are only six horses in the Distaff, but that is certainly enough because one can make a case for any of the six.  Even though the 5-Beholder has shown an ability to rate, I expect her to lay close to the 4-Royal Delta, and thus I am going to try, perhaps unwisely, to beat both of them.  My top choice in here is the 2-Authenticity.  It isn't often that you find Velazquez riding for Pletcher at 8-1, but then, this is why we love the Breeder's Cup.  Three sharp works lead this six-year old daughter of Quiet American into the race, including a :46 and 1 bullet that was the best of 60 on October 26.  I like the form cycle, too.  She ran a 107 BRIS in the Ogden Phipps back in May, and if you look at the two races prior to that, you can see a hint that she might step forward off the 102 BRIS fig she ran last out while finishing second to Beholder in the Zenyatta.  She is 4-for-4 winning or placing at this distance and is the only horse here besides Royal Delta to face BRIS race ratings of 118 or higher in her last five starts..

Also Like is the 3-Close Hatches.  She doesn't quite fit on speed figs, but I wonder if that isn't a product of coming from the east where figs seem to run lower.  Back-to-back wins in G1 races, four works, and second off the layoff (an angle I have always liked in the BC) have me thinking she will get a piece of the action.

Betting note:  This field is too small for much value in the vertical exotics, as I think it is highly unlikely that both Royal Delta and Beholder will finish off the board.  That would have to happen for there to be much money to be made.  Hence, I will spend those dollars on pick 3's and 4's that culminate in this race along with a win-double place wager.

Siva's #3 Rose

Top Pick: 6-Princess of Sylmar (9/5)
"Longshot": 3-Close Hatches (6/1)

While it's just a 6 horse field, you couldn't ask for a better top 3-4 horses in here.  I have a feeling the pace will torch in this one with Royal Delta and Beholder as likely speed.  Authenticity's best races are usually ran near the lead as well.  I have no idea why Street Girl entered unless a meltdown happens.  This leaves two possibilities.  My top overall pick is the likely favorite, 6-Princess of Sylmar.  She beat Royal Delta on the square in her last start and figures to get the best run at the speed should they go fast early. She's also the best rater along with Royal Delta if the pace is slow.  Tough to look past her unless it's a conveyor belt again.

No such thing as a real longshot in a small field, though 3-Close Hatches was the last filly to beat Princess of Sylmar.  She, too, could benefit from a meltdown pace. It worries me that her worst race was on a big stage in the Oaks, though she's matured a bit since then.

Good luck on Breeders' Cup Friday!

Top Picks

Race JP Fanshawe TFTribe Siva's #3 Rose Matt
Marathon 1-Old Time Hockey 1-Ever Rider (ARG) 7-London Bridge 6-Indian Jones
Juv. Turf 11-Poker Player 4-Outstrip 4-Outstrip 13-Bashart
Dirt Mile 2-Golden Ticket 10-Verrazano 12-Goldencents 4-Brujo de Olleros (BRZ)
Juv. Fillis Turf 6-Vorda (FR) 6-Vorda (FR) 6-Vorda (FR) 6-Vorda (FR)
Distaff 2-Authenticity 6-Princess of Sylmar 6-Princess of Sylmar 5-Beholder

Value / Longshots / Also Likes

Race JP Fanshawe TFTribe Siva's #3 Rose Matt
Marathon 2-Cease/9-Pool Play 3-Commander 7-London Bridge 2-Cease
Juv. Turf 13-Bashart 11-Poker Player 9-Wilshire Boulevard 12-Shamshon (IRE)
Dirt Mile 5-Fed Biz 2-Golden Ticket 2-Golden Ticket 1-Taptowne
Juv. Fillis Turf 8-Chriselliam (IRE) 12-Testa Rossi (FR) 11-Ready to Act 11-Ready to Act/4-Kitten Kaboodle
Distaff 3-Close Hatches 3-Close Hatches 3-Close Hatches 3-Close Hatches

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