4:31 PM: I'll use a Trevor Denman phrase to describe Zenyatta in the Classic: she could not have been more impressive. I'm not sure if she'll be Horse of the Year, and really, I don't care either way. In the end, she went up against a very deep field in the Classic and came out on top. Some will argue that Rachel Alexandra's absence weakened the race, I'm not so sure that's the case. Whatever the case, Zenyatta is a true champion.
3:24 PM: So…we're down to the Classic and a huge field going after $5 million in purse money. Zenyatta will be the favorite and, honestly, I'd like to see her win. And while she should have enough pace to run at she'll be facing easily the hardest race of her career.
I think this race will set up very nicely for Einstein (BRZ), one of the top turf horses in America. He's run well on synthetics and has the hottest jockey on the grounds, Julien Leaparoux, in the irons. Einstein currently sits at a big fat 9/1 on the board.
After last year, you certainly have to consider all the Europeans in this race, although I think the flat effort of Zacinto does not flatter Rib Van Winkle (IRE) at all. If I had to pick a Euro to win this race I Henry Cecil's Twice Over (GB) would be my pick. He sits at 16/1 on the board.
3:08 PM: Terrific effort by Precious Passion but it wasn't enough to hold off the 4/5 favorite, Conduit (IRE). I didn't think Conduit would get enough to run at but he had just enough of a late kick to chase down the pacesetter to win back-to-back Breeders' Cup Turf events.
The most shocking thing about this race? That Precious Passion went :45 and change for the half and was still able to hold onto second. Really gutsy effort by that horse.
2:58 PM: MUTTON CHOPS!!!
Who had five minutes before the Turf?
2:48 PM: Conduit (IRE) had a lot more pace to run at last year than he will this year. Will that be the difference between him and back-to-back Turf wins? I think it might. Spanish Moon and Dar Re Mi (GB) will need to get the jump on Conduit as they enter the lane to give themselves the best chance for an upset. As for the pacemaker, Precious Passion, he needs to clear and control the pace. If he slows it down enough I think he's got a good shot for an American victory.
2:39 PM: Conduit (IRE) will be the post time favorite in the Turf but it's Spanish Moon that I think has the best chance to win. Not only is he coming off a very solid performance in the Prix Foy at Longchamp, but he's lightly raced on the year and should have plenty in the tank to take on a somewhat smallish field. He's also not a stone cold closer like a lot of the Euros. Yes, he won't be as near the lead in the US like he is in Europe, but this race doesn't have a ton of speed and he should be chasing what looks to be the lone speed in Precious Passion. Precious Passion, by the way, sits at 4/1 on the board…that might not be a bad play in an almost paceless race.
Spanish Moon is sitting at 3/1 on the current odds board which is second behind Conduit's 8/5.
If you are looking to play the red hot Julien Leparoux is riding former champion Red Rocks (IRE) and his 10/1 odds.
2:26 PM: Maybe the biggest upset of the day, not in terms of odds but of how solid of a favorite Mastercraftsman appeared to be. Julien Leaproux got a great trip and Furthest Land takes the Dirt Mile at 21/1. We're are going to see more huge payouts as it appeared that the favorite finished 4th. It looked like Midshipman was going to power home in the lane but he flattened out allowing the winner to drive past.
Leparoux, with the victory, pretty much assures himself of the jockey title for the weekend.
1:56 PM: This year's edition of the Dirt/Poly/Plastic Mile looks almost devoid of early speed meaning we should see Midshipman and Mastercraftsman (IRE) up near or on the lead through the early parts of this race. I don't know if Midshipman has the class or the depth to hold off the European.
Looks like a lot of chalk in here.
1:38 PM: Goldikova just dominated that race. Yeah, she had to switch out and make a second run but you just don't see horses with that type of push button speed. Awesome, simply awesome. That was pure thoroughbred power.
My upset pick, Zacinto, appeared to be pulled up in the lane and never threatened. Doesn't appear to be an injury he just didn't have enough in the tank.
1:21 PM: I realize this isn't a big thing, but ESPN has made a bunch of errors in their graphics and statistics. Just a second ago they designated Goldikova as a French horse. While she runs in France, she is an Irish bred horse which is why it says (IRE) after her name on the Racing Form. That's just basic stuff that ESPN shouldn't be messing up. That and the fact that their graphic of Goldikova and Miesque showed Miesque with only one BC win, which is obviously wrong.
I'll stick with Zacinto in the hopes of an upset, although he's now 5/1 on the board.
1:09 PM: The early Pick 4 pays a ridiculous $35,000 thanks to a couple of bombs in the last two races (25/1 and 30/1), and at this point the Pick 6, even if it gets a little chalky, will probably pay very, very nicely.
Now we come to the Turf Mile which might have the most likely winner on the day, Goldikova (IRE), who I think was the most dominating performer of last year's Breeders' Cup. If I had to find an upset winner in this spot I would go to Zacinto (GB) for a couple of reasons. First, he's a lightly raced colt who I think is just starting to do his best racing. Second, he seemed to flatten out in his last race and may benefit greatly from Lasix here in America. In a contentious race like the Mile, a medication change could make the difference.
Zacinto sits at 6/1 on the current board while the favorite, Goldikova, is taking lots of cash at 6/5.
12:55 PM: I guess I should have put some money on Vale of York….wow, how did the betting public let that horse off at 30/1? As I posted earlier, the horse WAS a long shot but not that long of a shot. By the way, that was a great ride by the jockey to switch out from the rail in deep stretch.
More huge pries on the way.
12:50 PM: Here's a race Randy Moss and I agree on as I'm going to go with Aikenite, as well.
12:45 PM: Radiohead (GB) at 10/1 might be an interesting play, perhaps in some exactas and tris.
12:39 PM: I don't like Lookin At Lucky in this spot…no real reason, just a hunch to stay away. The Euros looks formidable but I wonder if they are all past their peak for the year. Da' Funnybone is sitting at a nice 7/1 but he's never run over the plastics and that seems to be a pre-req to win this weekend.
Vale of York is 30/1…didn't see that high of odds on this horse. 15/1 seems more likely.
I kind of like Todd Pletcher's Aikenite who sits at 5/1 on the current odds board. He has synthetic experience and should get a hot pace to run down in the stretch.
12:24 PM: Absolutely large payouts in the Sprint as Dancing In Silks wins at 25/1. Crown of Thorns paid $13.20 to Place keying at $227.90 Exacta, our biggest of the weekend for a Breeders' Cup race.
Time for the Juvenile.
12:14 PM: And that's why I don't play the Sprint…good lord, I thought a nine horse field might make this race a little more organized. I was clearly wrong. Looks like a big price.
11:41 AM: Time for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, a race that traditionally kicks my ass. Gayego is the ML favorite and currently sits at 2/1. Zensational is also taking a lot of money at 9/5. For me, I like Fatal Bullet at 6/1…I figure if I have no clue at least try to find something with odds.
Here's my first complaint for ABC/ESPN today: stop with the USA vs. Euro scoreboard; it means NOTHING. The Euros are winning races at a far higher percentage than the Americans. They have a fraction of the entries that the USA does…comparing total WIN/PLACE/SHOW is stupid since there is no way USA could lose. Can we stop with the whole "USA has to be the best or our feelings get hurt" crap? Thank you.
11:31 AM: California Flag makes it two-for-two for the favorites and local horses finish 1-2 in the Turf Sprint as my pick, Gotta Have Her, ran a big race to finish second. This was a race that was easy to get to if you believed it was a specialty race that played to a horse that has been successful over the course. My problem was the fact that there was such a mass of horses that it was difficult to really foresee how the race would unfold.
11:24 AM: Looks like Randy Moss likes Silver Timer, as well. I really like Randy Moss but I gotta disagree with him on this one.
11:17 AM: I'll admit it – I've little clue as to what horse is going to win this race. It could be anybody…hell, last year's winner, Desert Code, is dead on the board at 20/1. Diamondrella (GB) is a powerful mare and her running style seems to fit this race very nicely.
On TVG this morning, Ken Rudolph was big on Silver Timer but I think he's got his work cut out for him. He's going to be up front on a hot pace and he's more of a 5 ½ or 6 furlong horse, not a 6 ½ furlong horse. I think that's a big deal in a specialty race like this.
11:00 AM: This year's Turf Sprint, on paper, looks like a 14-horse free-for-all on the Santa Anita downhill turf course. California Flag certainly fits the profile for this race: local horse that has been successful over this surface during the year. I like a longshot in this spot, and it's really the only big price horse I've landed on for the weekend: Gotta Have Her, ML of 15/1. If you delve deep into her lifetime past performances you see that his five year-old mare is 4-for-4 layoff over this course at this distance AND she possesses a nice off-the-pace style that should fit the pace profile of this year's edition.
Currently, Gotta Have Her is sitting at 8/1 on the board.
10:51 AM: Boy,that played out very close to what I thought…except that Viscount Nelson didn't stay close but Pounced sure did. Nice race by Bridgetown but he couldn't hold on for the win. Too much class from Pounced.
10:37 AM: Pounced looks awfully nice on the track but I'll stick with a little more value in Viscount Nelson at 5/1. Bridgetown still sits at 6/1 and it looks like he won't go off at much higher than that.
I guess it's safe to say that Kitten's Joy is turning out some nice juvenile horses, huh?
10:27 AM: The more I look at this race the more I see a really paceless affair. Right now I gotta believe that Bridgetown is going to be on the lead going into the backstretch but I wonder, how close will Dettori keep Pounced? With a race with what appears to be zero pace you can't let non-cheap speed get away. Bridgetown really isn't a speed ball which, in my opinion, makes him even more threatening if he gets the lead. I wonder if his jockey, Landry, will ride a better race than he did in the Ladies' Classic yesterday.
Bridgetown is currently sitting at 6/1 on the board. If you think he can control the pace he might warrant a shot. I'd like to see him at 8/1 or higher before I jump on board, however.
10:19 AM: Mr. B. on TVG likes the Euros in this spot and I have to agree with him. There are some decent American entries but they appear to up against it in terms of class. Pounced has opened at 2/1, with Viscount Nelson at 5/1…neither of those numbers are very enticing to me. Buzzword opens very dead on the board, drifting up to 20/1 from his 6/1 ML. Buzzword is a very nice looking horse but those last two efforts absolutely scream "over-the-top".
Todd Pletcher appears to have the top American contender, Interactif, a back-to-back stakes winner at Keeneland and Saratoga. My problem with Interactif is his pace – I could see him mid-pack or far back. If he's mid-pack he's got a much better shot than if he gets shuffled to the rear, in my opinion.
10:11 AM: We have a Jeremy Rose sighting. Rose, the former jockey of Afleet Alex, picks up the first win of the day at Santa Anita while riding Smart Bid in the Damascus. Smart Bid scored at a juicy 13/1.
10:00 AM: Of the American contenders for the Juvey Turf, I am really intrigued by Becky's Kitchen primarily due to the ride of yesterday's hot jockey, Julien Leparoux. She's 12/1 on the morning line which I think might be a little too generous given the depth of this field. If she were to drift to 15/1 or 20/1, I might be tempted in her direction.
9:56 AM: The first race of the day, the Damascus, is about to go to post, to be followed by the first BC race of the day, the Juvenile Turf.
Pounced looks tough in this spot due to his high cruising speed; he's been near the lead in his last two efforts which includes a nice second at Longchamp on Arc weekend. I think King Ledley might be too far into a very long season; can't see him having enough left in the tank to win against a deep field. The other two Euros, Viscount Nelson and Buzzword (GB) look strong but I think Viscount Nelson is the better of the two due to his light racing schedule.
I anticipate that Pounced will take a lot of action which I hope leads to something around 6/1 to 8/1 on Viscount Nelson.
9:05 AM: Just a few changes to report this morning –
Kera's Kitten has scratched out of the Juvenile Turf, along with AE Summer Movie. The other AE, Dean's Kitten, has drawn in.
In the Turf Sprint, both of the AEs (Tenga Cat and Cherokee Heaven) have scratched.
A small field in the Turf got a little smaller with the morning scratch of Allegre. That scratch is most welcome as the connections had no business in this race. I'm all for the little guy trying for an upset, but this horse does not belong in a Breeders' Cup race. The horse has never even run in a graded stakes event.