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2013 Breeders' Cup: Saturday Staff Picks

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We're back for Day Two. Staff Picks! Make money. Or not. It's up to you!

Mike Stobe

Day Two of the 2013 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita is ready to roll on and we're back with Saturday's Staff Picks. As usual, everyone picked a top selection in each race along with a long shot/value/also like picks. Without further ado, let's get it going:

Juvenile Fillies


The Pick: 10-She's a Tiger (6/1)
Value: 8-Scandalous Act (10/1)

This is a really tough race. But I ended up on She's a Tiger since she's got Gary Stevens up, has posted a series of blistering works, and the track has shown a 64% speed bias. That's a big number. I think the world of Sweet Reason, but she's got a big task in front of her to catch the speed of the race. But the really hard part of this race is the fact that you've got a ton of speed. 1-Artemis Argrotera looks solid as well. But I'm going with the bigger price in She's a Tiger.

Siva #3 Rose:

Top Pick: 10-She's A Tiger
Longshot: 6-Concave

Overall--#10 She's A Tiger ran a very underrated race in the former Oak Leaf in her last start.  I also like that Gary Stevens gets the mount.  At her best, unless the pace is crazy, she can out-game most of these.  She's my win bet if she's 6-1 or better for me.

Longshot--#6 Concave should cry out for more ground being a daughter of Colonel John.  She's also bound for an upside play in her first dirt start.  I mostly like her by extension since her last start happened to be She's A Tiger's last victory.  She figures to benefit from a fast pace if they close.


Top Pick: 9-Sweet Reason
Also Like: 10-She's A Tiger

9-Sweet Reason might be much the best in here, but I was surprised to find Alex Solis winning just 6 percent of his mounts when riding in routes.  As good a reason as any to try to beat her.  Top pick is a pure numbers play: 2-Rosalind has the best normalized closing figs for the distance and has a nice base for it.  The key is if she can stay close. 7th at the second call might not get it done if the bias is in effect (and I am just plain stubborn fighting it?).

With the pace in mind, my Also Like is the 10-She's A Tiger, who figures to get out on the lead under Stevens and make everyone come and get her.  Tops in early pace and if it is anything like yesterday it will carry.  My exotics will include 6-Concave.

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf


The Pick: 6-Marketing Mix (7/2)
Value: 7-Laughing (8/1)

1-Dank looks much the best here, but I'm going to try to beat her, since I see her going off at far too close to even money for my tastes. Marketing Mix loves the course, the distance, has Gary Stevens, I like her work pattern, and it looks like she's coming into this race in her best form yet. But all of that is moot if they let Laughing loose on the lead. She has the talent to wiggle free and control the pace and if let unchallenged, she can wire this field. I'm big on pace, and this will be a race where Laughing might be left completely alone.

Siva #3 Rose:

Top Pick: 3-Tiz Flirtatious
Longshot: 2-Romantica

For me, it's tough to argue against the on-track record and current form of #3 Tiz Flirtatious.  Julien Leparoux keeps the mount, and she's 4/5 at Santa Anita, including a win in the former Yellow Ribbon over Marketing Max.  It's very wide open, but she could sneak a price with the presence of Dank and Marketing Mix.

Longshot--While she isn't a super-bomb, I like that #2 Romantica was 12-1 against Treve in her last start.  Her rider also piloted one of the Million Day winners in 2012, I think.  You could do worse than a 1,2 exacta box and a 2,3 exacta box in here.


Top Pick: 2-Romantica
Also Like: 3-Tiz Flirtatious

1-Dank, with his huge Prime Power advantage, and a towering Class rating edge, looks to be much the best in here, and again, I will try to beat the invader coming off a layoff of over two months.  My top pick here, the 2-Romantica, comes in from a poor outing in Group 1 at Longchamp.  But once before she has turned back from a dismal outing at 1 1/2 miles, to win at a 1 1/4 miles and it appears she may like the harder turf of Santa Anita.

Also like the 3-Tiz Flirtatious.  She shows up every time - never out of the trifecta in her last 10, comes in off of three fluid works, and will be running late as she is tops in late pace.  Five-of-five winning or placing on this course, and has a win at the distance.  Will include 4-Alterite and 8-Emollient in exotics.

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

Top Pick: 8-Dance to Bristol (5/1)
Value: 12-Sweet Lulu (8/1)

If Dance to Bristol didn't lose her last outing over a good main track, is she not the favorite here? I can toss that effort due to the off track and when you do you see a lot of solid numbers and a string of victories. The really odd thing about her PPs is that her competition doesn't post a lot of next out wins. But that's pretty  much because Dance to Bristol won ALL OF THE RACES. But Sweet Lulu might be an even better pick. It is clear to me that she wants one turn, but no matter what, she's a truly dynamic speed filly. Don't sleep on her. She might prefer the plastic a bit more, but I wouldn't ignore her, especially since she has to gun it right out of the gate from the 12 post.

Siva #3 Rose:

Top Pick: 11-Groupie Doll
Longshot: 12-Sweet Lulu

I usually prefer outside posts in longer sprint races.  I do in here as well.  #11 Groupie Doll is the best on top of her game.  She won against the bias last year in this race, so it's tough to go against her in multi-race bets and saver bets.  She's not my win play, though her best effort is better than anyone else's in the field.

For a sprint race, this race doesn't have an overwhelming amount of speed.  Therefore, I like #12 Sweet Lulu in a mild upset.  Her lone loss was in the Cotillion against Close Hatches.  No shame in that, especially since Sweet Lulu seems to prefer 1-turn races.


Top Pick: 2-Book Review
Also Like: 12-Sweet Lulu

Another one of those races where we see why we love the Breeder's Cup.  Lots of money will probably flow 11-Groupie Doll's way, but her last three races don't indicate that she is rolling in with the same as last year where she romped in this race.  After much consternation deliberation, I settled on 2-Book Review as my top choice.  This Baffert trainee has a string of strong works coming in, 3-for-3 winning or placing at the Great Race Place, and is 5-of-7 winning at the distance, which always matters to me in 7 furlong affairs.  Tops in late pace, especially at this distance.

Also Like is the 12-Sweet Lulu based on the her top early pace figures, which might fit beautifully with the bias we saw yesterday.  Hollendorfer is in his back yard here with the winner of the Test two back, and she received an A and A- from clockers in her last two works.  I will including the 6-Ismene and 10-Great Hot in exotics.  Both are working double bullets coming in.

Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint


The Pick: 12-Mizdirection (4/1)
Value: 9-Capo Bastone (8/1)

I hate this race. I hate this race solely due to the fact that Mizdirection 1) owns this course and 2) runs so darn well off of atypical layoffs. I find it hard to not pick her, since she has such a good post and she's seemingly unaffected by so much that many others would be. So while normally I would try to beat her, that seems like a fool's errand with how preternaturally she takes to that downhill turf course. But Capo Bastone is extremely interesting. His breeding definitely suggests that he will like the turf, he's shown that he loves sprinting over routing, and there should be enough speed for him to be flying at the end. Another one to not sleep on is Caracortado. 2nd off the layoff looks pretty good considering how close that Eddie D finish was. Plus he might go off 15+/1. He's worth a nibble at double digits for me.

Siva #3 Rose:

Top Pick: 12-Mizdirection
Longshot: 14-Unbridled's Note

Until she loses at Santa Anita or down a hill, pick against #12 Mizdirection at your own peril.  6/6 on the grounds and 5/5 down the hill speaks for itself.

If she loses, the likeliest candidate to upset for me looks like #14 Unbridled's Note. Might not get the greatest exacta value, as this was the exacta last year in this race, but he's been dominant running downhill as well.


Top Pick: 5-Caracortado
Also Like: 3-Chips All In; 10-Havelock

It is hard to argue with a horse that is 6-for-6 winning on the track and 5-for-5 winning at the distance.  That is 12-Mizdirection in this one.  But leave it to me to blow some hot air.  I generally toss any horse from the win hole who enters the BC off a substantial layoff.  These are the best horses around and you have to be some kind of special to roll in with no preps and win.  Maybe Mizdirection is that special, but I prefer horses for the Turf Sprint that are 2nd or 3rd off of a layoff.  Top pick is the 5-Caracortado.  Tops in Late pace and Class + Speed.  Also like that Stevens is getting aboard.

Also Like is 3-Chips All In, who has never been out of the super for Mullins and has never been worse than second at Santa Anita or distance.  10-Havelock also comes 2nd off the layoff that followed his terrible attempts in England, and could step forward for Miller.  His best turf speed is highest in the field in a sprint.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile


The Pick: 6-Tap it Rich (6/1)
Value: 2-Dance with Fate (8/1)

This race has about 354% of the speed necessary for a pace breakdown. Especially with Havana drawn all the way outside and Mexicoma on the inside, you are guaranteed an absolute dead sprint coming out of the gate for the lead. Tap it Rich had a bad start in his only start and still managed to pass the field and win nicely. I also like the way Baffert has worked him, mixing in 6f works that scream to me that he's been pointed at this race for months despite only making his first start a few weeks ago. I'm looking for a horse that can rate, save energy, and explode home. This son of Tapit seems to have all that to me. For my value I'd like to take something that I can trust to come from far off the pace. But I don't see any true contenders that don't want to be at least around the leaders. Dance with Fate is just kinda my "maybe he'll hang back" pick here.

Siva #3 Rose:

Top Pick: 4-New Year's Day
Longshot: 7-Cleburne

I've been on his bandwagon since I was at Del Mar this summer to see him run; no use in backing off of #4 New Year's Day now.  He should like the dirt better than the polytrack.  Bond Holder later won the old Norfolk.  And three horses, including him, have won their next start in the running lines.  Baffert/Garcia don't go off 8-1 with a live horse every day, you know.

Randomness could happen a la 2003 when Action This Day straggled home to win that year's Juvenile.  While I'm not enamored with the Churchill 2-year-old form going long, #7 Cleburne has at least proven that he can pass going 2 turns if there is a fast pace early.  He's my long shot play if 12-1 or above in here.  If he's overbet, I guess Bond Holder would be the way to go for a price if I like the horse that beat him the best.


Top Pick: 2-Dance With Fate
Also Like: 4-New Year's Day

Among the hardest races to handicap, the Juvenile is supposed to point the way toward next year's Derby contenders, but it rarely seems to do so.  More often than not, this race comes to represent early bloomers who level off as they age (one of my all-time favorite horses, Street Sense excepted).  Think that kid that was awesome on your Little League team and then was decidedly average by the time high school rolled around.  Along those lines, I tend to favor horses who are rocking good form and have posted lifetime highs in speed figs in one of their last two races.   I excpect a punishing pace, but then, with the bias we saw yesterday, does it matter?  13-Havana looks the one to beat, as he has the two best speed figs in this group, but with 5 other E horses in here...despite the bias, my top pick is the 2-Dance With Fate.  In his last two races, he has shown a middle race move that could help here if he stays within sight of the front pack.

Also Like is 4-New Year's Day.  I am not thrilled that he has been off more than 60 days, but his works tab is scintillating for a trainer that knows what he is doing.  5-Bond Holder should be in the mix if there is indeed a pace collapse.

Breeders' Cup Turf


The Pick: 7-The Fugue (3/1)
Value: 10-Big Blue Kitten (6/1)

The Fugue is going to go off at even money. But she really is head and shoulders above this field. If Point of Entry was completely healthy I could see him mounting a valiant charge to beat her, but I just can't find anything in here that can beat a Group 1 winner in open company over good going at 10f. It's lame, but I'll take it. But since I brought PoE up, don't sleep on him. He's remarkably consistent, ran great off of a similar layoff in February of this year, and can handle the distance. He should be more forwardly placed that the Fugue as well. But Big Blue Kitten is of similar ilk, and can get the 12f. Don't look too far away from him getting a piece of this thing. Oh, and I'm going to try to ignore Little Mike, so guaranteed he wins now...

Siva #3 Rose:

Top Pick: 4-Little Mike
Longshot: 11-Magician

While The Fugue has ran against the best horses and did get in some trouble last year in the Filly & Mare Turf, she still didn't win.  Not so sure she can beat the boys, either.  Therefore, my pick to click is a familiar foe that has either won me a lot of money (Arl. Million-2012) or cost me a bunch (hi, Oaks/Woodford/Derby pick 3 of 2012) of money, #4 Little Mike. He did have to dig deep to win the Turf Classic, though his best races are ran when sitting off of a few targets.  Teaks North and Skyring ought to give him those targets.  There aren't any wrong picks in this race, though I almost always get burned when leaving out Little Mike ('13 Turf Classic, '12 BC Turf & Woodford Reserve).

I like #11 Magician the best of the Euros in here.  He's won at 1 5/16 miles, which plays to his favor in America, especially at Santa Anita.  Ryan Moore is riding primarily because he's a 3-year-old and Joseph O'Brien probably can't ride at 122 pounds.  Neither are slouches, so no worries.  4-11 exacta box seems a play for me.


Top Pick: 3-Twilight Eclipse
Also Like: 12-Real Solution; 10-Big Blue Kitten

Most Turf races in the BC, we defer to the Euros, and the Class ratings bear that out here as well.  The Fugue has the dominant numbers, but...I have this list of eliminating factors for each of the Breeder's Cup races...and every single horse in here but one got tripped up by that checklist.  That one is the 3-Twilight Eclipse.  This 4-year old comes in off of four straight G1's, two of which saw him run second.  His best Turf speed is best in the field, and he is 3-of-4 at the distance, and I think will prefer the harder Santa Anita turf.  Albertrani is only hitting at 9 percent in graded stakes, but I will roll the dice.

Also like the 12-Real Solution on the strength of the fact that he has only been out of the super just once in nine starts and has the second-best back speed figure in the bunch.  The other Ramsey/Brown entrant in here, also intriguing, the 10-Big Blue Kitten, will take more money, and makes sense in the exotics as well.

Breeders' Cup Sprint


The Pick: 1-Justin Phillip (4/1)
Value: 12-Laugh Track (20/1)

Another race with two metrics tons of speed that sets up perfectly for an off-the-pace runner. Justin Phillip will be unhurried out of the gate and should see most of the field battle in front of him for the lead. I think this sets up perfectly for him. Don't sleep on 9-Secret Circle. This is clearly a horse that loves sprinting and has finally found his niche. But Laugh Track is another closer that might have a chance to grab a nice check as the field comes back to him in closing portions of the race.

Siva #3 Rose:

Top Pick: 9-Secret Circle
Longshot: 2-The Lumber Guy

This pick assumes the horse can rate, which he showed in some sprint races here in his past.  While it's his second start in over a year, #9 Secret Circle does like the track and distance, as he won the 2011 BC Juvenile Sprint against the bias at Churchill.  He also showed the ability to pass horses in his Santa Anita starts, especially while sprinting.  He could sit the Cajun Beat/Trinniberg trips that won past Sprints there.

He ran second here last year and is a closer by comparison to most of these, so #2 The Lumber Guy is a logical longshot for this race.  His form has tailed since the 2012 Sprint, though being back to the site of one of his better efforts could wake him up a bit.


Top Pick: 1-Justin Phillip
Also Like: 6-Bahamian Squall

There is something I dislike about just about every horse in here.  Why can't handicapping on the toughest weekend of the year be easy!?!  Every way I look at this race, I keep coming back to the top choices on the morning line.  My top pick is going be the 1-Justin Phillip.  He has strong closing figs in a race that is full of fast sprinters, consistently runs at the 106 par the race historically demands, and is tops in Class Average plus Speed Average, which has pointed me to the winner in this race four of the last six years.

My Also Like here is the 6-Bahamian Squall who, although light on class rating, has hit the board every time he has seen races that been above par at the second call, and he figures to see that here.

Breeders' Cup Mile


The Pick: 8-Wise Dan (hahaha)
Value: 4-Obviously (10/1)

Easy. Toss the last start, look at his form, and just look at him. Easy pick here, that's why the Euros stayed away. Obviously at 10/1 is an absolute steal seeing that if any runner can get away from the big man, it would be Obviously.

Siva #3 Rose:

Top Pick: 8-Wise Dan
Longshot: 7-He Be Fire N Ice

I don't care that he lost his last start, that was on rain-soaked Polytrack, which is different than the usual dry Polytrack.  Also, Excelebration was on par with Olympic Glory if you compare the lines, only Olympic Glory didn't run into a buzzsaw named Frankel all the time.  Considering these things and the fact that Silver Max and Obviously likely will run each other into fatigue, it'd be foolish to ignore #8 Wise Dan entirely.  Save for a loaded 2011 Shadwell Mile field that included Get Stormy, Sidney's Candy, and Gio Ponti, he's never lost on the lawn.  I don't think it'll happen Saturday, either.

However, if Wise Dan loses, the logical play may very well be #7 He Be Fire N Ice.  They'll bet No Jet Lag since he won the prep race, though I can't pick No Jet Lag at 7-1 to beat Wise Dan.  You'll get about 15-1 or 20-1 on He Be Fire N Ice to win, which is more appealing.  He's 2-1-1-0 at Santa Anita on the turf, and 4-2-2-0 at 1 mile turf races. His last six turf races are all firsts or seconds.  While he's stepping up, he could fit nicely underneath Wise Dan or even as a small win bet.


Top Pick: 10-Za Approval
Also Like: 1-No Jet Lag

You know you are great when you are made the even-favorite in a race that features some of the best grass milers in the world.  But Wise Dan has been that good, his upset loss to Silver Max last out at Keeneland notwithstanding.  Still, on Breeder's Cup day, outside of using him as a possible free square in horizontal exotics, I just can't go with the chalk.  It is not in my nature.  Much like the Classic, this race features four horses who run very strong figures to the second call.  The question is do they each have enough cruising speed to prevent closers from going by?  Probably.  Dan, Max, and Obviously and have all seen very hot paces at a mile and prevailed against them, but I am going to hope they wear themselves out.  Also, there is Olympic Glory who won the QEII Stakes at Ascot just two weeks ago to worry about (bouncing, I hope).  Give me the 10-Za Approval.  Yes, he has been second to Dan, and Obviously in his last two efforts, respectively, but he is third off the layoff while those two have had longer campaigns.  Clement is 31 percent third-off the layoff with a horse that has only been out of the superfecta once in his last 10 races.  Two of his three recent wins came in races that were 13 points or more above par at both 1st and 2nd calls, which I expect we may see here.

My Also Like here is 1-No Jet Lag.  If someone is going to close, it is going to be him, as he is tops in late pace by my figures.  I worry that he might bounce off his last, but he has two decent works and figures to be a the top of the form cycle.  Also, include that 6-Bright Thought in exotics.  He has been away for seven months, but it is hard to ignore a horse that is 3-for-3 winning at this track, and his back-to-back 7 furlong works have me wondering why a trainer would come off a layoff to enter a BC race.  I would assume he thinks they have a shot.

Breeders' Cup Classic

The Pick: Moreno
Value: Moreno

Because speed bias. Boooo Santa Anita, shame on you with this surface.

Siva #3 Rose:

Top Pick: 8-Palace Malice
Longshot: 5-Declaration of War

The past three runnings of the Breeders' Cup Classic has seen a stakes-placed Jockey Club Gold Cup runner take the Breeders' Cup Classic.  I think that trend continues in the Classic for 2013.  Flat Out might be over the top, but he could certainly finish in the top three.  I like #8 Palace Malice to win the Classic in a mild upset.  Game on Dude tends to misfire on big days or just get beat on them in this race, and he hasn't truly been tested on the lead since his misfire in the 2012 Classic.  Palace Malice has matured since going insane on Derby Day with wins in the Belmont and Jim Dandy.  He had a trouble trip in the Travers and Ron The Greek often romps in his wins, so the margin isn't as distressing as it appears having lost by almost 7 in his last start.  There is enough speed this year to keep Game on Dude honest.  If the Dude abides, more power to him.  I just can't pick him to do that at 9-5.

Aidan O'Brien almost made this work in 2000 with Giant's Causeway.  Were it not for Tiznow emerging and Kinane's whip getting caught in the reins, it may have happened.  O'Brien has another chance to make amends in 2013 with #5 Declaration of War.  He's 3/3 on synthetic surfaces and likes running long, as evidenced by his Juddmonte International win in his previous start.  His back lines include Moonlight Cloud, Olympic Glory, Dawn Approach, and Farhh.  No shame in those lines.  If he takes to dirt, there's no doubt he can run well in this race.  Most horses are live in this race, so good luck to anyone.  That being said, a 5 w/8 exacta box and each to win seems logical to me for the biggest race on Saturday.


Top Pick: 6-Mucho Macho Man
Also Like: 1-Last Gunfighter; 12-Flat Out

When you look at the running lines of Game On Dude, you see a horse much like Wise Dan, that has been favored in 10 straight races, and won 8 of them.  There is little reason to think that the gelded, 6-year old Baffert trainee won't go post-ward as the favorite here, either.  But there are reasons to stand against him.  Namely, geldings usually don't win this race.  In fact, horses over the age of 4 have traditionally struggled, with just two five-year olds winning, and no older horses in the last decade.  And then there is the pace.  Fort Larned, and Moreno are both E8's just like the Dude, so one would think we should expect a winner coming from the back.  I've gone round and round with this race since the PP's came out, since each horse I like has a Classic deficiency, be it not having been at the distance, not being 3-1 or lower in his last prep, being older than 3 or 4 years old, having a last prep on a different surface, being more than four races into a form cycle, being a Travers winner, or not staying within 3 lengths of the winner in his last prep.  So, without further babbling, my top pick is the 6-Mucho Macho Man.  He got a little break in July, and I think Stevens will keep him second-pack, in position to roll by the early leaders late.  He is the only horse other than Game On Dude to repeat in the top 10 speed figs from last five races, and has the best final fractions of any horse here that has been at the distance.

My Also Like here was similarly tough to figure. Both violate a couple of the guideposts listed above - long form cycles, age, last race odds and finish.  Ultimately, I split the vote between the 1-Last Gunfighter and the 12-Flat Out.  Both have excuses for their last efforts, and both will present value today.  Last Gunfighter is working well for Chad Brown and still ran a 101 despite losing his footing in the stretch of the Jockey Gold Club while finishing 5th beaten 10.  He's second in my closing figs among horses that have been at the distance.  Also, the last three Classic winners at Santa Anita have had Raise A Native in their line.  Last Gunfighter is among three here today that have that blood (Fort Larned and Palace Malice are the other two).  Flat Out has two sharp works from his last three for Mott.  He's second to Game on Dude in Current Class and fourth in Prime Power behind the three I think will set the fast pace.

Top Picks

Race TFTribe JP Siva #3 Rose Matt
Juvenile Fillies 10-She's A Tiger 9-Sweet Reason
10-She's A Tiger 10-She's A Tiger
Filly & Mare Turf 6-Marketing Mix 2-Romantica 3-Tiz Flirtatious 7-Laughing
Filly & Mare Sprint 8-Dance to Bristol 2-Book Review
11-Groupie Doll 12-Sweet Lulu
Turf Sprint 12-Mizdirection 5-Caracortado 12-Mizdirection 14-Mizdirection
Juvenile 6-Tap It Rich 2-Dance With Fate 4-New Year's Day 6-Tap It Rich
Turf 7-The Fuge 3-Twilight Eclipse 4-Little Mike 4-Little Mike
Sprint 1-Justin Phillip 1-Justin Phillip 9-Secret Circle 7-Private Zone
Mile 8-Wise Dan 10-Za Approval 8-Wise Dan 8-Wise Dan
Classic 4-Moreno 6-Mucho Macho Man 8-Palace Malice 6-Mucho Macho Man

Longshots / Value / Also Likes

Race TFTribe JP Siva #3 Rose Matt
Juvenile Fillies 8-Scandalous Act 10-She's A Tiger
6-Concave 8-Scandalous Act
Filly & Mare Turf 7-Laughing 3-Tiz Flirtatious
2-Romantica 7-Laughing
Filly & Mare Sprint 12-Sweet Lulu 12-Sweet Lulu
12-Sweet Lulu 8-Dance to Bristol
Turf Sprint 9-Capo Bastone 3-Chips All In; 10-Havelock 14-Unbridled's Note 14-Unbridled's Note
Juvenile 2-Dance With Fate 4-New Year's Day 7-Cleburne 3-Mexikoma
Turf 10-Big Blue Kitten 12-Real Solution; 10-Big Blue Kitten 11-Magician 11-Magician
Sprint 12-Laugh Track 6-Bahamian Squall 2-The Lumber Guy 3-Gentlemen's Bet
Mile 4-Obviously 1-No Jet Lag 7-He Be Fire N Ice 1-No Jet Lag
Classic 4-Moreno 1-Last Gunfighter; 12-Flat Out 5-Declaration of War 8-Palace Malice