At Picks and Ponderings, my stakes selections as well as my “play” horse and my “pass” horse for each of Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup races, are online to read — or watch, in the case of the “play or pass”, since those are in short video previews for each race! My top selections for each BC race are also on Hello Race Fans as well.
Over at ShapperDaCapper, I took a two-part look at the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Earlier this week I looked at some historical angles around the top contenders, and then did an in-depth look at the race from a handicapping perspective.
I also appeared on the most recent episode of Racetrackers to discuss my picks and reasoning for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. My five-minute segment starts at 59:15, but it is worth listening to the entire show, as they have a slew of guest handicappers who tackled the entire Breeders’ Cup.
Among my top selections, the most likely winner is Songbird in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Though Songbird has not been tested out in California, little in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies field looks likely to test her at Keeneland. She has a win at the distance, and her speed should be fast enough to beat anyone here unless someone takes a considerable step forward. Her gradual speed progression through her three races suggests she is going the right way, and not hurtling toward a bounce or regression despite how visually impressive her races may have been. Though she is a speed horse, she showed in the Del Mar Debutante that she can survive a duel. Rachel’s Valentina, the best of the east coasters so far, is the one who has the shortest to progress to catch Songbird. However, Rachel’s Valentina also has the first-time route to deal with, as well as a layoff of almost two months. Advantage: Songbird.
Another emphatic top selection, and one who should be a decent price (in the way that Songbird will not be) is Exaggerator in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Sure, Exaggerator is a Curlin baby, but that has no connection to why he should win this race. Keep in mind that the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile has fourteen horses in it — and they are all two years old, relatively inexperienced. Exaggerator has shown great maturity when it comes to being able to get through horses and openings. He showed that in the Saratoga Special, and showed it again in the Breeders’ Futurity last out. Though he got nailed by Brody’s Cause, that had nothing to do with his ability to handle crowds. If Keith Desormeaux has taught him a bit more about not getting lazy with the lead, or if Exaggerator has to keep passing or battling horses right to the wire, he should be well set. That performance in the Breeders’ Futurity shows he can handle a mile and a sixteenth at Keeneland, his back lines show he can run well on fast dirt, and he has proven that he is a fast enough horse with a passing gear. All of this suggests that Exaggerator will be tough to beat, particularly in a fourteen-horse field.
However, be sure to check out our Play or Pass video on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to learn about a horse who is 30-1 on the morning line, and should also be somewhere on your tickets for the Juvenile.