In a world brimming with cups—Ryder, Stanley, Sprint, DD’s—the Breeder’s Cup stands alone as sports’ richest event. This year, the Cup gets a taste of Title IX and, for the very first time, a synthetic track. Tomorrow, we find out if Curlin does indeed belong in the short list of all time greats, and in case you were wondering what Title IX tastes like, kitty litter. And now, for your betting pleasure:
Sentient Flight Group Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
Broseph: Zaftig (6) hasn’t run since June 7, but she did toy with Indian Blessing the entire trip before drawing off by 4.5 lengths in the GI Acorn. Add Bejerano and give her the slight edge. Indian Blessing (5) is one-for-one on a synthetic surface, winning at Santa Anita in January, and Baffert will be a popular play out West. She looks to be overbet but should be in the exacta. Indyanne (2) has never left GIII company, but her two-for-two score on synthetic surfaces gives her an advantage over the rest, and her $375,000 price tag shows that her best days are ahead of her.
Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
Intern: 11-Saucey Evening has had some rough trips in her 4 career starts, so look for Gomez to steer her straight into the winner’s circle this time around. 7-Consequence makes her 3rd career start and looks poised to hoof it on up to the next level. At least that’s what she told me. 2-Laragh looked like a superstar earlier this month at Keeneland and if there is anything left in tank, she’ll be the one to catch.
Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
Broseph: Two-year-old races are built on potential, price tags, and connections, and Be Smart (1) has all three. Priced at $325,000 with Lukas and Gomez in charge, this horse is making her third career start, but she did a lot of damage in the GI Alcibiades last time out and gave Dream Empress all she could handle on the synthetic track at Keeneland. Stardom Bound (10) boasts the best resume, already winning two GI’s and never missing the board in four starts. Add in the fact that synthetic tracks are all she’s ever known, and no surprise why she’s the chalk. Sky Diva (4) has won by a combined 14 lengths in her first two starts and should build off of that.
Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Intern: 3-Forever Together already has 2 GI’s wins in the bag this year, and done so in dominant fashion. 5-Wait a While is the epitome of consistent and has been on point so far this year. She loves the distance and a perfect 2 for 2 on this course. In 8 starts this year 7-Mauralakana has yet to finish worse than 2nd. Hard to keep this champ off the board.
Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic
Broseph: It’s hard to pick against Zenyatta (1) who is an insane 7 for 7 on synthetic surfaces and 8 for 8 lifetime. There aren’t many singles on this card, but this could be one of them in a short field. Kinda seems like she scared everyone else off. If anybody can catch her, Ginger Punch (6) has the best shot. She won this race last year in the slop, so she has the experience edge. Add the Frankel/Bejerano edge, and she’s got a glimmer of hope. Carriage Trail (5) has a solid synthetic record, took the Keeneland Spinster her last out by seven, and is coming off two straight 103+ speed ratings.
Breeders’ Cup Marathon
Intern: 4-Sixties Icon is custom built for the 1 1/2, many American horses are not. He’s coming in on a roll, winning his last 3 in Europe, all GIII’s. 3-Delightful Kiss comes in very live and a winner of his last two. He’s won on the synthetic and gets the ultra-patient and dapper Calvin Borel in the saddle. 8-Cedar Mountain comes back from a 3 mo. layoff but has not missed the board in 4 starts this year.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
Broseph: Pretty weak field, considering only one is coming off of a GI start, so this one should be a blanket at the wire. Give the edge to Fleeting Spirit (2) who only lost the GI Longchamp by 3 lengths and has hit the board 7 of 8 lifetime starts on turf. Diabolical (8) took a trip to Europe and ran a grueling schedule that should have him ready to make a big return to the States. Although a long shot, Rouse the Cat (7) gets Edgar Prado and showed some life in his last out, getting nosed at the wire by other runner True to Tradition.
TVG Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
Intern: 8-Well Armed has been on fire this year and has faced the best of the best. I think the mile will suit him splendidly, especially if he’s allowed the early lead. 1-Lewis Michael has only raced twice since finishing a distant 5th in this race last year over the slop at Monmouth. He’s shown improvement in his 2 races this year and is a synthetic track phenom.
Breeders’ Cup Mile
Broseph: The Shadwell trio all made it, but they may be in over their heads here. Goldikova (4) won the aforementioned Longchamp last out, and if he can reproduce that effort, he’ll be tough to beat. Kip Deville (2) won this race last year and followed it up with a Makers Mark Mile victory, but he’s fallen off a bit since then. If he can round back to form, he’ll be tough. Precious Kitten (3) was a beaten favorite last out, and she has a chance to sneak up on the rest this time.
Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Intern: 12-Bushranger handled the best 2yo’s in Europe and is by far the most successful horse in the field to date. Not sure how he’s going to handle the travel and the track, but at 6-1 ML it’s tough to turn down. 4-Square Eddie made is US debut earlier this month by romping in the Futurity at Keeneland. The scary thing is he might actually be primed to improve, and if that is the case then I’m not sure anyone in this bunch can catch him. 11-Midshipman won the DelMar Furturity back in Sept and seemed to lose a little focus in his first try at this distance in the Norfolk. Baffert is merely picking his spots these days so I expect a good effort here.
Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
Broseph: Again, two-year-olds are a tough bunch, but the pricy Coronet of a Baron (7) was sold for over a half-million bucks, and he performed admirably, losing by a nose in the Del Mar Futurity. Although he has no turf starts, synthetic surface is usually a pretty good indication of how they’ll fair. Grand Adventure (12) is taking a step up, but he’s 2 for 2 on the grass, so he rates a chance. Pletcher and Velazquez team up to give Bittel Road (11) a good shot in his 4th lifetime start.
Sentient Flight Group Breeders’ Cup Sprint
Intern: 4-Midnight Lute is back to defend the crown in only his 3rd start since. He was soundly beaten back in August after an 8 mo. rehab, but his recent works over the the cushion say he’s ready to uncork another gem. A hot pace in the dash for the cash would set up beautifully for the closing 2-Street Boss, who already has two GI wins this year. 7-In Summation has been spotty this year but has a ton of experience at this level and has the speed to get loose.
Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf
Broseph: A couple of former winners in this field, but Grand Couturier (3) is coming off an insane 10-length score in the GI Turf Classic at Belmont, and anything close to that form will be tough to beat. If the turf is moist, give him an even bigger edge. Red Rocks (2) will have to settle for second this year but looks like a live one after being the only horse this year to boast a win over monster-stud Curlin. Soldier of Fortune (4) was game enough to get third place in the Arc de Triomphe, the most prestigious turf race in the world.
Breeders’ Cup Classic
Broseph: Rick Dutrow’s terrible karma finally caught up with him and ruined a wonderful showdown, but this is Curlin’s (9) meeting with destiny. The last GII this horse ran in was the Arkansas Derby in 2007. Since then, he has won 8 of 12 GI showdowns, including the Stephen Foster, in which he carried ten more pounds than any other horse. Synthetic Scare ‘08 will only make more money for us, and my advice is to sit back and enjoy this one. Student Council (7) battled and ran gamely with superhorse Commentator two back, and he looks to put some value in the exacta. Go Between (1) likes the synthetic surface and has earned over 2.7 million lifetime.
And we now return you to your regularly scheduled hysteria.