Over the next two days the best horses in the world will take the track at Keeneland Race Course for 14 Breeders’ Cup World Championship races.
We make a big deal out of the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown, but the most money is made at the Breeders’ Cup. The fields are deep. A horse that’s 12-1 in the Breeders’ Cup might be a 5-2 favorite in any other graded stakes race. There’s so much value, the trick is just finding the right horse at the right time.
I’m no horse racing handicapping expert, however, I have seen most of these dirt horses race in preparation for the Kentucky Derby. I make most of my choices with my gut, not based on their splits. Here are just a few of the ponies I will certainly be placing in various exotic bets and the sometimes irrational logic behind my reasoning.
Golden Pal and New Mandate — Because Jonathon Kinchen told me to and I’m horrible at handicapping inexperienced two-year-olds. Good luck to everyone on Future Stars Friday.
Camp Hope — Hi! Hi! Hiya! The shout out to Heavyweights and Kenny McPeek connection is enough for me to sprinkle some dough on this 30-1 long shot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Venetian Harbor — All eyes will be on Gamine and Serengeti Empress in the Filly and Mare Sprint, and rightfully so, but Venetian Harbor has come in first or second in every start, serving as the bridesmaid to Swiss Skydiver, Speech and Gamine before bouncing back with Manny Franco aboard in her last start. Gamine will probably win the one-turn race but I think Franco will put this 8-1 horse on the board.
Extravagant Kid — One of the luckiest SOBs I know simply goes by “The Kid.” I will try to use some of his luck to hit on the 15-1 horse in the Turf Sprint.
The Big Ass Dirt Mile — I’m so conflicted on this race. I religiously bet Mr. Money, but as of late he’s cost me money. Now I’m afraid if I get off him I’ll be losing more money. Art Collector’s long layoff from the injury has me concerned. Knicks Go has returned to form as of late but has been just as inconsistent as War of Will. Owendale has been in the money, albeit not in the winner’s circle. Decisions, decisions.
Vekoma — C Z Rocket, Echo Town and Hog Creek Hustle will be in a trifecta alongside the 2019 Derby horse that has found its groove running at a shorter distance.
Monomoy Girl — What a badass. Swiss Skydiver has been exceptional, but the maturity of Monomoy gives her a second gear that will propel her to a win, as she’s done in every race of her career except one.
Arklow — Trusting Brad Cox got me to cash a huge Pick Five ticket on Oaks Day. I’ll bet on him again to beat a field full of European horses.
By My Standards — Tiz the Law, Authentic and Improbable are going to take a ton of money. You’ll find plenty of value for By My Standards in your exotics, a horse that has competed next and neck with Improbable and Tom’s D’Etat. A horse that won me money early in the quarantine, I’m going back to the well in the hopes that Bret Calhoun can bring me another big ticket.