Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies
This race came up very competitive, with most of the horses having some potential to be a factor. As with most two year old races, rapid improvement between starts is not unusual, and that is very much a part of the handicapping puzzle. I’m looking for a couple of things. First is experience handling two turns, and second, success in the major G1 preps, the Frizette. the Chandelier, and the Alcibiades.
- COLORFUL CHARADES showed a little bit of speed in the Frizette but was no match for the top two. Has the look of an also ran to me.
- WITH HONORS showed good speed in the Chandelier, her first race on the dirt, and finished only a half-length behind the winner. She should be part of the pace picture early, but I don’t think she’s likely to hang on all the way. She gets minor contender status for me.
- VALADORNA was a smashing winner in her maiden race and she gives me a lot of pause here. The maiden race she won was on the same day as the Alcibiades, and she finished only 0.19 seconds slower than that race. She also bobbled at the start in that one and made up a lot of ground to draw away. I’m not sure why Mark Cause, a very shrewd trainer, didn’t start her in the Alcibiades, but he has to know now he’s got a handful of horse with her. A look at the ML suggests she’s not a secret. Major contender.
- YELLOW AGATE was the winner of the Frizette, at one time THE prep race for the BC. It is still an important race and she ground down a very game Libby’s Tale in the stretch to garner an impressive win. She hasn’t gone the distance around two turns and that is always an issue, but she is a primary contender.
- SWEET LORETTA is undefeated, but has been off since early September. Despite the impeccable connections, given she doesn’t have a more recent prep and no experience around two turns she only gets secondary contender status for me.
- CHAMPAGNE ROOM is one of the West Coast entrants. She really doesn’t have the look of a Grade 1 stakes horse yet. Very minor consideration.
- JAMYSON ‘n GINGER smashed a field in her maiden on a sloppy BEL track. Her number from that race was awesome, but the question is, was it the slop? Given she had two mediocre starts before that one, I’m inclined to think she freaked in the slop and afford her minor contender status.
- DANCING RAGS was the winner of the Alcibiades, which I believe has turned into the key prep for this race. Unfortunately, she was in the perfect spot in that race, laying second just off the leader on an average pace, and the race really didn’t come up with a big number. Contender, but I’m going to be cautious.
- UNION STRIKE has switched trainers since winning the Del Mar Debutante. She has a good style, and she should be able to run all day, but I’m just not sure about the layoff and the trainer change. On the plus side, she’s listed at 6-1 on the ML, and given the field I’d have to say she’s been getting a lot of buzz. Secondary contender for me.
- NOTED AND QUOTED was the winner of the Chandelier at SA and that gives her the home course edge. Still, she seems a little in and out and while she has to be considered, there are a few I’ll put in front of her.
- DADDY’S LIL DARLING has minor prospects here, but don’t discount that she was really the only horse to make a big stretch move in the Alcibiades. Backholer for me.
- AMERICAN GAL has the typical “Bullet Bob” Baffert workout pattern, and the outside post is a concern, but I have a feeling this horse has a say in the outcome.
Primary: 4-3-12 Secondary: 5-8-9-11
Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf
- SEA CALISI is one of a number of horses in this race that is good enough to catch a piece. She’s a Group 1 winner in Europe and a Grade 1 winner in the States and off her best she’s got a small chance. She’ll be on my tickets but not on top.
- CATCH A GLIMPSE has five graded wins in seven tries this year, but she hasn’t beaten the caliber of this field. I can’t get her into the verticals.
- SEVENTH HEAVEN is one of the Aidan O’Brien shippers and may actually look the best of the Euros. She has a Group 1 win in the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks. On talent, she’s a contender, but she doesn’t stick out above a number of the others in here.
- AVENGE is in good condition, but seems a step behind the best in here. Not on my tickets.
- AL’S GAL has had a very good 2016 with four wins and three seconds, including a close win in the E P Taylor and a close second to Sea Calisi. It’s hard to argue with that sort of success, but I don’t think overall she’s a match for the best in here.
- ZIPESSA seems unlikely to challenge the top runners in here.
- SENTIERO ITALIA ran a good second to Lady Eli in the Flower Bowl, one of the top preps for this race. Her last two races may have been her best of the year. She won’t be on top for me, but I can see her sneaking in for a piece.
- LADY ELI is the sentimental favorite for me. Two years ago she easily won at SA in the BC Juvenile Fillies. She came back in 2015 with two solid stakes wins, but then contracted laminitis. She’s managed to beat that serious disease and came back in 2016 to run a game second in the Ballston Spa and win the Flower Bowl. Had she not had the bout with laminitis she might be going into this race as a heavy favorite, and while you can certainly come up with negatives, she is a very talented filly who should have a major say in the outcome.
- RYAN’S CHARM is definitely the X-factorin here. She’s been a consistent stakes winner in Peru, but I believe she would be better starting in an allowance race.
- KITCAT is different in that she has a second in a race she ran at SA after shipping from Chile, and perhaps that one start will be useful, but she’ll be a pitch for me.
- QUEEN’S TRUST doesn’t look quite as fast as some in here, and was beaten by Seventh Heaven in the Yorkshire Oaks.
- PRETTY PERFECT is another of the Aidan O’Brien group. She’s eligible for lesser conditions, but for some reason O’Brien went with the race.
- NUOVO RECORD is another of the x-factor horses, but the speed numbers she’s shown overseas don’t really match up in this group.
Primary: 8-3-1 Secondary: 7-12-5-11
Breeders Cup Sprint
- MIND YOUR BISCUITS is an interesting horse in this race. He’s a three year old that is more of a closing sprinter, and horses with that style can be very much hit or miss, especially if the pace isn’t particularly quick. Little question that today’s race will have plenty of horses looking for the front, so he should get an honest setup. The question is whether he is good enough even with that setup. I might use him in a back hole.
- DEFRONG is riding a four race win streak, although his last was the seven furlong King’s Bishop at Saratoga in August. He’s got pure front running ability and has been working a hole in the wind. I can see him winning the race but I’m not sold at the ML odds.
- DELTA BLUESMAN is a veteran campaigner who also likes to win on the front end. His figures give him a puncher’s chance, but I’m not overly enthusiastic about his likelihood of winning.
- JOKING is on a four race win streak after capturing the Vosburgh last out. He’s at the top of him game right now, but even off his best effort I can’t see him beating this field.
- A.P. INDIAN has a ton of talent and seems to be able to win on any surface. He’s won 5 of 7 at this distance and off his best there is no doubt he could be the winner. But, he’s another one of the horses that prefers the front end and there is enough speed in this race that one or two of them might not make it to the wire. He’s a contender, but one of a few that has outs here.
- LORD NELSON is one of the best sprinters on the West Coast. He’s got a three race G1 winning streak going, including the Triple Bend, the Bing Crosby, and the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. He’s got a little more of a tracking style, and that should be in his favor here. Very live contender for me.
- MASOCHISTIC has had a storied career, but since moving to the Ron Ellis barn he has thrived as sprinter. He’s got a liking for the Santa Anita track and his number in the Pat O’Brien was impressive, but that was only a three horse race. Is he a primary contender? Unquestionably. But he is not 2-1 in my estimation. He may win, but he’ll do so without much of my money in his direction.
- NOHOLDINGBACK BEAR looks better than his 15-1 odds. He’s improving as the third in the King’s Bishop and the win in the Gallant Bob indicate. I think his running style might be against him – he’ll have to fight a lot of the speed and his figures aren’t quite as good as the other contenders, but I think he could get into the verticals.
- LIMOSINE LIBERAL looks to be in a little deep today.
Primary: 6-5-1 Secondary: 7-2-8
Breeders Cup Turf Sprint
- PURE SENSATION is a clear contender in this race. He’s been fairly lightly raced but looks to be coming to the race is top form. The one down side is that he hasn’t had any success beyond six furlongs, and he’s never negotiated the downhill course at Santa Anita. In the mix, but not the top choice.
- OBVIOUSLY is an interesting horse. Lately he’s been running at the mile distance, but has experience at Santa Anita on the turf. At 8 years old it is obvious he is slowing down some but he still runs some top figures. One of the contenders.
- MONGOLIAN SATURDAY doesn’t look like a contender to me.
- HOME OF THE BRAVE comes over from England where he was sprinting, but not on the idiosyncratic SA downhill course. I’m relegating him to non-contender status.
- KARAR ran very well in his last in France and I’m looking for him to be in a good stalking position. He’s one of the Euros I’m interested in here, perhaps not on top but part of the verticals.
- CALGARY CAT only has one so-so race outside of Canada and I’m relegating him to the also rans.
- SUEDOIS is a Group 1 French sprinter who has yet to win this year. Perhaps a little bit ambitious to expect this to be his first one of 2016.
- WASHINGTON DC just ran a big one at Chantilly and has been short sprinting (5F) in his last few races. I think he’s better at the 6-7 furlong distances but I still have trouble putting him in the top three.
- A LOT should be in a good position and I have a liking for horses that show well at the mid distances. He hasn’t been on the 6 1/2 downhill, but Brown/Castellano is a good combination on the turf.
- AMBITIOUS BREW is in a great spot for this race. He’s got good tactical speed and does well at SA. One of the horses i’m interested in as a long shot.
- UNDRAFTED goes in the also ran category for me.
- OM ran well against Vyjack last out and while I’d like to see him flash a little more speed, But his figures say he’s right in the mix and he’ll be a main contender for me.
- HOLY LUTE just won at this distance pulling away from a pretty good field. He’s got a decent record on the downhill and his numbers say he is competitive. He’s a main contender for me.
- CELESTINE has been running well at the mile distance but Bill Mott drops him into this sprint. He’s got two excellent figures from his last two races. I have to put him on the contenders list
Primary: 10-14-13 Secondary: 12-2-9 Best of the Euros: 5-8
Breeders Cup Juvenile
- KLIMT goes for the always dangerous Bob Baffert. That makes relegating him to the secondary contenders dangerous, but I like others better.
- SYNDERGAARD ran an impressive race in the Champagne. He set blazing fractions, and when he was hooked by Practical Joke, he dug in and nearly won the race. That race was visually impressive and I’m inclined to put Syndegaard in the category of the real deal.
- TERM OF ART just broke his maiden in fairly pedestrian time. I think he’s up against it today.
- THEORY was one of the budding Pletcher stars when he broke his maiden at SAR in late July. He then got sidelined due to injury until the Futurity in mid October at BEL. I just don’t think that gives him enough experience to top this field, but I’ll give him secondary contender status.
- CLASSIC EMPIRE has only one blemish on his record – the Hopeful where he lost his rider. Otherwise all he’s done is win. The Breeders Futurity at KEE gave him experience around two turns. He’s a primary contender.
- THREE RULES just doesn’t look good enough to beat this field.
- GORMLEY has shown a lot of talent in his two starts out West. Given he’s gone the distance on this track in good time, he merits contender status.
- STAR EMPIRE is facing his toughest test and given the quality in the other contenders, he looks up against it.
- PRACTICAL JOKE beat Sydergaard in a stirring stretch run in the Champagne and that makes him a major contender. All in all this should be a very competitive race.
- NOT THIS TIME ran well in the Iroquois and has a competitive number. He is a contender, but I’m putting others on top.
- LOOKING AT LEE would have to run the race of his life to be a factor. He’s a pitch for me.
Primary: 5-2-9 Secondary: 4-7-10
Breeders Cup Turf
- RALIS gives me no reason to expect an effort good enough to whip this field. Throw out for me.
- DA BIG HOSS has competitive numbers and has 5 wins in 6 starts this year. Might sneak into a vertical.
- ECTOT ran a big one on a yielding turf to best Flintshire. You can blame the soft turf for Flintshire’s loss, but Ectot has actually run his best races on the firmer turf, so he should be right at home here. You have to consider him a contender, but I’m not sure he’ll duplicate his last.
- FLINTSHIRE threw in a bad one on the soft BEL turf, but I’m willing to draw a line through that race. Flintshire is a world class turfer and he’s been prepped perfectly for this race. He’s the best the American’s have to offer and if he runs his race he’ll be hard to beat.
- ASHLEYLOVESSUGAR is definitely a Grade 2 horse, but I think he is a step below this crew. Also ran.
- MONDIALISTE won this year’s version of the Arlington Million but wasn’t able to keep the streak going in the Shadwell Mile. He’s never been the distance and that puts him in the also ran category.
- ULYSSES hasn’t shown Grade 1 ability yet, although Sir Michael Stoute isn’t likely to bring a horse he didn’t think had some talent. May have to toss him into the backholes.
- TWILIGHT ECLIPSE just isn’t the horse he was in past years. A sentimental pick at best, but still unlikely.
- MONEY MULTIPLIER is another who is a useful turf runner, and has a number of in the money finishes. I can see him in the verticals.
- FOUND is one of Europe’s best turfers and the winner of the 2016 Arc d’Triomphe. It’s well known that Arc winners don’t have success in this race, but on sheer talent she has to be one of the picks.
- TEXAS RYANO is another good turf horse but not in this caliber.
- HIGHLAND REEL is the second of the strong Euros in the field. He finished second in the Arc and has wins at Ascot and Hong Kong. Right there with best in this race.
- METABOSS doesn’t have the caliber of the best in this field. Toss.
Primary: 4-12-3-10 Secondary: 2-7-9
Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
- PAOLA QUEEN flopped seriously in the Beldame after sprinting well with three year olds in the Test. Looks a cut below the best of these.
- HAVEYOUGONEAWAY looks perfectly placed at the seven furlongs and is coming to the race in top shape. Has already beaten a number of these in the Ballerina and has had an excellent 2016. Lots of positives in her favor make her a prime contender.
- TARA’S TANGO has run well at Santa Anita and has competitive figures. She’s done ok at the seven furlong distance, but seems better at the route trip. A secondary contender.
- GOMO was the favorite going into last year’s BC Juvenile Fillies but was scratched. Obviously she was hurt because she didn’t return until April at GP, and then stayed on the shelf again until October when she ran 4th in a turf sprint. I can’t imagine she’ll fare well in this group so she won’t be on my contenders list.
- WONDER GAL only has one win this year and the was in an OC$40K. She simply looks overmatched here.
- BY THE MOON has a lot of experience at seven furlongs, and even a race over the track. She ran a good second to Haveyougoneaway in the Ballerina and figures to be one of the contenders here.
- GLORYZAPPER seems overmatched in field. Non-contender.
- CARINA MIA has done well running against three year olds this year and showed good speed in the Ballerina. Contender.
- PAULASSILVERLINING seems better suited for the shorter sprints. Not a contender for me.
- WAVELL AVENUE is the defending champion in this race. She is obviously pointed to this race by Chad Brown, but I’m not sure she’s quite the same runner she was last year. She was no threat in the Ballerina, and her race in the Gallant Bloom was only so-so. She gets the respect of a previous champion, but I’m not sold on her chances this year.
- IRISH JASPER just doesn’t look good enough to crack the verticals here.
- FINEST CITY has been a good sprinter in SoCal for a while and seems to be coming into this race in top shape. She can handle the dirt and I’m giving her secondary contender status.
- SPELLING AGAIN seems unlikely here.
Primary: 8-2-3 Secondary: 6-12
Breeders Cup Mile
- WHAT A VIEW is 5 for 5 at Santa Anita and 4 of 7 at the distance. He’s got enough speed to clear from the one post, but the question is, is he fast enough. Not impossible, but not a prime contender.
- ALICE SPRINGS tries racing with the boys for the first time. She’s had a brilliant season, winning three group 1’s at today’s distance. She has the figures to be competitive and first-rate connections.
- SPECTRE doesn’t have a win at the distance and her figures are slightly lighter than the best in here.
- MISS TEMPLE CITY comes off a win in the Shadwell Turf Mile at KEE. Has the figures to be a major factor today.
- TOURIST is another sort of sleeper in this race. He was not far from Miss Temple in the Shadwell, he won the Fourstardave, and he was a game second to Midnight Storm in the Shoemaker. Travels well, adapts to the different tracks, and is a very game runner. Another contender.
- PHOTO CALL ran an enormous race beating Tepin in the First Lady at KEE. She did it by going out to a long lead on a fair pace and holding off the closers. I don’t think she gets to run that race today. Noncontender.
- DUTCH CONNECTION ships over from England. He doesn’t have a win at the distance in seven tries and simply doesn’t look fast enough.
- TEPIN would have been a very short priced favorite had she not lost the First Lady. The question is, was that race a fluke or is she cycling down. She is obviously a major contender, but I believe I may take a stand against her.
- IRONICUS is also a major contender. He hasn’t been out of the money in two years and has been first or second in all his mile races. His figures are very competitive. Major contender.
- LIMATO is the best of the Euros in this race. He looks like he has been pointed at this spot. His figures have consistently been better than what is in the field and I like his chances a lot today.
- RING WEEKEND is a non-contender for me.
- HIT IT A BOMB simply never blossomed as a three year old. Would be a surprise for me.
- MIDNIGHT STORM seems to be the best of the local talent. I’ll put him in a secondary status.
- COUGAR MOUNTAIN doesn’t seem to have the talent to be a factor here.
Primary: 4-10-8-9 Secondary: 2-13-5
Breeders Cup Classic
Not a lot of clever analysis here. The best, most consistent horse in the race is CALIFORNIA CHROME. He loves SA and has consistently good figures. In my mind he is the horse to beat. The now horse is ARROGATE, who freaked in the Travers, running an enormous figure. If he’s that good I’m not sure any horse in the race can beat him. But if it was just one of those once in a career efforts, or if he bounces off the effort, his prior efforts don’t say he’s good enough to win. You have to take a stand one way or the other, and I’m standing against. EFFINEX is getting a lot of sentimental action. He didn’t look any better last year when he finished second to American Pharoah, but clearly Jimmy Jerkens knows how to wind him up for one race. He’d be no surprise in the exacta. FROSTED might have been the favorite for the Classic after his Metropolitan win, but he understandably tailed off a little. Still, that Metropolitan sticks in your mind and if he replicates it he gives the field a good run for their money. I’d be highly surprised if one of those four horses didn’t win the race.