Brian’s Breeder’s Cup Preview: the Saturday races

Race 2: The Grade II, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at 1-mile.

POUNCED drew well and enters off a second to the accomplished Siyouni in a classy European Group I on the Arc undercard; tepid choice in a race that could go to just about anyone. KERA’S KITTEN has progressed nicely in both career starts and will test firm ground for the first time; complete unknown will be a big, big price, never a bad thing in a wide open race. INTERACTIF would be the top choice but got hampered by the draw, so he runs the risk of a very wide journey; look for him to be motoring late. As for the others: Zip Quik tries a new surface but looks outclassed; Viscount Nelson brings some solid Euro form and deserves a look for expert connections; Codoy just missed to Interactif in the Bourbon at a huge price, interesting; Gallant Gent seems better suited for the Juvenile; Awesome Act doesn’t appear to have the class of the other Euros; Canadian Grade III winner Bridgetown will be dangerous if he shakes loose early; King Ledley is another Euro who will need to find more; Becky’s Kitten was gaining on Bridgetown in Canada; Buzzword rates a long look but will be closer to the rail on the main track than the one on the turf course.

Race 3: The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for 3&up at 6 ½ furlongs

The word of the day is “impossible,” which describes this race quite nicely. We know they’ll be flying early and closing late, so let’s try to shock the world with SQUARE EDDIE, who has shown an electric turn of foot at times on synthetics; a relative unknown on the grass but he’ll be a big number. Why not? CANNONBALL is another who can close from the clouds and loves this turf sprint game; no one in this field could come close to getting necked out in the Golden Jubilee like he did. DIAMONDRELLA completes the come-from-behind trifecta; talented mare won two GI’s this year and has scored turf sprinting in the past. As for the others: Noble Court drew terribly but can close with a trip; Silver Timber has the tactical speed to get the jump on the proceedings; California Flag will kill off anyone who tries to go with him but a win is a shaky proposition; Lord Shanakill is a dangerous Euro with a Group I in his pocket; Get Funky is in with a longshot chance; Gotta Have Her might be in over her head with these boys; fellow distaffer Canadian Ballet will be in the mix early but not sure about late; El Gato Malo seems outclassed; Strike The Deal needs some help from this draw; Desert Code won this race last year but a repeat seems unlikely and Delta Storm would need a miracle from this post.

Race 4: The Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint for 3&up at 6 furlongs.

FATAL BULLET, second in this spot last year, drew beautifully outside main pace rival Zensational, which gives him a major tactical advantage; 9-for-11 on synthetics and set to make amends on last year’s run. CROWN OF THORNS looks to be sitting on a big run and also drew well to be outside the speed; might be the right price play. Wasn’t a fan of ZENSATIONAL (on top) going in, so no way I lean to him from the rail with all the speed to his outside; under the gun every step of the way and all three GI wins came over ridiculously weak fields. As for the others: Cost Of Freedom is coming up to a big run and loves the track (3-for-4); Gayego got set up beautifully last time in the GI Ancient Title but willing to try and beat him at underlaid odds; Dancing In Silks looks outgunned; Join In The Dance thought this race was at 3 furlongs; Capt. Candyman Can might not get enough pace to run at and Euro star Fleeting Spirit is a notorious worrywart at the gate who may be out of his element.

Race 5: The Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles.

Impossible, part two. PULSION closed strongly to just miss behind Lookin At Lucky in the GI Norfolk over the track and distance, his first start vs. winners; drawn much better today and is improving with each start, though the 20-1 ML is a pipe dream; ESKENDEREYA comes west with a big reputation and has run well over turf, so you can excuse the fact he prepped in NY; anytime you break your maiden in a 152k stakes by 7 ¼ lengths you’re doing something right; LOOKIN AT LUCKY was visually unimpressive in the Norfolk, is no faster than anyone else in the field and will be 8-5 from a horrendous post; an obvious contender but also the biggest underlay on the card. As for the others: Alfred Nobel seems over the top; Piscitelli is improving but is a cut below; Beethoven was all-out at 33-1 to win a Group I in Euro for O’Brien, which leaves doubt; no knocks other than price on GI winner Noble’s Promise; D’Funnybone has never tried synthetics and couple that with the short price and you’ve got to try and beat him; Vale Of York failed in a weak Italian Group I; Aikenite will be closing hard and has serious price appeal; Aspire is as talented as anyone but is an unknown over synthetics; Radiohead could be Europe’s best hope; and William’s Kitten is in deep.

Race 6: The Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile for 3&up

Not only is GOLDIKOVA one of the best milers to hit the BC scene, but she benefits from facing an extremely weak cast; little in the way of joining Miesque and Lure as back-to-back Mile winners. ZACINTO would seem to be the main danger based on his strong second to Rip Van Winkle in the Group I QEII, though it is worth noting that was just a four-horse field; logical exacta partner should be even better in this race next year. COWBOY CAL is not in the class of the top choice, but he should be in front as long as he can go. As for the others: Court Vision won a weak GI at Keeneland and is overmatched by the Euros; Whatsthescript, third in this race last year, seems to have lost a step; Delegator has traded decisions with Zacinto in his last two and can hit the board; Karelian is easy to root for but hard to back; Courageous Cat is one of the best bred horses in training, but that won’t scare anyone when the gates open; Ferneley likes the trip but is 0-for-3 over the SA sod; Gladiatorus had to head to Italy to get back on the beam and seems well removed from the horse he was in Dubai and Justenuffhumor struggled in the soft ground at Keeneland but will appreciate the firm footing he’ll get here.

Race 7: The Grade I, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for 3&up.

The 7-for-11 MASTERCRAFTSMAN only needs his gate to open to defeat this soft group, seeing that three of his four losses have come at the hands of Sea The Stars only adds to the appeal and makes him the most logical winner of the 14 BC races. MIDSHIPMAN should own a distinct pace advantage and if the pick struggles, this guy could be scary turning for home; don’t forget that he won the Juvenile over the track last fall. NEKO BAY has yet to miss the exacta in six local starts and could be the one to break up the chalk fest. As for the others: Furthest Land upset the Ky. Cup but is up against it here; Bullsbay has battled a foot injury and missed a week of training, which is not the way to get to the BC; Mambo Meister has never been over a synthetic surface and seems well below the top choices; Pyro’s two worst races in a solid career have come on the plastic; Mr. Sydney doesn’t look like the GI miler he was in the spring; Chocolate Candy is a talented horse hoping they add the 9-furlong Dirt Mile and Ready’s Echo could spice up your tri with his big stretch kick.

Race 8: The Grade I, $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf for 3&up at 1 ½ miles.

CONDUIT won this race last year and gives every indication that he’s a better horse this time around; prepped beautifully in the Arc and looks hard to deny. Maybe PRESIOUS PASSION can break up the Euro brigade and fill out the exacta; owns a win over the course and will be in front for as long as he can take them. DAR RE MI wasn’t far behind the choice in the Arc and passed on the F&M Turf to run here; not out of it but she needs to improve. As for the others: Telling has come to hand in his last few but still needs major improvement to factor; Red Rocks is about 30 years removed from his upset win in this race in 2006; Spanish Moon could be a danger to stablemate Conduit and should get first run and Monzante will be rallying late and is a superfecta player.

Race 9: The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic for 3&up at 1 ¼ miles.

Not sure why MINE THAT BIRD is taking so much heat for his Goodwood, as it seems like the perfect prep to get to this race. Off a layoff and surgery, at a distance well short of his best in a race, with no pace, on a surface he hadn’t been on in almost a year–and he gets beat less than 4 lengths while flying late. What the heck is wrong with that? Throw in the 15-1 you’ll get and he offers tremendous value. RIP VAN WINKLE is arguably the best horse in training and seems to have this field at his mercy in terms of class, but bad feet give off bad vibes so it’s worth trying to beat him. Rooting like heck for ZENYATTA to get it done and there’s little reason to think she can’t. Loves the course and her late run is even more electric here than anywhere else; unknown at the distance but with her big engine and giant stride there’s little reason why she can’t inhale them for the 14th time in a row. As for the others: Colonel John ran big in the Goodwood but others seem to have more reason to move forward; Summer Bird has done his best work over sloppy tracks and suspect competition in his last two and is a big question mark on the Pro-Ride; Twice Over has some Raven’s Pass-like qualities and will be a nice price–interesting; Richard’s Kid will be rallying late but not sure he’s good enough; Gio Ponti’s big late kick didn’t seem to have the same starch when he raced over the surface this winter; Einstein is an admirable performer, but is he a BC Classic winner? Girolamo would have looked much better in the Dirt Mile and seems destined to be a pace casualty; stablemate Regal Ransom walked in the Super Derby and won’t get that luxury here; never believed Quality Road was a 10-furlong horse and with this tough draw, other speed signed on and nagging doubts about his ability to handle the surface, he’s a big play against and Awesome Gem is simply not fast enough.

Let’s have some fun with the two Pk4’s on the card.

Early Main Ticket: Pounced, Bridgetown, Kera’s Kitten, Interactif WITH Cannonball, Square Eddie, Diamondrella WITH Fatal Bullet WITH Pulsion, Eskendereya, Aikenite, Radiohead, Lookin At Lucky…that’s a 4x3x1x5 for $60.

Late Main Ticket: Goldikova WITH Mastercraftsman WITH Conduit WITH all (13)…that’s a simple 1x1x1x14 for $13.

Late Backup Ticket: Zacinto, Cowboy Cal WITH Mastercraftsman WITH Conduit WITH Mine That Bird, Rip Van Winkle, Zenyatta…that’s a 2x1x1x3 for $6.

Late Backup Ticket: Goldikova with Midshipman, Neko Bay WITH Conduit WITH Mine That Bird, Rip Van Winkle, Zenyatta…that’s a 1x2x1x3 for $6.

Late Backup Ticket: Goldikova WITH Mastercraftsman WITH Dar Re Mi, Presious Passion, Spanish Moon WITH Mine That Bird, Rip Van Winkle, Zenyatta…that’s a 1x1x3x3 for $9.

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