Florida Derby Day is a grand day of racing at the highest level. Belmont Stakes Day is arguably even better. The Travers card is the highlight of the summer. But as much as they like to bill themselves as Breeders' Cup-like, they pale in comparison to the real thing. Star horses throw their caps into the ring for Eclipse consideration on other big days but more often than not, the championships are settled at the Breeders' Cup and they will be again on Friday and Saturday.

Gulfstream Park likes to brag its stakes laden Florida Derby card is like a Breeders’ Cup. The same boast is made by NYRA about Grade 1 packed Belmont Stakes Day and the high spot of the summer, the Travers program.

Each of these is a scintillating day of racing at the highest level, featuring champions and would-be champions. Then the first weekend in November rolls around and you realize there is no afternoon of racing like Breeders’ Cup Saturday. (Friday, whose configuration has been fiddled with again this year, is pretty special, too, but it’s not Saturday, nor is it intended to be.)

Almost every BC race features an intriguing storyline, angle or jinx waiting to be broken.

Where to start?

Might as well go right to the top. This year’s Classic might not have the star power of Sunday Silence-Easy Goer, Alysheba-Ferdinand, California Chrome-Arrogate and Zenyatta against the boys. However, top to bottom it is one of the most loaded ever.

Accelerate, the horse to beat, has California’s Big Three, the Santa Anita Handicap, Gold Cup and Pacific Classic, on his resume and has been No. 1 in the weekly NTRA poll the past couple of months.

The two most recent Travers winners, Catholic Boy and West Coast, will line up against him. So will the last two Dubai World Cup winners, Thunder Snow and Mendelssohn.

Bob Baffert liked McKinzie, the Pennsylvania Derby champion, as much or more than Justify last spring. Yoshida is a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt. Mind Your Biscuits would probably be the favorite in the Sprint and stretched out to win around two turns at CD last out.

Roaring Lion is the Euro stranger danger. All he has done is win his last four races, all Grade 1’s, albeit on grass. Perhaps nothing underlines the strength and depth of the field as much as Discreet Lover, off a win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, is 20-1 on the morning line and likely will go higher.

The only downer, a peripheral one, is that the race will not be televised in prime time, especially since Churchill Downs has lights. This is not an encouraging positive development for racing.

Much has been made of Accelerate’s trainer John Sadler being 0-41 at the Breeders Cup but, Christophe Clement is 0-34 and Ken McPeek is 0-29. Would anyone argue these are not superior trainers? Would you judge Manny Machado’s worth on his dismal World Series? All the negative streaks demonstrate is how tough it is and how much luck is needed to win a Breeders’ Cup race.

Interestingly, all three streaks could go the way of the Curse of Apollo Saturday. In addition to Accelerate, Sadler will send out the potentially shortest price of the festival, the undefeated Catalina Cruiser in the Dirt Mile. In a sign that Sadler’s luck might be changing, Catalina Cruiser drew the outside post 10, a major plus in a one-turn race out of the chute. A caveat: his undefeated record has been compiled against suspect competition in short fields out west. If you like Accelerate in the Classic, you have to give serious consideration to City of Light, the only horse to beat him this year.

Clement has the morning line favorite in the Turf Sprint, Disco Partner, whose prospects were enhanced by Churchill being able to extend the distance to 5 ½ furlongs. This still might be a bit short for Disco Partner but he would have been severely compromised at the former 5 furlong sprint distance.

McPeek has Restless Rider, early second choice behind post-compromised Bellafina in the Juvenile Fillies. Restless Rider, winner of Keeneland’s Alcibiadies around two turns last out, also has home court advantage. She’s two-for-two at Churchill.

The Turf has the day’s most luminous star power in Arc winner Enable, who Euros will tell you is the world’s best horse of either gender. If she lives up to her billing, another jinx will fall. Arc winners are 0-7 at the BC. However, the Arc has produced the winner of the Turf 10 times. This makes Waldgeist, who had a four-race winning streak snapped in the Arc, worth a long look. The American side is so below par, even defending champion Talismanic, whose 2018 form doesn’t match 2017’s, is not a toss.

The Distaff is almost as loaded as the Classic. Kentucky Oaks winners will meet for only the fourth time as 3-year-old monster Monomoy Girl faces off against Abel Tasman. Princess Rooney completed the Oaks-Distaff double at the first Breeders’ Cup but none of the Oaks winners have won in face-to-face circumstances since.

Midnight Bisou, who has been trying to get past Monomoy Girl all season and finally got the money courtesy of the stewards in the Cotillion, will give it another try. Ditto, Wonder Gadot, who came up just short of running down Monomoy Girl in the Oaks despite an eventful journey then beat the boys in the first two legs of Canada’s Triple Crown.

Amidst all this talent, Blue Prize is being somewhat overlooked even though the Argentine import is on a three-race run, two of them stakes at Churchill Downs. Chad Brown has another crack South American import, Wow Cat, who finally broke through in the U.S. in the Grade 1 Beldame. Then there’s the never to be overlooked “other Baffert,” Vale Dori, off a win in the Grade 1 Zenyatta, the race in which Abel Tasman didn’t show up.

The horse for course angle should never be overlooked and could produce a decent-price winner in the Sprint. Limousine Liberal has won his last five starts under the Twin Spires. If you want to see a trip that will bring tears to your eyes, check out his Phoenix. He tried to go inside, then outside, then inside again only to be blocked each time yet still wound up in a blanket finish with Promises Fulfilled and Whitmore, who will be shorter prices Saturday.

Here’s a stat that might be useful in the head-to-head wager in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. There is a widespread perception that Euros are better but American fillies have won the past four renewals. So a false favorite is not impossible in one of seven head-to-head wagers with a $10 minimum and a dirt cheap 10 percent takeout.

Others I find enticing are Game Winner over Complexity in the Juvenile, Thunder Snow over Mendelssohn in the Classic and Europe’s best to beat ours in the Mile.

That’s all I have. I hope it’s enough.