Thursday, November 04, 2010
It’s the Breeders’ Cup: Bet On It
Louisville--It’s here, finally, the greatest wagering event this side of the Kentucky Derby. Fourteen skull-crushing races over two days that present enormous challenges for handicappers and fans.
And potential for huge profits, too.
As you watch the races and construct a wagering game plan, be sure to develop a methodology you’re comfortable with stick to it.
Handicappers are sure to have stronger opinions in some races than others. Resultantly, you need to play to your personal betting strengths just as you do, hopefully, every day.
Consistency in wagering is tantamount, especially in contentious races that come at you rat-tat-tat the way Breeders‘ Cup event days do.
Whatever a handicapper or bettor’s level of expertise, one never knows with certitude when the big score is coming, regardless of strength of opinion.
A plan that makes sense might be to build chaos into your play and pray the racing gods are smiling.
This is intended as a primer for the first-time starters out there and hopefully some sage advice for the HRI faithful.
To reiterate, Blind Luck has made her sixth transcontinental trip for her first try against elders. She’s run some amazing races this season--such as her Kentucky Oaks on this track from impossible position.
But now she must do so all over again, and against the deepest field she’s ever encountered. Do it from a wide post, too. Her performance figures have been consistently faster than the group.
But at 9-5, with a remote possibility of a sealed wet track?
As this is written, weather handicappers are calling for a chance of showers or snow flurries starting at 1 a.m. through 4 p.m., which coincides with the first Breeders’ Cup event, the Marathon. The high is projected at 49 degrees. Saturday, they’re calling for mostly sunny skies with a high of 53 degrees.
But we’ll look at the nine-furlong Ladies Classic’s strongest contenders, assessing their chances as a most likely winner or a possible value play.
The race profile indicates that stalkers and those with an ability to handle the distance successfully, especially here, are key.
Generally, fillies with stamina that have been effective in G1 company, combined with a fondness for Churchill Downs, give those performers a solid edge.
Most Distaff winners have come from the races you recognize; the fall preps in California, Kentucky and New York. Historically, that’s been the way to go.
After Blind Luck, other likely winners include the ultra consistent, ultra tough speedster Life At Ten; Malibu Prayer, the other classy Pletcher trainee; Bill Mott’s Unrivaled Belle and the developing three-year-old Havre De Grace, the filly that defeated Blind Luck at Parx while getting a 10-pound weight pull.
Price shot fans should also consider Spinster winner Acoma, who’s making her final career start. It’s indicative of what this event’s about; the Spinster winner is 20-1.
I’m a huge fan of Jerry Hollendorfer 3-year-old filly, who was accomplished at 2 but her Oaks was simply on another level. But it’s difficult taking a short price from a wide post in a contentious field following an arduous campaign.
Life At Ten has won five of six starts this year and all three lifetime races at today’s distance. She can stalk from close range and can also fall out on the lead from the pole position and not look back. The only question is her lack of Churchill experience.
While Malibu Prayer has not been quite as consistent, and seems a need-to-lead type for her best race, she did win her only start at Churchill Downs.
While Harve De Grace has a winning late-developing profile, she lacks Churchill experience and picks up eight pounds off her recent Cotillion score. She is facing her toughest test ever at scale weights.
Unrivaled Belle has had her moments. Appearing a tad short and overconfidently handled in the Beldame, her fourth lifetime placing in as many starts at the G1 level, she returns to the surface that produced her lifetime best figure.
That effort came in the La Troienne this spring when she proved more photogenic than Rachel Alexandra in a very game effort.
Projecting race shape it would be interesting to see whether the speed signed on here will allow Unrivaled Belle a stalking trip from close range, her best game in our view. The outside position can allow her to do that.
Acoma is excellent value on the early line. Coming in off a sharp Spinster score with an excellent go-back performance figure, she’s 2-for-2 at Churchill and won her only 9 furlong start.
The 5-year-old mare is versatile and won her only start beneath Alan Garcia, who rides her back today. Whichever filly wins the Ladies Classic, she will have earned it. For a betting strategy, see today’s feature race analysis.