HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, NOV 1, 2022 – Post positions having been drawn, Breeders’ Cup XXXIX is on.
For handicapping and hopeful score-making purposes, HRI will concentrate on the Late Pick 5 on Future Stars Friday and Championship Saturday.
We project that we will post final editions in advance of each day; Thursday for Friday and Friday for Saturday, with updates as late-breaking events dictate.
Per usual, as in our weekly Tote Busters analyses, this column will remain live through Saturday.
Breeders’ Cup races offer horseplayers opportunities to score in virtually every event. Competition runs extremely deep throughout. Connections will dominant results and all fans of the game know who they are, but depth of talent offers plenty of opportunities for chaos to reign.
With so many horses capable of victory, hair-splitting is a must. On what might ordinarily considered handicapping minutia, it is required virtually in every race given demonstrated class and abundance of ability to run fastest, as Steve Asmussen said this week, from Point A to Point B.
We have completed the work on the first of 14 Breeders’ Cup events, 10 of which will be shared here. Today’s race is an example of what will be in store this week.
Handicapping and betting are fluid processes. The bets you place should suit your preferred approach, tolerance for risk, comfort zone and, by all means, your enjoyment.
Many decisions should and will be made at game time. Our personal approach is to lay out exotic wagers in advance, based on routine, albeit exhaustive, analysis of handicapping principles relating to condition, speed, class, race dynamics, connections, and the odds. Whatever the approach, consistency is essential.
FUTURE STARS FRIDAY
G1 JUVENILE TURF SPRINT Race 6
The Skinny: The speed edge belongs to the home team, the class edge to the invaders, easier to gauge since there are more graded races for juveniles in Europe. 2-Love Reigns (4-1) run out of her own barn, Wesley Ward 33% this meet, has post, style, Irad and beaten 3 lengths in 21-horse Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. 3-Private Creed (12-1) is fast, well positioned with Rosario, 2-for-3 at trip, 1-for-1 Keeneland, laudable late kick.
6-Persian Force (15-1) owns top European class lines, reunites with Frankie, but will need to stay in contact. Working out trip, always important on turf, particularly sprinting, is a must.
12-The Platinum Queen (7-2) is a juvenile filly who beat older males in G1 Prix de l’Abbaye, excellent figures, brilliant partner in Hollie Doyle, but hurt by draw. 4-Dramatised (15-1), also a filly, is fresh, pointed specifically, is first-time Ryan Moore and the mini-turnback helps.
PICK 5 RATINGS:
A: Love Reigns, Private Creed, Persian Force
B: The Platinum Queen
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Love Reigns
POTENTIAL VALUE ALL POOLS: Private Creed, Persian Force
G1 JUVENILE FILLIES Race 7
The Skinny: It is widely accepted that juvenile fillies develop more quicky than males. Consequently, many renewals have featured standout favorites and generally they have fared quite well.
Having stated the obvious, I have left seven of the 14 entered for the top spot and consider four other fillies for minor exotic awards. This may be the toughest edition I have ever seen—and I’ve seen them all. Here goes, in loosely graded order:
5-Wonder Wheel (5-1); classy win G1 Alcibiades after strong, pressured pace, tighter off recent bullet, suited by dynamics and post draw. 13-Leave No Trace (20-1): respected but still underrated, killer post, strong bullet, early line overlay. 14-Raging Sea (8-1), horribly drawn, troubled, classy, game finish between, Prat’s back. 7-Chop Chop (4-1) might have been best in Alcibiades, early line underlay.
2-You’re My Girl (10-1) live barn, sharp and fast, inside draw, gets Johnny V. 10-Chocolate Gelato (7-2) paired big figures, regresses? 8-Atomically (8-1) impressed v FL-breds first-time routing; first-time Pletcher/Saez team. 3-And Tell Me Nolies (8-1) competitive with classy types but poor figures.
Possible exotics players: American Rockette (20-1), Sabra Tuff (30-1), Alma Rosa (30-1).
PICK 5 RATINGS
A: Wonder Wheel, Leave No Trace, Raging Sea, Chop Chop
B: You’re My Girl, Chocolate Gelato
C: Atomically, Tell Me Nolies
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Wonder Wheel
POTENTIAL VALUE ALL POOLS: Leave No Trace, Raging Sea, You’re My Girl
G1 JUVENILE FILLIES TURF Race 8
The Skinny: Now that we’ve had a night to sleep on it, perhaps this is the Inscrutable Race of the Day. Well, you get the idea. Hope there’s enough pad in the bankroll. He has several chances today but perhaps 10-Meditate (4-1) is Aidan O’Brien’s breakthrough race, what with competitive class edge, accomplishment, spacing, pedigree to stretch and regular partner for horse and barn, redoubtable Ryan Moore.
2-Cairo Consort (12-1) might have been best in tough-trip G1 Natalma, well drawn, attracts Rosario. 3-Last Call (20-1) Natalma winner this trip, turn of foot, strong workline, first-time Frankie. 1-Comanche Country (15-1) good SoCal company lines, 3-for-3 this trip, competitive figures, pole an regular partner Rispoli. 4-Free Look (5-1): Chad/Prat Team, game Miss Grillo placing, handles any ground, strong local workline, sharp blowout.
11-G Laurie (12-1): yet another Natalma tough-tripper, Motion profitable adding blinkers, solid, strong workline, Graham taps Buick, interesting. 13-Xigera (8-1) stayed gamely after chasing hot Alcibiades pace following powerhouse Spa turf maiden-breaker; post only knock.
PICK 5 RATINGS
B: Cairo Consort, Last Call, Comanche County, Free Look
C: G Laurie, Xigera
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Meditate
POTENTIAL VALUE ANY POOL: Cairo Consort, Last Call, Comanche County
G1 BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE Race 9
The Skinny: Prior to the advent of Breeders’ Cup, separating the top two-year-olds entered in this championship defining race would have been routine. Take the horse that is more than fast enough with a winning race over the track. Without hesitation, which would have been 4-Forte (4-1), with cries of “they have the wrong favorite.”
Not that 3-Cave Rock (4-5) is knockable; he isn’t. Consistently fastest and a margin winner of all three starts, throw is a cozy inside draw and short stretch, and he becomes the most probable of winners. Just keeping it real, but there are others to consider. Repeat after me; this is horse racing, no guarantees.
5-Verifying (10-1) and Joel will be tracking intently, as Tom Durkin first said, and his second start going long and a second turn and longer trip are to his benefit. 6-Blazing Sevens (6-1) clearly beat him in the Champagne and has trained lights-out over the surface with Prat the magician on the re-ride.
10-National Treasure (8-1) owns excellent form, has finished close enough to his favored barn mate, has Johnny, gets blinkers. Is hurt by the wide draw but he is “the other Baffert” after all. 9-Curly Jack (20-1) is better than generally rated, is a winner at the trip, has excellent spacing and five works since taking the Iroquois; excellent filler material.
PICK 5 RATINGS
A: Cave Rock, Forte
B: Verifying, Blazing Sevens, National Treasure
C: Curly Jack
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Cave Rock
POSSIBLE VALUE ANY POOL: Forte, Verifying, National Treasure, Blazing Sevens
G1 BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE TURF Race 10
The Skinny: Can’t argue too vociferously if interested parties think this event should be renamed the Appleby Invitational. He’s entered four of them, winning three and placing with the other. He has a good chance to make it 4 out of 5 with Godolphin’s 4-Silver Knott (3-1).
Lope de Vega colt is 3-for-5 lifetime, 1-for-1 at the trip, acts on any ground but prefers good to firm, which he probably will get Friday. He will be running late, as most successful Euros do but appears tactical enough to maintain contact. First call rider William Buick is aloft.
America’s best chance is 6-Andthewinneris (5-1), and Wayne Catalano knows how to find a Breeders’ Cup winners circle. One needs to only review his victory in the G2 Bourbon over the course. Oscar Performance colt has quite the late kick himself.
2-Packs a Wahlop (6-1) ships in for Jeff Mullins and Mike Smith seeking his fourth straight and owns two SoCal graded stakes wins. Tactical and drawn inside, his PPs indicate a perfect pocket trip could be in the offing. 1-Victoria Road (8-1) won his group stakes debut for Aidan O’Brien at Chantilly with Ryan Moore on the re-ride. 12-Mo Stash (20-1) was killed by the draw but the price and added distance should both fit.
9-Nairroc (20-1) has won two straight beneath Franco for Motion and is well bred for added ground. 8-I’m Very Busy (9-2) is an obvious threat but early line underlay for Brown/Prat team. 13-Major Dude (10-1) is another hurt by the draw, but has ability and Todd/Irad connections
PICK 5 RATINGS
A: Silver Knott, Andthewinneris
B: Packs a Wahlop, Victoria Road
C: Mo Stash, Nagirroc, I’m Very Busy, Major Dude
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Silver Knott
POSSIBLE VALUE ANY POOL: Packs a Wahlop, Victoria Road, Mo Stash, Nagirroc
Any exotics should be made at minimums available. Straight wagers, proportionately, are in $2 units or greater
reminder that this column is live