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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


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.


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.


A: Love Reigns, Private Creed, Persian Force

B: The Platinum Queen

C: Dramatised


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).


A: Wonder Wheel, Leave No Trace, Raging Sea, Chop Chop

B: You’re My Girl, Chocolate Gelato

C: Atomically, Tell Me Nolies


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.


A:  Meditate

B:  Cairo Consort, Last Call, Comanche County, Free Look

C:  G Laurie, Xigera


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.


A:  Cave Rock, Forte

B:  Verifying, Blazing Sevens, National Treasure

C:  Curly Jack


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


A: Silver Knott, Andthewinneris

B: Packs a Wahlop, Victoria Road

C: Mo Stash, Nagirroc, I’m Very Busy, Major Dude


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

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19 Responses

  1. Love horse racing at its best BUT the offering Buffet seems too much [x me ] .Respect the ladies,fillies and mares but in order to read,compare ,select and digest the final choices, i cannot seriously pay attention to most of their Friday races. It is just too much. Even on Saturday,i shall only bet maybe 5 or 6 races since i have never been a fan of “Everyone’s odds on picks” and in not so full fields at that. How many exactas can one profitably bet ? Not more than a couple. And those ‘foreign’ specialists who come in with limited PP`s lines ,what does one do? Does one still consider a ‘winning’ horse who has not done so in over 6 races ? When will the ‘Back Class’ show up ? Similar questions that cross my noodles every year,such as will the foreign,traveling horses appreciate the Firm Turf since many of them will usually come from off the pace?.,,Tabbing Keeneland; It has not been as productive as the New York area tracks. Maybe Tammaro`s fault,maybe mine even if i haven`t changed anything from the successful NYRA run . Not a repetitive method. Time to patiently await for the Big A and young Gomez` s successful stint if he Hopefully skips the Florida weather and stays in NY. I expect him to win a lot and not just with fav$ .

  2. Like a wise man once told me, JG, “the game ain’t hard and nobody’s barred.” Can’t wait to see how it all shakes out.

    No time for rebuttals this week; too much work to do…

  3. I’m playing all the BC races this way. I’m going to use the fastest horse in every race and the horse who I think will run a new Top.

    In the 2 year old races, I using the fastest horse in each race around 2 turns.

    May the Horse be with you.

    1. Your theory would welcome betting on quarter horses. ” Pace makes the race” ignores too many factors.Rabbits rarely get away in big races.Too many talented horses and riders.Maybe in some sprints in the Big A winter meet on a speed favoring inside track condition…with a bug rider..

  4. Sounds like a sensible approach. You make it sound so easy, I should have thought of that and saved myself a lot of time. Guess I’m just a devil in the details kind of guy…

  5. Thank you, John, for sharing the fruits of your hard work. It is greatly appreciated. I will match your A-B-C’s with my own and put together a ticket that gives me an affordable shot at making a score. Let’s do this!

    1. I’m with you Stephen. The Breeders’ Cup is always the supreme challenge but seemingly more so this year given the wide open nature of many of these events. A safe and speedy journey to all horses and riders…

  6. I will probably lean on the jockeys who did well at the Keeneland fall meet (Rosario, Gaffalione, Saez). Verifying is an enticing possibility at a price.

    I’ll post my selections here, so watch for them and you’ll know who to throw out.

  7. Dan: Following riders who enjoy success in the environs is never a bad idea. This may seem obvious, too, but keep an eye on trainers and owners whose horses are firing and, of course, the presence of a bias. For instance, the rail has iffy during the final week and just hoping for fair conditions for all, mainly because I hate the idea of the short stretch at 8.5 furlongs.
    Verifying, yes, certainly live, but many price shots in with a chance–then that’s what this event is all about!

  8. November 4, 2022
    Breeder’s Cup Friday

    6th Race-Private Creed(12-1)
    Mischief Magic(8-1)
    The rest is trying to get lucky

    7th Race-you’re my girl(10-1)
    chocolate gelato(7/2)
    Leave no Trace (20-1)
    8th Race-Free Look(5-1)
    Be Your Best(8-1)
    9th race-Forte(4-1)
    Cave Rock(4/5)
    National Treasure(8-1)
    10th race-Andthewinneris(5-1)
    Silver Knot (3-1)
    Victoria Road(8-1)
    This is a very hard card. Be gentle, there is always tomorrow. Let’s go get the bad guy’s and don’t forget to vote.

    1. Tomorrow’s card’s not much easier Vince, but given BC payouts, one just needs the right one. God lucky in Friday’s second so they weren’t going to catch me. Dirty nose in Juvenile Turf cost a big day but will stay alive for another day. Godspeed to all horses, jockeys and players.

  9. John Pricci is amazing

    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.

    1. Well thanks much Michael. This is not a gloat or a put-down but can’t believe how many people short-changed Wonder Wheel’s chances; huge price. In terms of the Alicibiades, many forgot that if you run fast early you don’t usually run fast late. Her pace was pressured and strong that day. It was class that got her home. Yesterday, it was Casse’s preparation and Tyler’s gutsy, gutsy rail skimmer. Randy was right; it was Borel-esque.

    1. Thanks Michael.

      Win the damn photo in the finale, looking at, what, 31-1 for third and 55-1–or something like that, for fourth.

      Got to love Breeders’ Cup!

  10. John, I wanted to say thank you for a really enjoyable “just for the fun of it day” today at Keeneland. Not soi much for the enjoyment of winning and building a bankroll for tomorrow, but more for just the enjoyment of witnessing so many of the very best young horses competing today. I only wagered $20 this morning before heading over to Eisenhower for 18 holes, and thanks to you I cashed on quite a few wagers, both on the Juvenile Fillies and the Juvenile Fillies Turf. I also combined your commentary and Lisa Di’s analysis at Dirty Horse Club to collect on a couple of additional B.C. Juvenile ten cent supers. “A nice profitable day going into tomorrow” said Sam I. Am, “but the main factor for me is not so much the money won or lost, but simply the beauty of the races themselves.”

    P.S. One last note from a guy who always tries to catch at least one race from down on the rail on the far turn at Belmont going into the stretch, not all of us going to the track only love the sport for cashing tickets. I don’t often even see a finish from down there, but what I do witness is the athleticism of both the human and equines energy and drive as they in unison mount there charge for the wire. That to me is worth just as much as cashing any ticket.

    I”ll stay with betting on the rate of change process on any equity on Wall Street for making money thank you. That cycle is far less difficult than wagering vs a toteboard. Much easier to predict and manage the rick involved as well.

    At the “End of Any Given Saturday” at the track, some of us just love the game of racing, claiming or stakes, well we love it all just for the sport of it is all.

    Have a great night, and safe journeys to all tomorrow. Peace, McD

  11. JP you had a good day yesterday with Wonder Wheel, Meditate and Forte. Should have an another with Silver Knott.

    Awesome BC Saturday card, I like two singles all day. One if Flightline. He’s a once in a generation horse. I keep looking for reasons to bet against him but I can’t. I think he sits off Life is Good and when Prat asked him you are going to see something very special this afternoon.
    I like Goodnight Olive in 3rd race.

    Good luck folks.

    1. Nice call on Olive in the 3rd Tony C.

      I gave all yesterday’s house chips back today, but NYRA had given a $50 depost bonus match whick I spread over five runners in the Derby futures one pool, all bred to get a mile and a quarter. Each is over 70-1, so I’ll see how I make out on the first Saturday in May. Also wagered an ex box using Anejo and Loggins, at 12-1 and 24-1. Planted a few bulbs for the Spring on NYRA and closed out up ten over Friday and Sat. The Gods of Racing and John Pricci gave me a bump yesterday, and the very same Gods took it back today. Such is racing, but I am not giving up. Having too much fun to quit. Peace. Out. McD

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