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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., Halloween, 2021 — As everyone knows, the Del Mar Turf Club will play host to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships next weekend for only the second time after making its debut in Oceanside in the Fall of 2017.

The question is do the local horses enjoy a home course advantage? As a Horse for Course guy myself, the answer is obvious: Horses that enjoy a course preference will always have an edge on those who don’t or those unfamiliar with their surroundings and footing.

For handicappers also fond of this particular angle, the posit is a no-brainer; of course Western horses have an edge when it comes to racing in the Golden State. California is a different racing world; you don’t see many Eastern tracks offering ship-and-win incentives, do you?

Anyhow, we looked up Breeders’ Cup results from Del Mar four years ago and this is what we’ve found: Let’s just say the results validated the notion that the event does offer a true world championship opportunity to the participants.

Here are the results, listed by race, race winner, and the scene of the winner’s final prep:

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF: Rushing Fall, Keeneland

DIRT MILE: Battle of Midway, Remington Park

JUVENILE TURF: Mendelssohn, UK-Newmarket

DISTAFF: Forever Unbridled, Saratoga

JUVENILE FILLIES: Caledonia Road, Belmont

TURF SPRINT: Stormy Liberal, Belmont

FILLY & MARE SPRINT: Bar of Gold, Keeneland

FILLY & MARE TURF: Wuheida, FR-Chantilly

SPRINT: Roy H, Santa Anita

BREEDERS’ CUP MILE: World Appeal, CAN-Woodbine

JUVENILE: Good Magic, Belmont

TURF: Talismanic, FR-Chantilly

CLASSIC: Gun Runner, Saratoga

There it is: 13 winners [no Juvenile Turf Sprint in 2017] which last prepped in four different countries, eight different tracks. Conclusion? It will be more about prevailing biases, based on course dynamics and/or prevailing atmospherics.

Post draw, race shape, running style, and trips, per usual, will determine the outcomes unless, of course, the “best horse” comes with its ‘A+’ game then nothing else matters.

More Handicapping Time Wanted

We understand the concept of time zones is out of the event’s control. But the pill pull at which all 14 races will be drawn begins at 2:30 Pacific and will take several hours. a wasted day for horseplayers. Past performances providers need time to re-jigger the pre-entries, record latest workouts and late-breaking developments.

What’s the difference? There are three days left to sort it all out prior to Friday’s Juveniles card which launches “racing’s biggest weekend of the year?” Well, horseplayers need time beyond the hours spent handicapping. Creating tickets is the most important variable, and with so many disparate wagering opportunities, the more time afforded, the better.

Gambling Advice Takes Time, Costs Money

The Breeders’ Cup consists of 14 races; five juvenile events Friday and nine races for elders Saturday. HRI is changing its selections format for Breeders’ Cup, abandoning the A-B-C approach we use for our regular Saturday audience and will use this approach:

We will offer two horses per race for straight wagering purposes. a Most Probable Winner and Best Race Value selection with suggested odds. Additionally, there will be a maximum of four Exotics Horses per race for use in all vertical slots–exactas, trifectas, and superfectas. The cost is $2 per race.

HRI will list these six horses for the day’s two biggest races in this space; Friday’s Juvenile and Saturday’s Classic. The rest will be available at the aforementioned price; Friday’s additional four races are $8; Saturday’s eight races, $16. Two-day discount package is $20.

Those interested will receive all runners by 11 am each day by email once PayPal informs us payment has been made: The link for making PayPal payments is:

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16 Responses

  1. Good writeup, thanks. I’m glad DMR runs Wednesday and Thursday so we can get some sort of read on how the track is playing, but there is only one turf sprint, all the turf routes are exactly one mile, and all the dirt routes are exactly one mile. We will get some limited idea, but obviously when the Euros and the east coast horses show up in the gate on Friday & Saturday, it is bound to look way different on the grass.

    Now that the UBS Arena is up and running, can we please get a BC back at Belmont? It’s only the most historically important track in American racing history. Nobody touches their resume.

  2. Doc, You’re welcome. I’ve done the foreign video work and, as expected, Europe is bringing some talented runners. Don’t know how they would fare but I was ready to dismiss the Japanese out of hand based on past failures but some of theirs have impressed. We’ll have to see all following today’s post draw. There have been discussions to get New York back into the mix. Of course they, and the game, needs that to happen. Only issue is the weather, which would be the case in KY, too. We shall see.

    1. That’s an LOL Dan. But handicappers must adopt a positive attitude–not cocky., just positive.

  3. The 2017 Mile winner was World Approval

    2017 BC Winners – where they won before their BC win

    Rushing Fall: Keeneland, Belmont
    Battle Of Midway: Santa Anita (3), Del Mar
    Mendelssohn: Curragh
    Forever Unbridled: Fair Grounds, Aqueduct, Sam Houston, Oaklawn, Belmont, Churchill, Saratoga
    Caledonia Road: Saratoga
    Stormy Liberal: Santa Anita (7)
    Bar Of Gold: Saratoga (2), Aqueduct (2), Belmont (2)
    Wuheida: Newmarket, Chantilly
    Roy H: Santa Anita (4), Belmont
    World Approval: Gulfstream (2), Tampa Bay (2), Arlington, Saratoga (2), Monmouth, Pimlico, Woodbine
    Good Magic: NONE
    Talismanic: Compiegne, Saint Cloud (3), Maisons-laffitte
    Gun Runner: Churchill (4), Keeneland, Fair Grounds (2), Oaklawn, Saratoga (2)

    1. Thanks for asking Max, pay at your earliest convenience and selections will be emailed as advertised above.

  4. I love the guy and this is no shot at all at him – but how do you go to Mike Smith on Art Collector while Jose Ortiz is without a mount in the Classic?? I know this will be called a case of ‘local knowledge’, but hard to believe Bill Mott’s input was given any consideration here. I seriously doubt this would have been his decision.

    1. Mott upset the Belmont Stakes with Mike Smith aboard. Horsemen remember and are superstitious. In this case, given the draw, Mike could be the perfect fit…

      1. Fair enough, and for all I know, it was his call and it will work out to perfection; the horse is absolutely good enough to win this (stacks up even to Knicks Go etc on his best BRIS, though his TG doesn’t really hit the level of Knicks Go). It’s just that as a horseman who watches Jose Ortiz ride every day all year, it seems like a hard move to understand.

        I’m also admittedly extremely NY racing biased, and I am sure that often leaks into my perception of decisions such as these, and who the right guy would have been.

  5. From the sample of the past 2 days, it looks like the turf course has been playing pretty fairly in terms of pace position. Horses have won coast to coast, pressing the leaders, and closing from near the back.

    1. I find Del Mar to play honestly on both surfaces as a rule, obviously there will be certain days… Of course when it comes to dirt, there’s no speed like SoCal speed. That’s not to say bias; just fast.

  6. Friday November 5, 2021

    8th-Bubble Rock(8-1) Play with the 1,7,11

    9th-Corniche(5/2) Play with the 4,9,10

    10th- Modern Games(5-1) Play with the 2,3,4,5

    Good luck to all and as always “Let’s go get the bad guys”, Vin O’

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