The 29th Breeders’ Cup World Championships gets underway on Friday at Santa Anita with a ten race card that gets underway at 11:15am PT.
There are six Breeders’ Cup races on the card, with the marquee event the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1), which drew arguably the deepest field in the history of the race.
Defending champion Royal Delta is the 9-5 morning line favorite and faces seven foes, six of them fellow Grade 1 winners.
Here are a few storylines for Friday’s betting card:
Lasix Ban: The anti-bleeding medication Lasix has been banned in all juvenile races for this year’s Breeders’ Cup and we may see the effects today as three of the five two-year-old races are on today’s card. The $500,000 Juvenile Sprint is the first baby race on the card, and six of the seven runners will be coming off the medication. The lone runner that has not received Lasix is European shipper Ceiling Kitty (12-1).
I tried to put the Lasix ban in the back of my mind and not let it affect my handicapping, but it was tough not to notice that on Saturday in the $2 million Juvenile that Fortify (9-2) is the lone runner that has not raced on Lasix.
The Overseas Invaders: We get our first look at the Euro invaders today, and Fame and Glory (5-1) and Sense of Purpose (15-1) both make their first career starts on conventional dirt in the $500,000 Marathon (G2).
The $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) drew four invaders led by Sky Lantern (3-1), and the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf (G1) features Group 1 winners The Fugue (3-1) and Ridasiyna (4-1), both very talented three-year-old fillies taking on older.
A Royal Ladies’ Classic: The most anticipated race of the two-day event is the $2 million Ladies’ Classic (G1), and it is a shame this race is not run on Saturday in prime time along with the boys in the Classic. Three Eclipse Award winners meet up, last year’s Ladies’ Classic winner Royal Delta against the undefeated My Miss Aurelia (4-1) and Awesome Feather (3-1).
Toss in multiple Grade 1 winners Questing (4-1) and Love and Pride (8-1), along with Grace Hall (10-1) and Include Me Out (15-1), who each have a Grade 1 win, and it is a stellar field.
We almost forgot the lone non Grade 1 winner in the field. Class Included (30-1) is a Grade 3 winner and has never missed landing in the exacta in her 16 career starts.
Hurricane Sandy: Power was restored to Belmont Park on Thursday, and Aqueduct is open for business as their fall/winter meeting gets underway on Friday, but the devastation in the north east part of the U.S. could really put a hurting on all-source handle this year.
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Let’s head out to Santa Anita for Friday’s play of the day:
Santa Anita Race 8 The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf G1 (Post time3:48 PT)
4 The Fugue 7-2
10 Ridasiyna 4-1
8 Nahrain 6-1
9 Marketing Mix 9-2
Analysis: The Fugue is one of five in here that are based overseas. Her chances look pretty good after we saw I’m a Dreamer come to the U.S. off a third and a fourth place finish to win the Beverly D. (G1) and Nahrain came to the U.S. off an eighth and a third place finish and won the Flower Bowl (G1). Our top pick is coming off a tough neck loss in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) to Shareta, who came back to win the Qatar Prix Vermille (G1) in her next outing on Sept. 18 and then ran ninth in the Arc (G1). She will go tomorrow against the boys in the Turf. She is trained by John Gosden, who is 4 for 28 in the BC, his last win coming in the Juvenile Turf with Pounced in 2009. The filly may have gotten to the lead too soon last out and she was caught by Shareta. She drifted out a bit late. She adds blinkers to the mix here and three year olds have done well in this race, with Midday (2009), Ouija Board (2004) and Banks Hill (2001) all beating their elders. U.S. based runners actually hold an 8-5 edge over the overseas invaders in this race, although 2 of the 3 winners at Santa Anita in this race where Euros.
Ridasiyna is also a three year old Euro shipper. She is coming off a win in the Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1) at Longchamp over soft ground at this distance. The filly has now won four of her five career starts, her lone loss coming two back a Deauville here she rallied to get to the lead but could not sustain her run and weakened to finish fifth, beaten two lengths. Her Timeform and Racing Post Ratings put her right in line with our top pick and she still appears to have some upside potential. Her trainer Mikel Delzangels does not show any BC starters. He is one of the top trainers in France and saddled Dunaden to wins in the Melbourne Cup and the Hong Kong Vase.
Nahrain made her U.S. debut a winning one taking the Flower Bowl (G1) at Belmont Park on Sept. 29 over yielding turf. She came into the race winless in three starts and it was looking as if she was not the same filly we saw last year where she came into last year’s running of this race undefeated in four starts. She ran well last year at 5-1 in a runner up finish to Perfect Shirl, who returned $57.60 for the win. Last year at Churchill Downs this race was run at 1 3/8 miles and the cut back to 1 1/4 miles here should suit this gal. She is reunited with Frankie Dettori who rode her last year as John Velazquez sticks with Pletcher’s In Lingerie, who is making her turf debut here.
Marketing Mix appears to be the best hope for the home team. The filly has won 4 of 6 this year including her career best effort last out winning the Rodeo Drive (G1) over the turf course at Santa Anita. She was a tough luck loser two back in the Beverly D., making a good late rally only to come up a head short of I’m a Dreamer. She has worked sharply since her last outing, with the main question mark here whether she is going to see enough pace in front of her.
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,10 / 4,8,9,10
TRI: 4,10 / 4,8,9,10 / 4,8,9,10,11
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