After a chalky start on Friday, there should be plenty of fireworks on Breeders’ Cup Saturday, with nine championship races and the $5 million Classic likely to decide Horse of the Year honors.
The Friday Breeders’ Cup races started with Hootnanny winning the Juvenile Turf and returning $14.00, giving trainer Wesley Ward his first Breeders’ Cup win.
Goldencents set sharp early fractions and held off Tapiture late to repeat in the Dirt Mile, paying $3.40. Lady Eli ($6.80) won the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Untapable got the job done as the favorite in the Distaff, the favorite paying $5.20.
The biggest shock of the day was the announcement in the winner’s circle by jockey Rosie Napravnik, who said she is retiring from riding to raise a family with her husband, trainer Joe Sharp.
Saturday gives us nine Breeders’ Cup races and if things go our way, we may not see a favorite win all day. Of the nine races, the morning line favorite is not my top pick in any of the races.
The NBC Sports Network picks up the action at 3:30 ET with NBC covering the $5 million Classic in prime time at 8:00 ET.
Shared Belief looks to extend her perfect career record to eight wins in the Classic, with a victory locking up Horse of the Year. That would have been hard to fathom back on the first Saturday in June as California Chrome was going for the Triple Crown.
However, the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner came up short in the Belmont Stakes and then tossed in a dud in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1).
Meanwhile Shared Belief won the Los Alamitos Derby (G2), and then beat older in the Pacific Classic (G1) and Awesome Again (G1).
While the Classic is being billed as Clones vs. Chromies, there are a dozen other runners in the field, and several have credentials that would put their name in the hat for Horse of the Year with a Classic win.
Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tonalist was second in the Jim Dandy (G2) and third in the Travers (G3), but came back with an impressive victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in his last start, a race that has produced seven Classic winners.
The speedy Bayern has won five of nine starts this year including the Haskell Invitational (G1), and beat California Chrome in the Pennsylvania Derby in his last start.
Just two of the last 13 Classic winners were three-year-olds, but with the handicap division decimated by retirements and injuries to Game On Dude, Palace Malice, Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge, it certainly looks as if the younger set could dominate the Classic.
My Breeders’ Cup Report as well as Aqueduct and Best Plays for Saturday are now available
Lets’s head out to Santa Anita for Saturday’s featured betting race of the day:
SA Race 9 The Breeders’ Cup Turf G1 (3:22 PT)
1 Telescope 4-1
7 Flintshire 7-2
11 Chicquita 8-1
13 Big John B 20-1
Analysis: Telescope will be sent out by Sir Michael Stoute who has won the Turf four times (1996, 2000, 2008, 2009). The colt made his last start in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York where he finished evenly in a third place finish behind the brilliant Australia. He was sent off as the betting favorite two back in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot but had to settle for second behind Taghrooda, who won by three lengths.
The colt has run well on firmer footing which he will get today and adds lasix for the dirt time. He has landed in the exacta in 9 of his 10 starts and while he does not have a Group 1 race, he has won a couple of Group 2 events and looks the best among the Euros who could dominate this race even with last year’s winner Magician n now out.
His third last out should really not be a concern. Four of the last five Turf winners came back from off-the-board finishes in their final prep. Seven of the last nine Turf winners were Euros.
Flintshire ran a career best last out in a solid runner up finish in the Arc de Triomphe (G1) behind Treve, who won her second Arc in a row. The colt was beaten just two lengths in the 20-horse field. The colt has a Group 1 win, taking the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (G1) last summer.
He ran well behind highly regarded runners in a second in the Coronation Cup (G1) behind Cirrus des Aigles in June and second to Ruler of the World in the Qatar Prix Foy (G2) in September. His trainer Andre Fabre has won the Turf twice, with In the Wings in 1990 and Shirocco in 2005.
WIN: #1 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,7,11,13
TRI: 1,7 / 1,7,11,13 / 1,4,7,11,12,13
Michael’s Breeders’ Cup Report for Saturday includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the Saturday card from Santa Anita Park.
Last year on Breeders’ Cup Saturday Mike nailed seven recommended exactas, paying $53.20, $19.00, $23.20, $58.00, $66.60, $107.80, and $33.60!