It is getting close to last call for connections hoping to land a spot in the Breeders’ Cup, and on Saturday we have six “Win and You’re In” races on tap, three at Keeneland, a pair at Belmont Park, and one at Santa Anita.
Keeneland features two on Sunday, there are four across the pond at Longchamp, and then the Oct. 9 $150,000 J. P. Morgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (G3) at Keeneland wraps up the series of Breeders’ Cup qualifying races.
The headliner on Saturday is Wise Dan, the two-time reigning Horse of the Year who is prepping in the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland. The race will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network from 4:30 pm to 6:00 eastern. The telecast will also include coverage of the $400,000 First Lady (G1) and the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
The First Lady is not a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race but could produce a few starters for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Let’s take a quick look at the Breeders’ Cup Challenge races:
The Thoroughbred Club of America: Eight go to the post with the winner earning an automatic starting spot and expenses for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). Good luck coming up with the winner in this wide-open race. The race is top heavy with early speed types. Stonetastic is the 2-1 morning line favorite off her gate to wire win in the Prioress (G2) at Saratoga. However, she won that race over a speed friendly racing strip.
Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity: This is one of the best wagering races of the day with a field of 12 heading to the post. The winner goes on to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Hashtag Bourbon and Carpe Diem are the co-favorites at 4-1 on the morning line. I do not think either is winning.
Shadwell Turf Mile: Wise Dan has not looked as dominant this year winning his three starts by less than a length, his last two victories decided by photos. Along with a price that will hover around 3-5, could it be worth trying to beat him? His trainer Charles LoPresti is raving about how well the gelding is doing and he has won 14 straight on turf. The gelding is the 19-10 betting favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Mile(G1).
Santa Anita Sprint Championship: It looks like a showdown between Goldencents, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner and Secret Circle, who won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). The latter makes his first start since February. Goldencents may not be heading back to the Breeders’ Cup, at least not in the care of Doug O’Neill, who the Breeders’ Cup said is not welcome this year after he was recently handed down a 45-day suspension.
Frizette: At Belmont Park, there is a pair of “Win and You’re In” races for juveniles. The Frizette drew a field of seven led by Condo Commando, who won the Spinaway (G1) by 13 ¼ lengths. She caught a sloppy surface that was kind to speed that day. Cavorting is perfect in her two starts, winning the Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga in her last start.
Champagne: Just six will go to the post in the Champagne, with the winner tamping a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). The Todd Pletcher trained Daredevil is the 2-1 morning line favorite off an impressive maiden score in his debut in the mud at Belmont Park. Upstart won the state bred Funny Cide and I Spent It is the lone graded stakes winner in the field, winning the Saratoga Special (G2) before running second to Competitive Edge in the Hopeful (G1) in his last start.
I will have selections and analysis for all of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
Michael’s Breeders’ Cup Report for Friday and Saturday includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the Friday and Saturday card from Santa Anita Park on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
The Breeders’ Cup offers 13 championship races over two days, bringing together the best top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world, this year to compete at Santa Anita Park.