The 2018 Breeders’ Cup is upon us and now that I have both cards handicapped, there are still some nagging questions that need answers from a wagering and ticket structure standpoint.
In the first 20 or so Breeders’ Cups the strategy for me was pretty simple. If my opinions were correct in three or four races, I would walk away with a nice profit, mostly betting exactas and trifectas.
Now we are up to 14 races, and the wagering paradigm has shifted slightly. With so many of us (including myself) zeroing in on Pick 4 and Pick 5 bets, we need to have the “right” opinion on multiple races in a row.
We do not have to be perfect, as correct ticket structure can lead to spreading in races where your opinion is not as strong. In this year’s Breeders’ Cup there are still several questions that are going to keep me up late the next few nights as I plan out my wagers.
I seem to have more questions about Saturday’s card, even though Friday’s card is all juveniles and three of the races are on turf.
Can Mind Your Biscuits Get the Distance?
Trainer Chad Summer is convinced that Mind Your Biscuits can handle the stretch out to 1 ¼ miles. This five-year-old has racked up $4.2 million mostly sprinting, and his win in the Lukas Classic (G3) was solid although he did not beat much.
Can he get 1 1/4 miles in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)?
His Whitney (G1) in the slop in his first start around two turns was a good effort behind Diversify. I loved his Met Mile (G1) effort going a one turn mile where he was beaten just a nose and he earned a career top speed figure in that race.
The race flow seems to set up for him and I think he is going to be a major threat in the Classic.
Is Abel Tasman Going to Bounce Back?
This year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) kicks off a Pick 4 and is part of a Pick 5 that starts with the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Abel Tasman tossed in a real clunker as the beaten chalk in the Zenyatta (G1), finishing fifth beaten 10 1/3 lengths by her stablemate Vale Dori. Up until that race I thought she was better than Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou.
What now? In the history of the Distaff every single Distaff winner has run a sharp final prep except for Escena. That is 33 of 34 winners.
Was she sick? There were rumors that the barn had a bug going around. Did she bounce off her neck win in the Personal Ensign (G1)?
Everything I see this week indicates this gal will bounce back with a better effort and of course Baffert is calling the shots. I am going to use her on some of my tickets, bur defensively as I think there is a chance we could see an upset in this race.
2018 Zenyatta Replay
Will Roaring Lion Handle Kickback and Dirt?
Roaring Lion will be making his first start on dirt in the Classic, and is 20-1 on the morning line, which is generous. Most of the European books that have him between 8-1 and 10-1.
He has won four straight Group 1 races on turf and overcame not caring much for the soft going last out to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1) at Ascot.
He is by Kitten’s Joy out of a Street Sense mare and I would think he could handle dirt. He is trained by one of the greats in John Gosden.
However, it does not look as if I am going to get to him on most if not all my tickets. He may make his way on a few fringe tickets, but if he takes to dirt and pulls off the upset I better hit the bullseye with most of my other opinions in the race sequences or I might be in trouble.
Will Disco Partner Handle Boggy Ground?
I just loved the win in the Belmont Turf Sprint by Disco Partner which was over ground labeled as good. The six-year-old is 7-2 on the morning line in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), a race where he was third last year.
However, on Saturday the turf figures to still be yielding if not soft. And he cuts back to 5 ½ furlongs. And his price may be on the light side.
I downgraded him to my third choice in the race which still should get him on decent percentage of my Pick 4 and Pick 5 tickets.
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Who is Brown’s First Stringer in Filly & Mare Turf?
Trainer Chad Brown has been vocal about his disdain about the 1 3/8-mile distance of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), but that did not stop him form entering five runners including 3-1 morning line favorite Sistercharlie.
Brown has won three of the last six editions of this race.
Sistercharlie won the Beverly D. (G1) last out at Arlington Park going 1 3/16 miles but has only been on firm ground since landing in the U.S. with Brown last year.
Fourstar Crook won her first Grade 1 race last out in the Flower Bowl (G1) and that was over good ground. She ran well in the E.P. Taylor (G1) last year at Woodbine over soft ground. However, she is not proven at the distance.
They both will make most of my tickets, but I am also looking closely at Santa Monica, who is going to get overlooked completely. She has run well at the distance and over ground less than firm and is going be a generous price.
If one of the Brown trio wins or Euro invader Wild Illusion runs big for trainer Charles Appleby, I’ll survive the race.
If I answer all of my agonizing questions correctly over the next few days, I am going to sleep really well on Sunday.