Garrity picks Friday's Breeders Cup Juvenile races, suggests betting strategies on how to score big
If Saturday is the Breeders Cup’s main course, then Friday is the appetizer – a sublime, delicious appetizer, with five highly competitive – and highly bettable – races that will whet any handicapper’s appetite for the smorgasbord of world-class racing, and outstanding betting, that awaits tomorrow. We’re diving in with both feet.
Before we get to the races themselves, we’ll take a minute to talk about wagering strategy. This is always important, but it is even more so with the Breeders Cup than it is playing a Thursday card at Delaware Park. This is because there are so many betting options, both with intrra-race wagers like the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta, and inter-race ones like the Pick 3, Pick 4, and so on. Betting indiscriminately and recklessly is a sure way to pari-mutuel ruin, so one must have a plan to try to leverage one’s opinions into making money at the windows, which is the ultimate objective.
Our plays will be based on the most fundamental and most important aspect of playing this game: picking winners. We will make picks in each race, and players looking for simplicity can simply bet those picks to win (or if the odds justify it, to place). But we think a better strategy is to leverage the picks in individual races in the Pick 3: There are rolling triples on every Breeders Cup race, and combining a top pick in an individual race with logical contenders in the other two races can result in boffo payouts.
So we’ll analyze each of the Friday races, make a top pick, and then a list of secondary contenders. We’ll run through the races first, and then list the plays at the end.
The main track at Keeneland will be fast. The turf was listed as “good” on Friday morning, but we are thinking that it will be closer to firm, and have handicapped the races accordingly. With that out of the way, let’s go.
Keeneland, Race 6, 2:30 pm ET
Grade 2 Breeders Cup Juvenile Sprint, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, 2-Year-Olds
14-Golden Pal is a deserving favorite in this race, but at a short price, we are eager to play against him. We feel this way for two reasons. The first is that he is likely to be an underlay, a horse whose pari-mutuel odds are much shorter than our assessment of his mathematical odds to win the race.
The second reason is pace: Golden Pal has gotten the early lead in all three of his career races, and there is an abundance of other speed in this race, including two colts, 7-Momos and 10-Bodenheimer, who appear to be faster than him. Golden Pal could very well be talented enough to win by coming from just off the pace, but he’s never done that before, and taking a short price on a horse trying to do something for the first time is almost always a lousy wagering proposition.
The pick is 6-Ubettabelieveit. He won his last start, a Group 2 race at Doncaster, on Sept. 11, and he showed the ability to finish strongly, and a goodly amount of toughness, in the process, as he fought very gamely late to get up by a nose. We also like the fact that jockey Rowan Scott traveled just to ride him: Ubettabelieveit is his only mount on either Breeders Cup day. We think he will sit toward the rear of the field early, behind what should be a very fast pace, and he will be moving late. Ubettabelieveit is the choice.
Top pick: 6-Ubettabelieveit
Logical Contenders: 9-After Five, 13-Second of July, 14-Golden Pal
Keeneland, Race 7, 3:10 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf, 1 Mile, Turf, 2-Year-Olds
Our play in the Juvenile Turf is going to be very simple: We are throwing out all the North American horses. They appear to be in way over their heads compared to their European rivals, and we have therefore eliminated the entire U.S. contingent from win consideration.
The pick is 2-New Mandate. We think the pace will be fast, and he has a good closing kick that appears to be a fit with the way we expect the shape of the race to develop. The figures he earned in Europe, particularly in his last two races, stakes wins at Doncaster and Newmarket, mark him as a contender, and he also gets jockey Frankie Dettori, which is a positive sign. At 12-1, he has a terrific shot to win the Juvenile Turf.
Top pick: 2-New Mandate
Logical Contenders: 1-Sealiway, 5-Cadillac, 9-Battleground, 12-Go Athletico
Keeneland, Race 8, 3:50 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies
The favorite in the Juvenile Fillies is the undefeated 7-Princess Noor, who’s 9/5 after winning the first three starts of her career, all in lopsided fashion, in California. We are utterly against her, as she’s been beating up on small fields out West, and earning mediocre speed figures in the process.
We like 5-Girl Daddy. She is also undefeated, in two career starts, but what makes her the pick is the fact that she is improving, and we think that she is likely to run a career-best race today. And we think the shape of the race will be a factor in that, as she’s a mid-pack stalker who finishes strongly, and she should get an ideal trip this afternoon, just behind the early leaders, biding her time for a late move. At 6-1, we like her chances very much.
Top pick: 5-Girl Daddy
Logical Contenders: 1-Simply Ravishing, 2-Vequist, 3-Dayoutoftheoffice
Keeneland, Race 9, 4:30 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, 1 Mile, Turf, 2-Year-Old Fillies
This race is wide open, utterly so, so we are going to spread relatively wide with our choices. The hope is that if we get one of the races on either side of this one correct, we can get a filly home at a big price here, leading to a sizeable payout in the multi-race wagers. Our top pick is 4-Plum Ali, but that is a tepid selection, and we are using quite a few fillies as logical contenders. Those looking for a longshot win play could do worse than betting on 6-Nazuna, who’s 30-1 and probably has a chance.
Top pick: 4-Plum Ali
Logical Contenders: 1-Oodnadatta, 3-Alda, 6-Nazuna, 9-Madone, 10-Campanelle, 14-Editor at Large
Keeneland, Race 10, 5:15 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile, 1 1/16 Miles, Dirt, 2-Year-Olds
7-Jackie’s Warrior is a deserving favorite here, undefeated after four starts and with superior speed figures to his rivals, but at a short price in the 6/5 range, he looks like an underlay, and a play-against. Trying to beat favorites of this kind is part of what makes betting the Breeders Cup so great.
We like 9-Sittin on Go on top. He has a strong closing kick, but he also has enough natural early speed to stay reasonably close to the leaders; while this combination is always good in dirt racing, we think it’s an even better fit here, as the rest of the field is filled with fast early/slow late types. We look for him to be midpack early, and closing strongly late.
Top pick: 9-Sittin on Go
Logical Contenders: 3-Reinvestment Risk, 5-Essential Quality, 6-Keepmeinmind, 7-Jackie’s Warrior, 13-Rombauer
The top plays can be played to win and/or place.
We will also be playing multiple Pick 3 tickets, in which we single our top pick in each race, and include both the top pick and the logical contenders in the other two races. For the Pick 3 starting with Race 6, for example, the Juvenile Turf Sprint, the ticket would be:
Race 6: 6 (Ubettabelieveit)
Race 7: 1 (Sealiway), 2 (New Mandate), 5 (Cadillac), 9 (Battleground), 12 (Go Athletico)
Race 8: 1 (Simply Ravishing), 2 (Vequist), 3 (Dayoutoftheoffice), 5 (Girl Daddy)
This works out to a 1x5x4 ticket, which costs $20 for a buck, or $10 at the 50-cent base level.
We like this strategy because the payouts on these Pick 3s can be very large, they don’t require an enormous bankroll to play, and best of all, we can have multiple hits if our top pick wins multiple races. It’s a good way to have fun, and to have a shot at making some serious money without having to bet huge sums.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.