The Breeders Cup: Garrity has 9 race picks from the Sprint to the Classic, with favorites, longshots, analysis
All eyes today will be on Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, where nine championship Breeders Cup races will be run.
We will look at all of them, but before we do, we want to take a moment to mention track conditions. The dirt course was listed as fast yesterday, and the turf course was rated good; conditions this afternoon should be virtually identical. And while there was some talk that both courses favored speed yesterday, we think that was more a function of pace, and the efforts of individual horses, than any inherent bias in the racing surface. We expect both the main track and the turf course at Keeneland to be fair.
We will also be playing the same way we did yesterday, by identifying in each race our top pick and other logical contenders. We will be betting the top selections to win, and we will also be playing the top picks with the logical contenders in the Pick 3. Check yesterday’s post for more details.
Keeneland, Race 4, 12:02 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Gamine is the hot favorite here, 7/5 on the morning line off eye-popping wins earlier this year in the Acorn at Belmont Park and the Test at Saratoga. She may win, but at a short-price, we think she’s a play-against, as she’s a need-the-lead type who will not get the lead, as she’s not the fastest horse in the field.
We are banking on a total pace meltdown in this race, and that makes the pick 9-Bell’s the One. She proved she could win at the sport’s highest level in her last start, when she took the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs on Sept. 5; that puts her in razor-sharp form for this. We also think the shape of the race will favor her, as she should get a dream trip sitting behind the blazingly fast pace, and be able to take advantage when the pacesetters begin to tire. Look for her to be toward the rear early, and flying late.
Bell’s the One is the pick to win, and our backups are closers 1-Speech and 5-Sconsin, along with 7-Serengeti Empress, who looks to us to be the best of the speed horses.
Top pick: 9-Bell’s the One
Logical Contenders: 1-Speech, 5-Sconsin, 7-Serengeti Empress
Keeneland, Race 5, 12:39 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Turf Sprint, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up
A full field of fourteen goes to the gate in the Turf Sprint, and what a field it is: This is a skullbuster of a race to handicap. We are going to spread wide on multi-race plays, because a winner at a very big price is a distinct possibility.
We like 6-Glass Slippers, a 4-year-old filly who is coming off two sensational efforts in Group 1 races in Europe, a close second in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp in Paris, and a win in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland. She’s running against the boys here, but she dispatched males multiple times in Europe this year, and we think she will handle them here.
Top pick: 6-Glass Slippers
Logical Contenders: 3-Imprimis, 4-Front Run the Fed, 7-Leinster, 8-Oleksandra, 12-Got Stormy
Keeneland, Race 6, 1:18 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Dirt Mile, 1 Mile, Dirt, 3 & Up
In a tough field, the pick is 1-Art Collector. He won four races in a row to start his 2020 campaign, before finishing fourth in the Preakness on October 3. We think the mile and three-sixteenths of the Preakness was probably just a bit too far for him, but this mile distance should be right up his alley. We like his versatility, as he’s won both on the lead and coming from just off it; we think the latter scenario is what he will need to do today, as there are a couple of speedballs drawn to his outside. Look for him to get a ground-saving trip from his rail post, and to be looming menacingly at the top of the stretch. From there, it’s just a question of whether he’s good enough, and we think the answer to that will be yes.
Top pick: 1-Art Collector
Logical Contenders: 2-Sharp Samurai, 4-War of Will, 7-Rushie, 10-Complexity
Keeneland, Race 7, 1:57 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf, 1 3/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
One of the better handicapping puzzles on this terrific day of racing is how the European contingent here, one which seems to be a cut below their very best, will handle a strong North American group. We think they will do quite well, as we like a Euro, and a long shot, 7-Terebellum, to win the race. Two back, in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes in England, she finished a half-length behind her stablemate Nazeef, who would probably be favored here, and that was over a turf course that was softer than she likes. She is trained by John Gosden, one of the top horsemen in Europe, who does not come to the Breeders Cup for the ambience: He comes when he has a horse he thinks can win. She should like both the distance and the going, and at 20-1, she has a big chance, and is a terrific win play.
Top pick: 7-Terebellum
Logical Contenders: 2-Sistercharlie, 3-Peaceful, 6-Rushing Fall, 14-Cayenne Pepper
Keeneland, Race 8, 2:36 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Sprint, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
There are two ways to look at favored 10-Yaupon: one is that he’s a nice 3-year-old who has yet to win a major race, or to beat a field of this quality; the other is that he’s a freak, an incredibly talented horse who has yet to show how good he really is. We are decidedly in the latter camp: We think Yaupon is poised to run a giant race today, and that means the rest of the field is running for second money. He also has a significant pace edge, as the field of the Sprint came up unusually short on early speed. We think Yaupon goes right to the front and stays there all the way around the track. He is 7/2 on the morning line, but will likely be shorter at post time; we will bet him anyway, as we think he is the likeliest winner on the card. We like him so much that we have no backups in the race: we are all in on Yaupon.
Top pick: 10-Yaupon
Logical Contenders: None
Keeneland, Race 9, 3:15 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Mile, 1 Mile, Turf, 3 & Up
The pick in the Mile is 2-Kameko. He should like the going, he loves the distance -- he won his last, the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket, at a mile on turf -- and he gets an advantageous inside post position that should allow him to avoid losing ground around the turns. This is important in any turf race, but is doubly so here, with a big field of fourteen running over Keeneland’s relatively small turf course. We will use Kameko on top, and we will spread relatively wide with our secondary picks.
Top pick: 2-Kameko
Logical Contenders: 1-Circus Maximus, 4-Siskin, 6-Safe Voyage, 9-One Master, 14-Raging Bull
Keeneland, Race 10, 3:54 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Distaff, 1 ⅛ Miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
5-Swiss Skydiver is a throwback. In an era where most horses run in only a handful of races in a year, trainer Kenny McPeek has run her early and often, with today being her tenth start of 2020. And she has thrived on the work, winning the Gulfstream Park Oaks in February, the Santa Anita Oaks in June, the Alabama in August, and beating the boys in the Preakness in October. We think that today she will add the Breeders Cup Distaff to her trophy case, and she will do so convincingly. We like her so much that we are singling her, and using no backups in our multi-race plays.
Top pick: 5-Swiss Skydiver
Logical Contenders: None
Keeneland, Race 11, 4:33 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Turf, 1 ½ Miles, Turf, 3 & Up
2-Magical is the kind of horse that we could normally use as the foundation for a host of multi-race wagers: he is absolutely world-class, having won multiple Group 1 stakes in Europe earlier this year, and as past results of this race have shown, the top European grass horses are generally superior to the top American grass horses, especially at this classic 1 ½ mile distance.
But there are two things about Magical that give us pause. The first is that he probably prefers shorter races: his stakes wins this year have all been at a mile and a quarter, and at this 12-furlong distance, he is just 1-for-5 in his career. But a bigger issue, we think, is his trainer: since he won the 2018 Belmont Oaks with Athena, Aiden O’Brien has lost a mind-boggling 64 consecutive races in North America, including three yesterday. This has to be more than just random chance, and taking Magical’s short 5/2 odds that he will end this streak is thoroughly unappealing to us. This is also an issue with O’Brien’s other entrant, 10-Mogul, and we are throwing them both out, and looking elsewhere.
We like a filly to beat the boys in the Breeders Cup Turf, in the form of 3-Tarnawa. She comes into this race having won three in a row, the last two Group 1 races, so she is in excellent form, and she thrives at the distance, with three wins in five career starts at a mile and a half. At 6-1, Tarnawa is the pick. Our backups are European horses, a couple of them at big numbers.
Top pick: 3-Tarnawa
Logical Contenders: 4-Mehdaayih, 5-Donjah, 6-Lord North
Keeneland, Race 12, 5:18 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Classic, 1 ¼ Miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
The day’s best race is the last one, the Breeders Cup Classic, which has a terrific field of ten. A handicapper could make a case for just about any of them, but the one we are backing is 2-Tiz the Law. We’ve liked this colt since last fall, when he won the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, and his 3-year-old season has been nothing short of sensational, winning the Holy Bull, the Belmont, and the Travers, before a hard-luck runner up finish in the Kentucky Derby.
Tiz the Law’s run in the Kentucky Derby made us remember a horse from long ago, Skip Away. In the late 1990s, he won major stakes races wherever he went -- and he went all over the place. But the two worst races of his life -- the 1996 Kentucky Derby and the 1998 Breeders Cup Classic -- were at Churchill Downs. There are horses that for whatever reason do not like the dirt racing surface at Churchill Downs, and we think that Tiz the Law might be one of them.
We think Tiz is poised to rebound off his Kentucky Derby disappointment -- and he will need to, as this is an incredibly salty field. 4-Tom’s d’Etat is a tough, veteran competitor; 8-Improbable is coming off three very vast wins, 9-Authentic beat Tiz the Law in the Derby, and 10-Maximum Security, who has been training sensationally well, is the best horse who ever lost the Kentucky Derby via disqualification. Even the lesser-regarded entrants, like 1-Tacitus and 7-Global Campaign, are not without a chance.
But we think that Tiz the Law looks to be the best of them, and we think the way this race will unfold will favor him. We’re expecting Maximum Security, Authentic, and Global Campaign to set the early fractions, and Tiz should get a perfect stalking trip, just behind them and on the outside, where he likes to be, and to begin to attack the leaders at the top of the stretch. From there, we’re expecting the kind of stretch run Tiz showed winning the Travers, when he left the field in his dust with a sensational move. Because this field is much tougher, Tiz will not dispatch the other runners here with such condescending ease, but we still think he will hit the wire first.
Tiz the Law is our top pick at 3-1, and we will bet him to win. We will include By My Standards, Tom’s d’Etat, and Improbable as backups.
Top pick: 2-Tiz the Law
Logical Contenders: 3-By My Standards, 4-Tom’s d’Etat, 8-Improbable
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.