Garrity's Saturday Breeders' Cup Picks: Going against Golden Pal, Jackie's Warrior, Nest, watching Flightline
The big day has arrived: it’s Breeders Cup Saturday. There are eight Grade 1 races, spread out over almost six hours; it’s the best day of the year to be a horseplayer.
We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, so let’s go.
Keeneland, Race 3, 11:50 am ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Thirteen filly and mares go in the Filly & Mare Sprint. The pick is 5-Frank’s Rockette, who is good form, with excellent efforts in each of her last three starts, and who should get an ideal stalking trip, sitting just behind what we think will be a pace that is fast but not suicidally so. We think Frank’s Rockette overtakes the pacesetters at the top of the stretch, and holds off the closers late. We will bet her to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 3, $40 to win on 5-Frank’s Rockette.
Keeneland, Race 4, 12:29 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Turf Sprint, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up
A full field of fourteen lines up for the Turf Sprint. The European contingent looks strong, as they do in virtually every Breeders Cup race on grass; but in this case, there is a very serious American runner, 5-Golden Pal, who is undefeated in turf sprints in this country, his only losses of note coming in Group 1 races at the Royal Ascot meeting.
We hope Golden Pal gets lots of attention at the betting windows, because we are playing against him, and are doing so with 6-Highfield Princess, a sensational race mare who beat males in each of her last three starts in Europe. In a race this short, and with a field this big, racing luck is always a factor, but Highfield Princess simply looks to be the best runner in the field. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Keeneland, Race 4, $50 to win on 6-Highfield Princess.
Keeneland, Race 5, 1:10 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Dirt Mile, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up
Eleven go in the Dirt Mile. It’s an interesting race to handicap, because there are horses stretching out from shorter distances, and horses cutting back from longer distances. We like one from the latter group, 9-Cyberknife, who has been running in longer races all year, including the Kentucky Derby, when he pressed a wickedly fast pace and faded to 18th. He hit the board in his last two starts, at ten and nine furlongs, respectively, but we think he is going to be much better at a mile, a distance he has curiously never run, as he has a lethal combination of good early speed with a very strong closing kick. We think we’re going to see something special from Cyberknife in this race, and will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Keeneland, Race 5, $50 to win on 9-Cyberknife.
Keeneland, Race 6, 1:50 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf, 1 3/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A dozen fillies and mares go in the Filly & Mare Turf, and when trying to identify the winner, we are doing something that is becoming a habit with Breeders Cup races on the sod: drawing a line through all the horses based in North America. That leaves us with five European horses to choose from, and the one who looks best, and she looks best by a pretty healthy margin, is 3-Nashwa, who has two wins and a close second in her last three starts, which came in Group 1 races in France and England. This daughter of superstar turf stallion Frankel is a 3-year-old filly who seems to have room for improvement, which is a bit scary considering how good she’s been. It is also a plus that she is trained by John Gosden, whose record in the Breeders Cup is exceptionally good. We don’t think Gosden came to Keeneland for the fall foliage in Northern Kentucky; we think Nashwa is the real deal, and will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Keeneland, Race 6, $50 to win on 3-Nashwa.
Keeneland, Race 7, 2:30 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Sprint, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
Eleven are entered in the Sprint, but all the attention, and most of the wagering support, will be behind 9-Jackie’s Warrior, who was champion sprinter in 2021, and hasn’t missed a beat in 2022, with four wins and a second in five starts. He is certainly the likeliest winner, but we are taking a stab against him, if only because it’s the Breeders Cup, where overwhelming favorites lose quite often.
We are going with a colt at a huge price: 11-Flash of Mischief, a 4-year-old who has had mixed results going back to last year, in races at mostly longer distances, but who in his last start, when he earned a big speed figure winning a minor stakes race at Remington Park, that he is best as a sprinter. We think Flash of Mischief is going to take a lot of people by surprise here, and will do so at boxcar 30-1 odds. And his tactically advantageous outside post will help. We will bet him to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 7, $35 to win on 11-Flash of Mischief.
Keeneland, Race 8, 3:10 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Mile, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up
The Mile is a difficult race to handicap just about every year, a tough nut to crack, and the 2022 renewal is no exception: with a full field of 14, the race seems ripe for an upset. The entrant we think can win, at a big price, is 9-Malavath, a 3-year-old filly who ran in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year, when she arguably ran a better race than the winner, as she overcame a slow start to finish a close second. Her results this year have been mixed: she had a good win in a Group 3 race at Deauville in France in April, but has failed to win since, results we attribute primarily to the very tough company she was facing. We like her most recent start, when she finished second running against older males in the Prix de la Foret, a Group 1 race at Longchamps in Paris; we like that Malavath appears to be rounding into form; we also we like that she has shown in the past that she runs well on firm turf; and we love the fact that she is 15-1 on the morning line, a positively juicy numbe. We will ber her to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $40 to win on 9-Malavath.
Keeneland, Race 9, 3:55 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Distaff, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Just eight line up for the Distaff, but it’s a very good group despite the relatively small field size. The headliners are 6-Nest and 1-Malathaat, and an indication of the quality of both fillies is that fans have been looking forward to this matchup for a long time. While we think either coulod win, our top choice is a different runner: 8-Society, who looks to be the kind of runner that has been lethally dangerous in past Breeders Cups: the late-blooming 3-year-old. Her sophomore season did not begin until May, so she did not run in any of the spring Classics, but her last two races, when she demolished a short field in a $500,000 race at Charles Town in West Virginia, and demolished a bigger and deeper field in the Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx, are signs, we think, that she is a filly on the come. She has speed, and we think she is going to go right to the front, and stay there all the way around the track. We will bet Society to win at 6-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Society.
Keeneland, Race 10, 4:40 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Turf, 1 ½ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
Thirteen older horses line up for the Breeders Cup Turf. There are many different ways a handicapper can go in this deep and talented field, but the way we are going is right at 11-Mishriff, whose last two efforts, a 13th-place finish in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamps and a 4th in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, were disappointments, but we think those results were primarily a result of going that was much, much softer than Mishriff likes. This is a horse whose last race on reasonably firm ground was in August, when he finished second in the Juddmonte International at York, losing to Baeeed, who has probably been the best turf horse in the world this year. We think Mishriff is sitting on a monster race, and that makes his 6-1 price too good to pass up. We will bet him to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 10, $50 to win on 11-Mishriff.
Keeneland, Race 11, 5:40 pm ET
Grade 1 Breeders Cup Classic, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
The Classic is the last race of the day, and it is the easiest Breeders Cup race we’ve ever handicapped: We think we are going to see something special from favored 4-Flightline, the 4-year-old colt who is undefeated and unchallenged in five freakishly fast career starts. In our opinion, there is zero wagering value in this race, as Flightline will probably be 1/5, but it’s a race we cannot wait to watch, because the best thing about the world’s best sport is watching a sensationally great horse do something historically great. Since this is about betting, we’ll make a pick: we’ll make a small win wager, and frame the ticket for our grandchildren. The bet: Keeneland, Race 11, $2 to win on 4-Flightline.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.