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#295832 - 10/29/15 11:12 PM Breeders Cup Saturday
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Race 4 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint

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BC41031.pdf (10 downloads)

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#295833 - 10/29/15 11:13 PM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Race 5 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint


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BC51031.pdf (21 downloads)

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#295834 - 10/29/15 11:14 PM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Race 6 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf


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BC61031.pdf (28 downloads)

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#295835 - 10/29/15 11:14 PM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Race 7 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint


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BC71031.pdf (31 downloads)

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#295836 - 10/29/15 11:15 PM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Race 8 Breeders' Cup Mile


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BC81031.pdf (21 downloads)

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#295837 - 10/29/15 11:16 PM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Race 9 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile


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BC91031.pdf (17 downloads)

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#295838 - 10/29/15 11:17 PM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Race 10 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf


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BC101031.pdf (17 downloads)

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#295839 - 10/29/15 11:18 PM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Race 11 Breeders' Cup Classic


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#295995 - 10/31/15 02:49 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Vance Hanson

Undoubtedly one of the best betting races of the entire weekend, the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) is also a difficult handicapping exercise. In its short history the race has generally favored course-and-distance specialists. However, many of those in this field enter with suspect current form or class concerns. Perhaps of more importance in this renewal will be the ability to handle softish ground and show a strong closing kick after a long stretch of rain pelted the course earlier in the week.

1: READY FOR RYE (10-1), a Grade 2 winner on dirt early in the year, adapted to the grass quite well over the summer, beating older horses in a seven-furlong Belmont allowance and then taking the $100,000 Quick Call at Saratoga against fellow three-year-olds. In the latter, he stalked a lightning pace of :20 4/5 and :43 3/5 before drawing off to a 1 1/2-length score. Most recently an easy victor of an off-the-turf overnight stakes at Belmont, he figures to get trip similar to the one he had in the Quick Call. The pace won't be nearly as hot given the prevailing conditions, but there are a lot of speed types here and the testing ground should benefit a horse that can demonstrate a stalk-and-pounce style. Post 12 is a bit of a hurdle, but this ultra-consistent (9-5-2-2) gelding still has plenty of upside.

2: UNDRAFTED (4-1) missed by a half-length in this race last year at Santa Anita, and in June posted a 14-1 upset of the Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot against some of the world's best grass sprinters. Despite possessing a huge class advantage over most of this field, it's hard to ignore the fact he generally needs at least six furlongs to show his best. Minor checks in the TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G3) and Shakertown (G3) the past two seasons suggest the finish line will come up a tad too soon for him. He's an underlay in this spot.

3: LADY SHIPMAN (5-2) suffered only the third defeat of her 11-race career three weeks ago when headed late in the $100,000 Franklin County over this course and distance. That was restricted to fillies and mares, though, and this will mark her first attempt against males. The speedball has shown talent for setting or pressing blazing fractions while keeping plenty in reserve, which should give backers hope she can come out better than some of the other likely front-runners. Ultimately, the abundance of pace and course conditions figure to slow her down late, but perhaps not enough to keep her out of the lower rungs of the exotics.

Longshot: GREEN MASK (15-1), like his world-traveling stablemate Undrafted, ran a corker on the world stage earlier this term when third by a length in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on the Dubai World Cup undercard at Meydan. Although he weakened late to fourth in the $180,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash in mid-September, he likely needed the race coming off a 5 1/2-month layoff. He's posted four swift works in the interim and the race flow appears to be in his favor, but he'll still need a career best to pull off the upset.
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#295996 - 10/31/15 02:50 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Preview

Vance Hanson

Admittedly having no strong feel for the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) despite painstaking review, it remains incumbent on me to provide some selections for this seven-furlong dash.

1: CAVORTING (3-1) has several legitimate knocks against her, most notably having to break from post 14. Another reason to be wary is she's a three-year-old taking on older for the first time, and no sophomore has won this race since its inauguration in 2007. Why pick her then? Unless the track winds up biased against her closing style, she figures to get an ideal setup with several rivals battling early and, presumably, wearing themselves out in the process. She's far less exposed than virtually everyone else in the field, and seven-eighths appears to suit her better than most. Aside from a couple clunkers at Belmont and Gulfstream, all she's wanted to do is win, and the McLaughlin barn has won at a high percentage throughout the Keeneland meet.

2: TARIS (12-1) brings California-style speed to the table, which potentially could prove too much for the likes of La Verdad and Stonetastic to keep up with. However, dealing with those rivals for too long is also likely to hinder her chances as well. Unlike that pair she's won over this track and distance, and in highly impressive fashion when taking the 2014 Raven Run (G2) by nine lengths in 1:21 1/5. She hasn't come close to replicating that kind of speed in two earlier starts this season, but could be sitting on a big race as a relatively fresh horse.

3: ARTEMIS AGROTERA (20-1) was a dominating winner of the Test (G1) last season and then edged La Verdad by a head after a tremendous late close in the Gallant Bloom H. (G2). In other words, there's no doubting her class. The obvious knock is that she hasn't started since finishing seventh in this race a year ago at Santa Anita. It would be an unbelievable training feat by Mike Hushion if he could have this filly win a race like this off a 364-day break, but my gut instinct tells me she's going to look like a short horse in the end. With that said, I wouldn't put it past her to grab a significant share. Remember the example of Gilded Time -- the 1992 Juvenile (G1) winner did not race again until the following year's Sprint (G1), and turned in a remarkable effort to finish third, only a half-length behind the winning Cardmania.

Longshot: ROOM FOR ME (15-1), an astute claim for owner-trainer David Jacobson last winter at Santa Anita, ran La Verdad to a half-length in the Vagrancy H. (G3) in May and later captured a small stakes at Monmouth, both times employing a stalk-and-pounce strategy. Lately, the five-year-old has tried pressing tactics to no avail. If she can rate a little more off the pace, she can be one of those who benefits from a possible speed meltdown.
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#295997 - 10/31/15 02:51 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint Preview

Vance Hanson

A full field of 14 is expected to start in the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), but the two best horses in the race are undoubtedly Private Zone and Runhappy. Both are talented and worthy enough to come out on top, but the outcome might have been determined at Monday's post-position draw.

1: RUNHAPPY (3-1) has been nothing short of remarkable since joining the barn of Maria Borell earlier this year. In his last three races he's broken a track record at Ellis Park, romped in the King's Bishop (G1) after breaking from post 11, and easily defeated reigning sprint champion Work All Week in the Phoenix (G3) despite breaking last, rushing back into contention and having the saddle slip underneath Edgar Prado. His local works have been mind-boggling -- five furlongs from the gate in :57 4/5, six furlongs in 1:09 4/5. The main drawback has always been his tardy breaks. They haven't prevented him from reaching the winner's circle in five of six career starts, but it's always a cloud threatening to open up. Posts 1 through 5 have been the best places to break from in Sprints past (18 for 31), thus the three-year-old Super Saver colt drew well in post 5. Anything close to his best should win this.

2: PRIVATE ZONE (5-2) is a former two-time winner of the Vosburgh (G1), but his very best races have come either at seven furlongs or a mile. He's run 10th and third in the past two editions of this race. Santa Anita simply might not have been his track, but then again he didn't have enough of a closing kick to improve his position last year chasing splits of :21 and :43 1/5, gift fractions most anywhere. Although he generally runs well fresh, post 13 is far from ideal. No horse has ever won this race from such a wide draw. His raw talent figures to get him another prominent placing, but the post and the presence of Runhappy might be too much to overcome.

2: LIMOUSINE LIBERAL (15-1), like Runhappy, is a three-year-old who scorched his way to an allowance score at Ellis Park this summer (1:07 4/5 for six furlongs). The two met in the King's Bishop, with Runhappy proving four lengths best while this one surprised by finishing second at nearly 16-1. Perhaps bouncing a bit when second as an odds-on choice in the Gallant Bob (G3) to next-out winner Trouble Kid, he has since returned to his Keeneland home base and lit up the morning worktab for trainer Ben Colebrook. The most lightly-raced entry in the field with just four starts since June 21, he has tremendous upside and figures to be prominently placed throughout with a clean beginning.

Longshot: KOBE'S BACK (15-1) has left a load of money on the track during his career due to his slow-starting tendencies. He has just three wins and has hit the board in slightly more than half of his 15 starts, but has managed to make things interesting on occasion when the fractions have been blistering hot. Six furlongs seems a tad short for him, but he made a nice rally to win the Commonwealth (G3) over this track in April going seven furlongs. That's a fondness for the track few of his rivals can match.
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#295998 - 10/31/15 02:51 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Preview

Jennifer Caldwell

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) only drew 10 to go 1 1/16 miles over Keeneland’s main track to kick off the BC action on Saturday, and the race appears to be Songbird’s to lose. That dark bay lass has dominated her rivals on the West Coast and will attempt to do so again here.

1: SONGBIRD (7-5) is the top pick, despite her low odds. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee has just been going too well of late to be discounted. She romped at Del Mar in her initial two starts by a combined 11 3/4 lengths, including the Del Mar Debutante (G1), then transferred over to Santa Anita Park to take the Chandelier S. (G1) by 4 1/2 lengths on September 26, just three weeks after the Debutante score. Songbird earned a 102 BRIS Speed rating for her Chandelier victory, the only filly in the field to break a hundred thus far, and looks to lead all the way home under jockey Mike Smith.

2: LAND OVER SEA (8-1) has finished behind Songbird in her last two races and, while I don’t expect her to win on Saturday, there’s a good chance she can show up in the exacta once again at nice odds. Strangely enough, the chestnut filly’s only win to date came when breaking her maiden second out on the turf at Del Mar going a mile. She was second in her debut at Los Alamitos before running third in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and second in the Chandelier S. (G1). Trained by Doug O’Neill, she garnered a nice 97 BRIS Speed figure for that latter contest and retains the services of jockey Mario Gutierrez.

3: DOTHRAKI QUEEN (10-1) and RACHEL’S VALENTINA (7-2) are going to have to serve as co-third picks. I really like Dothraki Queen, but just can’t leave Rachel’s Valentina out of the top three due to both her talent and loyalty to her dam, Rachel Alexandra. Dothraki Queen earned praise when loping home a seven-length winner of a one-mile Ellis Park turf contest in her debut over the summer, but proved just as successful on the main track when taking the Pocahontas S. (G2) at Churchill Downs next out. The Kenny McPeek charge readied for the Juvenile Fillies with a rallying second in the Alcibiades S. (G1) last out and brings Corey Lanerie along for the ride. Rachel’s Valentina is two-for-two thus far, having broken her maiden and taken the Spinaway S. (G1) at Saratoga for trainer Todd Pletcher. The bay miss was an impressive winner both times and should have no problem stretching out from those sprint contests with Rachel Alexandra and Bernardini as her parents.

Longshot: MA CAN DO IT (30-1) is the reason I didn’t make Dothraki Queen a longshot play. The Dale Romans pupil comes into the Juvenile Fillies still a maiden but has shown progression in each of her three races. After running second at Ellis Park on the main track, she returned in about 2 1/2 weeks to fill that same spot in a six-furlong turf test. Ma Can Do It then showed up at Keeneland for the Alcibiades S. (G1) and reputed herself very well when third at 23-1. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see her do so again on Saturday under Robby Albarado.
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#295999 - 10/31/15 02:52 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Breeders' Cup Juvenile Preview

James Scully

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) features a full field of 14 with no standouts. And there isn’t an abundance of early speed as well.

1ST: EXAGGERATOR (6-1) got sick after winning the Saratoga Special (G2) and was arguably a race short when returning from a seven-week layoff in the October 3 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. He launched an early move that afternoon to take the lead on the far turn and entered the stretch drive on a clear lead, but the Curlin colt got a little tired late and yielded to the fast-finishing Brody’s Cause, easily saving runner-up honors while finishing a length back on the wire. He’s registered respectable BRIS Speed ratings in his last two outings and possesses the tactical speed to sit a favorable trip right behind the early leaders for trainer Keith Desormeaux, who captured last year’s Juvenile with Texas Red.

2ND: GREENPOINTCRUSADER (4-1) was a buzz horse after finishing a neck second in his debut and followed with a game maiden tally at Saratoga. The Bernardini colt took a big step forward in a sloppy Champagne (G1) last out, rallying boldly to win going away by 4 1/2 lengths, and he’s trained forwardly by most accounts at Keeneland for Dominick Schettino. The promising dark bay could continue to show more in the Juvenile with Joe Bravo.

3RD: BRODY’S CAUSE (7-2) figures to be running late but must avoid leaving himself too much to do in the short stretch at Keeneland. He’s done nothing wrong in two dirt starts for Dale Romans, winning a key maiden special weight at Churchill Downs prior to the Breeders’ Futurity, and the son of Giant’s Causeway figures to be a top prospect for next year’s Kentucky Derby if he stays healthy. Brody’s Cause can’t be dismissed as a win contender but a minor award appears more likely.

Longshot: UNBRIDLED OUTLAW (15-1) exits an extremely troubled third-place effort in the Iroquois and could make an impact with a better trip here. He figures to be running late with new jockey Mike Smith. Nyquist brings a perfect 4-for-4 mark into the Juvenile but drew poorly on the far outside. I’ll try to beat him, but the possibility remains he could flash to the front and last a long way.
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#296000 - 10/31/15 02:52 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Preview

Kellie Reilly

The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) has a standout on paper, and without finding any compelling reason to oppose her, we’ll try not to get too cute and overthink our top selection. Moreover, considering the lack of a corresponding standout on the U.S. side since the sidelining of Lady Eli, concerns about whether Stephanie’s Kitten just doesn’t like Keeneland, and how much Dacita (whom I would have been sure to include on firm turf) could be compromised by rain-softened ground, the international brigade could clean up here.

1ST – LEGATISSIMO (8-5) sets a lofty standard as the winner of the 1000 Guineas (G1), Nassau (G1) and Matron (G1), who was a head away from a classic double in the Oaks (G1) and unlucky when missing by the same scant margin in the Pretty Polly (G1). Not only is that by far the strongest form here, but she also gets “style points” for her manner of racing. The David Wachman trainee has traveled well before delivering the coup de grace, and unlike some others in here, this in-between 1 3/16-mile trip ought to suit her ideally. Given her dominance on yielding ground at left-handed Leopardstown last time, I don’t think Keeneland’s projected course condition will be a concern. The Coolmore colorbearer has also made a pleasing appearance on the track, telegraphing she’s in good shape despite the long season. Indeed, Legatissimo has been set for this target some way out, with Wachman being careful to give her about six weeks’ spacing between the Nassau and Matron and again to the Breeders’ Cup. Stablemate Curvy just succeeded in her transatlantic mission in the E.P. Taylor (G1), and Legatissimo should follow suit under all-world jockey Ryan Moore.

2ND – MISS FRANCE (6-1), the 2014 winner of Newmarket’s 1000 Guineas (G1), has the profile of a filly who’s been looking for a step up in trip – vaguely like another Andre Fabre pupil, 2001 Filly & Mare Turf romper Banks Hill. A slightly inconvenienced, dead-heat fifth in last year’s French Oaks (G1) in her only try beyond a mile, Miss France has since finished a good second in her four ensuing starts. Those include losses to two Mile (G1) contenders, Esoterique and most recently Impassable. In both, Miss France was simply outkicked by two high-class specialists at the distance. By Dansili and out of Group 1 winner Miss Tahiti, who placed in both the Prix Saint-Alary (G1) and French Oaks (G1) in 1996, Miss France also has the pedigree to suggest she needed added ground. Soft ground is no problem, and Frankie Dettori might opt to make use of her tactical speed in a race without an obvious pacesetter.

3RD – SECRET GESTURE (8-1) was clearly best over Filly & Mare Turf rivals Watsdachances and Stephanie’s Kitten in the Beverly D. (G1), so we don’t hold her disqualification against her. Most tellingly, the Beverly D. was contested in conditions – 1 3/16 miles on rain-softened ground – similar to what she’ll find at Keeneland. The rain has therefore been most welcome to Secret Gesture, who was fifth on quicker going at Santa Anita a year ago. Trained by Ralph Beckett, the daughter of Galileo also handled fellow British shipper Talmada in the Middleton (G2) back in May. Talmada’s possibly improved in the interim, but Secret Gesture has amassed several Group 1 placings over her honorable career, topped by the 2013 Oaks at Epsom, and may still have her measure. She’s another who figures to be prominent in a tactical race, and the booking of master tactician Florent Geroux is a massive plus.

Longshot: I was all set for Bawina as a soft-ground specialist who could punch above her weight. In her absence, I’ll give a shot to the other Wertheimer et Frere homebred, QUEEN’S JEWEL (12-1). It’s been a season of opposites for the Freddie Head filly, with a fantastic spring highlighted by a record-setting victory in the Prix Saint-Alary (G1), followed by big disappointments in the French Oaks (from the far outside post) and the Prix de l’Opera (G1). Head believes he’s got her back in good form now, though, and the daughter of Pivotal is in her element on soft going. Interestingly, Queen’s Jewel is out of Argentine champion Safari Queen, winner of the 2007 Bewitch (G3) here at Keeneland.

P.S. Perhaps I should keep DACITA (8-1) in the mix somewhere, just in case my fears about the ground are unfounded. After all, I'd written glowing things about her after she nabbed Mile (G1) contender Tepin in the Ballston Spa (G2).
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#296001 - 10/31/15 02:53 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Breeders' Cup Mile Preview

Kellie Reilly

The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) features an army of well qualified Europeans tackling an American division that currently lacks a star. Thus the handicapping puzzle revolves around putting the internationals in the right order. I could well be underestimating defending champion Karakontie at my peril again, but the old bettor’s line about weddings and funerals comes to mind. Or to use a different cliché, I don’t want to fight the last war.

1ST – TIME TEST (6-1) isn’t a specialist miler, and he’s drawn the outside post 12, so my top selection is a bit quizzical. But this well-bred son of Dubawi has the potential to be very special, and we might see that talent on display here. Although trainer Roger Charlton started the Juddmonte homebred out over 1 1/4 miles this season, Time Test revealed some electric changes of gear to win at Newbury and in the Tercentenary (G3) at Royal Ascot. He was widely regarded as the best alternative to Golden Horn in the Juddmonte International (G1), but wound up a lackluster fourth behind shock winner Arabian Queen. Turning back in trip to a mile for the Joel (G2) at Newmarket last out, Time Test looked like himself when punching smartly from just off the pace. Charlton had his choice of targets before settling on the Breeders’ Cup, and his hopes for firmer turf haven’t panned out. Yet he did break his maiden over softish going at Sandown last fall, and with the rip-roaring pace served up by Obviously, the Mile could play to a horse who stays farther and has a terrific turn of foot. Ace jockey Ryan Moore overcame post 14 with Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Hit It a Bomb on Friday, and we’ll trust him to work out a trip from here too.

2ND – MAKE BELIEVE (3-1) has been devastating twice this season, when wiring the French 2000 Guineas (G1) and when blazing to a course record in Longchamp’s Prix de la Foret (G1) in his latest. If he can avoid a regression, he’d be a prime contender in this spot. And trainer Andre Fabre just sounded very bullish about him running right back to his best. One hesitation is that he’d flopped badly in the St James’s Palace (G1) at Royal Ascot, and another is that he may find himself too close to Obviously early. At least soft ground is no concern at all to the son of Makfi, who keeps the astute Olivier Peslier – rider of three-time Mile legend Goldikova -- in the saddle.

3RD – ESOTERIQUE (7-2) was confirmed for this before Fabre added Make Believe to the Breeders’ Cup squad, and the top-class mare has every right to go very close. Runner-up in the 2013 French 1000 Guineas (G1) and victorious in the 2014 Prix Rothschild (G1) over Miss France (who’s a proper contender in the Filly & Mare Turf [G1]), Esoterique has been even better in 2015. After playing second fiddle to the white-hot males Solow and Muhaarar, she’s turned a Group 1 double in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) and Sun Chariot (G1). Although her recent races have come over a straight mile, Esoterique has also handled Longchamp’s right-handed mile in the past, and the ground should be fine for her too.

Longshot – I'm sorely tempted by IMPASSABLE (8-1), given her sparkling collateral form with Ervedya, but in the end decided to take a stab with an expected bigger price in MSHAWISH (15-1). Once a smart three-year-old in France, the Al Shaqab Racing runner broke through with a first Group victory in the Zabeel Mile (G2) at the 2014 Dubai Carnival (easily beating future Woodbine Mile [G1] winner and Breeders’ Cup Mile third Trade Storm). Mshawish joined Todd Pletcher last summer, and after a few unlucky runs, reached peak form at Gulfstream over the winter. A foot problem nearly derailed him in the Dubai Turf (G1), but he took his chance and finished a creditable third to Solow and The Grey Gatsby. The son of Medaglia d’Oro has continued to have his foot issues, racing only once in the interim, but he’s been training sharply and may be as right as he’s been for some time. And he gets Dettori aboard.
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#296002 - 10/31/15 02:54 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Breeders' Cup Turf Preview

Kellie Reilly

If the Filly & Mare Turf (G1) has a standout in Legatissimo, the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) has a titanic, larger-than-life colossus. Although there could be a slight concern about whether the ground is riding a bit soft, it’s too thin – and variable – a reed to lean on. That’s just not enough to sway us against the prohibitive favorite.

1ST – GOLDEN HORN (4-5) needs no introduction, having rolled through the Derby (G1), Eclipse (G1), Irish Champion (G1) (on yielding ground) and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), and this represents a drop in class, relatively speaking. The John Gosden trainee isn’t invincible, since he was edged by the 50-1 Arabian Queen in the Juddmonte International (G1) on rain-softened ground at York in August, but there were also tactical flubs in play there. Connections believed that he was too “fresh,” having not raced for six weeks at that point. Golden Horn is a powerful type who thrives on racing, so his recent outings this fall may actually redound to his benefit. Indeed, Gosden revealed that the star colt has gained weight since the Arc. Two-for-two at this trip, and likely to appreciate having the use of Big Blue Kitten’s pacemaker Shining Copper, Golden Horn appears nearly bullet-proof.

2ND – FOUND (8-1) is the plausible upsetter for the Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore tandem. The high-class sophomore filly has been more than holding her own against Group 1 males this fall, her resume notably featuring a rallying second to Golden Horn in the Irish Champion and to Fascinating Rock in the Champion (G1) at Ascot, where she relegated hot favorite Jack Hobbs (Golden Horn’s stablemate) to third. Found never had a chance when suffering in traffic in the Arc. While the obvious concern is that Found will be making her fifth start in two months here, the first was no more taxing than a work in company (the Royal Whip [G3]), and the third was the Arc, where she barely saw daylight. That was her only attempt at 1 1/2 miles so far, but the daughter of Galileo ought to find it within her compass, especially around a flat, turning course like Keeneland. She’ll also enjoy the give in the ground.

3RD – THE PIZZA MAN (15-1), who narrowly prevailed over Big Blue Kitten in the Arlington Million (G1), may get the better of him again on the rain-softened ground he handles so well. The popular Illinois-bred will surely get bet down off that morning line. Aside from his burgeoning fan base, the Roger Brueggemann charge also turned in a strong prep over the course when a near-miss second in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). Arguably in career-best form right now, the son of 2007 Turf champ English Channel could be end up being best of the home team in these conditions.

Longshot: RED RIFLE (10-1) has come a long way since his second in the soggy Sycamore (G3) over this course and distance a year ago. Once finding his right running style as a closer for Todd Pletcher, the Giant’s Causeway gelding looked like one to follow in this division with his tour de force in the Bowling Green (G2). But what really swayed me was his clear second to Flintshire in the Sword Dancer (G1) next time at Saratoga. Flintshire would have been a big player here, and although Red Rifle was no match for him, he gave game chase to beat the consistent yardstick Twilight Eclipse by 3 1/4 lengths. I think Red Rifle wasn’t well placed early in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1), leading the main body of the field behind Shining Copper, and a return to more patient handling could help. Also, note that SLUMBER (8-1), who was only just supplemented to this race, is much closer to stablemate Big Blue Kitten than a superficial glance implies.
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#296003 - 10/31/15 02:54 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Breeders' Cup Classic Preview

James Scully

The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) lost a major player when Beholder scratched on Thursday and her absence adversely affects late runners like Honor Code, Tonalist and Keen Ice given that she figured to make a run at American Pharoah by the far turn. The Triple Crown winner looks tough to catch given the expected pace scenario.

1ST: AMERICAN PHAROAH (4-5) dominated the Preakness S. (G1) and Belmont S. (G1) on the lead, registering a 109 BRIS Speed rating for a 5 1/2-length decision in the latter, and he’s got a chance to duplicate those performances on Saturday. Early speed played well at Keeneland on Thursday and Friday, and the Bob Baffert-trained colt should enjoy a cushy trip on the front end with Victor Espinoza. American Pharoah can go out on top in his final career start.

2ND: FROSTED (12-1) possesses the tactical speed to sit a good trip behind the heavy favorite and his improving form makes him an attractive candidate to complete the exacta. Runner-up in the Belmont S. (G1), the Grade 1-winning colt returned from a freshening in the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga and lost a shoe leaving the starting gate. He still turned in a respectable performance to finish a close second to Texas Red, who had the benefit of a recent prep, and Frosted came back with a third in the Travers (G1) that is easy to excuse given the tactics employed by replacement rider Jose Lezcano. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee delivered a career-best last time, winning the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) with authority, and he figures to be in position to try and reel in American Pharoah. Frosted is more likely to settle for a minor award, but I give him the best chance at a Classic upset.

3RD: TONALIST (4-1) has registered top BRIS Speed ratings and can run well Saturday if he finds a way to stay in contact with the pacesetter. The four-year-old colt displayed good tactical speed last year, winning the Peter Pan S. (G2) and Belmont S. (G1), but he’s become more of a confirmed late runner for Christophe Clement, rallying from well off the pace in all five starts this year. Tonalist was last of 14 in the early stages of the 2014 Classic before rallying belatedly for fifth, and I’ll look for him to finish up well for part on Saturday.

Longshot: HONOR CODE (5-1) has been a little inconsistent but is a top-class performer when on his game. An impressive winner of the Whitney (G1) two back, registering a 110 BRIS Speed rating, the well-bred four-year-old used the Kelso Mile (G2) strictly as a Classic prep last time and is eligible to show up with a much-improved Classic effort for Shug McGaughey. My main concern is his confirmed closing style, but Honor Code can’t be dismissed from top three consideration.
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#296004 - 10/31/15 02:55 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Best Bets

James Scully

I’ll stay away from expected short-priced favorites and tab STONETASTIC (#8, 5-1) in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) as my best bet. Off at 3-1 in last year’s Filly & Mare Sprint, the gray miss set the pace before weakening to fourth at Santa Anita. The four-year-old filly returns in better form this year for Kelly Breen, running a big second to next-out Ballerina winner Unbridled Forever (who is currently sidelined) at Saratoga before crushing allowance foes at Parx, registering a field-best 109 BRIS Speed rating for the 15-length decision. Her BRIS Early Pace ratings are outstanding and with trainer Linda Rice saying La Verdad needs to settle in order to have any chance of getting seven-furlongs, Stonetastic can flash to the front and control the action with a hot-riding Paco Lopez (won races Thursday and Friday at Keeneland). Wire to wire.

Vance Hanson

The lamentable scratch of Beholder from the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) a couple days ago leaves HONOR CODE (#9, 5-1) as perhaps the most likely rival to topple Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Although he's never tried 1 1/4 miles before, his pedigree and Whitney (G1) performance suggest it shouldn't be much of an issue. Prepping in the Kelso H. (G2) backfired on the day when the track came up sloppy and Appealing Tale was left alone on a comfortable lead, and it was far from this one's best performance visually. However, there's been nothing but good news emanating from the Honor Code camp since then and his Belmont works have been sparkling. He's always looked the part, and now just needs an honest pace and earlier bid into contention to give himself his best opportunity. There's a strong possibility it all comes together for him on the biggest stage of the year.

Jennifer Caldwell

NYQUIST (#13, 9-2) would wrap up two-year-old male championship honors with a win in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), but probably won’t offer much value at the windows. Nonetheless, the bay colt has proven unbeatable so far in his career and could easily maintain that perfection here. After breaking his maiden by a head at Santa Anita Park, the Doug O’Neill trainee traveled to Del Mar for his next pair of races and romped by 5 1/4 lengths in the Best Pal S. (G2) and then 3 3/4 lengths in the Del Mar Futurity (G1). In each case he increased the distance he ran before finally returning to Santa Anita on September 26 to take the FrontRunner S. (G1) going the Juvenile distance of 1 1/16 miles. Nyquist has never earned below a 94 BRIS Speed rating and keeps regular rider Mario Gutierrez aboard for his Keeneland debut.

Kellie Reilly

After my colleagues have all offered reasonably priced chances, I’m going to play it safe. Golden Horn is prohibitive at 4-5 in the Turf (G1). Legatissimo looms as a very likely winner at 8-5 in the Filly & Mare Turf (G1), and given a solid group of rivals, she may even be a slightly more attractive price at post time. SONGBIRD (#10, 7-5) will also be a short price in the Juvenile Fillies (G1), but with fewer variables in play, Jerry Hollendorfer’s budding star may face a straightforward task to stay undefeated.
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#296005 - 10/31/15 02:56 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Long Shots

James Scully

The TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) is loaded with early speed, with need-the-lead types Runhappy, Private Zone and Favorite Tale all capable of sub 22-second opening quarter-miles, and I’m predicting a pace meltdown that benefits a horse with a formidable late turn of foot, WILD DUDE (#8, 10-1). The five-year-old enters in top form for Jerry Hollendorfer, registering triple-digit BRIS Speed in his last four starts as well as 106 and 108 Late Pace numbers in his most recent outings, and has captured two of his last three starts, the lone setback being a close second to a loose-on-the-lead Appealing Tale (who came back to beat Honor Code and Red Vine next time out). Wild Zone is a six-furlong specialist (6-4-0-2) who can take advantage of the perfect set-up.

Vance Hanson

The Europeans might wind up occupying the top several slots in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1), but in case they don't there is one American entry that seems to have been overlooked all week and deserves a place in exotics at the very least. GRAND ARCH (#1, 15-1) loves the Keeneland lawn with three wins and three seconds from six outings over it, and most recently held off The Pizza Man by a head over yielding ground in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). Last year, Grand Arch finished only a length behind the great Wise Dan in the same race, but was up the track in the Mile at Santa Anita. On a course we know he handles better than most any outside of his home base of Woodbine, Grand Arch should give a good account of himself.

Jennifer Caldwell

Many will completely discount IVAN FALLUNOVALOT (#6, 30-1) in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), but I think the bay gelding may just have what it takes to register the upset. The five-year-old has gone 6-4-2-0 this year and was 6-4-1-0 last season as well. The W. T. Howard trainee has plenty of talent, but has been running in either Texas, Oklahoma or at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas his entire career. This year, at least, he spent the winter/spring months at Oaklawn to take the King Cotton S. and run second in both the Hot Springs S. and Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3). Ivan Fallunovalot took the summer off and returned at Remington Park to add scores in the Remington Park Sprint Cup and David M. Vance Sprint S. to his resume. While that may not seem all that important, it’s the numbers he’s earned while doing so that impresses. The Texas-bred boasts BRIS Speed ratings on par, and in some cases, better than others in the Sprint field, and may just sneak into the winner’s circle on Saturday.

Kellie Reilly

The TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) looks like the place to go hunting for serious longshots, and GREEN MASK (#7, 15-1) has some strong claims on international form. So does stablemate Undrafted, but the 5 1/2-furlong trip is a tad short for him. Green Mask might find it just right. Finding his niche as a turf speedster this season, he was a fast-finishing second in Tampa’s Turf Dash and the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint, each at five furlongs. Down the straight five at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night, Green Mask finished a bang-up third to Ireland’s Sole Power and Hong Kong’s Peniaphobia. He returned from a nearly six-month layoff to prep in the 6 1/2-furlong Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, finishing fourth in a blanket result, and should move forward in this second start off the layoff. If you need more, Green Mask is by Mizzen Mast, the sire of two-time Turf Sprint queen Mizdirection.
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#296006 - 10/31/15 02:58 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Mike Battaglia

2nd Race – Juvenile Dirt Sprint: RICHIE THE BULL (#10) is undefeated in two career starts. He should get a good stalking trip in here and can extend his streak today. SHEIKH OF SHEIKHS (#4) faded after setting the pace in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and shortens up for this one. He will be tough with Frankie Dettori picking up the mount for trainer Wesley Ward. DAN THE GO TO MAN (#5) will be running at the end and has to be considered.

3rd Race – 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1): SONGBIRD (#10) has been dominant in California and appears to be as good or better than any of the colts. She has the speed to be on or near the lead throughout and looks like a solid bet to win her fourth in a row with Mike Smith back aboard for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. LAND OVER SEA (#1) was no match for the top pick in her last two but should get a good trip from the inside post and can't be left out of the exotics. RACHEL'S VALENTINA (#9) is untested around two turns but is also unbeaten and has been training sharply. She is a solid threat.

4th Race – TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1): UNDRAFTED (#3) prefers more distance but should be flying at the end in a race that will have a very fast pace. Trainer Wesley Ward figures to have him ready for a top effort and he gets the nod in a wide-open Turf Sprint. LADY SHIPMAN (#5) has been beating up on the fillies and is very capable of taking on the boys today. She will be pressed on the front end but is definitely the one to catch. READY FOR RYE (#12) is a perfect 2 for 2 on the grass and will be in good position right off the early leaders.

5th Race – TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1): STONETASTIC (#8) was given a needed break after her late-season California campaign. She just missed in her first start in August and ran a career best last out winning by 15. She came up short at seven furlongs in this race last year but is more seasoned now and appears to be sitting on another top effort. CAVORTING (#14) is a deserving favorite despite drawing post 14. She has looked very sharp winning her last three and will be running at the end with Javier Castellano aboard. SUPER MAJESTY (#6) is a nose away from being undefeated and can run well at nice odds.

6th Race – Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1): LEGATISSIMO (#3) has won three Group 1 races in Europe and comes into the Breeders Cup’ in top form for David Watchman. She appears to be the best of a field that is dominated by the Europeans and looks like a winner at short odds. DACITA (#8) is a Chilean import who was impressive winning her U.S. debut for trainer Chad Brown. She doesn't have the credentials of the top pick but she figures to improve and is a threat. MISS FRANCE (#9) is a lightly raced 4-year-old who just missed in both of her races this year in France. She figures to improve and rates a chance.

7th Race – TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1): RUNHAPPY (#5) is freakishly fast. He toyed with the field in the King’s Bishop (G1) and won the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3) despite breaking poorly. The bad starts are a reason for concern but if he stays out of trouble he will be extremely tough to beat. PRIVATE ZONE (#13) is a 6-year-old who has never been better. He is sharp from the gate and will be on or near the lead throughout. He has to be respected but looks second best. LIMOUSINE LIBERAL (#4) was no match for the top pick at Saratoga but is training well here and John Velazquez picks up the mount.

8th Race – Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1): TEPIN (#7) could not have been more impressive winning the First Lady (G1) over a soft turf course here on opening Saturday of the Fall Meet. She ran faster than the boys in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and finished with a final quarter of :23 2/5. If she runs that one back, she can win this one for trainer Mark Casse with Julien Leparoux back aboard. MAKE BELIEVE (#3) is one of several top-flight Europeans. He is trained by Andre Fabre, who has had four Breeders’ Cup winners and also saddles ESOTERIQUE (#9) in here. Both are coming off Group 1 wins and a win from either one would be no surprise.

9th Race – Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1): UNBRIDLED OUTLAW (#4) and BRODY'S CAUSE (#7) give Dale Romans a solid 1-2 punch. UNBRIDLED OUTLAW was third in the Iroquois (G3) but had a horrendous trip in there and looked to be much the best. He may be overlooked a bit in the wagering but is capable of winning with Mike Smith picking up the mount. BRODY'S CAUSE was very impressive winning the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1), coming from far back under Corey Lanerie. He has improved with every start and a repeat of that last out makes him the one to beat. RALIS (#10) threw in a bad one in the Champagne (G1) on a sloppy track but worked well here at Keeneland and could rebound today.

10th Race – Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1): GOLDEN HORN (#1) is a 3-year-old who has emerged as the best runner in Europe this year. He has just one blemish in his eight-race career but came back from that one to win two in a row, including an impressive score in the Arc (G1). Anything close to his best form would make him a winner with Frankie Dettori back aboard for trainer John Gosden. TWILIGHT ECLIPSE (#6) has finished in the money in 10 of his last 12 races and could figure in the gimmicks at big odds. BIG BLUE KITTEN (#7) is another one who always seems to run his race and has to be respected.

11th Race – Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1): TONALIST (#1) has been a model of consistency throughout his career and comes in off an impressive score in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). He breaks from the rail and John Velazquez may have him closer to the pace than usual. He loves the distance and is very capable of winning with his best effort. HONOR CODE (#9) has never been a mile and a quarter but is definitely bred to handle it. He will be at a disadvantage with no one to run with American Pharoah in the early going but he should be flying at the end. AMERICAN PHAROAH (#4) was spectacular in the Triple Crown. He figures to make the lead without much pressure and it would be no surprise to see him win easily, but this is his first try against older runners and he may be vulnerable.
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#296007 - 10/31/15 02:59 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Katie Mikolay Gensler


Race 2: The Juvenile Dirt Sprint Stakes – DAN THE GO TO MAN (5) won convincingly to break his maiden to be one of the top contenders in this field. SHEIKH OF SHEIKHS (4) is a serious threat from start to finish and one of three Ward trainees. RICHIE THE BULL (10) could get a good trip from the outside for another score at KEE.

Picks 5-4-10

Race 3: BC Juvenile Fillies – RACHEL’S VALENTINA (9) has been a sharp sprinter that should be tough going long is she anything like her multiple graded winning dam, RACHEL ALEXANDRA. SONGBIRD (10) has back-to-back grade I wins, but will have to overcome the outside post. NICKNAME (7) won over the slop in the Frizette Stakes to be a player with the expected wet forecast.

Picks 9-10-7

Race 4: BC Turf Sprint – UNDRAFTED (3) hopes to repeat his win in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes. He’s a major player turning for home with good works in preparation for a big return. PURE SENSATION (1) has never lost at the distance with front running speed. LADY SHIPMAN (5) was a disappointing second at 3-5 odds, but right move by the connections to test against graded stakes company with her consistency as she takes on the boys.

Picks 3-1-5

Race 5: BC F&M Sprint – CAVORTING (14) needs to overcome the outside post, but she has tactical speed for a good chance to get her picture taken as she faces older classy ladies first time. ARTEMIS AGROTERA (5) is certainly well rested after a year long layoff, she makes her third BC appearance with a good series of works for a high percentage barn off the bench. DAME DOROTHY (2) has back-to-back GI wins and exits a good try after she lunged at the start.

Picks 14-5-2

Race 6: BC F&M Turf – LEGATISSIMO (3) is one of the toughest Euros to beat this weekend. She has excellent form on the grass going long with multiple Group 1’s victories. STEPHANIE’S KITTEN (11) has been a solid closer on the turf and her last two starts suggests she can handle the wet turf. HARD NOT TO LIKE (1) loved this course and should improve today plus jockey Velazquez back aboard.

Picks 3-11-1

Race 7: BC Sprint – WILD DUDE (8) exits his most impressive effort to be a major player from Cali at 10-1 odds. PRIVATE ZONE (13) has multiple wins at the distance and dangerous with powerful works in the morning. RUNHAPPY (5) was one of the top winners of the recent KEE meet to consider in this spot. Interesting note is that he has a super sharp 6f drill on Oct. 21st.

Picks 8-13-5

Race 8: BC MILE - ESOTERIQUE (9) goes for three straight wins at the same distance and she appears strongest of the Euro shippers even facing the boys. GRAND ARCH (1) seems sharp as ever with a spectacular win in a deep field last time out. The 6yo dangerous tracking the pace. TEPIN (7) dominated in the GI First Lady as she leads into the race in top form.

Picks 9-1-7

Race 9: BRODY’S CAUSE (7) won the Breeders’ Futurity when he came charging from the outside and looks like he’ll continue to move forward in today’s event. GREENPOINTCRUSADER (3) overcame a rough break to win the Champagne Stakes and high purchased ($575K) should handle the stretch out suggests his pedigree. COCKED AND LOADED (5) has sharp breezes to be a danger at long odds with his experience and a win at the distance.

Picks 7-3-5

Race 10: GOLDEN HORN (1) exits an impressive performance winning the G1 Arc, and hopes to be the first Arc winner to win a BC race. He should be forwardly placed for another solid trip depending on the turf conditions. BIG BLUE KITTEN (7) makes a big run every time to be feared late in this spot. THE PIZZA MAN (10) just missed in his latest and should be very tough with a race over the turf.

Picks 1-7-10

Race 11: AMERICAN PHAROAH (4) ready to rebound off his last performance with nine weeks rest and sharp works. He could be the controlling speed of this highly competitive field. TONALIST (1) exits his best effort to win the Jockey Gold Cup second time and tough late if he gets good trip from the rail. HONOR CODE (9) has a good chance to improve off his last start. Hopefully the deep closer can run them down late.

Picks 4-1-9
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#296008 - 10/31/15 03:00 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Tom Leach

Race 2/Juvenile Dirt Sprint

(2) Whence is the pick off a much-improved race last time. He showed the ability to rate and then exploded down the stretch and it was a performance too impressive to ignore at 6-1. (4) Sheik of Sheikhs is definitely the one to beat so play both on top in exactas. Exacta part-wheel 2,4 with 2,4,8,10,5

Race 3/BC Juvenile Fillies

(2) Tap to It should improve on the stretchout and with a much better post than the favorite, she's the pick for an upset. Exacta boxes 2-10, 2-1, 2-7, 2-9

Race 4/BC Turf Sprint

(3) Undrafted has looked sensational in training this week and the soft turf will make this race play longer, which will help this colt immensely. Beware of his stablemate (7) Green Mask at a price. Exacta boxes 3-7, 3-2, 3-8, 3-10

Race 5/BC Filly & Mare Sprint

(14) Cavorting has the perfect draw in a race loaded with speed and I think she explodes in the stretch like she did in her 7-furlong race at Saratoga. If she doesn't win, I think (11) Judy the Beauty does. Exacta boxes 14-11, 14-7, 14-2, 14-5

Race 6/BC Filly & Mare Turf

(3) Legatissimo comes off back-to-back grade 1's and she shows strong Racing Post ratings. (6) Queen's Jewel is a price horse that bears watching. Exacta boxes 3-6, 3-9, 3-12, 3-8

Race 7/BC Sprint

(5) Runhappy is in peak form and only a bad break gets him beat. If that happens, watch out for fellow three-year olds (4) Limousine Liberal and (7) Holy Boss. Exacta box of 5-4-7-11

Race 8/BC Mile

(5) Impassable showed huge improvement last time and now goes second-off-the-layoff. Also, he has three wins at a mile. (3) Make Believe and (7) Tepin are strong contenders, too, and I'll also include (6) Tourist in a four-horse box. Exacta box of 5-3-7-6

Race 9/BC Juvenile

(7) Brody's Cause roared down the stretch in his prep win on this Keeneland track and he could even improve in his second try around two turns. (9) Exaggerator and (1) Conquest Big E are others who bear watching off big efforts over this track. Exacta boxes 7-9, 7-1, 7-4, 7-5

Race 10/ BC Turf

(9) Found finished within one length of the favorite back in September and that was on soft ground, so the turf condition could put them close together again. Exacta part-wheels 9,1, over 9,1,10,7,6,5

Race 11/ BC Classic

(9) Honor Code's trainer says his horse has never trained better and Shug McGaughey excels at pointing to spots in the Breeders Cup. I'll bet Honor Code runs down (4) American Pharoah in the final strides. Exacta boxes 9-4, 9-3, 9-2, 9-1

All Stakes Pick 4: 5,3,7,6 with 7,9,1 with 9,1 with 9,4
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#296009 - 10/31/15 03:02 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Ellis Starr

Race #11
Breeders' Cup Classic

#6 Effinex - Fair odds 7/2
#1 Tonalist - Fair odds 4/1
#5 Gleneagles - Fair odds 6/1
#9 Honor Code - Fair odds 5/1

Possible bets: Effinex to win and place (or win/place/show) at 7/2 odds or higher. Tonalist to win at odds of 4/1 or more. For a smaller amount, Gleneagles to win or win/place at 6/1 or more.

Possible exacta box: Box 1,5,6,9 (Cost $12 at the $1 minimum level)
Plus Exacta Box 4,5 and exacta box 4,6 (Combining American Pharoah with Effinex and Gleneagles)

One more possible exacta: 1,5,6,9 over ALL (Cost $32 at the $1 level)
These exactas may be worth the risk if American Pharoah does not finish 1st or 2nd.

Why I am not picking American Pharoah to win the Classic:
There is no doubt that American Pharoah is a special horse, with an extraordinary will to win and the ability to do just that, time and again. He has performed consistently all year, with Equibase Speed Figures of 108, 107, 111, 111, 112, 112 and 110 (even in defeat). Most horses would have tailed off at some point during the year, particularly after what can be the grueling Triple Crown season, with the Derby, Preakness and Belmont run in a five week period at three different tracks. American Pharoah is undoubtedly the best of his crop, and one of the best three-year-olds to come along in a very long time. However, he has never faced older horses as he is doing in the Classic and although a number of three-year-olds have won the Classic, the best of those have at least faced if not beaten older foes before their Classic try. Additionally, the best older horses in the classic have run faster than American Pharoah, with Tonalist (123, 123 and 122 recently), Honor Code (126 and 122 in victory this spring and summer) and Effinex (122 and 122 in his best efforts) all 10 or more points superior to American Pharoah. Even Smooth Roller (115) has run faster. Not only has American Pharoah not exceeded a 112 figure this year, neither too has Keen Ice or Frosted, nor have the latter pair faced older horses until now. For those reasons I don't consider those three year olds as win contenders in this year's Classic.

Main contenders:
Effinex will be my top choice to win this year's Breeders' Cup Classic, and not just because I'm known as a contrarian. He has run very well at the distance of one mile and on quarter, winning the Suburban Handicap in July with a 122 figure that he also earned in March. Effinex won the Excelsior Stakes at the distance with a 122 figure in April so achieving that kind of effort is well within his reach, if I can make the case his last two efforts, both sub-par, are not evidence of his current form. Two back in Woodward Stakes, Effinex was nervous behind the gate and perhaps left his best effort back there as well, then earlier this month when beaten by Tonalist in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Effinex may have had a legitimate excuse as the race was run on a sloppy track. Getting a jockey change to a Hall-of-Fame rider in Mike Smith, Effinex should be racing in fourth or fifth in the early stages, perhaps closer to the pace than Tonalist and definitely closer than Honor Code, so he may have first run on the pacesetters over the other closers, and if he can repeat either his Suburban or Excelsior efforts, he has a legitimate shot to post the upset.

Tonalist gets the ground saving rail for the Classic, as well as John Velazquez, who has been in the saddle for his last four races. The best of those four was earlier this month when winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup by nearly five lengths, earning a 123 figure for the second race in a row and a 120 or better figure for the fourth time this year in five races. There is a bit of concern that the sloppy track aided Tonalist and that since he was beaten by Honor Code in both the Metropolitan Handicap and Whitney, Honor Code may be better, but one difference in this year's Classic is there may not be the hot early pace benefiting Honor Code as it did in those races, while Tonalist may be in a better early position and able to capitalize and get the lead in the stretch before Honor Code gets into high gear, resulting in Tonalist winning the Classic.

About the rest: Gleneagles is a three year old the same as American Pharoah, Frosted and Keen Ice but he's run faster than any of them in terms of speed figures. Winning three important Group 1 races in a row this spring, Gleneagles earned the equivalent of 125, 121 and 125 Equibase figures. His connections thought long and hard about running him two weeks ago on soft ground in England but did so anyway, Gleneagles earning the worst finish (sixth) of his career. Although he has never run on dirt and never raced further than a mile, being a son of Galileo there is little doubt about one of those issues, his ability to run a mile and one-quarter, and in my mind not much doubt about dirt as his dam's sire is Storm Cat, one of the best sires of dirt runners in the past quarter century.

Honor Code prepped for the Classic in the one-turn mile Kelso Stakes earlier this month, closing for third and setting him up nicely for a big effort. He too has never raced 10 furlongs but with a career best 126 figure earned winning the Whitney in August, Honor Code has the ability to compete here. That is, provided he gets some pace to run at as he has been last or next-to-last in the early stages in his last six races.
Smooth Roller earned a 115 figure winning his most recent race, the Awesome Again Stakes, but with only four races to date and not having an official timed workout in two weeks I am taking a stand against him. Hard Aces earned a 102 figure winning the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June which also appears too low to be competitive if repeated in this race.
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#296010 - 10/31/15 03:03 AM Re: Breeders Cup Saturday [Re: FREAK]
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Kim Nelson

Race 2

#2 Whence was such an impressive winner here at Keeneland in his last start. He drew off from the rest of the field and looked like a pro doing it. #2 Banree also a recent winner over the Keeneland main track. She is taking on the boys but do note she broke her maiden here at Keeneland against colts. #5 Dan the Go to Man actually beat Whence here early in the meet over a muddy course. He too poses a threat. #3 Noholdingback Bear was an impressive first out winner and expect him to be running at the wire.

Top Pick #2 with #3, #5, #6 and #7

Race 3

#10 Songbird is hard to look past. She has done nothing wrong in 3 starts winning all three by a combined 16 ¼ lengths. Her early speed should help overcome her outside post and she keeps Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the saddle. #9 Rachel’s Valentina, the darling daughter of Rachel Alexandra, is undefeated in 2 starts. She was a clear winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway last out. This is her first time around 2 turns but this very talented filly should love the distance. #8 Dothraki Queen is the hometown favorite from the McPeek barn. She finished 2nd in the Grade 1 Alcibiades but caught a tough trip that day over a sloppy track. She appears to have much more in the tank and like that she has a race over the track. #7 Nickname exits a win in the Grade 1 Frizette over a sloppy track. She was quite impressive drawing clear in that one and deserves a look here.

Top Pick #10 with #2,#7,#8 and #9

Race 4

#1 Pure Sensation is 3 for 3 at this distance on the grass and 2 for 2 this year. Winner last out with Grade 3 company. If he breaks sharp, he could be very tough in here. #3 Undrafted seldom misses a check while keeping the toughest company going. Draws a good post and will be closing strong and expect him to be in the mix. #5 Lady Shipman is the early favorite bringing several triple digit Beyer figures. She has had a tremendous year with 7 wins in 9 starts and is 7 for 8 at this distance.

Top Pick #1 with #2, #3 and #5

Race 5

#4 La Verdad is 6 for 6 this year and making her 3rd start of this form cycle. In her last she won easily which looks to be a prep for this one. Like her for the win here. #14 Cavorting has won her last 3 starts and has a tremendous closing stride. The outside post could be tough but this talented filly is likely to overcome and find her spot on the board. #11 Judy the Beauty missed as the favorite last out but was coming off a brief freshener. She also got caught on the inside rail in that one and had trouble getting running room. She a brilliant filly and can’t leave her out. #6 Super Majesty is a lightly raced filly but has shown signs of real talent and look for a big effort from her.

Top Pick #4 with #6, #11 and #14

Race 6

#5 Photo Call is making her 3rd start of this form cycle winning her 2 previous. She appears to be getting better with age and like her to bring a career best effort here. #3 Legatissimo is a multiple Grade 1 winner and is your 8-5 morning line favorite. She is experienced at this distance and has a 50%-win percentage. #11 Stephanie’s Kitten exits a win in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl over a soft turf. This is a hard knocking mare that has won over $3 million. Always a threat. #12 Secret Gesture is a regular check getter while keeping Graded Stakes company.

Top Pick #5 with #3, #11 and #12

Race 7

#5 Runhappy has run away with his last 4 races including his upset of the Grade 1 Kings Bishop. If he gets out of the gates first, he looks to be a winner at every pole. #13 Private Zone is a brilliant sprinter with over $2 million in earnings. Outside post not so great but he has a ton of class. #4 Limousine Liberal is a lightly raced gelding but has shown signs of raw talent and expect a big effort.

Top Pick #5 with #4, #13 and #14

Race 8

#7 Tepin was so impressive in her last in the Grade 1 First Lady over a soft Keeneland turf. She looks to be hitting her best stride and looks capable of beating the boys here. #3 Make Believe exits a sharp Grade 1 win in France. The Andre Fabre charge is 3 for 4 at the distance and has 2 Grade 1 wins in only 6 starts. #1 Grand Arch winner of the Shadwell Turf Mile Grade 1 here at Keeneland during opening weekend draws the inside post. The Arch gelding loves this turf course.

Top Pick #7 with #1, #3 and #6

Race 9

#7 Brody’s Cause won the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity here in his last start. Like how this colt worked his way through traffic and stayed focused for the win in that one. Look for a big effort again. #3 Greenpointcrusader exits a win in the Grade 1 Champagne and has since turned in a very sharp work over the Keeneland course. #13 Nyquist is a very talented colt that is undefeated in 4 career starts including 3 Graded Stakes. Post is tough but he is so talented he could overcome.

Top Pick #7 with #1, #3, #5 and #13

Race 10

#1 Golden Horn is the 4-5 morning line favorite. He won the Arc de Triomphe last out and is 7 for 8 lifetime keeping Graded Stakes company. History hasn’t been kind to Arc winners coming in to this race and will try to beat him with the American #10 The Pizza Man. He likes this distance and he is having a tremendous year with 3 wins and a 2nd including a win in the Arlington Million. #9 Found comes over with Aidan O’brien and has over a $ 1 million in earnings. #7 Big Blue Kitten consistently post triple digit Beyer numbers and seldom misses a check while keeping the toughest of company.

Top Pick #10 with #1, #7 and #9

Race 11

#9 Honor Code was so impressive in his Whitney win and the horse has been training lights out coming in to this race. He is battle savvy and can work his way to the front in this very tough field. #4 American Pharoah is the Triple Crown winner and the 6-5 morning line favorite. He draws a good post and can take advantage of his early foot. He has been training like the champ he is preparing for this. #2Keen Ice the only horse to beat American Pharoah this year has also been training so well and have to keep him in the exotics.

Top Pick #9 with #1, #2 and #4
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