By Ed Meyer
Is it really 2012 ?? - I can remember sitting in my dad's living room watching the first Breeders' Cup in 1984. There was no simulcast wagering in our area, and the ADW explosion had yet to detonate. So, we were wagering with our local bookmaker, and watching history unfold before our very eyes.
This day is all about ladies, and there is great value to be had as we kick off day one. A few notes to keep in mind. Santa Anita has a traditional dirt surface, and the last time they held the Breeders' Cup it was a synthetic oval. The favorites are 79 for 237 races, and there have been 20 winners that were extreme chalk that made it to the winner's circle.
Race #5 - $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon - 1 3/4 - 4:46 p.m. ET
The average payoff in this three-turn race has been $37.50 to win. With that in mind, here are some contenders that warrant a closer look:
#7 - Not Abroad (5-1) = Nick Petro in the saddle for his brother Michael. He won the Maryland Million Classic impressively, and by all accounts should relish the distance.
#1 - Atigun (9-2) = Mike Smith aboard for Ken McPeek. McPeek had a dismal Keeneland meet where he usually fights it out for winning trainer. This colt is a downtown closer, and Smith is still one of the best money riders in the sport.
#10 - Eldaafer ( 8-1) = A very nice A.P Indy colt, and he has sired two B/C winners in 2001, and 2010. Speedy sort who may be able to track the speed, or dictate the pace from flag fall to finish.
#6 - Calidoscopio (8-1) = Argentine-bred, and has the service of Aaron Gryder today. Relishes the distance, and should enjoy the scenery on this day.
Race #6 - The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies - 1 mile on the turf - 5:28 p.m. ET
This race has been a friend for New York invaders, and Woodbine runners. No California based trainer has taken down the race, and the average payoff has been $22.30 to win.
#5 - Spring Venture (5-1) = Patrick Husbands gets the ride for Mark Casse who has some very nice runners this year. She is 3/3 with wins at Woodbine, and her last victory over the poly track may have tightened the screws to ensure a top effort.
#1 - Kitten's Point (12-1) = Rafael Bejarano in the saddle for Graham Motion. This daughter of Kitten's Joy tipped off the rail last out at Keeneland to be bested by a dirty nose at the wire. She is far out closer, and Bejarano may know the track better than anyone.
#3 - Sky Lantern (3-1) = Richard Hughes up for Richard Hannon. Winner of the G-1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland. She is 5/5 ITM on the turf, very hard to leave her out.
#6 - Watsdachances (4-1) = J.J. Castellano in the irons for the talented Chad Brown. Nice winner last out at Belmont in the Ms. Grillo, and is 4/4 ITM on the green.
Race #7 - The Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies - 1 1/16 - 6:08 p.m. ET
Favorites win 61% in this heat, and the average win price is $16.11. This race has a footnote for Julie Krone, as she became the first female jockey to win a Breeders' Cup race.
#2 - Executiveprivilege (2-1) = Bejarano and Baffert team up, and they win in bunches at Santa Anita. She is 5/5 with wins, and it is hard to knock her efforts to date. This race plays well for gals winning their last race, as 9/10 have exited the winner's circle.
#1 - Beholder (5-2) = Garrett Gomez gets the nod for Dick Mandella who really comes loaded for the big day. She is 1/1 over the track, and may be tough to catch if she can get the lead.
#8 - Kauai Katie (3-1) = Rosie Napranik in the saddle for Todd Pletcher, and she is 3/3 with wins. She will be on the lead, and the two turn effort will be her acid test.
#3 - Spring in the Air (15-1) = Patrick Husbands gets the call for Mark Casse, and this gal has the look of something special. If the pace gets too salty on the lead, I am looking for her to come rolling like thunder.
Race #8 - The Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf - 1 1/4 on the turf - 6:48 p.m. ET
#4 - The Fugue (GB ) (7-2) = William Buick has the call for John Gosden, and that barn has saddled four B/C winners. This gal gets first time lasix, and her late kick will bring chills to your arm. If you get 7-2, bet early and often...
#10 - Ridasiyna (Fr) (4-1) = C.P. Lemaire is the saddle today. She exits a victory in the Prix de' l Opera Stakes at Longchamp in France. 4/5 with wins over the turf, and her races look to be pointing to a huge effort.
#11 - I'm A Dreamer (8-1) = Richard Hughes is the pilot, and she won the G-1 Beverly D at Arlington Park. She seems to enjoy the United States, and the lasix is a plus. She gets the frequent flyer award as her last three races have been in Ireland, Chicago, and New York. After each race, she went back across the pond to prepare. Rider switch from Hayley Turner, and they very consistent on the big days.
#9 - Marketing Mix (9-2) = Garrett Gomez aboard for Thomas Proctor. Team Proctor knows how to get ready for turf events. She is working well, and exits a G-1 victory at Santa Anita in the Rodeo Drive Stakes. 1/1 over the oval, and 3/3 ITM at the distance. Looks to be a player today.
Race #9 - The Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic - 1 1/8 - 7:30 p.m. ET
There is plenty of speed in here, and for me, it looks like only one gal stands out above the rest.
#6 - Royal Delta (9-5) = Mike Smith up for Bill Mott. Team Mott has saddled back-to-back winners with Royal Delta and Unrivaled Belle in this race. His gal had a minor injury on the flight, and they said "it was like a small abrasion that would happen to any athlete." She was scary good in the G-1 Beldame at Belmont winning impressively. I think she should stalk the speed, and pounce at the 3/8'ths pole. I am hoping Mr. Mott can make it a triple with this race.
Use her in exotics with = #4 Questing (4-1) who has measured speed, and #2 My Miss Aurelia (4-1) who is undefeated. #5 - Awesome Feather (3-1) is a quality lady, but I have to question the four races in a two year clip to keep her from being a threat.
Best of luck with day #1 of the biggest weekend in racing, and remember the best is yet to come !
All year long, race fans watch the best of the best do battle. Saturday is the test that determines who is etched into the history books. So, the stage is set, the weather will be beautiful, and it is now post time !
Race #4 - The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf - 1 mile on the turf - 2:50 p.m. ET
#5 - Fantastic Moon (12-1) = Very nice colt by Dalakhani, and trainer Jeremy Noseda is a fine horseman. Three races for this two-year-old, and has one clunker where he steadied badly in the Royal Lodge.
#8 - Balance the Books (8-1) = Chad Brown brings this baby to post, and he has a had a very good year. 2/2 in New York, and brings his "A" game to California.
#6 - Dundonnell (4-1) = Lightly raced, and trainer Roger Charlton has this two-year-old hitting on all cylinders. 4/4 ITM on the turf.
#10 - Joha (6-1) = His sire Johar is no stranger to the turf, and I am looking for an up close trip off of the poly tune-up.
#9 - Noble Tune (6-1) = Chad Brown has a colt that is two-for-two, and I don't think we have seen his best to date.
Race #5 - The Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint - 7f - 3:35 p.m. ET
Buff Bradley has a monster here. The way she fired off a win at Keeneland in the Thoroughbred Club America going 6f made me a believer. This is her third off a layoff, and that is a gambler's note. Her last two works have been bullets, and I think she is fit and ready. #9 - Groupie Doll (1-1) =
Use her with: #8 - Musical Romance who won this race last year at Churchill Downs, and #10 Switch who comes from the barn of John Sadler. Oh, and don't leave out #6 - Turbulent Descent from the Pletcher barn. She was a beaten favorite last out, and is 4/6 at 7f with wins.
Race #6 - The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile - 1 mile - 4:14 p.m. ET
#5 - Fed Biz (6-1) = Bob Baffert looks to bring this Giant's Causeway colt to a 3/3 Santa Anita win clip. Cuts back from 1 1/16 to a two-turn mile, and there is plenty of speed. A stalking sort, and if Shackleford gets a little leg weary. It could be a big Baffert day !
#6 - Shackleford (2-1) = Dale Romans is an excellent conditioner, and this guy has speed to burn. Last year at Churchill, it was a one turn mile, and they closed down the lane. It is a short run into the first turn, and if he gets it all his way. This race is for place.
Race #7 - The Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint - 6 1/2f on the turf - 4:57 p.m. ET
#10 - Corporate Jungle (6-1) = Chad Brown brings this Giant's Causeway colt to post. Makes his second off a layoff, and the barn wins 28% on this move. He just worked a bullet at Belmont, and the cutback in distance will give him gas in the tank to be a late factor.
#13 - Unbridled's Note (5-1) = I really loved the way he scored at first turf asking in the Eddie D. Steve Asmussen may have a monster in the making, and that is good enough for me.....
#1 - California Flag (6-1) = Brian Koriner has a horse-for-the-course. He is 6/8 at Santa Anita on the turf, and draws the rail. Talamo was aboard in 2009 in this race with a win, and I am expecting some early foot that wants to go the distance.
#11 - Mizdirection (20-1) = Mike Pupe brings this filly against the boys, and she is 2/2 over the Santa Anita turf. Add in that she is 8/8 ITM on the green, and there may be an upset in the making. If she does score, there will surely be a monster payout.
Race #8 - The Breeders' Cup Juvenile - 1 1/16 - 5:36 p.m. ET
#9 - Power Broker (5-2) = Bob Baffert is tough on his home-court, and this colt by Pulpit destroyed the field in the G-1 Front Runner Stakes.
#7 - Capo Bastone (15-1) = John Sadler brings this colt by Street Boss to post. He is as tough as a nickle steak, and has the abilty to fly from the clouds. If he benefits off his last, he will be tough at a price.
#4 - Shanghai Bobby (2-1) = This colt by Harlan's Holiday has been the talk for the youngsters. 4/4 lifetime, and my only question is if he can handle the other speed, and go two turns with this tough field.
Race #9 - The Breeders' Cup Turf - 1 1/2 on the turf - 6:18 p.m. ET
#1 - Point of Entry (3-1) = Shug McGaughey has a monster here, and he is looking to make it 6-in-a-row. Usually the Europeans are the talk, but this year is a bit softer from across the pond. 4/4 going a 1 1/2, and Shug likes his chances.
Use with: #4 - Treasure Beach who won the Irish Derby, #3 - St. Nicholas Abbey who won last year, and #9 - Dullahan who could be sitting on a big race for the Dale Romans barn.
Race #10 - The Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint - 6f - 6:58 p.m. ET
This is by far one of the toughest races to handicap, but the nod goes to runners who are California based. They have won 5 of the last 6 runnings.
Box up: #2 - Jimmy Creed (6-1), #4 - Coil (5-1), #7 - The Lumber Guy (6-1), #8 - Capital Account (8-1), and #11 - Amazombie (4-1).
Race #11 - The Breeders' Cup Mile - 1 mile on the turf - 7:40 p.m. ET
#6 - Excelebration (2-1) = Aidan O'Brien brings this turf monster to the states. If you look at all of his recent races, you will see the name of the super-horse Frankel. Gets first lasix, and the Europeans have won 4 of the last 5 B/C Mile races at Santa Anita.
#2 - Wise Dan (9-5) = This guy has been on his "A" game quite awhile for local trainer Charles Lopresti. You have to root for him, and his recent efforts have been sparkling.
Race #12 - The Breeders' Cup Classic - 1 1/4 - 8:35 p.m. ET
#5 - Game On Dude (9-5) = Rider Mike Smith owns this race winning twice in the last three years. Bob Baffert made a rider switch from Chantal Sutherland who is now retired from the saddle. There is not a bevy of speed that can comprimise his chances, and he is undefeated at Santa Anita.
Use him with: #4- Fort Larned (5-1), #8 - Nonios (20-1), #10 - Ron the Greek (6-1), and #12 - To Honor and Serve (8-1).