I’m sorry to say that time (plus a new Android machine running Polaris Office, which I don’t understand) has beaten me, and I’ll not now be able to post my full thoughts on the Breeders Cup.
The full truth is that I have yet to formula all my thoughts, and will have to pick and choose my races rather than wagering through the card as I usually do, such are the time constraints.
Anyway, if that’s the bad news, then there is at least some good news in the shape of some pointers which I’ll share with you here. These are generalist but I also have specific race by race trends / profile fits as well.
With the long-winded apology out of the way, let’s get to the Breeders Cup 2012 info.
Southern Californian horses can be expected to out-perform raiding parties in almost all dirt (main track) races. If you’re planning to back East Coast horses (those racing typically from Bel(mont), Sar(atoga) and Mon(mouth Park)), then my advice is to demand decent odds on them.
Those who have raced at SA (Santa Anita) previously, or other West Coast dirt tracks, have ‘home’ advantage, and history bears out the significance of this. It’s not like here in UK where a horse from Newmarket goes 200 miles to race at Haydock. In US, New York to Los Angeles is 2500 miles!
There are also big weather differences, even when there hasn’t been a horrific storm in one of those areas, and I contend that this is a material fact when considering betting shorties from the East Coast of US.
The European raiding party can be expected to perform well (hopefully very well) on the grass, and history shows we have chances in all of those races (except, strangely, the Juvenile Fillies Turf, which seems like a race made for a Euro). But we’ll struggle to win dirt races – that’s not going to stop me backing Fame And Glory for small money in the Marathon!
I’ve written about the Santa Anita Breeders Cup track bias here. If you’re getting properly involved and don’t know about the course make up, you really ought to read that piece.
And there is a link to the full profile grids for all 15 Breeders Cup races. I’ve not been able to copy them into the blog due to time/technology constraints (I’ve been pulling my hair out over this, and it’s incredibly frustrating and mildly embarrassing: for that I apologise).
But you can download the Breeders Cup trends grids here. [Note, again it is with apologies that I cannot support you if you’re unable to download/open this. I am on holiday at the moment, and had well-meaning notions of being able to add more value than I have actually been able to do.]
Friday Thoughts overall
While I cannot go into the detail I’d have liked (some will be relieved!), I do have some thoughts on the races, and they are as follows.
This looks a match between Merit Man and Super Ninety Nine, who have something in hand over the rest. I had a very good bet on Beholder, whose connections decided a race in which she patently won’t stay was a better option than strolling home here. Very frustrating. However, chucking good money after bad, I’ve sided firmly with Merit Man and backed him for a decent amount too.
He’s a SoCal (Southern Californian) wide margin course and distance winner in a good time, who can track the pace and gallop on. He showed strong progression from his debut to his only other run, and has plenty more improvement left.
Super Ninety Nine has clear improvement too, and this New Yorker ran faster than Merit Man when comparing their debut runs. But MM has home advantage, has run faster, and may only need to run up to the level of his last start to win.
The one other worth a second look is Hazardous, who was a big improver when switched from synthetic to dirt, and is also a course and distance winner. If the front two waver, he’ll be staying on good and strong.
This has a look of chaos about it. Fame And Glory is the class, but he ran a fortnight ago at Ascot, and there are some reservations both about his application and ability to handle dirt. I think they’re blinkering him for the first time too. He could win but I’ll be asking for more than 5/1 on the tote if I’m to have a tickle.
In a race with very little pace, there could be a dozen horses all trying to get a run turning into the short straight. That spells hard luck stories, and there will be plenty.
If you must bet in this (I’d advise not doing so), then demand a price. The ones worth a second look to my eye are Calidoscopio, Not Abroad, Romp, Worth Repeating, Sense of Purpose (Dermot Weld) and Juniper Pass (Frankie rides).
In the Pick 3 bets, I’ll be using almost all runners across A, B and C lines (if you know what that means).
Juvenile Fillies Turf
The most obvious race for Euros at the meeting (except the Turf perhaps) and yet we’re still waiting for a winner, or a second place I believe.
Big chances this time, with Sky Lantern representing the highest Euro form ever pitched in here, if you take her Moyglare Stakes win literally. She’s short enough, and could win, but I’ll be looking for value somewhere else, and Ralph Beckett’s Waterway Run might get an easy lead and save something for a burst fort the wire. She’s a nice enough price.
Of the US squad, Flashy Ways is a bigger price than perhaps she ought to be, and may go close.
The place where Beholder has landed and, frankly, in my opinion she’s got no chance and her connections are idiots. They turned down a strong prospect of winning half a million dollars (and winning me a few too!), to run in a contest where she is extremely unlikely to last out the trip.
Kauai Katie is also a stamina doubt, and may duel with Beholder for the lead. That looks like setting things up for a later running type, and Executiveprivelege may be held back a bit this day. If she is, she’ll probably win.
Of mild interest at a bigger price is Spring In The Air, who needs to translate turf/synth form to dirt (which many horses cannot do). Her level of form on those surfaces does make her competitive here, and she comes from far back in a race potentially bulging with early speed. She could whizz by them all IF they go super quick and IF she handles the dirt. At a price, it might be worth chancing.
Filly and Mare Turf
Looks good for Europe, though I’m not sure which one. The Fugue has an obvious chance, but she’s a short price and doesn’t have a lot in hand over the likes of Nahrain and I’m A Dreamer. Those two – the former was second in this last year and won the Flower Bowl last time out; the latter won the Beverly D at Arlington earlier in the year, and wasn’t beaten far in the Flower Bowl – are better prices, and I’ll be backing Dreamer each way.
I sat next to jockey Laura Pike on the way over to LA, and she’s leading up I’m A Dreamer in the preliminaries, so I wish them all well. My wager is based on a perception of value rather than a new found allegiance however. Money is money! 😉
Ridasiyna should of course not be written off either, as an easy winner of the Prix de l’Opera, albeit on an equally easy surface. This firm turf will be a different game (she has won on firm).
I’ll be very, very surprised if Europe don’t win this one. And disappointed too.
Royal Delta is a worth enough favourite, and she has a good chance of repeating last year’s win in the race. However, she won’t get it all her own way, in what is likely to be an attritional race.
Questing and Love and Pride will likely go at it hammer and tongs from the start, and that will mean no hiding places for the rest. The one of interest against/as well as the favourite is Grace Hall.
She’s run a couple of big races this year; can track a strong pace; fully stays these nine furlongs; is a SoCal filly; and may still be improving as a three year old.
The amazing Awesome Feather is in here too. This lass brings a Frankel-esque ten race unbeaten streak into the race. That streak includes the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies of 2010, and the 2011 Grade 1 Gazelle Stakes. She’s only had two starts this year, winning both of course, and putting eleven and a quarter (take that, Frankel!) lengths between herself and the runner up last time.
The Feather is 5/1 with youwin, but a general 4/1 chance. I love winners and would be happy to see her win as a consequence. In a race where I’m likely to split my stake between her and Grace Hall, I’ll be hollering for an eleventh straight win.
My Miss Aurelia looks a lay to me at 5/1. I just can’t see how she can beat all three of the above named. She’s an out of towner, has yet to record a 100+ speed figure where the others have multiple fast notches (and this WILL be quick), and frankly I think she’s a very false price based on her own six race unbeaten streak.
I will TRY to bring my thoughts on Saturday’s card, but I make no promises. There will be betting, beer and socializing for me so in truth it’s unlikely I’ll be able to add more to this piece. I wish you well for tonight, and I hope you win Saturday too.
Do leave a comment below and let me know what you fancy.