Breeders’ Cup Saturday Picks and Analysis

Posted November 6, 2020 by The Enthusiast
Categories: Uncategorized

4- FILLY AND MARE SPRINT (7f)

This is a race that over the years has seen many upsets from off-the-pace runners, and this year shapes up in a similar manner with two heavy favorites that prefer to be on the lead. GAMINE is the shortest priced morning line favorite on the card Saturday for Bob Baffert on the strength of her blazing victory in the 7f Test Stakes at Saratoga (108 Beyer, 109 Brisnet) and 8f win in the Acorn at Belmont (110 Beyer, 109 Brisnet). Those speed figures tower over this field, but she enters off long layoff following a 3rd place finish as favorite when stretching out to 9f in the Kentucky Oaks. She’s had the lead early in all of her wins, and may be a bit surprised when she can’t keep up with a faster, more experienced filly to her outside and looks like a vulnerable favorite to our eyes. The Brisnet Late Pace figures look good, but that’s likely because she’s gotten away with relatively easy leads (:22.2 and :22.3 in the aforementioned wins), and has never had to run an opening half faster than :45.0. SERENGETI EMPRESS has been a monster at 7f in her last two starts, setting lightning fast fractions on the lead (:21.3, :21.4/ :43.3) and holding to win and finish 2nd. The speed figures aren’t quite as high as the favorite (98 Beyer, 104 Brisnet), but the eye test indicates that this is her ideal distance as she has proven the ability to have a lot left in the tank late in races at this distance even after setting hot fractions; draws outside all of the other speed and is a must use as a win candidate. As a result of these two as well as VENTETIAN HARBOR likely hooking up early, a fast pace is probable which could set up well for and favor some closers.

Two horses for the course fit that bill best. BELL’S THE ONE bested SERENGETI EMPRESS by a whisker last out at this distance in the Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs from off the pace (97 Beyer, 100 Brisnet) and has two wins in four career starts at Keeneland. She enters this in top form and having posted three straight triple digit Brisnet Late Pace figures looks like the best of the closers to our eyes. We were on her last time and see no reason to jump off of her now at a track she clearly loves and with a pace scenario that sets up similarly, if not even more advantageously. From the inside, SPEECH cuts back here after running mostly at 8.5-9f races and has a win at Keeneland in the 8.5f Ashland to her credit (101 Beyer, 104 Brisnet). She’s designated as a Brisnet “E” but doesn’t project to run that way after sitting just off the pace and exploding down the stretch in the Ashland. It’s notable that she ran within a nose of the favorite in an 8.5f optional claimer back in May and will be about five times the price while saving ground all the way around. COME DANCING was our selection in this race a year ago, which didn’t work out well when she ran a non-threatening 6th. She returned to form a bit when finally winning her last at 6f (102 Beyer), but was no match for SERENGETI EMPRESS two back as it seems like her best days are behind her; this will be the final start for the six-year-old mare. For deep underneath, SCONSIN isn’t impossible to support if the race completely falls apart as she has the highest average Brisnet Late Pace Figure in the field (107). SALLY’S CURLIN ran a 107 Late Pace last out when 3rd at 7f and deserves mention as well, but will need to recover three lengths on the top two selections, and it will be difficult to run into a pace much faster than the one she saw that day.

The value here lies in trying to beat the favorite on the top line, so we’ll use just three here to start off multi-race wagers.

Picks:
1) Bell’s The One 6-1
2) Serengeti Empress 3-1
3) Speech 6-1
4) Gamine 7-5

5- TURF SPRINT (5.5f)

Always the wildest race to handicap of the entire Breeders’ Cup, we remind ourselves every year not to spend much time or bankroll in this spot as it is simply so difficult to predict. The rule of thumb is to focus on success at the track and at the distance, but even those angles aren’t foolproof. Nevertheless, that strategy points immediately to LEINSTER, who has three wins and a second at Keeneland all coming at this distance, most recently in the Grade 2 Woodford (103 Beyer, 101 Brisnet). Luis Saez retains the mount from that effort and gets a great post right in the middle of a large field where he can sit up close just off the pace. There isn’t a whole lot to knock with this horse based on his current form lines and success at the track, so let’s not overcomplicate things. Our selection in last year’s race was IMPRIMIS, who was charging late at the shorter 5f distance to finish 6th, beaten just four lengths. Barring an absurd disqualification when he crossed the finish line first in the 5.5f Troy, he’s won both starts since. His one win at Keeneland came last year and he isn’t quite as laser focused at 5.5f as LEINSTER, but fits right in with that one in terms of figures (103 Beyer, 101 Brisnet). We’ll give him another shot this year to be right there at the end. OLEKSANDRA makes her first start since June when she knocked off the boys in the 6f Jaipur at Belmont (101 Beyer, 96 Brisnet) and won twice at this distance in 2019, including one at Keeneland. Daughter of Animal Kingdom likes to come from way off the pace, has the best closing kick in the group and should have plenty to run into in this full field. Joel Rosario stays on board.

GOT STORMY cut back from her typical 8f distance this year and won over this course and distance last out (101 Beyer, 97 Brisnet), lands as the lukewarm morning line favorite off of that effort and holds a massive Brisnet Prime Power advantage based on her previous form. We aren’t sure we want her at those odds in a new niche, but she would certainly be no shock. BIG RUNNEUR draws the rail but wants the lead, and has won all three of his starts this year at 5.5f at Santa Anita including the Grade 2 Eddie D (97 Beyer, 96 Brisnet); he could take them a long way if he breaks well. BOMBARD was actually ahead of IMPRIMIS last time at the 5.5f mark of a 6f race over a softer turf course and is intriguing here on the cutback (102 Beyer, 99 Brisnet). Europeans haven’t done well in this race since its inception but the filly GLASS SLIPPERS has class, gets first time Lasix and could make an impact if she handles the firmer ground.
In terms of betting, this race should be your smallest investment on the day, as it is simply such a crapshoot. In terms of multi-race structuring, you’d need to go 6-7 deep to feel comfortable and might lose anyway. With an obvious horse for a course and one dominant closer, we will use just two on top.

Picks:
1) Leinster 4-1
2) Oleksandra 12-1
3) Imprimis 4-1
4) Big Runneur 12-1

6- DIRT MILE (8f)
Notably, this race will be run over two turns and projects into a fast pace according to Timeform, but we view this a bit differently as the race contains only one Brisnet “E” designation. That’s the sharply improving KNICKS GO, who has turned into an absolute monster since switching to the Brad Cox barn, winning his last two races by a combined 17 lengths (107 Beyer, 110 Brisnet). Those beaten were optional claimers so the son of Paynter takes a massive step up in class here but as we learned last year with Spun To Run, ignore the fastest colt in the field at your peril. The most recent of those wins came at Keeneland and he cuts back slightly from that 8.5f win; will take a lot of beating here, class leap or not. Favored COMPLEXITY owns the highest Beyer in the field at this distance for his score in the Kelso at Belmont (110 Beyer, 109 Brisnet). He got a pretty easy setup that day and figures to contest a hotter pace here, but the main question will be the two turns, as his worst career effort came at Churchill Downs over that configuration. We would much prefer using the suddenly forgotten ART COLLECTOR, who might have been the second choice in the Kentucky Derby had he not defected with a minor injury. His soundness comes into a question a bit here after a total no-show last out in the Preakness, and the mile distance may be a bit sharp for the son of Bernardini, but the talent and class is certainly there for Brisnet Prime Power selection. MR. FREEZE runs third off the lay for Dale Romans and has races to fall back on that would certainly put him in the mix and cuts back following a win in the 9f Fayette over this track, although his speed figures have fallen off in his last three races relative to his early year form.

Who knows what to do with WAR OF WILL, who figures to be near the pace but switches back to dirt after seemingly finding his niche on the turf for connections that don’t seem to have a well thought out plan for this colt. RUSHIE has a triple digit Beyer from earlier in the year but lost to ART COLLECTOR by 8 lengths when that one was in top form. OWENDALE has a win at this distance but is probably better going longer and will be up against it into the short turn coming out of post 12. SILVER DUST probably fits better here from a distance perspective at his price, but hasn’t been able to get past OWENDALE. Then there’s MR. MONEY, who had been a disaster this year before finally winning the Grade 3 Ack Ack at this distance in his last. SHARP SAMURAI switches from turf to dirt and is a total wildcard. One could do worse than supporting PIRATE’S PUNCH, who enters off of back to back victories amongst Grade 3 company while boasting triple digit Brisnet speed figures (100, 105), although he was behind SILVER DUST twice earlier in the year.

We have knocks on most of these, and the angle is to prioritize two turn runners cutting back in distance. This seems like a race that you could actually single, but it would really hurt to not be live to the classiest colt in the field. Roll two deep here and save bankroll for later; there’s value fading the favorite.

Picks:
1) Knicks Go 7-2
2) Art Collector 6-1
3) Complexity 2-1
4) Mr. Freeze 6-1

7- FILLY AND MARE TURF (9.5f)

This race has been run at so many different distances over the years, but 9.5f is particularly odd. It seems too short for some, too long for others, and perfect for no one, so the puzzle lies in finding the runner that it fits best. To put that in perspective, the two morning line favorites both fall into the scenario where this distance splits the difference between their ideal trips. Chad Brown has dominated this division for years now, and he has the favorite RUSHING FALL, who has done nothing wrong in winning all three of her starts this year, but has never raced beyond 9f. Winning 11 times in 14 starts is nothing to scoff at of course, but it is notable that her higher speed figures have come at distances shorter than 9f. On Breeders’ Cup Day, one has to look to beat vulnerable favorites, and this looks like a fairly obvious one who might have had a big shot in the Mile race in the vein of Tepin. She did defeat a favorite of ours, MEAN MARY, when those two battled it out over 9f (102 Beyer, 96 Brisnet). MEAN MARY figures to be the leader here and is an absolute beast when put in that position, but is arguably better going a bit longer than this and being allowed to set softer fractions than will be required for an easy lead at this distance. The extra half furlong does give her the edge to turn the tables on the favorite in our view, however, and this pace does not figure to be very fast. MEAN MARY is definitely still a win candidate even short of her ideal distance simply because of the fact that she could end up lone speed and is a proven winner in that scenario. SISTERCHARLIE has been an all-world mare over the last two years, winning this race two years ago before an amazing 2019 campaign that culminated in an upset Breeders’ Cup loss last year. She’s tough to support here after finishing behind the top two last out and seems to be in declining form, but if anyone can get her back into form in this spot, it’s Chad Brown. The other Chad is her half sister MY SISTER NAT, and she almost certainly needs more ground than this. CIVIL UNION bested her over the last two, but is another that probably needs a longer run to produce her best race.

Given the questions in terms of distance for all of the Americans, might a Euro shipper be better suited? There are three getting first time Lasix, and of them, TEREBELLUM appeals most. John Gosden doesn’t mess around shipping his turf runners, and this one is well-aimed after racing at 8f races all year which look to be short of ideal after posting a Group 2 win at 10f over a firmer turf course earlier in the year. Even her best 8f race shows a higher RPR than any of the Americans (118), so if you think added ground will be to her advantage, look out. She appears overlooked based on these odds after failing to win her last three, but those all came over softer ground, and she’s won both starts over firmer turf at 10f. AUDARYA is a Group 1 winner at 10f (114 RPR) and actually ran just a length behind the highly regarded Tarnawa (who would have been favored here) last out at that distance. The main question with her is how she handles the footing, as some of her best efforts have come over boggy turf, although she has won over synthetic as well. Three-year old PEACEFUL looks like more a miler but receives a weight break and has upside (113 RPR at 8f). CAYENNE PEPPER does not receive Lasix but has kept classy company, but probably needs more ground than this 9.5f trip and also draws the widest post of all (115 RPR).

There’s not much chance the top selection holds anywhere near her morning line, but she will represent value nonetheless. Adding potential lone speed on turf is always wise as well.

Picks:
1) Terebellum 20-1
2) Mean Mary 7-2
3) Rushing Fall 5-2
4) Audarya 12-1

8- SPRINT (6f)

To preface, this is without question to weakest edition of this race in its history, so the potential for a chaotic result is very high, as there isn’t much separating the favorites from the longshots in terms of speed figures. The trends of this race say to never bet a horse on the lead, as only 2 of the last 22 have been won wire to wire, but boy does YAUPON look like lone speed after his stablemate Nashville opted to race earlier in the day and morning line favorite Vekoma scratched after a wide draw. Son of Uncle Mo is 4/4 this year at races all coming at this distance, and is a Grade 2 winner (101 Beyer, 104 Brisnet). This colt has never trailed at any call but steps up in class here, and may have picked a good year to do it because there doesn’t appear to be much other speed signed on. DIAMOND OOPS might make the most sense of all entering off a win at this track and distance in the Grade 2 Phoenix (99 Beyer, 102 Brisnet) following a win at 5.5f over turf. We don’t want a deep closer in this race given the likely pace scenario, but Flourent Geroux can keep this versatile gelding in touch with the pace in mid-pack, and there don’t appear to be too many better ways to go here. EMPIRE OF GOLD was only ¾ of a length behind that one over this course in his last and looks like an overlay at his morning line odds, especially considering he has the next best early speed behind YAUPON. The only other that figures to show speed is the filly FRANK’S ROCKETTE, who opts for the shorter race versus running against the girls, but looks in over her head in terms of speed figures (93 Beyer, 97 Brisnet). CZ ROCKET is the “now” horse but simply looks slower than the top contenders in a super slow race (97 Beyer, 98 Brisnet) given his likely odds, but has won five in a row including one over this Keeneland track, so that has to count for something.

The rest of this race is a mess. WHITMORE makes his fourth start in the event, is seven years old, drastically off form and is a deep closer who literally has no penis. FIRENZE FIRE loves Belmont but has never been able to duplicate the form he shows at that track anywhere else, and is probably better suited to one turn miles despite winning his last at 6f over a very weak field. Deep closers COLLUSION ILLUSION and HOG CREEK HUSTLE looked like live longshots before all of the speed disappeared. The “other” Asmussen is ECHO TOWN, who has upside as a lightly raced runner who has tactical speed and can finish, but also has tables to turn.

Picks:
1) Diamond Oops 8-1
2) Yaupon 7-2
3) Empire of Gold 30-1
4) CZ Rocket 7-2

9- MILE (8f)

There are so many ways to go in what is arguably the deepest race on the entire Breeders’ Cup card. Runners on the lead have not fared well in this race over the years, as a pacesetter as not won in the last 20 editions, and 13 of the last 20 have been won by horse worse than 6th at the 1/2 . HALLADAY looks to be the speed of the speed and is a toss for us as a result. The fastest horse in the field is probably FACTOR THIS off the of the 110 Beyer (116 RPR) he earned when winning at 8.5f last out. He should be able to sit off of the pace a bit from an outside post and as a speed type may benefit from the slight cutback in distance following a 7-5-1-1 campaign at distances all beyond 8f, and has a win at Keeneland as well. Chad Brown holds a strong hand here with three runners all in with a chance to win. Of the three, DIGITAL AGE is preferred most cutting back from 9f to 8f after running down FACTOR THIS in his last (105 Beyer, 112 RPR). He has won at a mile before and should get enough pace again to run into here. UNI won last year’s edition of this race from well off the pace but hasn’t looked quite the same this year and looms a likely underlay. She finally got back on the winning track in her last but it bears mention that the Beyer that she earned in that race (99) would have been her worst race of 2019. Still, her 8/11 record at the distance is hard to ignore, and it is certainly notable that Joel Rosario opts for this mount instead of her stablemate RAGING BULL. That one drew poorly and will start widest of all out of post 14. He has the feel of a somewhat forgotten horse and can win this on his best day, but seems to always find trouble and would need a lot to go right, so the post didn’t do him any favors. IVAR figures to be somewhat of a lukewarm favorite coming out of a win in the 8f Shadwell (104 Beyer, 99 Brisnet, 116 RPR). He’s a versatile type than can be tactically placed or come from way out of it, but the feeling here is that last time may have been the time to be on him- he still has never earned a triple digit Brisnet Speed Figure, but did run a full second faster than UNI did over this course and distance in his last. We will oppose them both for the win.

A group of strong Europeans join the fray in a race that in recent years has been kinder to Americans, but the tables may turn this year on the strength of their class and the fact that the draw seems to have done them a lot of favors. CIRCUS MAXIMUS was favored in this race last year, and wasn’t disgraced when finishing 4th over a rock hard surface at Santa Anita that he likely wasn’t accustomed to. All five 2020 starts have come at this 8f distance, and while only one has been a win, they’ve all come against Group 1 competition in France and Britain. Son of Galileo figures to save some ground just off the pace and makes a lot of sense in this spot as a value play given his morning line odds; the 123 RPR he earned four races back when 2nd in the Sussex is the second best in this field at 8f, although those figures have been in decline over his last three races. Even more intriguing is the four-year old KAMEKO, who owns the field high RPR at the distance for his Group 2 win in the 8f Shadwell Joel (125) last out, and began the year with a British Group 1 win at 8f back in June. He had excuses after a rough trip when 4th three back, beaten by two of today’s foes, has shown ascending figures over his last three starts and has three RPR numbers at 120+ at 8f this year. Those figures seem somewhat towering in this spot and if you draw line through his tough trip and the two races he ran at distances far beyond this, he looks like the most logical winner.

If we like CIRCUS MAXIMUS we have to like the three-year-old SISKIN at least a little bit, who was only a half length behind that one in the Sussex (120 RPR) and only a length behind him in his last, and has a Group 1 win in Ireland, although it’s tough to see him turning those tables and there is concern about his focus at the gate. The 7-year old SAFE VOYAGE is in solid form at the moment, but is stretching out from 7f to 8f, which isn’t an angle that has been very successful in this race. He does have a Group 2 win at 8f from two back over firmer ground (119 RPR) but in such a deep field, our tickets will have to go without him.

In summation, we’ll take the two top Euros with Group 1 wins in France and Britain over the two Americans cutting back off of wins, and will use all four to start the Late Pick 4 since we will use a single in the next.

Picks:
1) Kameko (6-1)
2) Circus Maximus (12-1)
3) Digital Age (8-1)
4) Factor This (8-1)

10- DISTAFF (9f)

A showdown looms between the queen of the older distaff division and the undisputed champion three-year old filly. MONOMOY GIRL appears to be back in form this year after being sidelined for 2019 following her nearly flawless campaign as a three-year old, winning all three of her starts this year. Incredibly, this mare has faced 101 competitors over her 14 race career and has beaten 100 of them. She simply knows how to win and the feeling her is she has been pointed to this race since her return and hasn’t shown her best race yet, although her speed figures already stack up near the top of the field (104 Beyer, 111 Brisnet). She draws outside of the speed and should sit a great stalking trip; we expect her to peak in this spot and is the most likely winner on the card Saturday. Her main competition comes from SWISS SKYDIVER, who upset the boys in the Preakness Stakes (105 Beyer, 109 Brisnet) and has quite simply put together an incredible campaign, winning 5 times in 9 starts. It has to be mentioned that her placement here seems a bit strange, as the longer distance of the Classic would arguably suit her better as her two best career races have come beyond this 9f distance, and a win there would have put her squarely in the discussion for Horse of the Year. So, the decision to run her here instead doesn’t exactly exude confidence from the connections and the reports from Churchill haven’t been great in terms of her physique. She’s still the main threat to the favorite, but in a race like this we can’t use both short prices in multis, so we will take a hard stand with MONOMOY GIRL as the winner.

Looking for some longer shots to fill out the exotic slots, VALIANCE appears to offer the most upside in her third start on dirt. She won the previous two after posting triple digit Brisnet speed figures in both after switching over from turf, and figures to progress off of her last when she won over this track and distance in the Spinster (96 Beyer, 103 Brisnet). From a class standpoint, HOROLOGIST looks awfully good coming out of a win at 9f in the Beldame (102 Beyer, 101 Brisnet) where she defeated today’s foes POINT OF HONOR and DUNBAR ROAD by 3 and 5 lengths respectively; she’ll have tables to turn on the top selection, however, as she was 4.5 lengths back in the 8.5f Molly Pitcher in July. OLLIE’S CANDY and CE CE have traded blows this year, but the former has posted three straight triple digit Brisnet speed figures and was just beaten ¾ of a length by VALIANCE in her last, while the latter has been in a form decline over her last three.

Again, from a wagering standpoint it doesn’t make sense to use two low priced runners on top here- as a bettor, you simply have to take a stand one way or the other. If you’re dead set on using two, make the second one a longshot. We will take a firm stand with MONOMOY GIRL as a single and key, noting that we used the same strategy with Midnight Bisou in last year’s race only to hit the other three legs of the Pick 4. That’s a result that smart bettors learn to live with, however, versus doubling the cost of their ticket, as we wouldn’t have had the winner of last year’s race either way.

Picks:
1) Monomoy Girl 8-5
2) Valiance 12-1
3) Swiss Skydiver 2-1
4) Horologist 8-1

11- TURF (12f)
The home team looks decidedly up against it in this year’s edition of the Turf, as a strong Euro contingent makes the trip across the pond carrying solid Group 1 form. The Aidan O’Brien filly MAGICAL was our pick two years ago as a three-year-old, and she gave the winner Enable all she could handle when 2nd in that race, and would have been our selection in last year’s race if her connections had opted to make the trip. She carries Racing Post Ratings at 10f that make her dangerous here (123), but hasn’t raced at this distance since last year when 5th in the Group 1 Arc de Triomphe and when 2nd in the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks (123), and hasn’t won at this distance since 2018. There are two Group 1 winners at 12f in this field that might offer a bit more value. One filly that would seem to have no problem with the 12f distance is TARNAWA, who has won all three of her starts this year with improving speed figures while flying from off the pace, including a Group 1 win at the distance two back in the Prix Vermeille (116). She appears to have strong upside to improve upon that figure as she gets first time Lasix for Dermot Weld, who opts for this spot against the boys instead of an easier race in the Filly and Mare Turf; that says a lot in our view. MOGUL is another that is experienced at this distance, having raced at 12f all five times in 2020. Aidan O’Brien trainee took a huge step forward in this last when winning the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (122), and was flattered when the 2nd and 3rd place finishers in that race ran back to finish 2nd and 4th in the prestigious Arc de Triomphe. Three-year old son of Galileo receives a weight break from the rest of this field and also gets first time Lasix, but has yet to face older horses. Rounding out the main Euro threats is LORD NORTH, who figures to enjoy the firmer ground at Keeneland, as his worst career races have come on soft turf, including a 10th place finish last out at Ascot. He has tables to turn on MAGICAL, who bested him in their last two meetings, and it is fair to wonder whether 10f is a more suitable distance. However, John Gosden trainee owns the best Racing Post Rating (126) heading into this and gets first time Lasix.

UNITED lit up the board in last year’s Turf, finishing 2nd at 50-1 and destroying many an exacta. The waters look quite a bit deeper this year, but he figures to contest the pace and has done nothing wrong over the course of a 2020 campaign that includes four wins and a place in five starts out west. ARKLOW is a hard trier who appears to be in form off of a win at this distance over soft turf last out in the Kentucky Cup, but lags behind on RPR figures (109) and appears an overlay at these fairly silly morning line odds. If we are forced to use an American we would lean towards CHANNEL MAKER, who could get away with an easy lead and is in the top form of his career as a six-year-old, winning two straight at this distance with Beyers that tower above the home team (consecutive 108s).

Picks:
1) Tarnawa 6-1
2) Magical 5-2
3) Mogul 4-1
4) Channel Maker 5-1
5) Lord North 8-1

12- CLASSIC (10f)

The two fastest horses in a solid edition of the Classic according to both Beyer and Brisnet are TIZ THE LAW (109, 115) and TOM’S D’ETAT (109, 112). TIZ THE LAW enters fresh for this just as he was when he won the 10f Travers in arguably the year’s single most dominant performance, instead of off shorter rest as he was when surprisingly defeated in the Kentucky Derby as the heavy favorite. On his best day, he’s the best horse in the race at this distance, so it’s really a matter of deciding whether or not he can regain that Travers form. We’re betting that the extra rest does the trick and that Barclay Tagg avenges Derby Day with an even larger purse score. While TOM’S D’ETAT has never raced beyond 9f, there’s reason to believe that the added ground will work in his favor, as he incredibly has posted six consecutive triple digit Brisnet Late Pace Figures. A remarkably consistent type, he’s also earned nine straight triple digit Brisnet Speed Figures dating back to May of last year. Before stumbling at the start of the Whitney (won by today’s favorite IMPROBABLE) as an even money favorite in his last, he’d won four straight races including one at Keeneland. There’s a lot to like here for a horse that seems likely to be overlooked and runs fresh off a 90+ day layoff. He has a charging win over IMPROBABLE at a shorter distance, so are we really to believe he will be twice the price of that one simply for stubbing his toe?

Bob Baffert not surprisingly holds a strong hand here, and any of his three have the credentials to win this race. MAXIMUM SECURITY has never finished worse than 2nd in 13 career starts (winning the Kentucky Derby by open lengths and then being wrongfully disqualified doesn’t count in our eyes). In his only other career start at 10f, he was also victorious in the Pacific Classic two back (107 Beyer, 106 Brisnet). He disappointed in his last race when beaten easily at 9f, but had chased a fast pace and may have been in prep mode for this that day. The previous six races before that one had all been wins. He seems better suited to the 10f distance than the favorite, evidenced by their respective showings in last year’s Derby, and there’s reason to believe those tables could be turned here as he draws outside of the primary speed. IMPROBABLE was 5th as our Kentucky Derby pick last year and has certainly done nothing wrong during his 2020 campaign, clearly maturing while winning his last three starts including one at this distance, although the quality of the field in that Gold Cup at Santa Anita is fair to question (105 Beyer, 108 Brisnet). The 117 Brisnet Late Pace earned when winning the 9f Whitney catches our eyes, although he didn’t do really do much of the dirty work up front in that race. The feeling with him following last year’s Derby dud has been that he is more of a 9f type than a true 10f runner, but he’s admittedly improved by leaps and bounds this year. We won’t split hairs over these two though, and will use them in equal strength beneath the two top selections. Kentucky Derby winner AUTHENTIC (105 Beyer, 104 Brisnet) ruined all of our tickets that day when the son of Into Mischief dug deep and wired the field after setting rapid fractions, but couldn’t hold off the filly Swiss Skydiver last out in the Preakness. With older, more talented foes likely to add greater pace pressure today than he saw in the Derby, we’ll bet his pedigree catches up to him as it appeared to do in the Santa Anita Derby and Preakness Stakes, and will again play against him on the top line
GLOBAL CAMPAIGN is likely to contest the pace and was impressive winning the Woodward at this distance. Son of Curlin can be competitive late as a candidate for minor awards. BY MY STANDARDS doesn’t seem to be one that would benefit from stretching out to 10f in this spot (he was a well-beaten 12th behind two of these in last year’s Kentucky Derby), but it bears mention that he’s also posted six straight triple digit Brisnet Late Pace Figures at shorter distances since. TACITUS has really leveled off this year but is the kind of horse that seems to never win but always hit the board, and is another that contested last year’s Derby, finishing 4th. He’s usable to spice up the bottom of exotics.
If we are still alive in the Pick 3 at this point, it would be a shame to not have several of these live on a ticket. There is always the option to hedge with a win bet on AUTHENTIC if the price is right, but since he’s the Baffert we least prefer, he doesn’t quite make the cut here for the top line. We’ll use him underneath in trifectas only. Overall, we’re playing this Classic very similarly to how we have played the last two Derbys, hoping for some revenge.

Picks:
1) Tiz The Law 3-1
2) Tom’s D’Etat 6-1
3) Maximum Security 7-2
4) Improbable 5-2
5) Authentic 6-1

Tiz The Law with Manuel Franco up wins the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, NY 8.8.2020