BREEDERS’ CUP PICKS- SATURDAY

Saturday:

Filly and Mare Sprint, 7:35 pm

1) Groupie Doll 1-1- Likely to be the shortest priced favorite of the day, and deservedly so. Has won her last two starts since adding blinkers by a combined 16 lengths and looks much the best here. She shortens up to 6f, but figures to dominate. 112 Beyer towers over these.

2) Dust and Diamonds 9-2- If there’s any horse to pull the upset here, it might be her. She comes off three straight victories and appears to be improving at the right time, posting a 100 Beyer in her last outing, a 6.5f victory in the Gallant Bloom.

3) Musical Romance 4-1- Last year’s winner hasn’t been disgraced this year but was easily beaten by the top choice in their only meeting and was an easily beaten 3rd in the Gallant Bloom.

Dirt Mile, 8:14 pm

1) Emcee 5-2- I really like the move to run him here rather than in the Sprint, as his closing style should benefit him more here with the added ground and against a weaker field. Showed his stuff with a career high 108 Beyer in winning the 7f Forego and looks primed, begging for more ground.

2) Shackleford 2-1- Has looked off form in his last two, struggling on the mud in a last place finish in the Vanderbilt and fading after setting a strong pace last out in the Vosburgh. He’ll get firm ground and an easy lead here, but his form seems to be trending downward. He does boast a field high 115 Beyer from earlier this year, so any reproduction of that number will romp here.

3) Jersey Town 4-1- Upset winner of the Vosburgh is generally pretty hit and miss, but should get some attention at the windows off of that effort, and wouldn’t be a surprise against a pretty weak field.

Juvenile, 9:36 pm

* There’s a lot of value if you want to try to beat the two favorites here, who certainly look strong. Of you like the favorites as I do, this stillĀ  looks like a good race to structure a superfecta or trifecta wager and throw in a high priced longshot underneath.

1) Shanghai Bobby 3-1- Has been dominant in his last two starts, including a multi-length win in the Champagne Stakes last out in his first effort around two turns, posting a 94 Beyer. Can he ship? If so, the rest are up against it.

2) Power Broker 5-2- Stalked and took over in winning his last race over Grade 1 company on this track while it was favoring speed, posting a 90 Beyer. Surely a contender.

3) Fortify 12-1 – 397 Tomlinson is tops in the field, and he’s the only horse running that won’t be affected by Lasix-off. He finished a flat 3rd last out in the Champagne, but the distance should suit, and he may have an advantage if he can take a step forward.

4) Dynamic Sky 12-1- A little known turf and poly runner that loves to fly at the end. No reason he can’t take to the dirt as well and if he does, look out at these odds.

5) Capo Bastone 15-1- A very live longshot at these morning line odds, as he was able to make up ground on a speed favoring track when finishing 3rd as the favorite last time out.

Turf, 10:18 pm

* With the firm turf likely to play against the Euros, and frankly, with those Euros off form, this might be the year to look towards the Americans in this race. That angle worked yesterday in the Filly and Mare Turf as the Americans took the exacta with a bit of racing luck. I can’t believe Little Mike is entered here instead of the Mile, where he would have had a chance to steal it on the lead. His addition does add a certain unanticipated intrigue in terms of how the pace will play out. Also interesting is Dullahan’s connections opting to run here rather than in the Classic, where I thought he had a strong chance. He’s a total wildcard here but I don’t think turf is his best surface and the distance is still asking a lot…he didn’t exactly fire at 12f on Belmont Day.

1) Point of Entry 3-1 – Winner of five straight races, and has proven himself at this distance. Was compromised by softer ground last out at Belmont and still won the race in hand, and should be primed to take this BC edition back for the Americans.

2) Trailblazer 6-1- Japanese import is an interesting play here coming off a strong, hard-closing 2nd place finish to my choice in the Mile, Obviously last out. He’s been hit and miss at long distances but is a G1 winner in Japan at 11.5f. This is another of many firm turf plays for me.

3) Slim Shadey 10-1- His career high Beyer of 99 doesn’t look competitive here, but he is dangerous for two reasons. For one, he is one of only two true front-runners here, and showed his ability in beating the other, Turbo Compressor, at 10f over this course. He has won 3 of his last 4 at Santa Anita, and you can never discount a front-runner on firm turf.

4) St. Nicholas Abbey 7-2- Defending champ may not take to the firm course this time around, and was dreadful in his last two starts. Still, Euro form always holds up here, but his year may have passed.

5) Shareta 7-2- Facing males is not a new thing for her, but she may be in over her head here and isn’t likeable at these odds. Was not competitive in the Arc last out, although she’s one that probably doesn’t mind a bit firmer footing.

Sprint, 10:58 pm

* I see a very rapid early pace here with the likes of the 3 YOs Trinniberg (106 Beyer) and The Lumber Guy (110 Beyer), and will lean towards the more experienced runners on their home course here.

1) Capital Account 6-1- He might prefer another furlong here, but I think the pace will be hot enough for his closing move to get him into the winners’ circle this time. Beaten a head last out by Coil, he’ll benefit from a central post and can make his move from mid-pack on the pace-setters. 108 Beyer at this distance fits here.

2) Coil 5-1- Rounding back into form following a long layoff, and has really found a niche in this division. 102 Beyer in beating the top choice by a whisker in his last race, can he keep improving?

3) Amazombie 4-1- Winner in this race last year at Churchill looks to repeat over his home track, but if his last race is any indication, he may have lost a step, as he was beaten easily by the top two choices. He does show a competitive 106 Beyer earlier this year.

Mile, 11:40 pm

* This is always one of my favorite races and it usually falls into a closer’s hands, but the lack of pace here leads me in a different direction. It’s always tough to weigh the Euro form against the Americans, but there are good reasons to think the home team can take the exacta here on the firm ground.

1) Obviously 6-1- Front runner could find himself alone on the lead here. He’s familiar with the track and can motor over it, as he proved in a front-running win in the Arroyo Secco, posting a 105 Beyer. Lone speed in a turf race is deadly, and he could benefit from the defection of Little Mike in this race.

2) Wise Dan 9-5- The best miler in the world, but could find himself a bit further off the pace than he prefers. Worth trying to beat at this price in a race like this, but he won’t be off the board. He was managed well leading up to this race and skipped the Classic for it. Posted a 105 Beyer in a dominating win last out in the Shadwell Mile, and was won three straight over the turf at this distance.

3) Excelebration 5-1- Competed with the likes of the immortal Frankel, finishing 2nd to that one and winning a Group 1 Stakes after. He comes off a short two week rest following career best, and will have to deal with shipping to the US and a surface switch.

4) Moonlight Cloud 6-1- Filly has been solid in shorter races showing a strong late kick, but could be in over her head at a mile against these. Only has two career races at 8f, the rest shorter, beaten 4th by Excelebration two back.

Classic, 12:30 am

* Lots of tough horses in here for America’s richest race. I expect a decent amount of speed, and will look to the closing horse for the course for the win.

1) Ron the Greek 6-1- Might be the most tested and successful horse at this distance, as many of the other favorites are great at 9f but suspect beyond. His win at 10f in the Santa Anita Hcp merits a long look, and he overtook some solid horses at 9f in winning the Stephen Foster at Churchill. He needs a pace to run at, but he should get a reasonable one behind the likes of Fort Larned, Game on Dude and To Honor and Serve. Horse for the course, and I do love me a closer at 10f in a race this contentious.

2) Game on Dude 9-5- The undisputed champion of the 9f distance, 4 YO has been successful at 10f as well, often fading, but stays close to home to put a stamp on a potential Horse of the Year Honor. He was caught late by Dullahan at 10f in the Pacific Classic, but that was over polytrack, and was 2nd in this race last year at Churchill. Expect him to take them most of the way, but at these odds, he’s worth trying to beat for the win at a distance slightly more than he wants. Still a must use in all wagers.

3) Flat Out 5-1- My pick last year, but he just isn’t the same away from Belmont. Still, he’s one of only three true 10f horses here, and I expect him to move forward from his 5th place finish last year. He’s been steadily impriving throughout his 5 YO season and will be moving late. A must use.

4) Richard’s Kid 12-1- Old-timer is always moving late, is a true 10f horse and is familiar with the track, being west coast based. Probably not good enough to win this late in his career, but he always gets up for a piece. Perhaps the surest bet of the day is that he hits the Superfecta.

5) Fort Larned 5-1- Dynamite at 9f but questionable beyond, and has been a bit testy and inconsistent at times.

6) Mucho Macho Man 8-1- His closing 3rd place in last year’s Kentucky Derby nothwithstanding, I’ve never believed him to be a true 10f runner, and his low Tomlinson Distance number support that analysis. He didn’t show much punch down the lane when beaten in the Woodward by To Honor and Serve (8-1), and that horse is certainly in the wrong race here.

7) Pool Play 30-1- This is a great play for underneath in exotics. He is a pure closer that always fires. In over his head here, but crashing into the Trifecta isn’t impossible following his surprise win in the Hawthorne Gold Cup.

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