Monday, October 22, 2007

Breeders Cup Analysis and Selections - Friday

Filly And Mare Sprint
Without La Traviata this race looked pretty straightforward, now that she’s in the field I still think the result will be straightforward but the prices will be better. The one negative thing about this race is that with all the hype surrounding La Traviata the new Eclipse award for this division would likely be hers if she wins. But she won’t deserve it, Dream Rush is the class and by far the most accomplished horse in the race and even a loss would have her ranked above La Traviata. Dream Rush is still the best horse in this race and an open length victory is entirely possible. Her wins in the Prioress and Test stakes were just dominant from start to finish. Stepping up into older company should not be a big deal as Baroness Thatcher has done well against older and she is streets behind Dream Rush. The pace should be swift with La Traviata and Shaggy Mane in here but I think Dream Rush may sit just behind them for the first 3 furlongs. Shaggy Mane is capable of running a huge race and will be excellent value off her flop on the All Weather surface. Do not be surprised if she and Dream Rush run 1-2 all the way around. I personally think La Traviata is no where near as good as her hype proclaims. I think she’ll chase the speed early and fade. Just because she got one high Beyer Speed Figure in a G-3 doesn’t mean she’s the best thing ever, don’t let the number obscure a proper view of the class hierarchy. Getting back to the speed issue, even if Dream Rush and Shaggy Mane go 1-2 all the way around it won't necessarily be proof of the speed bias everyone is scared of since these are legitimately two of the best 6f horses in the race. There is always the chance of a meltdown or even a poor run from one of the principles so horses like Oprah Winney and Wild Gams will get a look at least for exotics. Oprah Winney is quietly one of the best sprinters in the land. She has lost only twice this year and her best race of the year came at Monmouth. She has speed but in a field like this she should be stalking closely which is probably ideal. Dutrow is very good at getting horses to spots. Wild Gams is the best closer in the race and she is rounding into form. I don't think All Weather tracks are responsible for her good races of late I think it's just a matter of getting into form. She was more than useful over dirt last year and should be flying at the finish. I do no think much of Maryfield, Baroness Thatcher or Miss Macy Sue. All of those horses can beat me, since I would not play this race with multi-race exotics I might just be best off living and dying with Dream Rush although Shaggy Mane does entice off that last poor effort.

Dream Rush
Shaggy Mane

Juvenile Turf
This race is the sole reason why I would not play any Pick 4's or Pick 3's involving the Friday BC races. I don't like this race at all. I would have adored Ibn Khaldun in this race but with his absence I think it's a crap shoot. The Leopard, Prussian, Gio Ponti, Strike The Deal and Achill Island all have claims on the race. The Europeans always have to be respected and Strike The Deal is the best of them. Noseda has already won a BC Juvenile race, but then so has Aiden O'Brien who sends Achill Island. I think Strike A Deal's form is better on the whole than Achill Islands although his record has both good and bad finishes I think he's run up to the form necessary to win this race on 3 occasions whereas Achill Island only showed for good enough in his last and that come over soft ground. The Leopard is a big danger, I loved him after his maiden win at Saratoga and I theorized that once he learned how to run he could be the best horse from this crop. He flopped badly next out and Pletcher swung him to the grass. He laughed off his Pilgrim rivals but will face much tougher competition this time. He will also have to come from off the pace most likely. Prussian had everyone aflutter at Saratoga but his race at Woodbine was less inspiring. I did not see that race as a real step forward, he seemed to be going easily and then when asked he more or less stayed on at the same pace. Visually I didn't think it was a great performance. Briarwood Circle and Your Round have since given him a poor form reference. He might be the freak everyone has predicted but he'll also be a poor price and my fear of him coupled with my dislike of him in this spot is the biggest thing keeping me out of this race. Gio Ponti might be the only horse capable of pulling me out of my sideline stance. He has faced very good competition and has shown a very nice turn of foot in both efforts. His figures have not been big but speed figures are least important on the Turf and it has to be said that no one in this race is particularly fast. Perhaps if he looks good I would advocate something small on him but I think it would be safer just to stay out.

Dirt Mile
Everyone has to come to their own opinion on Discreet Cat. He was other worldly last year and based on that form he would destroy this field, but he has looked nothing like that horse this year. Even now in his final work he blazed a 5f bullet in :57.56 but a lot of eyewitnesses were not pleased with the work. My position is that you can only touch this horse for a price because of his recent form and since he'll likely be 8/5 I think you have to oppose him. I think the pace will be ultra sharp with Gottcha Gold, Wanderin Boy and High Finance. Instead of a wicked speed duel I think the skirmish for early dominance will take place in the first hundred yards and beyond that whoever gets to the front will have the lead. They will likely have to work hard to get there but Gottcha Gold and Wanderin Boy in particular have proven themselves capable of setting a fast pace and rolling all the way to the line. You would think that with such pace in the race that a closer would be a good option but I really don't like any of them. I much prefer the inconsistent but brilliant Corinthian. This horse must be a frustrating one to train. He is dominant or gets dominated with very little warning prior to either result. I think this race will suit him. I think he will like the distance and his best race is good enough to beat everyone else but given his tendencies you would wise to hedge. Gottcha Gold is the speed horse I think I'll use based on his stellar form this year and also over the Monmouth track specifically. I do think the track will play differently in the fall than it does in the summer but he's a tough horse to beat if he gets in front and I personally think he will. The way I see the race playing out is that Gottcha Gold will win the early battle for the lead and he'll run Wanderin Boy and High Finance into the ground. Corinthian and Discreet Cat will be tracking the leading group and turning for home Gottcha Gold will open up slightly as Corinthian gives chase and Discreet Cat is one paced. I see Corinthian wearing down the Plesa trainee in the shadow of the wire but the reverse exacta is something I'd play as well. Park Avenue Ball or Xchanger will likely close for third over a steady Discreet Cat.

Gottcha Gold


Anonymous said...

How do your selections hold up with the prospect of a slopply main track and a good to soft turf course on Friday and maybe even on Saturday?

Kennedy said...

The biggest difficulty of analysing a race a few days out is not being able to adjust to the conditions.

I wrote this analysis prior to the knowledge that the track was likely to be off. Looking back at it know i don't think it changes much. My picks are either unknowns in the mud or they handle it just fine. I would be careful not to change too much based on off track predictions. A) because tracks dry out in a hurry these days and B)because sample size is usually very small, especially with lightly raced horses.

Regarding specific horses on Friday I think the slop might move up Shaggy Mane and Achill Island.