Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Breeders' Cup Analysis - Part 2

Breeders’ Cup Filly And Mare Turf
I’m disappointed with the class that Europe has sent over. Goldikova is not officially out of this race at the time of writing but all indications are that she will go in the Mile. That leaves Halfway To Heaven as the only legitimate European in my opinion and makes North America’s chances of winning this race very good. I think the grey fillies are both sitting on big efforts. Wait A While, the Santa Anita specialist and Forever Together, the hard charging late runner, loom as the horses to beat. Wait A While is a personal favorite of mine and has been for years. I would love nothing more than to see her breakthrough and win this. I think it would also be a just reward for her connections who made the unpopular decision to keep the champion three year old in training as a 5 year old. But sentiment can’t be the justification for selection. Wait A While is 3 for 3 at Santa Anita and some of her biggest lifetime efforts have come here. Don’t let the “low” Beyer in her last dissuade you. Her raw time was fantastic but she ran on the same day that Red Giant broke the world record and figure makers use all the Turf times to create a par for that day. In order not to make Red Giant’s figure otherworldly I feel that they trimmed her figure as well. Pace makes the race and the matter of early speed is far from straightforward. Folk Opera might flash some pace as may Halfway to Heaven and Dynaforce but none are committed front runners. All of them seem to only go to the front if it suits them on the day. I don’t like Folk Opera at all I think she’s set for a regression, what we call the Euro bounce. The time to play Europeans is first off the plane. Second time is rarely as successful. Travel takes quite a toll. Dynaforce is not a horse I’ll use. I liked her earlier in the year and she does perform at a high level but I don’t like the way her campaign has unfolded. I think I just really prefer not to use New Yorkers in California at this stage of the campaign. If I was to use a New Yorker it would be Mauralakana. She was all the rage 5 weeks ago now she’s about as popular as a ham at Passover. She’s still quite a filly and if the bettors let her drift she is worth using. Forever Together is the newest sensation in the division. I’m not sure I like her going ten panels but she has a breathtaking late kick. There is some concern about her handling the heat but for me it’s a question of pace and distance. I respect her greatly but I think she’ll have too much to do and her stamina will be stretched. Yielding courses require more stamina and Woodbine is a very testing course even when it’s firm. She hasn’t dealt with yielding ground or Woodbine particularly well. I suspect she’ll come with a run but it won’t have the same ferocity we saw at Keeneland and Saratoga. Halfway To Heaven is a three time European G-1 winner who has never finished worse than third. She even accounted for Passage of Time, last year’s second place finisher, in a 10f event. She has enough speed to be forwardly placed and also has the acceleration to pick up the leaders in a flash. Two weaknesses I may have noted with her is that she isn’t the smoothest around corners and she prefers to be in front of her rivals as opposed to be the one chasing them down. First run will be very important for her especially given the relatively short straight she’ll find at Santa Anita. I prefer my European contenders to have a more recent break than July but at least she got a break. So many of the horses from Europe who flop haven’t had a summer break. Halfway to Heaven has and she, along with Wait A While, will be my choices. Dynaforce, Forever Together and Mauralakana could all run big but I’ll only use them underneath. I don’t really like any of the bombs in this race. I think class will tell and the five I’ve been most focused on are the classiest in the race.

Wait A While
Halfway To Heaven

Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic
Zenyatta stands on top of this field and anyone who handicaps this race has to decide how to use her. She doesn’t seem to have any holes, yes she comes from the back but so far no pace scenario has seen her look vulnerable. It seems like no matter what happens in the first three quarters of the race she still comes bounding to the front with ears pricked. In my opinion no one can beat her if she shows up. At her best she is simply the best and I don’t blame anyone for singling her. We all know that there are no locks in racing, we’ve seen stumbles, traffic problems and injuries affect horses chances. If you really think that one of those things will happen to Zenyatta I think you have to look at Ginger Punch and Cocoa Beach as the most likely alternative winners. Cocoa Beach has never run a bad race and she seems to be really getting over the synthetic surface at Santa Anita. Godolphin are committed to having their horses fresh for the fall and it seems to be paying dividends recently. Cocoa Beach has every right to get better. Ginger Punch might be as high as 6/1 and that would certainly be value. She has lost only twice since winning this race last year and both those races came when she was forced to set the pace. There is more speed in here and she will be able to stalk the pace like she prefers. Her synthetic form is decent and no one can question her toughness. She looks good physically although she’s a totally different type than Zenyatta. She is more slight and athletic like a soccer player while Zenyatta is massive and powerful more like a football player. I think we’ll see those two deciding it between them. I usually like to nominate a horse that non one else would think of and that horse for me is Santa Teresita. Her form doesn’t look good enough but she does look better than Adoration did in 2003. She likes synthetics and will be better suited to the fast pace she should get here. Last time she was forced to keep Hystericalady in her sights, this time she can just go at her own pace and be placed more mid-pack. I think that will see her run an improved race. She was just a length worse than the classy Hystericalady last time. An improved race could put her in the frame. She is also second off a layoff, which is an angle that often sees improvement. Realistically though I’ll put most of my money on Zenyatta in the win spot and very little elsewhere. Although if you want a decent angle that could make money even with a Zenyatta win consider a show bet on the horse you consider most solid aside from the favorite. You can still collect if Zenyatta wins and if the unthinkable happens and she misses the frame you could make a huge score thanks to the very strong support she’ll have in the show pool.



peeptoad said...

I totally agree on Halfway to Heaven... if Goldikova does not run I think she may be the only horse to beat Wait A While. Will have to look at that one a bit more though.

I think Zenyatta may be unbeatable, but who knows what can happen in horse racing? I do like Cocoa Beach as a viable alternative, and I am considering opposing Ginger Punch. I respect her, but to be honest, her last two races have made me think she may be beyond her best for the year. If she is anywhere near 6-1 then I might use her though. I have a feeling her odds may be lower though.

What are your thoughts on Carriage Trail?

Kennedy said...

I think the time to play Carriage Trail was last time (which I did)

I don't like playing horses next out off a huge race like that. There are so many different things that she'll have to deal with and let's not forget that the Spinster was not the toughest field out there. No other entrant is coming to the BC.

Carriage Trail would have to freak out again just to be on par with what we already know Zenyatta is capable of.

God help us if Zenyatta gets better.

Anonymous said...

I was looking at Indian Blessing from 2007 and she was given 13 pts. What does 13 pts mean. Is that
related to the 20-20?

Also, what constitutes a perfect score and is that, for example, related to the points assigned; in this case 13 pts for Indian blessing last year? What is the maximum # of pts a runner could get?


chicago gerry

Kennedy said...

Indian Blessing recieved a 20-20 profile score of 13 for the Juvenile Fillies last year.

A perfect qualifier is any horse who does not have any strikes against them. So 13 factors and 13 points. For each race the maximum amount of pts may be slightly different based on the number of factors. But in most cases its between 10 and 13 pts. There is a perfect qualifier in basically every running so simply look at the highest point qualifiers in each.

Just as a note. A horse's profile score from a previous race means nothing for the future. For instance Indian Blessing was "perfect" last year but it has no bearing on this year. In fact there is no 20-20 profile for the FM Sprint.