Friday, October 23, 2009

Breeders' Cup Top 5

This is the last installment of the Breeders' Cup Top 5 for the Female side. I had already posted my last run down for the male side just in time for Rail Trip (my #1 Classic horse) to be removed from consideration. I'm not going to go back and edit that list but Rip Van Winkle now becomes my #1 and Summer Bird moves back onto the list at #5. The pre-entries are released next week so the next time we talk about these races it will be as we actually handicap them.

October 23rd

Ladies Classic
1. Zenyatta (1)
2. Music Note (2)
3. Careless Jewel (3)
4. Mushka (4)
5. Life Is Sweet (new)

Dropped: Icon Project (5)

Sadly the time came to drop Icon Project from the list. A few weeks ago she was my number one pick for the race but physical issues have basically seen her removed from consideration.

It's the Breeders' Cup so few things are as simple as they look on paper but Zenyatta and Music Note, the 1st and 3rd finishers from last year, look like they're set to have another big match up and all the rest will have to perform well above themselves to compete.
Careless Jewel and Mushka both have talent while being a bit below the standard set by the top two. Careless Jewel is more of a danger because of her speed but the hard closing Mushka could easily hit the board with the right pace and trip.

I've decided to add Life is Sweet to the list at #5 as a replacement for the ailing Icon Project. Really only Cocoa Beach and Lethal Heat got my attention as alternatives for the final spot. Both of them defeated Life is Sweet last time but I think Life Is Sweet is truly a better horse than either of them. She ought to put up a better performance second time off the layoff and realistically the extra sixteenth of a mile will help her. She needs all the ground she can get to run down those leaders.

Filly and Mare Turf
1. Midday (2)
2. Forever Together (3)
3. Pure Clan (4)
4. Rutherienne (new)
5. Dynaforce (new)

Dropped: Dar Re Mi (1), Gozzip Girl (5)

I'm taking a risk and dropping Dar Re Mi because at this stage I only like to list horses for one race and Dar Re Mi is among my top 5 horses for the BC Turf. I think she'll go after that spot instead of this one but she clearly could win this race.

Gozzip Girl has also been removed from consideration because she simply is no where near as good as I supposed she was.

I never thought I'd be going after a habitual loser like Rutherienne but with the defection of Dar Re Mi and the less than invincibility of Forever Together one begins to realize that it may not take that much to be a huge contender here. I really respect Clement as a conditioner and I'm not really fazed by her lack of experience at the distance. Intercontinental didn't look solid at the distance either. She's fresh and in good form. She'll handle the distance and she ought to run very well. The big question with her is can she get over her habit of losing? Her last race suggests that she can.

The lack of depth in this division is nearly enough to make me reconsider my stance on Magical Fantasy. Nearly. I was more drawn to the eastern pair of Dynaforce and Criticism. Criticism is a horse that fully requires added distance. I think she is even better at 11 and 12f than she is at 10f. Quicker horses seem to have more of an advantage even at 10f. Whereas Criticism wants to suck the life out of her rivals with a long and steady gallop. I think a sharp pace down the hill at Santa Anita won't exactly suit.

I settled Dynaforce for my last spot. She ran poorly in the Flower Bowl but she threw a shoe that day and the ground was an absolute bog. She is not the most consistent horse out there but on her best day she's a really good one. She was definitely a better horse last year but I think she could still have a good race in her. She crossed the line 8th in last years event but she didn't have a good trip. She actually got completely shut off in the stretch and had to steady. She still got a 98 Beyer for that. That's equal to Magical Fantasy's best work.

I obviously don't have much respect for the western Turf fillies because I like a European and four Easterners. I suppose time will tell if that bias is misdirected.

Filly and Mare Sprint
1. Ventura (1)
2. Informed Decision (2)
3. Indian Blessing (3)
4. Sara Louise (4)
5. Carlsbad (5)

Not much to add about this division. I think these are the right horses to consider and I don't see much hope for any others. Perhaps a European like Sweet Hearth is a much better horse than I think but I'm not counting on it. She would have to move up quite a bit on form to win this race.

Sometimes a surface does move a horse forward but there is nothing to indicate that Sweet Hearth or the other European Only Green are good candidates for that wager.

Juvenile Fillies
1. Always a Princess (1)
2. She Be Wild (2)
3. Blind Luck (3)
4. Beautician (5)
5. Negligee (new)

Dropped: Awesome Maria (4)

It's too bad Awesome Maria is not coming. I like her as a horse and as a candidate for this race but she won't win a race she's not entered in so we move on.

It came down to Negligee or Devil May Care for the last spot. I went for Negligee for a few reasons. First, she has run around two turns while Devil May Care has only gone around one turn.

The second reason is that she managed to beat She Be Wild whom I rate very highly. Devil May Care beat Awesome Maria whom I like but I think She Be Wild is a better horse right now. That's why I have her at #2 while Maria was #4.

The third reason is the pace. I think the pace might be hot in the Juvenile Fillies and I prefer a horse that can close as opposed to a pace presser.

Recent maiden winner Connie and Micheal is creating a stir because of her 95 Beyer Speed Figure earned at Keeneland but I still think that McPeek's best chance lies with Beautician. It's very hard for big figure maiden winners to step forward after a major performance in their career debut. I think class counts for something and Beautician has class. Ken McPeek said it best himself. Beautician already showed that she's good enough with her performances at Saratoga. The race at Keeneland was to see if she'd stay and if she'd handle the track. I think the answer to both is yes. Her finishing position does not indicate a lack of ability it was really just a result of a poor trip.