The Breeders Cup - Day 2 (Del Mar).
So, day 1 is over and we saw some truly remarkable performances. The personal highlight for me had to be MODERN GAMES. Although the confusion prior to the race was a complete farce, the level of the performance was jaw dropping and you'd have to think he is well on his way to the very top.
As far as today's races are concerned, we have an action packed card. With so many races and so many horses, we will just be concentrating on the Grade 1 races and our reviews might not be quite as comprehensive as yesterday. We are still very hopefully of landing plenty of winners though and I am sure Duck HQ will be rocking this evening.
Breeders Cup Filly & Mares Sprint (Grade 1) - Race 4
On paper, the review for this race should be pretty straightforward. The current favourite, GAMINE is a perfect 8 from 8 around one turn, has the best form in the book by some distance, and has the quickest sectionals meaning that she's extremely likely to make the lead. However, the presence of BELLA SOFIA makes life a little difficult as she too has shown vast amounts of speed in her 4 career starts to date and if Saez looks to spoil the party, both horses might end up treading water in the finish. However, in my experience, Bob Baffert has a knack of ensuring that other jockey's don't scupper his plans and whilst the we may see a pace burn up of epic proportions leading to a CE CE win, I think it is more likely that GAMINE just makes all and that Saez looks to hold BELLA SOFIA together with a view to finishing second and picking up a vast amount of prize money.
SELECTIONS: GAMINE/BELLA SOFIA
Breeders Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1) - Race 5
Whilst Race 4 was a relatively straightforward task to review, this contest is a totally different animal. The current favourite here is GOLDEN PAL and whilst I can definitely appreciate the horse's quality and consummate amounts of speed, I just can't see any value in the current price as making all in this contest is not going to be easy! The International Raiders also come into the race with a strong hand via GLASS SLIPPERS, A CASE OF YOU and EMARAATY ANA. The latter is a horse that has always been held in high regard and he is finally starting to show his true levels of form. His win in the Betfair Sprint Cup was a performance of real quality and if he turns up in the same form, he will play a huge part in the finish. With GOLDEN PAL almost certain to set a searching and furious gallop from the off, the ability to get prominent and travel powerfully in behind is going to be a major asset and one horse that will almost certainly do that is, LIEUTENANT DAN. I have been incredibly impressed by this horse, this season. He just seems to have everything you need to win these high level sprints and if Franco can make good use of the draw, get into 3rd or 4th and bowl along, he is going to be in the prime position to strike in the final furlong. Finally, I have to give a mention to the old boy, EXTRAVAGANT KID. At the age of 8 he is unlikely to have the legs to win this but it would be great to see him finish in the top 4.
SELECTIONS: LIEUTENANT DAN/EMARAATY ANA/GOLDEN PAL
Breeders Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1) - Race 6
The starting point in this contest simply has to be, LIFE IS GOOD. I absolutely love this colt! This horse is going to play the ultimate game of catch me if you can tonight and in my opinion, nothing will be able to run him down. His gate speed is lightning fast, his early sectionals are devastating and his finishing kick is unlike anything I've seen in all my years of racing. The only horse likely to have any chance in the finish is, GINOBILI but if he tries to take LIFE IS GOOD on early then forget about it, he'll be dead on his feet before they hit the bend. If his connections are sensible they'll ride to finish second and hope the favourite flops.
SELECTIONS: LIFE IS GOOD/GINOBILI/EIGHT RINGS
Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf (Grade 1) - Race 7
When I was taking a final looking at this race this morning the phrase that kept coming to mind was, 'all's fair in love and war'. I am going to start with Aidan's, LOVE who really is a remarkable animal and it is virtually impossible not to love her. She has got the job done for her team both home and away but does she deserve to be the favourite in this race given the season she's had, I think not. The next horse on our radar is the Japanese raider, LOVES ONLY YOU and she is certainly a horse to keep on the right side of. Her homework at Del Mar since arriving has been spectacular and she promises to be a major player tonight. I just wish that her connections had done the sensible thing and booked a US jockey for the ride, as I do feel that might be the difference between winning and losing for her. We then come to WAR LIKE GODDESS and for me she is also a major player here. She comes into this race having won 6 of her last 7, she is proven at the trip and she has the perfect running style. There is a negative though and that is the jockey but that is just a personal preference rather than a universal negative. As far as the rest of the europeans are concerned, I think AUDARYA will need a career best by some distance if she is to win this race again and whilst I could make an EW case for, ROUGIR, I think this may be a little too hot for her.
SELECTIONS: LOVE ONLY YOU/LOVE/WAR LIKE GODDESS
Breeders Cup Sprint (Grade 1) 3yo+ - Race 8
This race has lost a lot of its intrigue following the withdrawals, which certainly should make the job a lot easier for, JACKIES WARRIOR. The current favourite is arguable one of the best colts in the world, his record is truly outstanding and he is a model of consistency. Looking at the speed profile for this race, he should get an entirely uncontested lead and that is usually deadly over this course and distance. With the rest of the field likely to be fighting out for places this may well prove to be a good race to go hunting for some value tricasts and combination forecasts. I think FOLLOWING SEAS may well get a nice stalking trip off the lead and I also think that CZ ROCKET might run on late in the day for a place.
SELECTIONS: JACKIES WARRIOR/FOLLOWING SEAS/CZ ROCKET
Breeders Cup Mile (Grade 1) 3yo+ Turf - Race 9
This years renewal is a fascinating contest and sadly, it will also be the last opportunity to see SPACE BLUES doing what he does best. The decision by Charlie to step him up to a mile here is certainly interesting and usually I would be more than ready to oppose him but there doesn't appear to be an abundance of pace so he may well end up being in a position to use his devastating turn of foot in the final furlong or so. Looking at the rest of the field, I think the Americans probably have the best chance of getting the job done here. The two horses of major interest are likely to be; MO FORZA and at a big each way price, I also really like the look of IVAR. The draw for the latter horse is likely to pose a problem but he ran better than his finishing position suggests on his last start and this deep closer could well play a part in the finish providing that his jockey can plot a clear path through the race. You will also have to give a positive mention to SPACE BLUE'S stablemate, MASTER OF THE SEAS who is likely to be suited by a truly run America race but I am not sure that James Doyle is riding well enough at the moment to think that he'll be able to pull off a victory tonight.
SELECTIONS: MO FORZA/SPACE BLUES/IVAR
Breeders Cup Distaff (Grade 1) Filly and Mares - Race 10
I have to admit that I usually don't get overly excited about this race and this years renewal once again would appear to be a bit of a damp squib. The field really hold know secrets from each other or the bookies and the market reflects that. The current favourite is, LETRUSKA and I think it is very easy to make a case for her winning this. She has been in flying form this season, she has speed in abundance and she gets Irad in the saddle once again. I guess there might be a slight doubt about the track but it is only very slight and I certainly don't expect it to put people off backing her. The rest of the field looks to be competitive but maybe a little light on class. Barring any unfortunate events, I would expect LETRUSKA to win and she is likely to be chased home by either ROYAL FLAG or SHEDARESTHEDEVIL.
SELECTIONS: LETRUSKA/ROYAL FLAG/SHEDARESTHEDEVIL
Breeders Cup Turf (Grade 1) 3yo+ Turf - Race 11
For the International Raiders, this is the big one. It is arguably the biggest prize in racing and also one of the most competitive races in the calendar. This years renewal is no exception and the withdrawal of DOMESTIC SPENDING has potentially paved the way for the International Raiders to land a 1/2/3. The current favourite is last year's winner, TARNAWA and make no mistake, this filly is going to be extremely difficult to beat. She comes into this race in fine form and she has settled in nicely at Del Mar. There does however have to be a doubt about whether she offers any value given her draw, running style and the nature of the track. The next horse in the market worth considering is TEONA. This filly has always been held in the highest regard and I remember the yard being extremely bullish at the start of the season regarding her chances of winning the Oaks. However, she was far too enthusiastic for her own good early in the year but she is now showing her true potential and there is no doubt that the prospect of a strong pace to chase could bring about even further improvement. I am adamant that she runs a career best tonight providing that the occasion doesn't get the better of her. Sticking with the European contingent, we then have the German raider, SISFHAN and the Godolphin pairing of WALTON STREET and YIBIR. I know a lot of prominent American pundits have recently been making a strong case for SISFHAN and whilst I can understand why, I'm not sure that she can run her best race on such firm ground. If people do fancy here though, it is only natural to also fancy WALTON STREET who has some collateral form with that runner and is much more likely to appreciate the surface. It must however be said that he is without doubt the Godolphin second string. Finally, at a big price, I am going to give a little mention to MOGUL. I think it is safe to say that this horse has been a disapppointment but wouldn't it be typical of Aidan to suddenly turn this horse around on the biggest stage. He does however look to be a long way down the pecking order on jockey bookings.
SELECTIONS: TEONA/WALTON STREET/TARNAWA
Breeders Cup Classic (Grade 1) 3yo+ - Race 12
The final race of the night and as far as the American's are concerned, this is the big one. Usually it is a race that takes me hours to review and unravel but this year it was relatively straight forward! Applying the basic handicapping principles, this is a 3 horse race between: ESSENTIAL QUALITY, KNICKS GO and HOT ROD CHARLIE. Now whilst I could potentially throw the likes of MAX PLAYER into the mix as well, I am pretty confident that the winner comes from the three horses at the head of the market and therefore I don't see any point in trying to be clever. As far as picking the winner is concerned though, that is a tough task. In my mind, I just don't see KNICKS GO being able to wire this field from pillar to post but strangers things have happened. Having formed that opinion though, I am basically left with ESSENTIAL QUALITY and HOT ROD CHARLIE and in the end, I am going to stick with the devil I know ad that is ESSENTIAL QUALITY.
SELECTIONS: ESSENTIAL QUALITY/KNICKS GO/HOT ROD CHARLIE
Hopefully we see some stunning runs tonight. No doubt there will be high and lows but hopefully all the runners and riders come back safe and sound.
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