Breeders’ Cup Saturday offers nine races worth at least $1 million that will go a long way in deciding this year’s Eclipse Award winners. Here’s my look at a pair of Breeders’ Cup races that will go off at Santa Anita before the main event; the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
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Santa Anita Race 9
The Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf
Purse: $4 million
Conditions: 1 1/2 miles on turf
#4 FLINTSHIRE is a vulnerable 5-2 morning-line favorite. Evaluating him purely on his 1 1/2-mile form, I don’t find him to be a ‘super-horse.’ He beat a soft field in last year’s Sword Dancer, then defended his title successfully this year but might have lost if not for the perfect trip Javier Castellano gave him. Runner-up MONEY MULTIPLIER found traffic trouble throughout and was closing late once free. FLINTSHIRE’s effort in Belmont’s Turf Classic, a distant second to #3 ECTOT, demonstrates that he is indeed beatable. Granted, the race came over a yielding going which he won’t get on Saturday, but he and Castellano did have to sacrifice some ground in order to make their run and simply came up short.
#10 FOUND (3-1), last year’s winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf, could pull off the minor upset. She’s had a demanding nine-race campaign overseas for Aiden O’Brien this year, but has answered the bell each time. In fact, she seems to be thriving on the extra work. Running against some of the best in the world on turf, FOUND has won two races and completed the exacta six times in those nine starts. She and Ryan Moore should be rolling late.
#12 HIGHLAND REEL (3-1) is only 1-for-7 this year for O’Brien but has kept spectacular company. However, two of his losses this year have come to FOUND. I can’t see him turning the tables, but he’s a factor for a piece under Sean Heffernan.
The value of the race could be #6 MONDIALISTE at 15-1 under Daniel Tudhope. He’s been flying late in both his starts this year, winning the Arlington Million at 1 1/4-miles while settling for fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile. The extra distance could be just what the doctor ordered for this son of Galileo.
US-bred #9 MONEY MULTIPLIER (20-1) intrigues at a big price with John Velazquez taking over. As mentioned above, MONEY MULTIPLIER was arguably best in the Sword Dancer earlier this year. Toss his last as he obviously didn’t care for the yielding turf.
The play: $4 exacta 10/4,12, $3 exacta 10/6,9, $2 exacta 12/10, $2 win 6,9 ($20)
Santa Anita Race 10
The Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
Purse: $1 million
Conditions: 7 furlongs on dirt
#2 HAVEYOUGONEAWAY is the deserving favorite at 3-1 after a fantastic year that saw her rise from the NY-bred level to graded stakes company. She won her most recent race, the seven-furlong Ballerina Stakes, over #9 PAULASSILVERLINING after closing into a modest pace. HAVEYOUGONEAWAY is John Velazquez’ choice over PAULASSILVERLINING (whom he won the Gallant Bloom with last month) and is my choice as well.
#8 CARINA MIA (7-2) is a logical alternative with Julien Leparoux in the irons. CARINA MIA hasn’t won in three starts since June, but two of those losses came to the brilliant Songbird. However, she failed as the favorite in the Ballerina, settling for third behind HAVEYOUGONEAWAY and BY THE MOON. Perhaps the change in venue will alter the outcome, but I wouldn’t invest too heavily on her in the win column.
#6 BY THE MOON (8-1) has raced only three times this year but owns a solid win in the Bed o’ Roses and was a game runner-up to HAVEYOUGONEAWAY in the Ballerina last time out. Certainly eligible for a share under Jose Ortiz.
#9 PAULASSILVERLINING (10-1) was a mediocre fifth in the Ballerina but that effort seems like an outlier compared to the rest of her form. She’s won going seven panels this year (the Distaff at Aqueduct) and was very strong in winning her last start in the Gallant Bloom. She and Joe Talamo could take this field a long way up front.
The play: $3 exacta 2/6,8,9, $3 exacta box 2/8 ($15)
DFJ analysis: John Velazquez ($10,000) is poised to add to his 13 career wins in the Breeders’ Cup with HAVEYOUGONEAWAY in the Filly & Mare Sprint. He also has a good chance to pick up checks with MONEY MULTIPLIER in the Turf, Syndergaard in the Juvenile, and Undrafted in the Turf Sprint.
Julien Leparoux ($9,000) could also have a big day on Saturday. He has four mounts at 5-1 or below in odds in the Breeders’ Cup races, including CARINA MIA in the Filly & Mare Sprint and Tepin in the Mile.
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