Nine Breeders’ Cup champions will be crowned on Saturday at Del Mar! The action commences at 3:00 p.m. EST with the Juvenile Fillies and runs until 8:35 p.m. EST, when the Classic is set to go off. We have analysis of a few of those pre-Classic races here. Don’t forget to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Del Mar Race 7: The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
#2 SENGA (20-1) misfired in the prestigious Prix de l’Opera over a soft Chantilly turf course last time out. This was not surprising based on her previous effort over soft going, where she was also well-beaten. She won the Group I Prix de Diane back in June and has run fast enough to merit consideration here. Though she’s never tried this 1 1/8-mile distance, SENGA has won at various distances from one mile to 1 5/16-miles. Expect her to produce a solid effort over Del Mar’s firm grass under Stephane Pasquier.
#5 WUHEIDA (20-1) has been chasing some of Europe’s best fillies this year and has kept the margins respectable. Her signature win to date, the Prix Marcel Boussac, came over a firm course. William Buick will ride.
#9 LADY ELI (5-2, morning-line favorite) was only narrowly beaten in this race last year at 1 1/4-miles. She’s won her last three starts (three Grade Is) and drilled a bullet for this. It’s tough to find a fault in her form but in such a tough race it’s hard to want to take a short price on anyone. That being said, she’s a must-use in all wagers. Irad Ortiz Jr. maintains the mount.
#6 CAMBODIA (8-1) is a fringe player on the “horse-for-course” angle, as she won two graded stakes at Del Mar this summer. She will have to improve her speed figures though. Drayden Van Dyke remains in the saddle.
The play: $1 exacta box 2/5/6/9, $1 exacta 9/2,5,6, $3 win 2, $2 win 5 ($20)
Del Mar Race 10: The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
#11 BOLT D’ORO (9-5, morning-line favorite) is the likeliest winner of the entire Breeders’ Cup weekend. He won the Grade I Frontrunner at Santa Anita by over seven lengths when last seen, boosting his career record to 3-for-3. If Corey Nakatani can keep the ground loss to a minimum on the first turn from this post, color BOLT D’ORO gone in the stretch.
#2 SOLOMINI (6-1), a distant second in the aforementioned Frontrunner, is better than most of these in the speed figure department, which speaks to just how much BOLT D’ORO towers over his competition. Flavien Prat should be able to save ground on both turns from this post, which will aid his cause.
#6 GOOD MAGIC (8-1) is still a maiden but has placed in both career starts, including the Grade I Champagne. He could easily pick up a minor share once more with his best. Jose Ortiz sees fit to stay aboard.
The play: $6 exacta 11/2,6 ($12)
Del Mar Race 11: The Breeders’ Cup Turf
#3 HIGHLAND REEL (5-1) won this race last year thanks to a bold move by jockey Seamus Heffernan. He opened a large early lead and saved enough to hold off the closers in the stretch. We may not see Ryan Moore repeat those tactics, but he could make HIGHLAND REEL a repeat winner. He’s flopped in his last two over soft courses but in his last three starts on good or firm going, HIGHLAND REEL took two Group Is and placed in another. He’s the one to beat.
#5 ULYSSES (7-2, morning-line favorite) could only manage fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf but is better prepared for his second attempt at the $4 million race. He has two Group I wins as well as a Group III win from six starts this year compared to just two Group III placings in 2016. Two of his losses in 2017 came to the highly-regarded Enable, including the Arc de Triomphe. HIGHLAND REEL has beat ULYSSES in two straight meetings but a win is not out of the question if the pace falls apart. Frankie Dettori has the call.
#7 ITSINTHEPOST (15-1) and #13 SADLER’S JOY (12-1) are the most promising Americans in the Turf. ITSINTHEPOST won two Grade IIs at today’s 1 1/2-mile distance this year and took the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship last time out. However, he owns a discouraging 8-0-3-1 record over the Del Mar turf course. Tyler Baze will be aboard.
SADLER’S JOY finished behind several of today’s rivals in Belmont’s Turf Classic when last seen but that was his only off-the-board performance in seven starts this year. Julien Leparoux maintains the mount.
The play: $5 exacta box 3/5, $2 exacta 3,5/7,13 ($18)
DFJ analysis: John Velazquez has a pair of outstanding mounts lined up for Breeders’ Cup Saturday. He’ll be aboard favored Lady Aurelia in the Turf Sprint before getting on World Approval (9-2) in the Mile. He has seven additional mounts, two of which are at single-digit odds. Just being in these races is tough enough, but lining up several quality assignments can be extremely difficult. Velazquez is set up for relative success this Saturday.
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