Thursday, November 1, 2012

Battle at the Breeders' Cup: Friday

JUVENILE SPRINT SS: Just not sold on the two likely favorites in the opener. Sweet Shirley Mae has every right to stick it to the boys after a big second to the talented So Many Ways in the Spinaway after checking out of the race in the early going. Training like a monster since gate scratch in the Frizette. Play: $75.

BD: I'm kind of amazed this race didn't draw more horses--think about all the maiden winners out there who would look interesting in this spot. Super Ninety Nine might appreciate the one-furlong cutback and his stablemate who was behind him in their respective debuts was impressive last Saturday. Play: $20.

MARATHON - SS: Why is this a Breeders’ Cup race again? The versatile Juniper Pass sports a graded win going 1 1/2m in the Santa Anita slop, and has also delivered in a grassy graded stakes at this distance last April. Two decent performances since a freshening and lures Frankie to take the mount. Bombs away. Play: $15.

BD: There seems to be a direct inverse between talent and ability to win a marathon race, so I'm not sure how useful traditional handicapping techniques are. I think I watched a replay of Almudena's last dirt race, I think I was looking at the right horse and I think she had a little bit of trouble. Play: $10.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF - SS: Like the majority of Friday’s Breeders’ Cup program, I’m just not in love with anything in this spot. Will swing for the fences with European invader The Gold Cheongsam, who is listed at 20-1 on the morning-line. Reeled off three straight in Britan before a luckless 11th in the prestigious Cheveley Park. Has a seasoning advantage over her rivals making her eighth start here, and stretches to a route for the first time off a decent third in the Tattersalls Millions Trophy. Far from impossible. Play: $25.

BD: Flotilla is my type of European import--a late runner who figures to take to a firmer U.S. style course. I love that both her dam and half-sister came here and won stakes races in their first stateside starts--her dam did it as a 2-year-old in the GIII Miesque S. at Hollywood. Nancy O's sneaky and I can't toss my old pal Summer of Fun for sanity's sake, but Flotilla offers the best value considering how likely a winner I think she is. Play: $200.

JUVENILE FILLIES - SS: Prefer Dreaming of Julia over Executiveprivilege in this East vs. West showdown, but what fun would that be touting a 5-2 shot in this thing? Spring in the Air has been visually impressive in her two wins over the synthetic, ran a bang-up second to her stablemate in her lone grass try in the Natalma, and can make some noise at a price if able to handle the transition to dirt. Play: $50.

BD: Isn't this race destined to completely collapse? Not crazy about the favorites here either, though wish there were more options to oppose them with. Dirt's a bit of a question for Spring in the Air, but it looks like she worked in company with Uncaptured at Churchill Oct. 20, and that colt romped in last Sunday's GIII Iroquois under the Twin Spires. She won't be 15-1, but she'll still offer some value. Play: $100.

F/M TURF - SS: I’ve been on the Marketing Mix train since day one, and I’m not getting off now. Another performance like her dominating win over the course-and-distance Rodeo Drive gets the money here. Play: $100.

BD: I had a hard time separating the European-trained runners, but landed on Nahrain. Her best Euro form from last year matches up with The Fugue's, and I'm inclined to expect some regression for Ridasiyna off her Prix de l'Opera romp. In my mind I seemed to remember that I'm a Dreamer had a tougher trip than Nahrain in the Flower Bowl, but upon further inspection, I think the ground loss Nahrain suffered was far more significant than the minimal traffic trouble I'm a Dreamer had. I'll spread pretty deeply here in the pick four, but Nahrain's my value play. Play: $100.

LADIES CLASSIC - SS: In what may go down as one of the greatest Breeders’ Cup fields ever assembled, I’m shooting for an upset. What’s wrong with Include Me Out at 15-1? The two-time Grade I winner absolutely loves Santa Anita (6-3-1-1), and had no chance of catching Love and Pride after those glacial early fractions over a speed-favoring surface in the Zenyatta. Will have more than enough pace to run at here and is classy enough to hang with the big girls, especially on her home court. Play: $50.

BD: Royal Delta is deserving chalk and one of my favorite horses ever, but she does occasionally run clunkers. Questing should be a clear second choice, but won't be. Her speed is super deadly and her narrow loss to My Miss Aurelia in the Cotillion was due to one of the most anti-speed biases I've ever seen. Play: $300.

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