2014 Breeders Cup Classic Analysis

HRS Breeders Cup Coverage

This year’s Classic is tough.  While I believe it isn’t the most difficult race, it has a lot of talent, both young and old.  California Chrome returns to California for a chance at the top title; Shared Belief tests his undefeated streak in the toughest race of his career; Bayern tries to prove he can go the distance and give Baffert another Breeders Cup title, and his first Classic; Candy Boy tries to get past that second spot; Zivo wants to show that he can fit in to this group; Toast of New York wants to show his skill on dirt; Footbridge wants to give Godolphin a win in this spot; V.E. Day wants to break the curse of the Travers; Tonalist tries to win big outside of Belmont; and Mike Smith tries to get win number 4 in the Classic.  In this race, speed up front will be the key.  California Chrome, Shared Belief, Moreno, Tonalist, and Majestic Harbor all like the front.  A fast enough pace could kill Moreno and Majestic Harbor’s chances.  The other three shouldn’t be too winded by the turn for home.  California Chrome, however, could get weary on the stretch from this.  Shared Belief has proved to stay the pace no matter what, so there shouldn’t be a problem there.  Tonalist will be there, but not as strong in the end.  Of course Bayern should be near the pace, but I don’t expect him to go right to the front.  Baffert learned in the Travers that Bayern can’t stay the mile and a quarter from up front.  Keep him back a little.  He should be off just on the turn for home.  Imperative and Prayer for Relief will try to test the pace and push the leaders.  But neither has enough class to get by near the end.  Then behind them will be Toast of New York, a mid-pack stalker.  He has been very good on synthetic and has been one of the closest to beating Shared Belief (and the closest of the horses in this race).  The question is with his dirt skill.  Toast of New York’s sire, Thewayyouare was 4 for 5 on turf; however, his progeny this year have done well on dirt in the US, finishing in the money most of the time.  Dirt will not be a question for this horse, in fact, I see him improving with the dirt.  In the back of the pack will be Zivo and Candy Boy.  Candy Boy is the obvious better closer and has shown his prowess at Santa Anita in the spring.  His return to the course will only help, but the Classic has not been kind to closers, so while the course may help, the race may not.  Zivo, on the other hand, has been stepping up in class over the past few races.  After 5 straight wins, and 6 of last 7 in New York company, he stepped up to face graded winners and beat them in the Suburban and then ran a closing 4th in the Whitney and a close second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  Zivo has done well to step up.

Now, there is the picture.  How will that picture factor into who will win?  I see three horses coming down the stretch unscathed by the race, the undefeated Shared Belief, the foreigner-turned US racer Toast of New York, and the New Yorker Zivo.  Shared Belief and Toast of New York will be dueling like in the Pacific Classic.  With just barely a half of length between them, Zivo will be fast closing.   Of course one of the two dueling horses will come out on top and the other will fall to second.  Zivo won’t catch either of them, but will be strong enough to finish in 3rd.  My projected finish: Toast of New York over Shared Belief over Zivo over Tonalist to round out the super.  Good Luck, and may this Breeder’s Cup bring many joys!

EDIT: A horse I would watch out for is Cigar Street.  When I was originally looking at him, I saw him a cut below this group.  It wasn’t until I saw his workouts that I was struck with confusion.  This horse is definitely not a cut below, and is one to watch.  I am including him in my exotics.  Cigar Street may through a wrench into this race and could come at a price.  Expect this years exotics to pay huge!

PICK 6 Ticket:

  • Turf Sprint: No Nay Never, Undrafted
  • Juvenile: The Great War, Daredevil
  • Turf: Flintshire
  • Sprint: Rich Tapestry
  • Mile: Toronado, Anodin, Tourist, Mustajeeb
  • Classic: Toast of New York, Shared Belief

UPDATED PICK SHEET BELOW:

Breeders Cup 2014 Pick Sheet

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Breeders Cup 2014 Pick Sheet

HRS Breeders Cup Coverage
Breeders Cup 2014 Pick Sheet

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2014 Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion Preview

This weekend is one of the last of the 3yo races for the year as the once leaders of the headlines in the spring head on to face the best older horses.  Parx Racing host the Pennsylvania Derby and the Cotillion Stakes, where Derby winner California Chrome and Oaks winner Untapable will try to show that they are still as dominant as they were this spring.  Both are coming off of bad performances in the spotlight, albeit more so for Untapable.  But the past is history going into this weekend.  Both off of a long layout, each has something to prove, and a tough field to prove it against.

The Pennsylvania Derby is basically a roundup of some of the best spring 3yos in the country and a few locals.  California Chrome is the obvious horse to beat, but the long layoff could be his downfall.  Candy Boy has come off two straight seconds, losing to Shared Belief in the Los Alamitos Derby and to Tapiture in the West Virginia Derby.  Bayern may like the step down in distance, but Parx doesn’t play like Monmouth, where long races can feel like sprints.  The allowance winner C J’s Awesome draws the outside and Jerome winner and runner up Noble Moon and Classic Giacnroll enter the race.  Smarty Jones winner and 3rd place finisher to Travers winner V.E. Day in the Curlin, Protonico also enters this field.  If California Chrome can find a path off of the rail, he should pass by the rest and capture the race.  Tapiture is his biggest threat in this race and is my pick to win.  Tapiture is coming off two straight wins, both close, but strong.  His win in the West Virginia Derby really stands out to me.  My longshot in this race is Protonico.  He is coming out of live races, a Smarty Jones win over Classic Giacnroll and Albano, and a short loss to V.E. Day.  Don’t doubt this horse, and could get both him and Tapiture at anywhere from 7-1 to 12-1 (and maybe even closer to 15-1 for Protonico).

As for the fillies, the Cotillion Stakes, Untapable is the horse to beat.  Black-Eyed Susan, C.C. American Oaks, and Alabama winner Stopchargingmaria has been capturing filly race after filly race while Untapable has been out.  Of course Monmouth Oaks winner Cassatt and Acorn and Test winner Sweet Reason also draw into the field.  Jojo Warrior ships in from the West and 3 time starter Little Alexis enter in as well.  While Untapable may be the best, her layoff will be what hurts her.  My bet goes with Sweet Reason.  Irad Ortiz stays on board and has been doing great with her. She will love the step back up in distance after competing at a mile and at 7 furlongs.

Good Luck to those betting and going to the races this weekend! Hopefully this helps you out!

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2014 Fall Racing Season Preview

Yesterday was the end of summer.  Del Mar closed for the season.  It has already been a few days now without Tom Durkin, and tomorrow will be no different.  At least a familiar voice will be on the calls in New York until Larry Collmus takes the reins in the Spring.  But for now, we will hear John Imbriale telling the New York crowd what the action on the track is.  The Belmont Park seen won’t have the same luster, but will still have a lot of impact heading into the Breeders Cup.  After Saratoga, the quest of the Classic went from being heavily on Palace Malice’s shoulders to being very cloudy.  Moreno and VE Day came out of Saratoga winning the meets to biggest races.  Itsmyluckyday got lucky and returned to his 3yo form (if not better) in winning the Woodward.  The top three finishes from the Travers, VE Day, Tonalist, and Wicked Strong, along with Palace Malice, Will Take Charge, and the Whitney winner and Woodward runner up Moreno are all targeting the Jockey Club Gold Cup, hoping to use it as a prep for the Breeders Cup.  As with the fillies, Princess of Sylmar is trying to repeat as Beldame champion, after a not so stellar performance in the Personal Ensign due to illness.  Close Hatches will not be facing off with her however, as the likely champion filly/mare is going to the Spinster at Keeneland.  Competitive Edge, the winner of the Hopeful is targeting the Champagne.  The 2yo division out East isn’t as clear as over in the West where Doug O’Neill is holding strong with his youngsters.  Staying East for one more race, California Chrome is making his return in the Pennsylvania Derby.  Also, Churchill Downs will be opening up soon, so how will the fans favor the Twin Spires now in its second meet since the major pool changes and controversy.  CD struggles with field sizes in June, where the races looked more like the Los Alamitos night-time 4 1/2 furlong thoroughbred race fields, ones that often have 3-4 horses that actually make it to the gate.  Speaking of Los Alamitos, the racing action in Southern California switches to the QH track, hosting its second of three daytime thoroughbred meets.  The summer one was well received, capped by now Pacific Classic winner Shared Belief capturing the inaugural Los Al Derby. However, one thing that plauged the track was having the nighttime QH racing still happening, which not only put quite a strain on track announcer (and one of my person favorite announcers), Ed Burgart, who recently announced through Twitter that he is handing the daytime announcing duties to the California Racing Fair announcer, Frank Mirahmodi, but also made the races end a little too late for most players of the Quarters.  Not a huge fan with this substitution, as I like to keep the fair circuit separate from the Southern California circuit, but after Mirahmodi’s stint at Santa Anita in place of the vacationing Trevor Denman, he seems to fit in.  Denman will take a break from the calls in preparation for the fall Santa Anita (and fall Del Mar) action.  And opening day of the daytime Thoroughbred meet also means no Pick 6 at night, as they will only have 5 races, or rather 4 races and an Arabian race.  I may not know much about Arabian races, but I do know this, Cheryl Charlton is amazing around the small bend, so I’ll pick her to win, except she isn’t riding in this race, or at night; the Los Alamitos nighttime rider is moving to the daytime and will be riding in the first race on Youonlyliveonce, a horse she has done very well on during the nighttime, although they finished in 7th during the daytime.  Los Alamitos moved up the Los Al Mile in hoping that California Chrome would decide to go for that race, but the purse money (or race status, or the hatred Steve Coburn has for California tracks since the Triple Crown) wasn’t enticing enough to bring him in for his first race at his home track (something that Los Alamitos continues to emphasize, as it was the first thing to come out of Ed Burgart’s mouth the first race of the Summer meet).  Nonetheless, it will be interesting if Drayden Van Dyke can go for his second straight Los Al riding title, or if anyone can break Peter Miller’s win record during the meet, of 3 wins.  Of course Santa Anita will open up a few weeks later, and will feature one heck of a rode to the Breeders Cup, it’s third straight year hosting.  The big race outside of the Championship is the Awesome Again, where Pacific Classic winner Shared Belief will be headed. He will be facing off against Gold Cup winner Majestic Harbor and Big Casanova, who hasn’t found his form since coming in from Argentina.  After all is said and done, the Breeders Cup would be the next big thing on the radar for the track, but that will be talked about a little later on in the fall, once everything starts to fall in place.  Finally, the fall wouldn’t be complete without the big races from overseas.  The undefeated German sensation Sea The Moon, son of Sea The Stars, is targeting not only the Groser Preis von Baden, but also the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the biggest race of the European Fall racing seen.  Also going for the l’Arc is last years winner Treve, Epsom/Irish Derby and Juddmonte International winner Australia, and Epsom Oaks winner Taghrooda are all targeting Longchamp’s premier race.  Elsewhere in Europe, the Champion Stakes at Ascot is bringing in the best horses around, including Taghrooda and Australia (both of which would most likely need to choose either his or the l’Arc), last years runner-up Cirrus Des Aigles, Arlington Million runner-up and Breeders Cup Turf contender Magician, and a whole lot of other Aidan O’Brien contenders.  The Fall is already looking like a great racing season, and will be even better as the future stars of the sport begin to make a name for themselves in the 2yo races.  I am hoping to see my favorite 2yo right now, Bustin It, to step up and how the Belmont 2yos what he is made of.  Enjoy opening day tomorrow at Belmont and Los Alamitos, and let’s get going towards the Breeders Cup!

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Los Alamitos 8/24 Selections

Selections:

  • Race 1: 1 – Poppy Peak
  • Race 2: 7 – Im Brendas Chick
  • Race 3: 1 – Truco Latino
  • Race 4: 6 – Hrh Walkonfire
  • Race 5: 1 – Amounted
  • Race 6: 4 – Chicka Corona
  • Race 7: 2 – Dont Pass Me
  • Race 8: 1 – Truly Censored
  • Race 9: 10 – Moonist
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Travers and Pacific Classic Picks

Travers:

Bayern will be heavily bet, allowing for big prices on live horses. Unlike Monmouth, Saratoga doesn’t have as much of a speed advantage. Bayern shouldn’t make the distance nor even finish in the money. Mr. Speaker is a live play that should be gotten at a good price, however the horse to beat, Wicked Strong. V.E. Day is also a live longshot.

 

Pacific Classic:

Last year, Game On Dude dominated this race, but he isn’t the same horse. Our pick will go elsewhere, to the horse that has been very good this year, Toast of New York. This horse has 3 wins and a 2nd from four runs on synthetic, capped by a big win in the UAE Derby. With a step up in jockey to Victor Espinoza, this shipper will relish the surface and the distance and cruise away. Shared Belief and Majestic Harbor are our underneath plays.

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Travers 2014 Post Draw and Odds

Yesterday was the Post Position draw for this years Travers Stakes at Saratoga.  Here are the Posts, Jockey, Trainer, and M/L Odds of this years contenders.

  1. Commanding Curve (S. Bridgmohan, D. Stewart) – 15/1
  2. Bayern (M. Garcia, B. Baffert) – 2/1
  3. Charge Now (J. Alvarado, W. Mott) – 15/1
  4. V.E. Day (J. Castellano, J. Jerkens) – 15/1
  5. Viva Majorca (J. Leparoux, I. Wilkes) – 20/1
  6. Tonalist (J. Rosario, C. Clement) – 3/1
  7. Wicked Strong (R. Maragh, J. Jerkens) – 7/2
  8. Kid Cruz (I. Ortiz, L. Rice) – 30/1
  9. Ulanbator (B. Hernandez, I. Wilkes) – 30/1
  10. Mr. Speaker (J. Lezcano, C. McGaughey) – 10/1

Our picks and analysis will be available by Saturday morning.

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