2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic Preview

Breeders_Cup_Churchill_Downs_2018

October 31st 2018 – Updated November 3rd 2018 4:40 PM CST

Below is the starting field for the 2018 Breeders Cup Classic with post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds. The race will be aired live by NBC. Post time is 4:44 PM CST/5:44 PM EST.

Breeders’ Cup Classic

Post Position/ Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Thunder Snow – Soumillon/Suroor – 12-1
2. Roaring Lion – Murphy/Gosden – 20-1
3. Catholic Boy – Castellano/Thomas – 8-1
4. Gunnevera – Ortiz Jr/Sano – 20-1
5. Lone Sailor – Graham/Amoss – 30-1
6. McKinzie – Smith/Baffert – 6-1
7. West Coast – Velazquez/Baffert – 5-1
8. Pavel –  Gutierrez/O’Neill – 20-1
9. Mendelssohn – Moore/O’Brien – 12-1
10. Yoshida – Ortiz/Mott – 10-1
11. Mind Your Biscuits – Gaffliaone/Summers – 6-1
12. Axelrod – Bravo/McCarthy – 30-1
13. Discreet Lover – Franco/Lewis – 20-1
14. Accelerate Rosario/Sadler – 5-2

Also Eligibles:
15. Collected – Trainer Bob Baffert – 30-1
16. Toast of New York – Trainer Jamie Osborne – 20-1

Race Commentary:  Overall, I feel that this is one of the weaker Breeders’ Cup Classic fields we have had in awhile. But this race carries a $6 Million dollar purse and I still think this will be an exciting race that could produce a surprise winner. There is no horse in this field that I think is a lock to win it this year.

My feeling right now is that Accelerate is really the class of this field. Usually the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic has had a Beyer Speed Figure (BSF) greater than 115. Only two horses in this field have met or exceeded this standard this year: West Coast in Pegasus World Cup way back in January with a 117 BSF and Accelerate in the Pacific Classic in August with a 115 BSF. For any other horse in this field, this means that they will have to run way better than they have ever had in their career. 

Please note that Accelerate beat West Coast in their most recent race, the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita (shown below), despite Accelerate having to travel the greater distance since he beat him coming from the outside.

Also note that jockey Mike Smith opted to ride McKinzie over West Coast. That tells me all I need to know. That Smith likes his chances better on a 3 year-old (McKinzie) vs the 4 year-old (West Coast).

Accelerate really has the tougher post-position starting from gate 14. If he drew an inside post or a post in the middle of the field, I would key Accelerate to win in my exotic bets. However, also note that trainer John Sadler has never won a Breeders’ Cup Classic. Trainer Bob Baffert, who trains McKinzie and West Coast, has won three.

Overall, I like big Win bets on Game Winner in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race on Friday than any win bet on a horse in this Breeders’ Cup Classic field. So what I would do is place smaller Boxed Exactas on Accelerate-McKinzie (6,14 over 6,14) and Boxed Trifectas on Accelerate, McKinzie and West Coast (6,7,14 over 6,7,14 over 6,7,14). A $1 Boxed Trifecta would cost $6. 

If I had to pick one horse who I think could surprise everyone, it would be Mind Your Biscuits who won the Lukas Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs in late September and earned a 108 BSF. However, note that Mind Your Biscuits has never raced further than 9 furlongs but he has finished 1st or 2nd in his last six starts.

Updates

Click on Hyperlink for each race to see Brisnet Past Performances

Breeders’ Cup Mile (Turf Race #8): This race is too wide-open for my tastes. But if you want a selection for a Pick 4, I’d go with the Chad Brown trained Analyze It from post position #12. However, there are a number of unknowns in this field. So if you are playing a Pick 4 and like another horse in the field, throw them in. You might want to throw in Next Shares and Oscar Performance. So 2-5-12.

Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Race #9)I like Mike Smith riding on Abel Tasman from post-position #2. This one is no lock but I will take my chances with Mike Smith and the better inside post-position.

Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf (Race #10): I like Enable from post position #2. Enable has won eight straight, including two prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe races. Career: 10 starts, 9 wins. This is as much of a lock as you will find for a turf race and a European shipper. But bet cautiously as Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winners haven’t fared well in this Longines Turf race.

Breeders’ Cup Classic (Race #11): You have got to be concerned with trainer John Sadler’s record in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and especially with how Catalina Cruiser bombed in the Dirt Mile earlier. So Sadler’s trainee Accelerate, the morning line favorite, may end up the third or fourth favorite by post-time. I am warming up to McKinzie a bit more as my race winner. However, note that Catholic Boy was the early betting favorite for this race on Friday. I still think this race is wide-open and will be must-see TV. I still like Accelerate.

My advice, on the Breeders’ Cup Classic: Bet Small and Enjoy. It will be a fun race.

–Michael

2018 Breeders Cup World Championships

Breeders_Cup_Churchill_Downs_2018

October 28th 2018

It has been awhile since I posted a blog. With sports betting on the horizon of becoming legalized in a number of states in the near future, I have been trying my hand a handicapping various sports with some friends. The potential goal being the creation of a sports handicapping service in the future with handicappers who excel in various sports. What I learned may become a future blog on US Racing. That being said, one sport that I have excelled at handicapping thus far is NFL football.

Another reason why I haven’t posted a blog in awhile is the fact that I feel this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic field is weaker than year’s past. I do feel that the Classic is more wide open this year and it should be an exciting race. As far as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, I think Game Winner is going to take that race.

Check back later as I will post another blog with some of my Breeders’ Cup World Championship selections. I do plan to focus more on the 2019 Pegasus World Cup in January as it is the richest horse race in the world and I seem to do well historically at Gulfstream Park.

–Michael

Catholic Boy Surprises in Travers, Updated 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders

Breeders_Cup_Churchill_Downs_2018

August 26th 2018

The 149th Travers Stakes (shown below) proved to be exciting and a very humbling race for national handicappers as most experts picked Good Magic, Vino Rosso or Wonder Gadot to win. I picked Gronkowski.  Vino Rosso finished 5th. Gronkowski, Good Magic and Wonder Gadot finished 8th, 9th and 10th (last) respectively. These performances, to say the least, were head-scratchers. I think I could have drawn names out of a hat and fared better. But exotic bets sure paid out well. A 50 cent Trifecta paid back $744.25. Even better, a 10 cent Superfecta paid out $1,796.75.

Best 3-Year-Old still in Training?

It’s a no-brainer that Justify will unanimously win this year’s 3 Year Old Male Dirt Champion award by virtue of becoming the 13th Triple Crown Champion. So this begs the question, who is the best 3 Year Old still in training? It could be the filly Abel Tasman, but as far as colts are concerned, my pick would be Catholic Boy.

In a matter of seven weeks, Catholic Boy has produced a Grade 1 win on the turf in the 10 furlong Belmont Derby and a Grade 1 win on the dirt at the same distance in the Travers Stakes. In the Travers Stakes, Catholic Boy beat the Kentucky Derby Runner-up and Haskell Invitational winner Good Magic, the Preakness Stakes and Haskell Invitational Runner-Up Bravazo and the Belmont Stakes Runner-up Gronkowski.

My Boy Jack Update

I emailed West Point Thoroughbeds CEO Terry Finley, who is a minority owner of My Boy Jack, asking him for an update. Finley said they are resting him and planning on a big 2019 campaign. Per reports found on Bloodhorse.com and the Paulick Report, My Boy Jack will likely have surgery to remove bone chips from his front ankles that isn’t anything serious but probably was affecting his performance. It was discovered after his disappointing 8th place finish in the Belmont Derby.

Below are my updated Breebers’ Cup Classic Contender rankings.

2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders

1) Accelerate –Accelerate completed the Big Cap-Gold Cup double this spring having been victorious in the Santa Anita Handicap in March and Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes on May 26th. He followed up this effort with a win and career high Beyer Speed Figure of 115 in the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar (shown below). Next Start: The Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park on September 29th.

Career: 20 Starts 8-5-5-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 3
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 3 Starts  3-0-1-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>1st–>1st
Sire: Lookin At Lucky
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario 
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.38 – 2018 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 1152018 Pacific Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2018: 115 – 2018 Pacific Classic
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2018 Pacific Classic  

2) Diversify – The 5-year-old gelding eclipsed the $1 Million dollar mark in career earnings with his win in the Suburban Stakes. In hsis next start on August 4th, he won the Whitney Stakes with a 110 Beyer Speed Figure. He runs great in the state of New York and especially at Belmont Park. The question is, can he transfer this form to another track? Last year, he finished 4th in the 9 furlong Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. Next Start: The Jockey Club Gold Cup race at Belmont Park on September 29th. 

Career: 15 Starts 10-2-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 2 Starts  2-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Bellamy Road
Trainer: Richard Violette
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Fastest 1 1/4th Mile Time: 1:59.84 – 2018 Suburban Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 110 – 2018 Suburban Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2018: 110- 2018 Suburban Stakes/2018 Whitney Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 110 – 2018 Suburban Stakes/2018 Whitney Stakes

3) Thunder SnowAs a 3-year-old, many fans will remember his “I’m outta here” start in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. However, he bounced back from that performance to win a couple of Group 1 races: The 2017 Prix Jean Prat (on turf) and the 2018 Dubai World Cup (beating the Bob Baffert-trained West Coast). But his most recent start in the Juddamonte International turf race on August 22nd was puzzling as he finished 8th and dead last. Next Start: Unknown.

Career: 19 Starts 7-5-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 3
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts 0-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd->1st–>8th
Sire: Helmet
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor
Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
Fastest 1 1/4th Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: N/A
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2018: 111 – 2018 Dubai World Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 111 – 2018 Dubai World Cup

4) West Coast – West Coast finished 3rd in last year’s Classic. This year, he has two 2nd places finishes in the Pegasus World Cup and the Dubai World Cup. He has never finished off the board in 11 career starts and has the highest Beyer Speed Figure this year (117) of active horses still in training. Next Start: Nothing announced to date. He was supposed to return to training a few weeks ago, but I cannot find any published workouts.

Career: 11 Starts 6-4-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 2 Starts  1-0-1-0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>2nd–>2nd
Sire: Flatter
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (1997, 2009, 2011 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.19 – 2017 Travers Stakes 
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 112 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2018: 117 – 2018 Pegasus World Cup 
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 117 – 2018 Pegasus World Cup 

5) Catholic Boy – He has qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Classic with his win in the Travers Stakes where he received a career best 104 Beyer Speed Figure. However, many believe that he is best suited on the turf and could be an entry in the Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf race. Next Start: Unknown. 

Career: 9 Starts 6-1-0-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 2 Starts  2-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: More Than Ready
Trainer: Jonathan Thomas
Jockey: Javier Castellano (2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.94 – 2018 Travers Stakes 
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 104 – 2018 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2018: 104 – 2018 Travers Stakes 
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 104 – 2018 Travers Stakes 


On the Docket…

Time to switch gears a bit. My next blog will likely be a preview of the 2019 Kentucky Derby class, followed by a race preview of the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs scheduled on September 15th. The Iroquois Stakes is the first “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Sentient Jet Juvenile. Early reports suggest that this 2-Year-Old class is a very good one.

–Michael

2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders

Breeders_Cup_Churchill_Downs_2018

August 19th 2018

Below, are what I believe, are the four of the top Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders at this point of the racing season. As you can see, I don’t have any 3 year-olds ranked in my top four. Aside from Justify who was retired, this year’s 3 year-old class hasn’t performed up to the expectations I had of them based upon their 2 year-old times and speed figures. They have been a bit disappointing and I’m not the only handicapper who feels this way.

However, the upcoming Travers Stakes this Saturday is an opportunity to change my mind. Working in this 3 year-old class’s favor, is the fact that most of the remaining older horses still in training have yet to dazzle anyone to date either. Accelerate and Diversify are the top two North American horses still in training. They both appear to be trending upwards, so we could be dazzled in the coming months.

2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders

1) Accelerate –Accelerate completed the Big Cap-Gold Cup double this spring having been victorious in the Santa Anita Handicap in March and Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes on May 26th. He followed up this effort with a win and career high Beyer Speed Figure of 115 in the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar (shown below). Next Start: The Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park on September 29th.

Career: 20 Starts 8-5-5-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 3
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 3 Starts  3-0-1-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>1st–>1st
Sire: Lookin At Lucky
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario 
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.38 – 2018 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 1152018 Pacific Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2018: 115 – 2018 Pacific Classic
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2018 Pacific Classic  

2) Diversify – The 5-year-old gelding eclipsed the $1 Million dollar mark in career earnings with his win in the Suburban Stakes. In hsis next start on August 4th, he won the Whitney Stakes with a 110 Beyer Speed Figure. He runs great in the state of New York and especially at Belmont Park. The question is, can he transfer this form to another track? Last year, he finished 4th in the 9 furlong Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. Next Start: Unknown. 

Career: 15 Starts 10-2-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 2 Starts  2-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Bellamy Road
Trainer: Richard Violette
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Fastest 1 1/4th Mile Time: 1:59.84 – 2018 Suburban Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 110 – 2018 Suburban Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2018: 110- 2018 Suburban Stakes/2018 Whitney Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 110 – 2018 Suburban Stakes/2018 Whitney Stakes

3) Thunder SnowAs a 3-year-old, many fans will remember his “I’m outta here” start in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. However, he bounced back from that performance to win a couple of Group 1 races: The 2017 Prix Jean Prat (on turf) and the 2018 Dubai World Cup (beating the Bob Baffert-trained West Coast). Next Start: The 2018 Juddamonte International turf race at Newmarket on August 22nd.

Career: 18 Starts 7-5-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 3
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts 0-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd->1st
Sire: Helmet
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor
Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
Fastest 1 1/4th Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: N/A
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2018: 111 – 2018 Dubai World Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 111 – 2018 Dubai World Cup

4) West Coast – Another Breeders’ Cup Classic contender from Bob Baffert’s barn. West Coast finished 3rd in last year’s Classic. This year, he has two 2nd places finishes in the Pegasus World Cup and the Dubai World Cup. He has never finished off the board in 11 career starts and has the highest Beyer Speed Figure this year (117) of active horses still in training. Next Start: He will be resuming training soon. Nothing announced to date. 

Career: 11 Starts 6-4-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 2 Starts  1-0-1-0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>2nd–>2nd
Sire: Flatter
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (1997, 2009, 2011 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.19 – 2017 Travers Stakes 
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 112 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2018: 117 – 2018 Pegasus World Cup 
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 117 – 2018 Pegasus World Cup 


On the Docket…

My next blog will be a race preview of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga scheduled for this coming Saturday August 25th. The Travers Stakes entries should include a 3 year-old filly, Wonder Gadot, taking on Good Magic, Gronkowski and Bravaso. In my opinion, the Travers Stakes is the 2nd best 3 year-old race behind the Kentucky Derby. The Travers will be televised by NBC, so you won’t want to miss it.

–Michael