Friday, October 28, 2005
Breeders' Cup analysis
By Dave Johnson
Special to ESPN.com
What if you need a horse to go along with the favorite or "the most logical winner" for the various Exacta, Trifecta, Pick 3, Pick 4, and Pick 6 wagers? What if you need a value play to add to your longshot hopes and gimmick wagers?
You have come to the right place. I will attempt to come up with some decent priced winners, who could make those exotic wagers downright juicy in The Breeders' Cup races this Saturday.
In The Juvenile Fillies, Adieu looks like the logical horse, especially considering she is trained by Pletcher and will be ridden by Johnny Velazquez. Owned by Michael Tabor, she will be looking for her fifth win in six starts. But I think the distance might bring her back to the others. I'll take Original Spin, who showed she will have no trouble getting the mile and a sixteenth. She also has a great pattern. I love a youngster who improves a shade in her second start. Many times that signals an explosion. And the fact that Jerry Bailey has taken the mount, plus that bullet workout before the trip to Gotham makes me think Trainer Anthony Mitchell wins the biggest race of his young career.
First Samurai looks like the real deal in The Juvenile. And being a huge fan of the sire, Giant's Causeway, I would not be surprised to see him break "The Juvenile Curse," and win the Kentucky Derby. He will be a very short favorite.
But a colt trained by Steve Asmussen made me take notice after his 9 length tally in the 7 furlong Futurity. Asmussen has a great knack of stepping young horses up in company, and stretching them out. At 8-1 with John Velazquez aboard, Private Vow looks like an underlay, and would be a good horse to protect with, should the favorite fail.
Only 6 Breeders' Cup winners have come back to repeat in The World Thoroughbred Championships. Ouija Board will try it on Saturday, and will take a lot of money at the windows in The Filly & Mare Turf. But I like Jimmy Toner's Wonder Again, who will love the soft going of the Belmont Park lawn.
This 6 year-old millionairess should have won The Beverly D. in August. From Chicago she returned to Belmont and just missed in the Flower Bowl. She is now ready. And her pilot is ready, too. Hard to believe that Edgar Prado has never won a Breeders' Cup event. He has had 33 straight losing mounts. This weekend he moves into the win column.
Of the 8 Breeders' Cup races, The Sprint has had the worst record for favorites, only 23.8%. Compare that to the 52.3% strike rate for the public choice in The Juvenile Fillies. And considering Lost In The Fog might be the lowest priced favorite of the day, consider the fact that there have been only 3 odds-on favorites in The Sprint in 21 years. All have lost!
So, if Lost In The Fog has a problem, look for Trainer Bennie Perkins, Jr. to be in the winners circle after the million dollar dash. He trains Wildcat Heir, who took The Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth Park last out by almost 6 lengths. That August romp was his only start this year, but he proved to me that he is much better than last year.
Stuart Elliott, who rode to fame on Smarty Jones, knows just how to stalk the early pace, and will be flying in the final furlong.
Leroidesanimaux will be going for his ninth straight victory in The Mile, and his last was his best, winning with a quick burst of speed to take the Atto Mile by almost 8 lengths.
He is proven over soggy turf, and Bobby Frankel has him in the best form of his career. I think he is the most likely winner on The Breeders' Cup card, but anything can happen. At 15-1, Majors Cast could make a Pick 3 into an IRS signer.
Frankie Dettori rides for trainer Jeremy Noseda, who proved in several seasons at Santa Anita that he can train on both sides of the Atlantic.
Speaking of jockeys, Jerry Bailey could have a huge day on Saturday, and Sweet Symphony could be one of his winners. George Steinbrenner doesn't have the Yankees in the World Series to distract him, so he can pay full attention to his 3 year-old filly up against the older girls in The Distaff.
Defending champion, Ashado, from the Todd Pletcher barn is the horse to beat, but she has lost 8 of her 20 lifetime starts.
Sweet Symphony had won her first four outings before throwing in a clinker to finish off the board in The Beldame last out. But I have learned that she was given an overdose of lasix for that race, and too much lasix is worse than none at all. The Boss could be back on top after The Distaff.
Billy Mott's Shakespeare was retired in March of last year, only to spring a Lazarus styled recovery this July. Since returning to the racing wars after more than 16 months on the shelf, the son of Theatrical has not been beaten in a trio of starts. He looks tough in The Turf.
But, in The Prince of Wale's Stakes the Royal Ascot meeting, held at York, Azamour looked simply sensational. Owned and bred by The Aga Khan, trainer John Oxx has Azamour razor sharp. Mick Kinane get the mount back. If he likes the soft ground on Long Island, he will be long gone.
Saint Liam can nail down Horse of The Year honors with a tally in The Breeders' Cup Classic. His Woodward was awesome, and at age 5, he is every inch a great racehorse. Maybe the best racehorse ever to call Aqueduct home.
With the scratch of Rock Hard Ten, Borrego becomes an even more interesting horse for the upset. His performance in The Jockey Club Gold Cup was sensational. If the Beau Greely trained, Garrett Gomez ridden can repeat that effort, he will be in the Classic winners circle. A worthy winner if Saint Liam gets derailed.
Even without Ghostzapper and Afleet Alex, this edition of The Classic -- and all the other Breeders' Cup races -- are sparking handicapping puzzles, where the rewards for being right at the finish line could be life changing. Good Luck on Saturday!