11/01/2014 11:52AM

BC Saturday Live Blog

Email

12:50 pm ET: Happy Breeders' Cup Day. It's 25 minutes until the 1st at Santa Anita, only 2 hours and 15 minutes until the first Cup race, and a mere 7 hours and 45 minutes until trhe Classic at 8:35 ET/5:35 PT. Get comfortable.

The rain has stopped at Santa Anita, where the main track was sealed overnight. They're going with "good" and "good" to start the day, and the consensus is that the turf course needed some rain anyway. Races 1 and 3, both scheduled for 6.5f on the downhill turf course, have been moved to the main track, prompting 15 scratches. They're not going to take any Cup races off the turf unless there are two tornadows and a hurricane.

The only previously unannounced scratch from the main events is Calculator from the Juvenile after coming up with a sore foot. The other defections and exclusions from the Cup races are reflected in the cheat sheet that follows:

Beyer Speed Figures for yesterday's Cup races: Dirt Mile (Goldencents)- 107; Distaff (Untapable) - 103; Juvenile Fillies Turf (Lady Eli) - 96; Juvenile Turf (Hootenanny) - 81.

Broadcast coverage starts at 3:30 pm on NBC Sports Network, then switches to NBC from 8 to 9 for the Classic. I'll be playing the Pick Six and posting my tickets later on (the sequence begins with the Turf Sprint at 5:05 pm ET. That pool is guaranteed at $2.5 million. Today's other guaranteed pools are $750k for the pick-5, $1.5 million for the pick-4 on races 4-7 (Juvenile Fillies, F*M Turf, F&M Sprint, Turf Sprint) and $3 million for the pick-4 on races 9-12 (Turf, Sprint, Mile, Classic).

2:00 pm: The main track appears to be drying out quickly and producing quick times. In the 2nd, the Golden State Juvenile for Cal-bred 2-year-olds, second-time starter Acceptance (won debut with Beyer 76)  was the winner in 1:21.70 for 7f. Acceptance won after dueling from the rail, but before you pronounce it a golden path, remember that he was the 7-10 favorite.

3:20 pm: Take Charge Brandi went to the lead and forgot to stop, paying $125.40 to win as the longest shot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

The result left the 2-year-old filly division without a clear leader on dirt, and will probably increase sentiment for Lady Eli, yesterday's Juvenile FIllies Turf winner, to be named the champion 2-year-old filly.

Take Charge Brandi, a Giant's Causeway filly from Charming (a half-sister to Will Take Charge), had poor form coming into the race, having been off the board in her last three starts  by a combined 36 1/2 lengths -- 8th in the G1 Alcibiades and 5th in the G2 Pocahontas and G2 Adirondack.

Top Decile finished well for second with Wonder Gal third. Take Charge Brandi races for Willis D. Horton, who also owned Will Takes Charge, last year's BC Classic runner-up and champion 3-year-old.

The winner topped a $1,557.20 exacta, a $22,618 trifecta and a $195,240 superfecta.

3:50 pm: The F&M Turf was on a different course and surface from the Juvenile Fillies, but it was just as much of a cakewalk for a frontrunner as Dayatthespa wired the field at 5-1. Steohanie's Kitten finished well for second at 9-2, with Just the Judge third and defending champion Dank fourth as the 5-2 favorite.

Dayatthespa, a 5-year-old New York-bred mare by City Zip, is trained by Chad Brown, who won yesterday's Juvenile Fillies Turf with Lady Eli. She ran the 10 furlongs in 2:00.12 under Javier Castellano after setting slow fractions of 48.80 and 1:13.12 on the lead.

This was her third victory in four starts this year and her second straight Grade 1 after winning the First Lady at Keeneland last time out. She had never raced beyond nine furlongs before and the question today was whether she could get the distance. She has now won 11 of 18 career starts and over $2.2 million.

4:35 pm: Here's the pick-6 play, which came in at $1904:

If I had spent more, I would have done more with Carpe Diem and Upstart in the Juvenile, but making them A's or B's would have doubled or tripled the cost of the play. So I didn't. At least I can't get knocked out completely after the Turf Sprint. I do not have a clue, but I carved them up as four A's, four B's and six C's.

Judy the Beauty swept wide on the turn, ran down the speed, and just held off Better Lucky to win the F&M Sprint, a race in which she was second last year. Better Lucky, coming off a second to Dayatthespa last time out, was 23-1 with Thank You Marylou a distant third at 39-1.

Judy the Beauty, a 5-year-old Canadian-bred by Ghostzapper, now has won 9 of 18 career starts with seven seconds. She has won 4 of her 5 starts this year, including the G1 Madison, and appears to be in line for an Eclipse Award as the champion filly or mare sprinter.

She is owned and trained by Wesley Ward, the trainer of yesterday's Jucvenile Turf winner Hootenanny. Ward said she may remain in training next year at 6, especially because the Breeders' Cup will be at her home base of Keeneland.

The track has clearly slowed down since the day's first two races. Judy the Beauty's final time of 1:21.92 was slower than statebred 2-year-olds ran in race 2. 

5:20 pm: Bobby's Kitten gave Chad Brown his third Cup winner of the weekend when Bobby's Kitten came flying late from dead last to nail the Wesley Ward-trained No Nay Never in the Turf Sprint.

After fading to third as the 6-5 favorite in last year's Juvenile TRurf, Bobby's Kitten spent most of this year disappointing in Grade 1 company in longer races. Usually a front-runner going long, he clearly benefitted from shortening up in distance.

The 3-year-old by Kitten's Joy, a Ramsey homebred, ran the 6.5f on the good turf in 1:12.73 with Joel Rosario aboard.

Bobby's Kitten completed a pick-4 worth $130,767.20 for $2. Obviously, Take Charge Brandi sent the price soaring, even more than her 61-1 odds would suggest. The races 5-6-7 pick-3 paid $703.40. Prefacing those three with Take Charge Brandi blew up the price by a factof 185. 

6:00 pm: Texas Red, third to American Pharoah and Calculator last time out, benefitted from the withdrawal of those two and posted a 13-1 upset in the BC Juvenile. Favored Carpe Diem was second, 6 1/2 lengths behind the winner and a nose in front of Upstart. Highly-regarded Daredevill was finished before the stretch turn after chasing a fast pace while four wide.

So who's the champion 2-year-old? American Pharoah would seem to be the front-runner, given that he has two Grade 1's to his credit and beat Texas Red by nearly five lengths in the FrontRunner last time out.

Texas Red, a $17,00 yearling by Afleet Alex and an obscure Chilean mare, races for a partnership that includes his trainer, Keith Desormeaux. Texas Red was ridden by Kent Desormeaux and ran the mile and a sixteenth in 1:41.91, just four-hundredths faster than Take Charge Brandi in the Juvenile Fillies, though the track may have slowed since then.

With Judy the Beauty and Texas Red coming from well off the pace to win, is it time to stop the talk about an unfair, speed-biased track?

6:40 pm: Main Sequence, considered a second-tier runner in Europe, beat some of Europe's best and remained undefeated in four U. S. starts with a powerful victory in the BC Turf.

The victory, following his triumphs in three prior Grade 1's -- the United Nations, Sword Dancer and Man o'War -- will make the 5-year-old gelding a virtually unanimous selection as the nation's champion turf horse. Depending what happens in the Classic, he may seriously enter the Horse of the Year discussion. 

Main Sequence, with John Velazquez subbing for the injured Rajiv Maragh, scored by half a length over Flintshire, with Twilight Eclipse third and favored Telescope fourth.  Main Sequence is owned by the Niarchos family's Flaxman Holdings and trained by Graham Motion.

7:15 pm: Work All Week, unbeaten on dirt and 11 for 14 overall but never against top company, held off defending Sprint winner Secret Circle to win the BC Sprint at odds of 19-1.

Work All Week, the only Illinois-bred among the 201 horses pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup, is by City Zip, who also sired Dayatthespa, the NY-bred winner of the F&M Turf.

Secret Circle was second, with Private Zone third and Bourbon Courage fourth. Rich Tapestry, the 5-2 favorite, finished last.

Work All Week, owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds and trained by Roger Brueggemann, had raced only in the midwest, having won at Hawthorne, Arlington, Indiana Downs, Fairmount, Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows and Keeneland. He made his graded-stakes debut last time out, winning the G3 Phoenix at Keeneland. He is now 12 for 15 including a 10 for 10 record on dirt.

7:55 pm: International runners asserted themselves at big prices in the Breeders' Cup Mile as 30-1 Karakontie held off 10-1 Anodin and 20-1 Trade Storm.

Karakontie was bred in Japan and is based in France; Anodin, a full brother to three-time Mile winner Goldikova, was bred in Ireland and is based in France, and Trade Storm was bred in Britain and races for owners in Qatar.

Those three fared better than 2-1 Irish-bred Toronado, who received a bizarre ride, blasting from the gate to challenge pacestter Obviously before the field hit the first turn, and then practically bolting as he blew the far turn while moving towards the lead.

Karakontie, like Main Sequence a Flaxman Holdings homebred, is a son of Bernstein and the Sunday Silence mare Sun Up. He is trained by Jonathan Pease.

Here are the willpays into the Classic, where Shared Belief has opened the 5-2 favorite, with California Chrome 3-1 and Tonalist 4-1:

Guess which idiot picked Karakontie 4th and Anodin 2nd in today's DRF and didn't bet a nickel on the $663 exacta?

9:10 pm: The fastest horse won. Bayern prevailed in a three-horse fight to the wire over Toast of New York and california Chrome, with favored shared Belief fourth after a rough trip.

Bayern broke to the lead and was not challenged by Moreno after the Whitney winner had some early trouble. Bayern encountered only mild pressure from Toast of New York. The fractions were legit -- six furlongs in 1:10.22 en route to a final time of 1:59.88 -- but Bayern was comfortable. The first three finishers pretty much ran around the track in that order with little change of position behind them. It was anyone's race with 100 yards to go, with Bayern at the rail, Toast of New York just outside him and california Chrome on the outside. Bayern surged and held on.

With Shared Belief finishing fourth and Tonalist fifth, the first five finishers were all 3-year-olds.

Bayern survived a stewards' inquiry regarding the start, when he bumped with Shared Belief after the latter broke awkwardly and veered into Moreno.

California Chrome rebounded nicely from his dull return in the Pennsylvania DerbyHis owners have made conflicting remarks about his racing future, but he would appear to have a nice future if he stays in training. As for Shared Belief, he's a gelding so he'll be back and it's hard to hold today's performance against him given what happened at the start. On the other hand, it's not as if he was beaten by a neck in an otherwise winning effort.

Bayern, a 3-year-old by Offlee Wild and a Thunder Gulch mare, was bred in Kentucky by Helen Alexander and purchased a 2-year-old for $320,000 by Kaleem Shah. He is trained by Bob Baffert.

Pretty nice weekend for the people at Parx: Untapable, won won their Cotillion last time out, won the Distaff and Bayern, who took the Pennsylvania Derby there the same afernoon, returned to win the Classic.

Bayern, who made his racing debut this past January 4, has alternated between brilliance and disappointment this year. He was outstanding winning the Woody Stephens, the Haskell and the Pennsylvania Derby, but flopped badly in the Preakness and Travers.

I don't see how you can deny him the 3-year-old and Horse of the Year titles, given his four sparkling wins and the quality of the field he beat today, though there will surely be lobbyists for Main Sequence.

As for the arguing over whether Bayern should have been taken down, it is going to rage for quite a while.

Bayern completed a pick-6 sequence of double-digit winners that was not hit, not surprising since the $2 parlay was over $7.7 million. Five of six was good for $114k, and it appears only four such tickets were issued, perhaps to the same bettor who went four-deep in the race he missed. There is a carryover of $1.3 million and a mandatory payout tomorrow, closing day at Santa Anita, for those who still have the funds and the energy.