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Breeders' Cup Friday: November 1, 2013
12:40 pm: One hour to first post at Santa Anita for Breeders' Cup Friday, an 11-race card where the five Cup races are the 6th through 10th, ending with the titanic clash among Beholder, Princess of Sylmar and Royal Delta in the Distaff.
There are six scratches on the card so far: Rangi (#1) and Hello Frankie (#14) from race 1; Gab Power (#1) and Kingpin Ryno (#8) from the 2nd; and Taptowne (#1) and Easter Gift (#13) from race 8, the BC Dirt Mile. Easter Gift did not make the trip from New York after being ranked 13th among the Dirt Mile entrants and placed on the also-eligible list; turns out he could have drawn in with this morning's defection of Taptowne. (One could argue he was slighted -- Easter Gift is a G3 winner of six races and $558k, stronger credentials than Holy Lute's two victories, neither in a graded stakes, and just $163k.)
Here's the results grid I'll be filling in as the day goes on:
There are four multirace exotics (by which I mean more than three legs) on the card: the low-takeout (14%) pick-5 on races 1 through 5, which carries a $500,00 pool guarantee; apick-4 on races 3 through 6; a $1 million guaranteed pick-6 on races 5 through 10; and a $1.5 million guaranteed all-Cup pick-4 on races 7 through 10. Note that the late pick-4 and pick-6 end with the Distaff rather than on the last race of the card since today's finale is a race for Arabians.
My 1-2-3-4 picks for today's five Cup races, as published in the Friday DRF:
Marathon: Cease, Pool Play, Blueskiesandrainbows, London Bridge
Juvenile Turf: Outstrip, Giovanni Boldini, Wilshire Boulevard, Bobby's Kitten
Dirt Mile: Verrazano, Hymn Book, Goldencents, Brujo de Olleres
Juvenile Fillies Turf: Chriselliam, Vorda, Testa Rossi, Al Thakhira
Distaff: Princess of Sylmar, Royal Delta, Beholder, Authenticity
1:00 pm: My preliminary wagering plan is to a)skip the pick-5 today, as it lacks Cup races and would require the handicapping of 23 N1x horses in races 1 and 2 and my head is already swimming with the 160 Cup horses; b) play the early pick-4 lightly, getting alive to as many of the inscrutable Marathon runners as possible; c)pass the pick-6 due to lack of carryover and presence of aforementioned inscrutable Marathon; and d)focus on the late pick-4. And win or lose, I'll watch but will not be playing the Arabians.
TV coverage begins at 4 pm ET on the NBC Sports Network, and the Cup racing begins with the Marathon at 4:45 pm ET.
1:50 pm: Co-fave Pure Loyalty ($10.80), dropping from two G2 efforts into N1x, won turf-sprint opener from well off pace over 37-1 Somethings Unusual in race where seven of them were across the course with a furlong to go. Winner ran the 6.5f on very quick turf in 1:12.42 off 43.30 opening half.
2:20 pm: "So much for taking him back!" yelled trainer Peter Miller after his Heir of Storm ($77.60), making first dirt try after six off-the-pace turf and poly tries, wired the 2nd. Big speed bias? Maybe, or maybe Heir of Storm should have been running on dirt all along. Runner-up Cat Burglar closed well to be second, maybe against that maybe speed bias. The winner ran the 7f in 1:20.94 after setting fractions of 21.70, 43.89 and 1:07.95.
2:35 pm: Here's the early pick-4 play, designed largely to keep me out of any other parimutuel trouble for the next two hours. Unless it tanks right away.
3:00 pm: Better Bet at 47-1, close to moderate pace, opened daylight turning for home and held off 35-1 maiden Electric Eddie to win the 3rd, the Golden State Juvenile for Cal-breds. Tamarando was an unthreatening 3rd as the 7-5 favorite. The winner ran the mile in 1:37.53 off fractions of 23:03, 46:83, and 1:11.53.
Presumed early speedster Life Is a Joy, slammed to 5-2, showed no early speed and 3-1 California Chrome reared at the start and was in trouble thereafter. The $2 double of $77.60 Heir of Storm and $96.00 Better Bet paid $3,096.20.
3:40 pm: Swiss Lake Yodeler at 8-1, close early, ran down 7-2 Moving Desert to win the 4th and set up these odd-looking $2 willpays:
I'm assuming that means that there's a single 50-cent pick-5 ticket alive to three horses, worth just under $900k for 50 cents. Anyone but the 6,9 and 10 and there's a pick-5 carryover to tomorrow, which would be pretty cool.
4:10 pm: There's an $891k Pick-5 carryover to tomorrow after 8-1 Rookie Sensation came flying late to win the G2 Twilight Derby for owner-breeder Frank Stronach and trainer John Shirreffs. Gabriel Charles was up late for 2nd as the 5-2 favorite, with Gervinho edging 22-1 Dry Summer for third. The winner, an Unbridled's Song colt making his stakes debut, ran the 9f on the turf in 1:46.64.
In case you were wondering, and you know you were, tomorrow's pick-5 is on the first five races and consists of a $100k Juvenile Turf Sprint, a five-horse $100k Damascus Stakes with a 2-to-5 favorite (Flashback), the $100k G3 Maddy turf sprint, the BC Juvenile Fillies and the BC Filly & Mare Turf.
On to the Cup races, starting at 4:45 with the Marathon, where all 10 horses have opened between 5-1 and 11-1. In the early pick-4 that ends with the Marathon, the $2 payoffs range from $85k on Worldly to $225k on Pool Play.
4:30 pm: The pick-6 reportedly fell about $100k short of the $1 million guarantee, perhaps because bettors were discouraged by the early parade of front-running longshots.
4:45 pm: Last year on BC Friday, pick-5 handled $745k, Pick-6 handled $1.4 million. This year, over $1 million on pick-5, just $891k on pick-6.
4:55 pm: London Bridge ($20.00), a low-class but long-winded European import, passed the staggering leaders in deep stretch to win the Marathon and break the 0-for-50 record of New York-breds in the Breeders' Cup. London Bridge, 9-1 under Mike Smith, had won three of eight starts in Europe but they were in minor races worth less than 413,000. The 3-year-old by Arch from an Indian Ridge mare, is owned by Waratah Stable and trained by Jo Hughes, who became the third womanto train a Breeders' Cup winner.
5:00 pm: Here's the late pick-4 play, a single-substitution play with my top picks as A's and a single "C" backup permitted:
5:35 pm Outstrip (6-1) and Giovanni Boldini (4-1), who probably should have been the two favorites, ran by 6-5 Bobby's Kitten late to lead a 1-2 European finish in the BC Juvnenile Turf. Mike Smith masterfully steered Outstrip through traffic and finished strongly to nail Giovanni Boldini, who had run down Bobby's Kitten in midstretch. Bon Accord was up for 4th at 29-1, blowing up a $143.80 (for $2) trifecta into a $2406 superfecta.
Outstrip, a gray colt by Australian-based Exceed and Excel, was bred by Darley, races under the Godolphin colors, and is trained by Charles Appleby. He won 2 of 4 starts in Entgland, including the G2 Champagne at Doncaster. He ran the mile in 1:33.20 under Mike Smith.
6:00 pm: Why in the world is NBC using the widely-ridiculed and useless "Miles Per Hour" graphic during the running of the races? It changes with every stride, illustrates nothing, and it doesn't thrill anyone to see that the horses are travelling between 30 and 40 mph.
And to the guy who complained I had ruined his price on 15-1 ML Hymn Book in the upcoming Dirt Mile by writing that I liked him: He's going to the gate at 17-1.
6:15 pm: Goldencents (7-2) blasted out to the early lead and comfortably held on to win the BC Dirt Mile by 2 3/4 lengths despite a slow come-home. He set the fractions of 22.12, 44.75, 1:08.64 and 1:21.62en route to a final time of 1:35.12. So he ran his final quarter in 26.48 and his final furlong in 13.50. Golden Ticket was second, with Brujo de Olleres third and Verrazano a dull and even 4th as the 5-2 favorite.
Goldencents, a 3-year-old Into Mischief colt trained by Doug O'Neill, won the Santa Anita Derby last April but then faded to 17th after contesting the hot pace in the Kentucky Derby.
7:00 pm: Irish-bred Chriselliam completed a sweep of the juvenile grass races for Europeans by beating French-bred Testa Rossi to win the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Chriselliam ($15.80), an Iffraaj filly who began her career in the boondocks of English racing, upset the Shadwell FIllies Mile at Newmarket last time out and repeated that performance today. She is owned by a group headed by the former jockey Willie Carson and is trained by Charles Hills. She ran the mile in 1:33.72 under Richard Hughes, about three lengths slower than Outstrip in the colts' race. Testa Rossi, who won the Miss Grillo in her American debut, finished well to be second. Colonel Joan, a maiden was up to edge My Conquestadory for third.
Here are the willpays into the Distaff. I assume the red asterisk is missing on the pick-6 payout for Street Girl, which must be a 5 of 6 conso and would mean a carryover to tomorrow. (Don't hold your breath.) It's also not clear if the pool-guarantee shortfall is accounted for, so the actual payout might be 10 percent higher than the willpay. Royal Delta is a solid favorite in all four multirace pools, with Beholder and Princess of Sylmar very close for second choice.
Time for the Distaff. Enjoy it.
7:55 pm: Only one of the Big Three showed up and Beholder was an easy 4 1/4-length winner of the Distaff (without leading all the way!) as Royal Delta was a dull fourth and Princess of Sylmar was last of six.
Authenticity was the surprising early leader, the spot Beholder usually takes and Beholder was fourth early but going nicely. She moved to command at will through 6f in 1:10.28, and stopped the timer in 1:47.77 under Gary Stevens. Close Hatches passed Authenticity for second and Royal Delta was an even fourth. Princess of Sylmar simply never fired.
Beholder, a 3-year-old filly by Henny Hughes, has won 8 of 12 starts for Spendthrift Farm and trainer Richard Mandella. She was the nation's champion 2-year-old filly last year after winning the BC Juvenile Fillies over this track.
Let the debate begin over who should be the nation's champion 3-year-old filly. Princess of Sylmar won more of the division's major races, taking the Kentucky Oaks (over Beholder), CCA Oaks and Alabama before beating Royal Delta in the Beldame. Beholder, however, also won four Grade 1 stakes and beat older fillies twice, in the G1 Zenyatta last time out and then today. It's a tough call.
Now let's all have some dinner and then get to work on that $891k Pick-5 carryover. First post is 1:15 pm ET/10:15 am PT.
Congrats on the all A P4 Steve. Real nice job. Didn't sniff a cash on the Friday card. Don't know what it will take for me to let go of my obstinacy in trying to beat Euro turf horses, but getting whitewashed again hopefully might wake me up. Do think that Castellano's decision to engage Lukas' All Cash in the Juvenile Turf really softened Bobby's Kitten up for the two that went by him though. On to the main course today!
I bet if Zenyata were racing it this weekend Santa Anita would NOT be set up for speed. Racing in California is inferior to many tracks across the country. The average payout for all mutual races is lower in California and should tell the average bettor they stand a greater chance of losing.
Note to self...next year the BC is at Santa Anita...BET ANYTHING THAT CAN GET THE LEAD...except the Marathon. Man have times changed, I can remember a time when I lived, breathed and died horse racing. Today I got home from work and for the first time all day it dawned on me that today is the Breeders' Cup. That's how I know FOR SURE the sport is dying. If it lost me, there is NO WAY the casual fan or the hardcore addict will ever keep this game afloat. Sad. Sad. Sad
I would have no problem with either Princess of Sylmar or Beholder winning the Eclipse. Both had outstanding campaigns. I would be inclined not to punish PoS for her owner being sporting enough to give it a try. Mr. Stanco's initial gut feelings were born out. However, even if we were to pretend PoS hadn't been in that Distaff field, it wouldn't change the fact that Beholder crushed the Distaff. Whether PoS was in the Distaff or not, Beholder's ease in winning was going to raise debate. My belief is that PoS will still be voted champion, but that many of these voters will do so believing Beholder to be the better horse. Sometimes the better horse doesn't have the better campaign. And let me make it clear, I think Beholder is a freak. She's the first winner of either the Juvenile or Juvenile Fillies to come back and win any other Breeder's Cup race, and joins Zenyatta as the only horses to win 2 different BC races. In her short career, Beholder has won 8 of 12 and 5 grade 1s(one downside, all have been at Santa Anita). Beholder has enough natural speed and brilliance to earn a 108 Beyer at 6 furlongs, and today she displayed an ability to relax, sit, accelerate, and finish. When Stevens asked Beholder, her ability to accelerate(and draw upon that natural speed in the later stages of a distance race) left Royal Delta(who has become more of a grinder) and Authenticity flat footed. Trained by one of the truly great horsemen in Richard Mandella, Beholder has all the physical tools and has become much more professional mentally. She's just a very special filly, and if she's kept in training next year she could end up elveating her status and be viewed as one of the better distaffers of recent years.
Beholder won because she was given a superb, confident ride by Stevens and many of you underestimated what a good filly she really is. Has nothing to do with the track other than being her home track.
I dont really care about the speed bias. Y'all are probably the same ones that complained it was a feast for closers in '08 and '09! Goldencents and Beholder were deserving winners today.
Anyone see the will pays for the distaff classic double?
Nice score Steve! All that money you can now use for tomorrow. You are sparked up.
Close Hatches had a nice race, however Beholder was the real deal today. Lastly, I would like to comment on NBC's coverage of the Breeder's Cup. I mean what is wrong with these people, there's nothing wrong with Larry Collmus (in fact he's pretty good, but to replace Trevor Denman is absurd! Trevor Denman is the man and I don't know what all the contracts issues were or what was agreed upon for NBC to do it. You just simply need to have Trevor Denman do all the races. At least that's how I feel about it.
Speed bias is incredible and should be anyone's "anti SA breeder's cup as a perm host site" biggest argument. The weather is great but the racing is unfair on the dirt. Ridiculous! If I had a stocking horse there is no reason to show up. On the dirt I won't wager on any horse that can't be 2 lengths from the lead.....and that may be too many. Steve I think we'd like your thoughts.