11/06/2010 12:30PM

Breeders' Cup Saturday Live Blog


Does the scratch of Workforce from the Turf make today's Ultra Pick Six harder or easier?

I vote for harder. My plan had been to use him and Behkabad in equal strength and not do much backing up. I thought both towered over the field and that both would have to throw in clunkers for anyone else to win. Now only Behkabad has to misfire to throw the race open. I'll still lean on him, but I'm not going to overboard on this pick-6 depite the enticing $818k carryover.

In a funny way, it's a better pick-6 for smaller rather than whalish players. If all of the day's four strong favorites (Uncle Mo, Goldikova, Behkabad and Zenyatta)win, there will be a modest but possibly overlaid payoff. Beating one of them, and surviving the Turf Sprint and Dirt Mile, could produce a surprisingly healthy result. I'm going to get two of the first three home and then go four-deep in the Classc. The rest o the plaay remains under construuction at this hou, but I'll post it here when it's finished.

You've already missed the day's first pick-4 unless you got down before the first race, which went off about 20 minutes ago. Your deadlines for the remaning super-multirace bets:

1:50 pm (ET): $1 million guaranteed pick-4 on the Juvenile Turf, Sprint, Turf Sprint and Juvenile;

3:15 p.m. $2 million guaranteed pick-6, on the Turf Sprint, Juvenile, Mile, Dirt Mile, Turf and Classic;

4:40 pm: $1.5 million guaranteed pick-4 on the Mile, Dirt Mile, Turf and Classic.

If you're trying to figure out whether Zenyatta will be more like the 3-5 she was at the close of Friday betting or her 8-5 morning-line price, the Ladies' Classic/BC Classic daily-double betting would suggest it's the latter.

Here are the willpays for that bet, which attracted a pool of $523,311. The Friday win-pool betting was only $138,680.


Some of the DD implied odds just make more sense than those from the early win pool, which may have been dominated by locals and souvenir-hunters. The idea that Quality Road and First Dude would be only two points apart in the betting seems highly unlikely, and I'd be shocked if Blame were as high as 8-1 at post time.


2:15 pm: We're seeing in this Breeders' Cup what we saw at Saratoga: An unprecedented domination of 2-year-old racing by Todd Pletcher. In the three juvenile races so far, Pletcher has won the Juvenile Fillies Turf with More than Real, the Juvenile Turf with Pluck, and run second by R Heat Lightning in the Juvenile Fillies. A victory by favored Uncle Mo in the Juvenile would give him a 4: 3-1-0 record in the four BC juvenile races.

Here are the preliminary winning Beyer Speed Figures from Friday's six BC races:

Eldaafer (Marathon): 95

More Than Real (Juvenile Fillies Turf): 89

Dubai Majesty (F&M Sprint): 103

Awesome Feather (Juvenile Fillies): 86

Shared Account (F&M Turf): 96

Unrivaled Belle (Ladies' Classic): 104


2:45 pm: Finally off the BC selections schneid after eight races as Big Drama (12.40) took them box to wire in 1:09.05 to win the Sprint.

So who's the champion sprinter? At the moment I'm leaning towards Majestic Perfection, who won only one Grade 1 in a 5-for-6 campaign shortened by injury, but beat Big Drama on the square in the G1 Forego at Saratoga.


2:55 pm: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more:

The damage was $3,312. I didn't see a way to buy myself significantly more comfort by hitting my personal pick-6 limit of $5k, so I'll see where I am (if anywhere) after the first two legs and reload for the late pick-4. It's a conventional A-B-C play with one exception: I can have unlimited B's in legs 1,2,4 and 5 if Goldikova wins leg 3, the Mile. Only one other B allowed if she loses to one of my three plain B's in that race -- Gio Ponti, Paco Boy and Proviso.

Obviously I can't make heads or tails of the Turf Sprint, as usual, and used all 14 of them -- six A's, four B's and four C's.


3:25 pm: Drawing post 1 and missing a workout didn't keep Chamberlain Bridge from winning the Turf Sprint. What a cool horse: The 6-year-old War Chant gelding, who changed hands after claiming races twice early in his career, has now won 16 of 31 career starts, including 14 5-furlong or 5 1/2-furlong turf sprints.


3:35 pm: I live in a household where an alumna roots for the University of Illinois, but this is one time we're not happy to have the game on national tv: Illinois and Michigan are in their third overtime, delaying the start of the ESPN coverage that was supposed to start at 3:30. At least Illinois just took a 59-52 lead.


3:55 pm: Michigan 67, Illinois 65. But at least the races are back on.


4:25 pm: Wow. Uncle Mo is a very serious racehorse and the most dominant BC Juvenile winner since Street Sense at CD in 2006 -- the only BCJ winner to go on to victory in the Kentucky Derby.

The pick-4 on races 4-7 was a textbook example of how 50-cent minimums help you avoid the taxman: The $2 payoff of $2199.20 and $1 payoff of $1099.60 are reportable to the IRS, but no one will ever be told if you hit it on a 50-cent ticket for $549.80.


4:35 pm: And what's this I'm hearing on tv about Southern California horses underperforming and that this should be of concern (or some kind of built-in excuse) for Zenyatta's backers? So far today, the only three horses going from Hollywood's Cushion Track to CD dirt were Third Dawn, second in the Chilukki at 10-1, and Smiling Tiger and Supreme Summit, third and fourth in the Sprint. Switch came off her second to Zenyatta to run second at 7-1 in the F&M Sprint yesterday.

Jaycito? Besides the fact that he bolted, he wasn't finishing in the same zip code as Uncle Mo today wherever he made his last start. C'mon.


4:45 pm: Triple wow. Goldikova is a great racehorse and her three straight Breeders' Cup Miles are one of the sport's great achievements. This was her 12th Grade or Group 1 triumph, and eight of them have come against males.


5:30 pm: Oops. Game of inches. And I'm the guy who never leaves out turnbacks. Well, hardly ever. Congrats if you're alive in pick-somethings -- they're going to be good with Dakota Phone at $77.40 in them.

The generous bookmakers at William Hill just sent out a release quoting Goldikova at 7-2 to win a FOURTH BC Mile next year. Her owners have yet to decide whether she'll keep racing.


6:10 pm: I was yelling at the television as they were going into the gate: "How can dangerous Midge be only a point lower than Champ Pegasus? He should be a third of the price!" Serves me right as I had to wait until the final yards for Dangerous Midge to wear down Champ Pegasus in what was less than a vintage BC Turf following the scratch of Workforce and the poor performance by Behkabad.

At least it renedered the Morning Line photo loss a moot point for Pick-6 purposes since I would have been singled to Behjabad had it gone the other way. So I'm alive for four consos to each of the four favorites.

And now I'm going to sit back and enjoy the Classic. Good luck to you all.


6:20 pm: Looks live everyone's covered in the pick-6 and there are 54 live tickets -- 24 to Zenyatta at $166,539 and 5 each to Blame and Lookin at Lucky at $800k. It will pay $4 million to Fly Down; $2 million to Quality Road, First Dude, Musket Man, Pleasant Prince, Etched and Espoir City; $1.3 million to Haynesfield and $1 million to Paddy o'Prado.


7:15 pm: That was a terrific horse race. Blame was courageous in victory and Zenyatta was excellent in defeat. Blame earned the Horse of the Year title on the track, but Zenyatta lost nothing but her undefeated record.

Between the Classic finish, Goldikova's victory and Uncle Mo's emergence as the sport's newest star, this was quite a Breeders' Cup.


Qev More than 1 year ago
Again, Zenyatta sleep walks through three-quarters of the race then comes up a half-a-head short (even with the pace collapse)--GREATNESS!! Blame runs fast enough early to keep himself in the race and fast enough late to stave off the Zenyatta's patented 'Z-krieg'...oh, he got lucky... Yep, there's that East Coast bias for ya.
armen antonian More than 1 year ago
That is what makes horse racing. Most public opinion sides with Zenatta over Blame viewing Blame's win as happenstance. I would point out again to watch Blame's runs in the Foster and the Whitney. I haven't seen a horse look so devastating off slow fractions in a long time. Those runs were validated in the Classic. Zenatta was great before being defeated. She is even better because she was lapped on Blame. Looking back, I would have to go to the 95 Classic with Cigar in his prime or maybe 92 with AP Indy to find a horse that I could think about betting against Blame...Were Zenatta and Blame to run again together, I would cash again--on Blame.
Gabriel Vartanian More than 1 year ago
I'm sick and tired of you east coast bias drf writers not appreciating ZENYATTA as much as you should. You have Blame winning HOTY already just because he got lucky and beat ZENYATTA a small head only because she didnt like the track and had to make up 20 lenghts? Are you serious, you people make me sick.. [I don't agree that she "didn't like the track" or that Blame "got lucky." She could not get by him, before or after the wire. -SC]
Gabriel Vartanian More than 1 year ago
Did Blame beat her by daylight, or did he get a perfect trip and win by a nose while Zenyatta had to make up 20 lengths and weave through traffic.. Again Did you really come out of that race thinking Blame was the better horse? Usually when one horse gets a perfect trip while the other encounters traffic problems and a 20 length deficit the horse who gets the perfect trip wins, right??? So how was Blame the better horse in the Classic, please enlighten me.. [Different people see races differently. I don't agree that Zenyatta had a bad trip, and her 20-length deficit is a function of being behind a fast pace, not the result of any unfairness and misfortune. I believe she had every chance to get by Blame before and after the wire and failed to do so. -SC]
Bob More than 1 year ago
Guess I won't be able to let this one go. ..Blame ran on 4 different race tracks 5 races 4 grade 1's and a grade 3 was 4 for 5, all on dirt Zenyatta ran on 5 different tracks 6 races all grade 1's was 5 for 6. Ran on dirt and synthetics. Blame is a darn fine horse a little sub par at Belmont. Beat Zenyatta a long nose on his favorite surface. Sorry Blame any other hear it's you but everything considered ya gotta vote Zenyatta HOY.
Sidetrack More than 1 year ago
I usually prefer Denman to Durkin, but really like Tom, too. Denman really botched the Classic call. I think he had it rehearsed, but he should've known that, even at 6/5, there was a 50% chance he'd need a different call! I think that's reason enough to give Durkin the call next year.
Sidetrack More than 1 year ago
I agree with most of the comments on both sides of the HOY argument. Blame has done more on paper in 2010. If his competition would've been higher caliber, he'd have to be the pick. But who has Blame beat? The place horses behind Blame in his wins were No Advantage, Timber Reserve, Battle Plan, General Quarters, Quality Road, and Musket Man. That's not enough for me to say HOY has to go to Blame. If the handicap division was tougher, he very well could have 2 wins & 3 seconds, or something like that. Then, voters may lean more to Zenyatta with one loss. Blame certainly has beaten more than Zenyatta in 2010, but is it more impressive if the best in the East - Auburn - beats Temple or the best in the West - Oregon - beats Blinn Community College? Does it matter? To be HOY, Blame & Zenyatta both should've, and did, run off near perfect campaigns against inferior competition. Which leaves us with the Classic. Zenyatta was a little worked up before the race, seemed uncomfortable down the stretch the first time, had OK, but not great, racing luck, and barely lost. Blame broke well, got a great position, and generally had everything go his way to run a top race & barely won. I'm not going to say Zenyatta was better on Classic day, but I think we can agree they're pretty much even...
TurfRuler More than 1 year ago
Steve your "A" selections on races 7 and 8 as singles were superb and if any one knocks your results then it won't be me, because I will hope that I can check your "A" "B" and "C" selections before I ever play a pick 6 again. Even on paper the way that I do is a thrill to me, but the payout on Friday and Saturday could have been mine.....
Bernard Downes More than 1 year ago
Having enjoyed another season of reading the DRF blogs (much more civilised than in the UK), I was going to leave it a few of months and return next year, but the current HOY discussions mean I can't leave without posting a question. Is there any statistical evidence that suggest that fillies running against the "boys" is anything remarkable. Anyone with a passing interest in European racing would find it commonplace, from lower grade racing to Group 1s, but is it really more difficult on US dirt?
armen antonian More than 1 year ago
Ok, Zenatta is more than a synthetic track wonder. It is not just that she ran huge to colts on dirt, she ran against perhaps the best older dirt horse in a generation, Blame. I had my eyes on Blame for awhile. That incredible close to Battle Plan off of slow fractions. But Battle Plan many not have been much. Then the incredible close to Quality Road off slow fractions. At that time, my friends and I, here in California, ironically, in Zenatta country, called Blame the winner of the Classic. We studied the film of those two races--no, no older horse had run races like that back to back in a long time. Then, the lost prep at Belmont a la Charlie Whittingham. We used to watch Charlie do that at Santa Anita. No one was going to beat Blame on Classic day if he brought his A game. Not even Zenatta.
Jimbo Slice More than 1 year ago
Steve, In all of the books I've read about betting, they say that you're at a major disadvantage if you don't track your betting. Do you have any system/software you can recommend to track one's personal bets? [I record everything on a simple spreadsheet with column headers of Date, Track, Race, Bet Details, AMount Bet, Amount Returned, IRS Reported and IRS Withheld. -SC]