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Updated on 09/15/2011 2:19PM
Breeders' Cup analysis
BEST BET: YOU (4TH RACE)
1. Graeme Hall 2. Burning Marque 3. Country Be Gold
GRAEME HALL set/forced moderate early pace, then widened impressively in return as if born for one-turn routing; bounced badly off prior 110 Beyer in Stephen Foster, but this isn't quite as tough. BURNING MARQUE also looks susceptible to a regression after pairing up triple-digit figs, but this is a Dutrow-trained win machine who has won eight of last 10 under various scenarios; note the two losses during current streak both came this track. COUNTRY BE GOLD owns decision over Bel horse for course OPEN SESAME; nearly got second in Gold Cup at 82-1.
1. Sassy Hound 2. Yonaguska 3. Late Carson
SASSY HOUND has won three straight at three tracks during current form cycle, which makes it five in a row for Ben Feliciano dating back to Lrl last winter; release the hounds! YONAGUSKA returned from six-month layoff with lifetime best Beyer in Forest Hills chasing BC Sprint prospects; Oct. 15 work & Tomlinson suggest potential wet track move-up. LATE CARSON won both sprints off comeback from long absence, raising career batting average to .400; handles inside post.
1. Flute 2. Spain 3. Exogenous
Taking approach that the Beldame was this year's definitive prep, and that FLUTE should benefit greatly from initial one-turn route experience when stuck down on deep rail yet still able to match Alabama Beyer; primed for another forward move. SPAIN loudly announced her return to top form in Beldame, and was bothered enough by EXOGENOUS to cost her second; defending Distaff champ handles this surface nicely, drew outside main foes with long backstretch run. EXOGENOUS has had a lot of speed-figure development since going on Lasix, raising question of whether 109-110 pair-up is the end of the road and leads to a bounce here. MISS LINDA's Spinster win was only Kee route win from first 40 attempts for posts 8-thru-12; getting good at the right time.
1. YOU 2. Bella Bellucci 3. Take Charge Lady
YOU looked marvelous taking over from Spinaway winner Cashier's Dream and drawing off well within herself in Frizette; seemed totally unfazed by sitting right on top of blazing pace figs in Adirondack and Frizette. BELLA BELLUCCI hasn't encountered thoe kind of testing middle fractions as yet, but sure looked the part running down then-unbeaten Forest Heiress in Astarita; Drysdale says she will improve again, and this is a nice stretch-out pattern off two sprints. TAKE CHARGE LADY ran to strong work tab and took charge of weak Alcibiades group, but did so closing into pedestrian middle half-mile of :50 seconds; has two routes under her belt.
1. Balto Star 2. Val Royal 3. Affirmed Success
Half the battle in the Mile is getting a decent trip, and BALTO STAR seems assured of that given his early speed, which was rationed out effectively on Saratoga turf in return for one of the game's truly underrated grass trainers; gritty KyCup Classic effort was one of the strongest by a 3YO this year, bar none. VAL ROYAL was fortunate to find a seam turning for home in the Oak Tree, a key prep which has produced the last two Mile winners, beginning with the Canani-trained Silic; outside post shouldn't hurt this deep closer. AFFIRMED SUCCESS can't afford to let Balto Star get away, but also can't afford to engage him too early; along with FORBIDDEN APPLE (impressive finish when clear in Kelso), he seeks to become seventh Mile winner making second start in the race.
1. El Corredor 2. Kona Gold 3. Swept Overboard
The knocks on EL CORREDOR are that he's had only two races this year and has no 6f stakes experience, but he is 2-for-2 at the distance and did run huge in New York off a two-race Dmr campaign last fall for Baffert, whose Thirty Slews won the Sprint off a 57-day layoff; gets first run on wing-ding pace brawl. KONA GOLD's typical fifth-furlong move was still intact in Ancient Title, but SWEPT OVERBOARD freaked and blew his doors off late. Let's see if the latter can do that again while picking up weight and shiping out of California. SQUIRTLE SQUIRT has improved steadily for Frankel, and has shown ability to win w/out the early lead; can Bailey get him to relax just off CALLER ONE and XTRA HEAT?
1. Banks Hill 2. Lailani 3. Mot Juste
Am I the only one who wasn't wowed by LAILANI, a smallish filly who didn't change leads until deep stretch of the Flower Bowl yet was still able to run down a loose ENGLAND'S LEGEND? BANKS HILL has never been beyond a mile, but that fact will be reflected in a square price, and she received Timeform ratings overseas just as good as Lailani's. MOT JUSTE might be in strictly as a rabbit for Lailani, but she ran her stablemate to a neck decision in Irish Oaks, and has received far less publicity; chance at a price. STARINE showed none of the explosiveness in grinding Flower Bowl that she did in shorter Diana, but was a last-minute inclusion into the former according to Frankel, and he has supplemented her with $90,000 of his own money.
1. Officer 2. Came Home 3. Johannesburg
OFFICER is one of five unbeaten horses in the Juvenile but certainly the most accomplished, with three graded stakes wins that resembled strolls in the park; one-turn route seemed right up his alley in Champagne. CAME HOME has run faster than Officer in terms of figs, but ankle filling prior to Norfolk left him without key prep; still, similar time between starts led to Hopeful win, when he proved he could ship from SoCal to win in New York. JOHANNESBURG beat a strong field (there were at least four other group stakes winners) in Middle Park, continuing pattern of improved Timeform ratings; pedigree solid for dirt. There is precedent (Gilded Time, Unbridled's Song) for SIPHONIC winning the Juvenile in third lifetime start; confidently handled to this point by good big-race trainer.
1. Milan 2. Fantastic Light 3. With Anticipation
What looked like a single for multi-race exotics became a wide-open scramble when Sakhee abandoned the Turf. MILAN was eight lengths behind Sakee in the Arc, but belated run left him only two lengths behind runner-up finisher, and he may not have cared for heavy going; genuine stayer will be set up nicely if WITH ANTICIPATION, TIMBOROA and/or MUTAMAM establish honest pace. FANTASTIC LIGHT got seven-week breather following knockdown-dragout duel with Galileo Sept. 8, but such absentees have not done well in the Turf, with Manila (42 days) and Daylami (34 days) having the longest time between starts; no great shakes in the U.S. last fall. WITH ANTICIPATION also bucks the Turf recency trend, but we're talking Jonathan Sheppard here, folks. HAP has been in career-best form, but will 1 1/2 miles be too much?
1. Include 2. Aptitude 3. Galileo
INCLUDE had a difficult trip when merely limbering up in GANDER'S slow-paced Med Cup, and similar second-back-from-layoff situation produced breakthrough Beyer (112) earlier this season; homebred from Concern's owner/breeder might relish an off track. APTITUDE comes off two consecutive Beyer tops, and that type is usually vulnerable in the Classic (with TIZNOW a notable and recent exception); true 1 1/4-mile specialist wasn't helped by the post position draw, either, but so far this has been Frankel & Bailey's world in 2001, and we're just living in it. GALILEO has Timeform ratings superior to stablemate Giant's Causeway, who missed in Classic photo last year; reportedly washed out going to post for Irish Champion, sacrificed valuable ground on final bend as Fantastic Light slipped through inside to hand him first defeat. GUIDED TOUR, a G2 winner across the nation this year, is a must-use in exactas, trifectas and superfectas.
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