11/05/2009 1:00AM

Breeders' Cup Friday and Saturday analysis

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FRIDAY NOVEMBER 6

MARATHON

1. Mastery    2. Nite Light    3. Black Astor

Group 1 winner Mastery is the class of the field; 1 3/4 miles is perfect for the improving 3-year-old that won a Grade 1 last out at a similar distance. He is the best horse in the field. Nite Light is a proven stayer who won his only start on synthetic, at Turfway. One-two in 12 of 15, Nite Light should get a good trip sitting second behind Black Astor. The latter is the speed of the field. This will be his first start since he was foiled on a kamikaze pace two months ago. He runs well fresh, trains super on Pro-Ride, and could get brave on an easy lead. He should start at a hint of a price, and has a chance to roll gate to wire if left alone. Longshot play. Cloudy's Knight is 2 fo -2 this year in Grade 3s at a mile and a half on turf; he is the late threat. Father Time is better than his last looks; U.K. handicapping experts suggest he can upset the favorite.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF

1. House of Grace    2. Rose Catherine    3. Junia Tepzia

House of Grace is 2 for 2, and no telling how good. She crushed first out going two turns on Saratoga turf, and followed with a sharp win on Keeneland Poly. Blocked saving ground on the far turn, she split horses into the lane and was up late. While both wins were solid, her outstanding debut one back on turf suggests she is better on grass. Rose Catherine switched to turf and trounced maidens by more than eight lengths in fast time. That race was six furlongs, but she finished like a filly that will have no trouble staying a mile. She probably is the best of the front-runners. Junia Tepzia scored two impressive wins in Italy. This is her U.S. debut; she arrived last weekend. Potosina won big on soft turf last time, while La Nez won the Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies over good next-out winner Whispering Hush. Purchased privately since raced, La Nez has a running style that suggests two turns on grass will be just fine. She is the bomber.

JUVENILE FILLIES

1. Always a Princess    2. Blind Luck    3. Connie and Michael

Always a Princess was at a disadvantage stretching to two turns in her second start in the Oak Leaf. She set the pace over a surface unkind to speed, dug in late, and held second in a huge effort. The surface recently has been kind to speed; Always a Princess does not require the front. She can sit just off, get first run, and turn the tables on Blind Luck. There are two knocks on Always a Princess. Her final work was messed up, and she is stuck in post 11. Blind Luck won the Oak Leaf going away, over a surface that earlyi in the meet was favorable to closers. The track recently has favored forwardly placed types. Blind Luck is proven on Pro-Ride, and the best late threat. Connie and Michael won her debut by more than seven lengths with a giant figure. Come catch her. Devil May Care won two in New York, including the Grade 1 Frizette. She should like two turns. Negligee ran well winning a Grade 1 in Kentucky, and worked super in California.

FILLY & MARE TURF

1. Midday    2. Forever Together    3. Magical Fantasy

Midday, a Grade 1 winner in England, can spring a small upset against a seemingly modest North American female turf division. Midday had been off two months and was merely prepping for this when she finished third last time. She reportedly has trained well since, and handles the 1 1/4-mile distance. Forever Together won this race last year with a wicked turn of late speed. Her 2009 campaign has been less impressive, but the objective has always been to repeat in this race. If she is the same filly she was last year, a debatable point, she can win again. Magical Fantasy has been beating up on the same creampuff division out West all year. These are tougher, but she sure does have the win habit. Pure Clan is in better form than she was last year when she finished nowhere on this course. Dynaforce figures for a good trip forwardly placed in a race where the early lead is up for grabs.

FILLY & MARE SPRINT

1. Ventura    2. Informed Decision    3. Sara Louise

Ventura won this race in 2008, and is equally brilliant in 2009. A synthetic sprinter with a devastating kick, she beat Grade 1 turf males in the Woodbine Mile last out, trained super since returning home, and can blow past late. Informed Decision upset the top pick at Keeneland, and has the tactical edge because she has more speed than the favorite. Informed Decision will be positioned within striking range of a soft pace, and she will get first run. She is 6 for 6 on synthetic in the Midwest and East. Meanwhile, Pro-Ride is altogether new for Sara Louise, who earned huge figures in both starts this year on dirt. Although this is her first on synthetic, she has trained particularly well at Santa Anita. Two-time Grade 1 winner Seventh Street figures to like this shorter trip. Longshot Free Flying Soul has a win over the track, and a pace advantage. The outclassed filly might also be loose on the lead. Silver Swallow will roll late at a big number.

LADIES' CLASSIC

1. Careless Jewel    2. Music Note    3. Rainbow View

Five straight wins by Careless Jewel were by daylight margins, including three graded stakes. She enters with a pace advantage over a surface that has been kind lately to speed. The only pure front-runner, the gray figures to be loose early and gone late. Music Note returned to top form in late summer and fall, and ships in off big-margin victories on New York dirt. She is quick enough to keep the top choice in her sights, and would be one of the first to attack if the pacesetter falters. The good European filly Rainbow View will try for the turf-to-synthetic upset, as her trainer did one year ago with BC Classic winner Raven's Pass. Rainbow View has solid Grade 1 form in England, Ireland, and Canada, and fits if she takes to the footing. Cocoa Beach has yet to regain her 2008 form, while consistent closer Lethal Heat could sneak along and hit the board at a big price. Last out, she finished second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths to Zenyatta.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7

JUVENILE TURF

1. Interactif    2. Zip Quik    3. Gallant Gent

Interactif won both G3 turf routes with authority. He won at Saratoga by more than four, and repeated with a big win at Keeneland. The knock is post (11); he is one of many BC favorites compromised by the draw. Zip Quik has bubbled just under the top of the division, chasing Juvenile favorites Lookin at Lucky and D'Funnybone. He switches to grass, has a big recent work over the course, and might prefer this surface. Bombs away. Gallant Gent also merits longshot consideration. He ran super in the G1 Norfolk, finishing third over a surface that was not conducive to speed early in the meet. He worked well on grass, should get a good trip just off the pace, and would get first run when the leaders falter. European Pounced finished second in G1 last time. His trainer won this race in 2008 with lesser Donativum; Pounced seems overqualified. European Buzzword won a G3 and placed in a G1. This is the eighth start of his campaign. It is asking a lot.

TURF SPRINT

1. Noble Court    2. Cannonball    3. Diamondrella

Horse-for-course Noble Court chased BC Sprint favorite Zensational through summer and fall on the main track; Noble Court is more effective on grass. In both turf sprints, he produced more speed than he did on the main track, and both grass starts he tucked into a good trip just off the speed. Despite the undesirable inside post, he might get a similar trip in this downhill scramble. He won his only previous start on this course going away, has been pointed to this race throughout fall, and can post a small upset from just off the speed. Cannonball emerged as a top international turf sprinter, placing in two G3s in Kentucky before missing by a neck in a Group 1 in England. Six and a half furlongs might be farther than he prefers, but like the top choice he should get a good trip just off the speed. Diamondrella will rally from far back in a race likely to unfold at a fast pace. Desert Code, last year's BC Turf Sprint winner, needed his last and worked well since.

SPRINT

1. Zensational    2. Gayego    3. Dancing in Silks

Zensational or Gayego? Is there any doubt? Zensational has been perfect his last four, including three G1s over admittedly dubious competition while not being asked for his best. Zensational was freshened two months ago, and continues to blaze away in the morning. The question is whether Zensational can withstand the heat that will be dished out by fellow front-runners Fatal Bullet and Cost of Freedom, and whether he is compromised by the inside post. The concerns are valid, but Zensational is a borderline freak, and barring poor luck he can bust from the rail, sprint to the front and lead gate to wire. Gayego powered to an impressive come-from-behind victory in the G1 Ancient Title on this surface Oct. 11. He will get a proper pace to set up his kick, and if he runs two alike he could win right back. At six furlongs, Gayego is 4-for-4. Dancing in Silks defeated race 1 favorite M One Rifle in a fast statebred race; 'Silks can hit the board at a big number. Fatal Bullet is a top horse that will keep things honest up front, same as Cost of Freedom.

JUVENILE

1. Lookin at Lucky    2. D' Funnybone    3. Pulsion

Lookin at Lucky was badly compromised at the draw (post 13 of 13). It makes the unbeaten colt a vulnerable favorite, yet he remains the horse to beat. He is proven over a route, has established form on Pro-Ride, and wins with total professionalism while doing no more than necessary. He must be much the best to win from the far outside, however. His main foe is top New Yorker D' Funnybone, who won the Saratoga Special by more than 10 lengths, then dominated the Belmont Futurity by nearly five. A fast colt who has trained well the past six weeks at Aqueduct, he can be gone if he handles synthetic and two turns. Can a dirt horse win on synthetic? A good horse can win on anything. Pulsion looms the knockout, rallying from off the pace. Improving every start, he finished a better-than-looked second in the Norfolk while losing ground after breaking from post 11. His odds will be high because clockers do not like how the lazy colt has trained recently.

MILE

1. Goldikova    2. Cowboy Cal    3. Zacinto

Goldikova will try to win her second straight BC Mile, joining Da Hoss, Miesque and Lure as two-time winners. Goldikova had an alibi finishing third last out. That race was seven furlongs; she is best at a mile. Secondly, she was compromised by strategy when she pressed the pace instead of taking back and rallying from behind. Goldikova won the Mile last year on this course, and will be tough to beat even from the outside post (11). The consistent Cowboy Cal has had an outstanding campaign, including a fast recent win over this course. He is 3-for-3 at a mile on grass, and in spring he gave top-class Einstein fits in a G1. Cowboy Cal has never defeated a group this good, but he always gives his best and will be in the hunt start to finish. Lightly raced Euro-import Zacinto finished second in a four-horse race won by Rip Van Winkle last time. One-two all five starts, Zacinto is on his way up. Delegator has good European form.

DIRT MILE

1. Mastercraftsman    2. Neko Bay    3. Ready's Echo

This paceless race is a muddled mess with chaos written all over it. But there is no doubt regarding the class of the field. It is Mastercraftsman, a multiple Group 1 winner in spring at a mile in Europe and recently proven over synthetic when he won as the 1-5 favorite in Ireland. Neko Bay returned from a long layoff with a solid allowance win on this track. One-two in 9 of 10, he will be finishing. This field is likely to bunch on the far turn, there will be a lot of traffic trouble, and the winner might be the horse that gets the luckiest trip. Late-running sprinter Ready's Echo has been earning big numbers in the East Coast, and he should be able to stay a two-turn mile. Midshipman, BC Juvenile winner here one year ago, is likely to set the pace. Maybe he can tow them all the way. Bullsbayfigures in the hunt. This race might be the "buy" in the pick six.

TURF

1. Conduit    2. Dar Re Mi    3. Spanish Moon

The Europeans should dominate a modest North American group. Conduit won the BC Turf here one year ago, and his entire 2009 campaign has been geared toward a repeat. He re-established top form this year by winning a G1 at Ascot, and his good fourth in the Arc de Triomphe last month sets him up as the obvious horse to beat. Dar Re Mi, a filly, finished a length behind the top choice in the Arc. Dar Re Mi could have been a big contender Friday in the Filly and Mare Turf at a mile and one quarter, but she is believed to be better at this mile and one-half distance. Her outstanding European form makes her a proper fit. Spanish Moon has been on a roll since last August. The Euro-import finished one-two in six straight, including a G1 in June. Front-runner Presious Passion is the best U.S. turf horse. He will rolling along out front, and could steal it, but this group is a whole tougher than what he beat in the G1 Hirsch.

CLASSIC

1. Zenyatta    2. Einstein    3. Regal Ransom

Zenyatta has much to overcome. She faces males and races a mile and a quarter for the first time. But the 13-for-13 beast acts like she will appreciate the trip, and her sheer size makes her the physical equivalent of her male foes. How good is Zenyatta? We're about to find out. Einstein is the most qualified U.S.-based male. He was arguably best when he moved into a strong pace and finished second in the Pacific Classic; he won the Big 'Cap on this track March. Regal Ransom could be overmatched, but he has trained fast on this track and his only pace rival comes from the same stable. If Girolamo and Regal Ransom stay out of each other's way, one of those will have a lonely lead. The come-from-behind longshot threat is Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird . He finished a flat sixth in the slow-pace Goodwood and has impressed no one i mornings since, but he has never been an impressive work horse anyway. Richard's Kid will finish, Rip Van Winkle has strong Euro credentials, and will be overplayed. Twice Over is getting better.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 6

MARATHON

1. Mastery    2. Father Time    3. Cloudy's Knight

Mastery, winner of the Group 1 St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster, has blossomed over the second half of his 3-year-old season, establishing himself as a quality stayer. He performed respectably in his lone start on a synthetic track in finishing a close fourth in the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes going 1 1/8 miles after breaking poorly. Group 2 winner Father Time, outrun by the top choice in two recent matchups, is a classy colt and won his lone start over a synthetic surface in his debut last fall. Cloudy's Knight, 2 for 2 in graded stakes this year after returning from a soft-tissue injury, is untested on a synthetic surface, but is such a hard-trying, game horse that it is difficult to envision him not handling an all-weather track. This long-striding veteran certainly won't have trouble staying.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF

1. Lillie Langtry    2. Junia Tepzia    3. Smart Seattle

Lillie Langtry is the class of the race, having won prestigious stakes races overseas. Must further respect her consistency - she has never been worse than third in six starts, with five of those starts coming in stakes races. Junia Tepzia won two starts in Italy for fun, earning a 104 Racing Post Rating for her latest score at San Siro in the Premio Coolmore. Smart Seattle was run down in the closing yards by House of Grace in the off-the-turf Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland, regressing off a well-rated runner-up finish in the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga when she was hung three wide for most of the race.

JUVENILE FILLIES

1. Negligee    2. Beautician    3. Blind Luck

Negligee won the Grade 1 Alcibiades despite being boxed in for much of the race and getting clear with less than a furlong remaining. Her finish once turned loose was outstanding, and she ran down the previously unbeaten She Be Wild, who had opened up a clear lead and seemed home free. Negligee also ran well in her two preceding starts, which came on Polytrack at Woodbine, winning her debut and running a wide second in the Ontario Debutante. Beautician also ran into traffic problems in the Alcibiades, and ended up fifth after being blocked in early stretch. That was a promising first race on a synthetic track following a runner-up finish behind Hot Dixie Chick in the Grade 1 Spinaway on dirt. Blind Luck won the Grade 1 Oak Leaf in good time, albeit over a weak field, and has the benefit of experience over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface. Unlike the top two, she did not have to ship to California to run, either.

FILLY & MARE TURF

1. Midday    2. Forever Together    3. Magical Fantasy

Midday, on the board in all six of her races as a 3-year-old, is battle tested against some of Europe's best and won the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at this distance of 1 1/4 miles in August. Defending champion Forever Together appears at first glance to be off her brilliant form of last year, but some of that has been the result of catching wet turf courses. This mare wants firm ground, something she will get in sunny Southern California. Magical Fantasy has been dominant on the West Coast, winning four straight graded stakes raced on turf, and has the home-track advantage. Although classy, she might not be quite fast enough. Her top Beyer Speed Figure is just a 98.

FILLY & MARE SPRINT

1. Ventura    2. Sara Louise    3. Informed Decision

Defending champion Ventura enters this race in peak form, having just beaten the boys in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile. Although that race came on grass, she is just as skilled racing on synthetic tracks. All systems go. Sara Louise, the last horse to beat Rachel Alexandra, has paired up Beyers in the low 100s in her two starts this year, and is unmistakably a 3-year-old filly of quality. She is untested racing on a synthetic track, but is well suited to the distance and has the talent to compete. Price should be right for use in the exotics with Ventura. Informed Decision edged Ventura in the Madison Stakes at Keeneland earlier in the year on Polytrack and remains unbeaten in six races on synthetic tracks. That noted, she only got up in the closing strides to win the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes last month at Keeneland despite a contested early pace, and runner-up Carlsbad getting bumped and carried four wide on the turn.

LADIES' CLASSIC

1. Music Note    2. Proviso    3. Careless Jewel

As good as Music Note was at age 3, she is even better at 4. She won the Ballerina and Beldame, a pair of Grade 1's, both in fast time, and being lightly raced heading into November, should have plenty left in the tank. She ran well to be third in this race last year behind Zenyatta, showing the versatility to handle a synthetic surface. Proviso beat herself in the Grade 1 Spinster by losing her focus in the stretch, cutting into the path of Mushka and being disqualified from first to second. Nevertheless, this filly showed her potential as a synthetic performer. Look for a more professional effort with that race behind her. Careless Jewel has been untouchable in winning her last five starts, but can be headstrong on the lead. That is easier to overcome on a dirt surface, but on a synthetic track going too quickly can take a toll.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7

JUVENILE TURF

1. Viscount Nelson    2. Pounced    3. Interactif

Viscount Nelson showed talent overseas by winning two races and placing in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes for trainer Aidan O'Brien. The latter race, which earned him a career-best 112 Racing Post rating, came on firmer ground, suggesting he ought to like the dry conditions at Santa Anita. Pounced, another European invader, adds Lasix for his first start in America after running second in a Group 1 at Longchamp. He benefits from the services of Frankie Dettori, who is regularly a Breeders' Cup force. Interactif is 2 for 2 since being moved to grass, winning the With Anticipation and Bourbon Stakes with wide trips. He did not beat the greatest field in the Bourbon, however, and outside paths seemed favorable over the rain-soaked course at Keeneland that afternoon.

TURF SPRINT

1. Cannonball    2. California Flag    3. Diamondrella

Cannonball has found his niche as a turf sprinter, and comes off the two best races of his career - a runner-up in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and a neck triumph over Silver Timber in the Commentator Stakes at Saratoga. He has trained swiftly leading up to this race and is the value play of the Turf Sprint. California Flag has won three in a row since finishing 10th after engaging in a furious pace in last year's running of the Turf Sprint. This year's field does not appear quite as speedy, and his experience over this unique "down the hill" course is to his benefit. Diamondrella, a winner of seven of her last eight starts, is a mare matched against the boys, but females tend to do better against males on turf than on the main track. 6 1/2-furlong distance of this race suits her.

SPRINT

1. Gayego    2. Fatal Bullet    3. Zensational

Gayego won the Grade 1 Ancient Title over this track with an overpowering late rally, and with an abundance of speed in this year's sprint, the pace of this race figures to set up for his style. Presence of Garrett Gomez - America's top big-money rider - is a further positive. Synthetic specialist Fatal Bullet, second in this race last year, was not quite as impressive in winning the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland last month as he was in some his prior all-weather victories, but perhaps he needed the start to regain peak fitness after a couple months away from the races. This is a horse capable of running Beyer Speed Figures in the 107-109 range when he is at the top of his game. Zensational, a headstrong front-runner, took the worst of the draw, getting the fence - meaning all the other speed will be hounding him to his outside. He has been dominant on the West Coast this year, albeit when coasting to easy leads - something he seems unlikely to get in this speed-laden field.

JUVENILE

1. Aikenite    2. Noble's Promise    3. Lookin at Lucky

Aikenite impressed in rallying for second in the Breeders' Futurity, getting shuffled back in the early stages and rallying wide late. What was most striking about his race, was that he was not discouraged racing on a synthetic track for the first time and taking kickback in his face behind horses. Expect him to benefit from that race. Noble's Promise has developed rapidly in recent months, going from being a maiden heading into September to now, a Grade 1 winner. He edged the top choice in the Breeders' Futurity despite a wide trip for a front-runner. Well drawn in post 4. Who isn't well drawn is Lookin at Lucky, who drew post 13 with a short run to the first turn. Although perfect in four starts, he figures to get hung wide - making him a vulnerable favorite.

MILE

1. Zacinto    2. Cowboy Cal    3. Goldikova

Zacinto, first or second in all five starts, was a fine second to Rip Van Winkle in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at this distance of a mile - a performance that earned him a 125 Racing Post Rating. He loves firm ground, making the conditions in California perfect for him. Newly turned millionaire Cowboy Cal has developed into one of America's top turf runners, winning the Oak Tree Mile over this course in his final Breeders' Cup prep. He fits but to date has come up on the wrong end of photos in Grade 1 races. Last year's Mile winner, Goldikova, was upset when third in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret leading up to this race. Breaking from the far outside with a relatively short run to the turn, she will need to be much the best to repeat.

DIRT MILE

1. Mastercraftsman    2. Furthest Land    3. Mr. Sidney

Mastercraftsman appears in another class than these, having won a pair of Group 1 races this year in addition to running competitively behind the brilliant Sea the Stars a couple times. He passed a Polytrack test with flying colors in Ireland in preparation last time out and draws the inside with a short run to the first turn. Furthest Land is also well drawn in post 2, and enters this race off a brave win over Dubious Miss in the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic. He is 2 for 2 on synthetic tracks, and though coming off a career best effort, is less likely to bounce with plenty of recovery time since his Sept. 26 Kentucky Cup score. Mr. Sidney, a two-time graded winner going a mile on turf this year, ran well in his lone synthetic start last fall, finishing second in a well rated allowance race that also included Bullsbay, who was third.

TURF

1. Conduit    2. Spanish Moon    3. Presious Passion

With America's best turf horse, Gio Ponti, running in the Classic, this race seems likely to be won by a European. Conduit, last year's winner, is the choice to be that horse. He won the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes earlier this summer, and then was fourth in a blanket photo for the place in the Arc de Triomphe. He has been lightly raced this year, setting him up well in his defense of his Turf title. Spanish Moon comes in even fresher, not having raced since taking the Group 2 Prix Foy at Longchamp in September. He has two wins and a close second in three starts this year. Presious Passion is one of the most unique top-class turf horses around. He runs like a rabbit - going out and setting a demanding pace - except he just doesn't stop. He often keeps going, as he did win winning the United Nations and Clement Hirsch this year.

CLASSIC

1. Rip Van Winkle    2. Richard's Kid    3. Summer Bird

Once getting away from Sea the Stars, Rip Van Winkle has won a pair of Group 1s easily. Although raced at a mile of late, he ran one of his best races when second at this 1 1/4-mile distance in the Eclipse Stakes in July. He is untested on a synthetic track, but his presence in this race - instead of Mastercraftsman, who goes in the Dirt Mile - tells us that O'Brien and company feel good about his prospects on the all-weather surface. Richard's Kid won the Pacific Classic at 1 1/4 miles and then was a respectable third in the Goodwood going 1 1/8 miles, a distance less than his best. He has trained very well leading up to this race for Baffert, one of the best big-day trainers in the game. Summer Bird has developed into the best 3-year-old male dirt horse in America, winning the Belmont, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. What he has not done, however, is race on a synthetic track. Still can't count this horse out - he almost always shows up with his 'A' game.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 6

MARATHON

1. Father Time    2. Mastery    3. Man of Iron

Father Time finished fourth behind Mastery last time in the Group 1 St. Leger. But Father Time's odds were half that of Mastery's, which suggests he was considered the better horse going in, and he might have been left with too much to do after lagging early. Father Time, a Group 2 winner in England three back and a winner on synthetic in his debut, should get pace here to set up his late run. Mastery earned the highest Racing Post Rating of his career when he won the St. Leger, and ran well in his one start on synthetic; obvious win threat. Man of Iron was moved to synthetic in September, perhaps with this race in mind, and has since won 2 of 3. Being a half-brother to Belmont Stakes winners Jazil and Rags to Riches, he could love U.S. racing. Muhannak upset this race last year. His form since ranges from mediocre to awful, but an improved effort most recently might portend a resurgence.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF

1. Junia Tepzia    2. Lillie Langtry    3. Tapitsfly

Junia Tepzia won both of her starts in Italy easily, earning a nice Racing Post Rating last time out, and is backed by the same owners that recently brought Gitano Hernando over to upset the Goodwood. Junia Tepzia is stepping up, for sure. That said, she's meeting a group that's frankly high on potential, and light on credential, and her potential is as great as anyone's here. Lillie Langtry whipped 13 opponents last time and was second of 22 four starts back, so she knows all about big battles. She also won a Group 2 in Ireland three starts back, although I didn't like the way the third finisher that day (and entrant in this event) Elusive Galaxy ran in her North American debut. Tapitsfly's only turf start was a solid stakes score at Saratoga over an opponent who came back to validate that form with a sharp performance. House of Grace won a stakes on Polytrack at Keeneland last time, but might be better on turf judging from her big debut win.

JUVENILE FILLIES

1. Blind Luck    2. Always a Princess    3. Connie and Michael

Blind Luck blossomed in her first attempt at two turns most recently, winning the Oak Leaf in going-away fashion. That the Oak Leaf was a prep run over this surface and at today's distance figures to be a huge asset. Always a Princess finished second in the Oak Leaf, and while no match that day, she can be a tougher opponent this time. Always a Princess was making only her second start in the Oak Leaf, and set the pace. She should benefit from the experience, and could more effective with a target to run at. Connie and Michael won her only start, which came at Keeneland, as though she might be something special. She might lead every step, or she could just as easily finish off the board. I expect her to be an underlay. Devil May Care was game winning the Frizette, but New York preps on dirt like that were not a successful approach in last year's Cup on Pro-Ride.

FILLY & MARE TURF

1. Forever Together    2. Midday    3. Magical Fantasy

Forever Together might not be quite the same horse she was when she won this event last year. She has lost 3 of her last 4 starts, and even her Diana win wasn't her best race. But Forever Together might not have to be as good as she was in '08 to win this one. She is assured of getting the firm footing that she prefers, and that should allow her to generate a late kick strong enough to get her there in time. Midday's recent performances are solid, particularly her Group 1 win two starts back and her near miss in the English Oaks; the main danger. Magical Fantasy has won four straight, and the most recent of them, the Yellow Ribbon, might have been her best yet. But, she's been victimizing a soft female turf division in California. Maram is moving way up here in both class and distance, but her best races are still in front of her. I can't say the same for some others.

FILLY & MARE SPRINT

1. Ventura    2. Sara Louise    3. Informed Decision

Ventura dominated this race last year, coming from well off the pace to score by a widening four lengths. Judging from her win over males last time out in the Woodbine Mile, in which she earned a career-best Beyer Figure, Ventura may be even better this year; will be hard to stop. Sara Louise prepped on dirt in New York last time out, losing a tough battle with two-time champion Indian Blessing, and has never raced on a synthetic track. Those are big hurdles to overcome, but she has loads and loads of talent. Informed Decision is undefeated in six tries on synthetic surfaces, but it should be noted that when she upset Ventura in the Madison last April, she had by far the better trip. Seventh Street is appealing because she's a horse with positional speed cutting back from a middle distance. But as fine a campaign as she's had, she hasn't met this kind.

LADIES' CLASSIC

1. Music Note    2. Proviso    3. Careless Jewel

Prepping on dirt in New York did not work well at all in last year's Cup, and it's not a preferred approach this year, either. But Music Note is one who begs an exception. Music Note, who was overwhelming winning Grade 1's on dirt at Belmont and Saratoga in her last two, ran well over this surface when third to Zenyatta in this event last year as a 3-year-old. Music Note is in even better form now. Proviso deserved to be disqualified from first in the Spinster in her U.S. debut, but she was still the best horse in that race. She clearly likes synthetic footing, and might offer some betting value. Careless Jewel is the best 3-year-old filly not named Rachel Alexandra, and was proficient on synthetic before her big wins on dirt in her last three starts. She's meeting much tougher this time, however. Rainbow View would seem to have a better chance on turf, but she has class and can't be ignored.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7

JUVENILE TURF

1. Pounced    2. Interactif    3. Viscount Nelson

Pounced was a strong second last time out in a prestigious Group 1 at Longchamp in what was his first start since his maiden win nearly two months earlier. He seems to be much improved, and yet still has lots of room for another significant step forward, which is a scary prospect for the rest of this field. Interactif is the U.S.'s best hope to prevent a potential one-two-three European finish, and judging from solid stakes wins in his first two starts on turf, he should be a serious player. Viscount Nelson was a sharp second in a Group 2 in England most recently and has yet to run a bad race; would certainly be no surprise. Buzzword was close to the pick when third two starts back. The concern is his weaker try most recently when fifth in a Group 1 in England, if not due to a quick 13-day turnaround, might signal that his form has tailed off.

TURF SPRINT

1. Diamondrella    2. Strike the Deal    3. Noble Court

Diamondrella won Grade 1 events in her last two turf starts, beating 2008 female turf champion Forever Together both times in the process. She is cutting back from a mile and facing males here. But Diamondrella is a turf sprinter at heart, and it's not like the males she meets here are that imposing; up in time. Strike the Deal comes off two straight wins in softer spots in England, but the horse he beat last time out, Total Gallery, came back to win a French Group 1 over Fleeting Spirit, who would have been the favorite here had he not opted for the Sprint; dangerous. Noble Court hit the board behind Sprint favorite Zensational in two main track Grade 1's in his last two starts, and won on the downhill course early in the year; late threat. Lord Shanakill hasn't raced since returning lame after a race in July, but he still commands respect off his third to the high class Mastercraftsman three starts back.

SPRINT

1. Gayego    2. Fatal Bullet    3. Zensational

Gayego might not have beaten the best sprint field assembled this year when he won the Ancient Title last time out, but he sure looked good doing it, overwhelming his field with a powerful late run. Winning a prep at the distance over the track in a Breeders' Cup like this is a huge asset, and between Zensational and Fatal Bullet, Gayego should get another hot pace to rally into; right back. Fatal Bullet, runner-up in this race last year, showed that he's comparably sharp with a game score in the Phoenix last time out back on his beloved synthetic footing. Zensational deserves credit for notching three straight Grade 1 wins over older horses. But he has never beaten anyone anywhere close to the best contenders he faces in this event, and that's reason enough to take a stand against at a short price. Capt. Candyman Can might prefer a bit more distance, but he can't be ignored off his fast-closing second in the Phoenix.

JUVENILE

1. Aikenite    2. Noble's Promise    3. Lookin at Lucky

Aikenite turned in his best performance yet last time out when gaining second in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, and that could be very noteworthy as it was his first start around two turns and on a synthetic surface, conditions he faces here. The feeling is he is going to take another step forward and turn the tables on Noble's Promise. Noble's Promise held off the pick to win the Breeders' Futurity and was the only one close to the early pace in that race to be a factor at the finish; just think the pick has more room to improve. Lookin at Lucky is undefeated and won the local prep for this, which is important. He can win, of course. But he's the favorite, and Beyer-wise, he isn't any faster than the top two picks, just for starters. Radiohead has solid Euro form; good year for him to try something like this. D' Funnybone won the fastest final prep, but has never raced on synthetic, or around two turns.

MILE

1. Goldikova    2. Zacinto    3. Justenuffhumor

Goldikova was sensational winning this event last year, and her narrow loss last time out at Longchamp is not a concern as it was in a race at a distance below her best. She ran perhaps the best race of her life two starts back winning a Group 1 at Deauville, and if she runs even remotely close to that here, everyone else will be running for second money. Zacinto proved he's a legitimate Group 1 performer with a fine second last time out to Rip Van Winkle, the favorite in the Classic; the main danger. Justenuffhumor was dismal most recently in the Shadwell Turf Mile, and the belief is he truly did detest the soft footing, because he ran too well winning the Bernard Baruch two starts back; won't get soft footing this time; the best U.S. hope. Delegator beat Zacinto two starts back, but his fade behind him most recently is evidence of how Zacinto has improved to the point of being the better horse now.

DIRT MILE

1. Mastercraftsman    2. Chocolate Candy    3. Midshipman

Mastercraftsman, an Irish Classic winner, is truly a top class performer in a race that doesn't have many of them. He is, in fact, a four-time Group 1 winner, and the only races he lost this season were races won by the European superstar Sea the Stars. Moreover, Mastercraftsman recorded an easy win on a synthetic track last time out as a prep for this; will be very tough to deny. Chocolate Candy wasn't beaten that badly when fifth in the Goodwood most recently and, with the exception of the pick, he's in with a softer bunch today. He's primed for a peak performance third start off a layoff; intriguing. Midshipman won the Juvenile on this track last year. He must improve to contend, but being lightly raced, he has license to do just that. Bullsbay hasn't raced since turning in the two best races of his life at Saratoga, and that doesn't sit well. But he did handle synthetic tracks reasonably well early in his career in California.

TURF

1. Conduit    2. Spanish Moon    3. Dar Re Mi

Conduit was clearly best winning this race last year. He signaled a return to that form with a solid Group 1 score two starts back, and maintained his edge with a fine fourth in the Arc. The Arc was Conduit's first start in over two months, and only fourth outing of the year, so he's still fresh, and should successfully defend his Cup title. Spanish Moon, a barn mate of Conduit's, is not quite of his quality, but he is in the best form of his career and is also fresh; a strong performance is anticipated. Dar Re Mi finished just a length behind the pick when a creditable fifth in the Arc, although she did have an edge in recent conditioning; helps contribute to Europe's overwhelming hand in this event. Presious Passion won the local prep for this and is the best U.S. hope. His speed and courage make it difficult not to like him, but as fine a season as he's had, he has never beaten the likes of the top three.

CLASSIC

1. Richard's Kid    2. Rip Van Winkle    3. Twice Over

Richard's Kid has been a revelation since moving to California synthetic surfaces three starts ago, upsetting the Pacific Classic at this 10-furlong distance two starts back and finishing a gaining third in the local prep for this, the shorter Goodwood. The stretch back out to 1 1/4 miles suits; can upset a wide open Classic. Rip Van Winkle won two straight Group 1's and looks every bit as good as Raven's Pass and Henrythenavigator did last year when they finished one-two in this event. The concern is maybe his last race, his first in two months, was too hard on him. Twice Over is a vastly improved European who might still be underrated despite winning a Group I last time out. He can contend in his present form. Girolamo, a late-developing 3-year-old, will be an important horse next year, yet can be in the mix now if he handles the track. Zenyatta will be a fraction of the price she should be given her actual chances of winning.