10/21/2008 12:00AM

Finding live Cup longshots


The 25th Breeders’ Cup will offer so many wagering opportunities it will be difficult for any player to deal with changes on the tote board as they occur.

It also will be difficult to come up with the best pick three, pick four, or single race exotic play unless you have some strong opinions and can apply discipline to selectively take some aggressive shots.

Spread your bankroll too thin, play too many races, and you could decrease your winning chances. That said, it also is true that a longshot or two in one of the exotic pools is nearly a prerequisite to make a worthwhile profit. That is why I try to find at least one, sometimes two, price horses to consider in each race before I devise my final game plan. Here are all 14 BC races with the logical horses to beat as well as highly qualified longshots that could offer some betting appeal pending late scratches and final analysis.

Friday, Oct. 24

Filly and Mare Sprint (seven furlongs on Pro-Ride): The horse to beat is, of course, Indian Blessing, more versatile this year and a proven tower of power at one-turn sprint distances. But with so much speed in the race, an intriguing longshot to consider for an upset and for inclusion in trifectas and superfecta play is deep-closing seven-furlong specialist Intangaroo, who also has solid synthetic track experience.

Juvenile Fillies Turf (one mile): Laragh improved nicely to win the Jesamine on the Keeneland turf course and seems a reasonable play at medium odds in a wide-open race.

Juvenile Fillies (1 1/16 miles on Pro- Ride): It’s difficult to find fault with Stardom Bound, who has a powerful late kick and a dominating win over the track. Ditto for undefeated New York shipper Sky Diva. But, there is something to be said for longshot Evita Argentina’s breeding for the route and her series of long, strong workouts for this.

Filly and Mare Turf (1 1/4 miles): Not sure who will be favored here, or how many will be 8-1 or lower, but Forever Together flashed a strong late burst of speed to win the one-mile First Lady at Keeneland on Oct. 3 and there is nothing wrong with 3-year-old Euro shipper Halfway to Heaven’s victory over older Group 1 horses at this distance. I probably will use both prominently in my single race exotics.

Ladies’ Classic (1 1/8 miles on Pro-Ride): Undefeated Zenyatta made easy work of the $2.3 million winner Hystericalady in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret at Santa Anita last month to loom the logical heavy favorite. Cocoa Beach, who beat last year’s champion Ginger Punch in her latest, and the strong-finishing Shug McGaughey-trained Carriage Trail are two among several with a chance to make the favorite produce her best.

Saturday, Oct. 25

Marathon (1 1/2 miles on Pro-Ride): Fairbanks looked in peak form winning the Hawthorne Gold Cup, but Euro-based Sixties Icon is a multiple Group 1 winner at long distances on the turf who seems very well placed. Sixties Icon was supplemented to this race for $40,000 plus entry fees and I just might bet her straight at reasonable odds.

Turf Sprint (6 1/2 furlongs): You might need a Ouija Board to pick the winner of the race, which is run on a downhill course. Nevertheless, I have a slim preference for the well-traveled longshot True to Tradition. The former claimer has won turf races from five furlongs to a mile this year and has earned competitive Beyer Speed Figures in his last two, both stakes wins.

Dirt Mile (one mile on Pro-Ride): Well Armed is in great form and is the one to beat on his home track; but Lewis Michael has some intriguing upset credentials. With a reeord of 2 for 4 at this distance, 3 for 7 on synthetics, and winner of the seven-furlong Pat O’Brien at Del Mar, Lewis Michael was awful in this race last year on a rain-drenched track at Monmouth. But, in his present good form, he can be a serious upset threat on this glib surface.

Mile (turf): With Daytona and Thorn Song setting or pressing the pace, a stalker could get an ideal trip to win this highly competitive contest. Two horses – last year’s winner Kip Deville and the high-class Euro filly Goldikova – seem most likely to benefit if they can avoid wide trips around the first turn.

Juvenile (1 1/16 miles on Pro-Ride): Square Eddie was most impressive winning the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in his first American outing and probably can improve upon his moderate yet competitive Beyer Speed Figure. Ignore at your own peril. Otherwise, longshot West Side Bernie may slip under the radar here despite two wins in two career outings, both around two turns. His latest was a solid score in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile on Polytrack at Turfway and he has worked sharply over this track.

Juvenile Turf (one mile): Grand Adventure has won both of his outings, including a hard-fought score over Skipadate in Canada with a good Beyer Speed Figure. Unbeaten Bittel Road has a powerful late kick to consider and also narrowly beat Skipadate at Saratoga. Most intriguing of all is Westphalia, who earned a solid 112 Racing Post rating winning a Group 2 turf stakes in England last month. Westphalia is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has come here loaded.

Sprint (six furlongs on Pro-Ride): Speed types – Fatal Bullet, Fabulous Strike, Black Seventeen, and First Defence – should set wicked fractions, and the improved stalker Cost of Freedom might repeat his Ancient Title score. But, stretch-running Street Boss – second in the Ancient Title – has a powerful late kick and absentee Midnight Lute flashed signs in his latest sharp workout that he just might be set to return to the stretch-running form he displayed winning this last year.

Turf (1 1/2 miles): European-based Soldier of Fortune was a good third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp three weeks ago and is the logical horse to beat, while Irish-based Winchester made a positive impression winning the Secretariat at Arlington. Going a bit deeper in the field – past two prior BC Turf winners, Red Rocks and Better Talk Now – longshot Eagle Mountain prepped nicely for this on Oct. 3 with a Group 3 win at one mile at Newmarket, his first start of the year.

Classic (1 1/4 miles on Pro-Ride): Curlin, Curlin, Curlin, or at least that is what it seems, given his very good form this year and strong recent workout over the track. But, synthetic track specialist Go Between is very sharp and could prove troublesome. So could the John Gosden-trained Raven’s Pass, who improved several lengths to beat Henrythenavigator in the QE II Stakes at Ascot last month. Otherwise, high-class Duke of Marmalade has five Group 1 wins in Europe this year, but many European observers wonder if he has gone “over the top” after his seventh-place finish in the Arc. If so, he might be a bet against. With the option to wager on a Super High Five, I should also mention one more horse for exotic consideration: Tiago has been nibbling at big purses all year and this certainly is a big purse.

At the bottom line, we are in for a wild and wooly ride spiked by several brand new BC races, a strong European presence, and the simultaneous debut of the

synthetic Pro-Ride racing surface at this high level of competition. If we can snake our way through the hundreds of betting options to make a few intelligent plays, we could turn the 25th Breeders’ Cup into a highly profitable experience. Win or lose, we also will be watching some of the most accomplished horses ever to participate in this great event. May they all come back to the barn safe and sound.