10/18/2001 11:00PM

Search now for quality horses likely to be overlooked


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Shortly after this year's World Thoroughbred Championship races, the merits of the longshots who keyed huge payoffs in the trifecta, superfecta, pick three, pick four, and pick six will seem fairly obvious.

Lifetime past performances for all of the horses who were pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup races are now available. Why not spend a couple of hours now, and handicap each race with the idea of looking past the most obvious contenders? Regardless of how imposing their credentials are before the race, it is inevitable that a number of these contenders will end up finishing in the rear half of the pack for reasons that we may never fully understand. Handicappers who refuse to be intimidated by their lofty reputations, and approach each race with an open mind, will be a serious threat to hit a home run or two at the windows.

I won't make my final selections until next week, but I know that some of the following horses are likely to make my final cut:


Miss Linda: Has won three straight races, including a $45.60 upset victory in the Grade 1 Spinster. The main track at Keeneland played fair on Oct. 7, so don't make the mistake of attributing her success to a speed bias. Her 109 Beyer from that triumph is the same number Exogenous earned in the Beldame. You might get 10-1 or 12-1 on her.

Starrer: Her second-place finish behind Miss Linda in the Spinster is a sign that she's on the upswing, and she wouldn't have to improve much to register the upset. Her tactical speed is a plus. Odds in the neighborhood of 12-1, or 15-1 would represent betting value.

Two Item Limit: Finished third behind Flute and Exogenous at 45-1 in the Alabama, then finished second behind Exogenous, and a nose ahead of Fleet Renee at 37-1 in the Gazelle. She will be another big price this time.

Juvenile Fillies

With only nine fillies pre-entered, this race seems likely to be won by one of the first four betting choices. I will take a look at Take Charge Lady, who is 3 for 3 and seems more likely to continue to improve than most of the others.


Irish Prize: Made a valiant effort to finish fourth, beaten by only a length with a difficult trip in the Atto Mile. He's as game as they come, with three consecutive photo-finish wins prior that last race. High single-digit odds make him interesting.

Numerous Times: Unbeaten in six starts, including four races on the turf at Woodbine. His tactical speed makes a good trip likely in this race. That counts for a lot in a race where the contenders in the rear half of the field will need lots of racing luck to get the job done. Odds in the range of 12-1 or 15-1 would be attractive.


Left Bank: He's at the top of his game now. The hot fractions will make a good trip likely. He loves Belmont with four wins from five starts. Offers lots of betting value at low double-digit odds.

Delaware Township: Sharp, and has won three of four starts at Belmont. The fast fractions will set the table for his bid from just off the pace. High single-digit odds would make him worth using.

Bet On Sunshine: Veteran will be flying late, and the pace of this race is made to order for him. A huge price makes him interesting in the exotics.

Filly and Mare Turf

I would be forcing a play if I went beyond Lailani, England's Legend, Starine, and Banks Hill. I won't try to beat them.


Although Officer has done everything asked of him so far, this race is filled with lightly raced, rapidly improving colts.

Siphonic: I will make an exception here, as this colt may be the second or third betting choice, but he will still offer a square price with Officer hammered down well below even money. Looked great beating Grade 2 opponents by six lengths with speed to spare at Keeneland while making only his second career start. The track played fair that day, so don't discount his front-running win.

Johannesburg: Perfect 6 for 6 sprinting on the grass. He's bred to handle the dirt, and will be an attractive overlay at 8-1 or 10-1.


If Sakhee runs here, he will be hard to deny. If he chooses the Classic, the winner of this race will probably be one of the first four betting choices. I won't be fishing for longshots here.


Aptitude looked like a monster in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. But if you assume the possibility of a bounce, betting value will be available.

Sakhee: Dominated Group 1 competition in the Juddmonte and the Arc. If he runs here, I will give him the benefit of the doubt on the surface switch. He's razor sharp, and would be an overlay at 6-1 or 8-1.

Galileo: Only a photo finish away from being 7 for 7. Although he may be the third or fourth betting choice, 6-1 would be a square price.