Is it really 2012?? I can remember sitting in my dad’s living room watching the first Breeders’ Cup in 1984. There was no simulcast wagering in our area, and the ADW explosion had yet to detonate. We were wagering with our local bookmaker, and watching history unfold before our very eyes.
This day is all about ladies, and there is great value to be had as we kick off day one. A few notes to keep in mind. Santa Anita has a traditional dirt surface, and the last time they held the Breeders’ Cup it was a synthetic oval. The favorites are 79 for 237 races, and there have been 20 winners that were extreme chalk that made it to the winner’s circle.
Race #5 – $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon – 1 3/4 – 4:46 p.m. ET
The average payoff in this three-turn race has been $37.50 to win. With that in mind, here are some contenders that warrant a closer look:
#7 – Not Abroad (5-1) = Nick Petro in the saddle for his brother Michael. He won the Maryland Million Classic impressively, and by all accounts should relish the distance.
#1 – Atigun (9-2) = Mike Smith aboard for Ken McPeek. McPeek had a dismal Keeneland meet where he usually fights it out for winning trainer. This colt is a downtown closer, and Smith is still one of the best money riders in the sport.
#10 – Eldaafer ( 8-1) = A very nice A.P Indy colt, and he has sired two B/C winners in 2001 and 2010. Speedy sort who may be able to track the speed or dictate the pace from flag fall to finish.
#6 – Calidoscopio (8-1) = Argentine-bred, and has the service of Aaron Gryder today. Relishes the distance, and should enjoy the scenery on this day.
Race #6 – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – 1 mile on the turf – 5:28 p.m. ET
This race has been a friend for New York invaders and Woodbine runners. No California based trainer has taken down the race, and the average payoff has been $22.30 to win.
#5 – Spring Venture (5-1) = Patrick Husbands gets the ride for Mark Casse who has some very nice runners this year. She is 3/3 with wins at Woodbine, and her last victory over the poly track may have tightened the screws to ensure a top effort.
#1 – Kitten’s Point (12-1) = Rafael Bejarano in the saddle for Graham Motion. This daughter of Kitten’s Joy tipped off the rail last out at Keeneland to be bested by a dirty nose at the wire. She is far out closer, and Bejarano may know the track better than anyone.
#3 – Sky Lantern (3-1) = Richard Hughes up for Richard Hannon. Winner of the G-1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland. She is 5/5 ITM on the turf, very hard to leave her out.
#6 – Watsdachances (4-1) = J.J Castellano in the irons for the talented Chad Brown. Nice winner last out at Belmont in the Ms. Grillo, and is 4/4 ITM on the green.
Race #7 – The Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – 1 1/16 – 6:08 p.m. ET
Favorites win 61% in this heat, and the average win price is $16.11. This race has a footnote for Julie Krone, as she became the first winning female jockey.
#2 – Executiveprivilege (2-1) = Bejarano and Baffert team up, and they win in bunches at Santa Anita. She is 5/5 with wins, and it is hard to knock her efforts to date. This race plays well for gals winning their last race, as 9/10 have exited the winner’s circle.
#1 – Beholder (5-2) = Garrett Gomez gets the nod for Dick Mandella who really comes loaded for the big day. She is 1/1 over the track, and may be tough to catch if she gets the lead.
#8 – Kauai Katie (3-1) = Rosie Napranik in the saddle for Todd Pletcher, and she is 3/3 with wins. She will be on the lead, and the two turn effort will be her acid test.
#3 – Spring in the Air (15-1) = Patrick Husbands gets the call for Mark Casse, and this gal has the look of something special. If the pace gets too salty on the lead, I am looking for her to come rolling like thunder.
Race #8 – The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf – 1 1/4 on the turf – 6:48 p.m. ET
#4 – The Fugue (GB ) (7-2) = William Buick has the call for John Gosden, and that barn has saddled four B/C winners. This gal gets first time lasix, and her late kick will bring chills to your arm. If you get 7-2, bet early and often…
#10 – Ridasiyna (Fr) (4-1) = C.P. Lemaire is the saddle today. She exits a victory in the Prix de’ l Opera Stakes at Longchamp in France. 4/5 with wins over the turf, and her races look to be pointing to a huge effort.
#11 – I’m A Dreamer (8-1) = Richard Hughes is the pilot, and she won the G-1 Beverly D at Arlington Park. She seems to enjoy the United States, and the lasix is a plus. She gets the frequent flyer award as her last three races have been in Ireland, Chicago, and New York. After each race she went back across the pond to prepare. Rider switch from Hayley Turner, and is very consistent on the big days.
#9 – Marketing Mix (9-2) = Garrett Gomez aboard for Thomas Proctor. Team Proctor knows how to get ready for turf events. She is working well, and exits a G-1 victory at Santa Anita in the Rodeo Drive Stakes. 1/1 over the oval, and 3/3 ITM at the distance. Looks to be a player today.
Race #9 – The Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic – 1 1/8 – 7:30 p.m. ET
There is plenty of speed in here, and for me it looks like only one gal stands out above the rest.
#6 – Royal Delta (9-5) = Mike Smith up for Bill Mott. Team Mott has saddled back-to-back winners with Royal Delta and Unrivaled Belle in this race. His gal had a minor injury on the flight, and they said “it was like a small abrasion that would happen to any athlete.” She was scary good in the G-1 Beldame at Belmont winning impressively. I think she should stalk the speed, and pounce at the 3/8ths pole. I am hoping Mr. Mott can make it a triple with this race.
Use with her in exotics = #4 Questing (4-1) who has measured speed, and #2 My Miss Aurelia (4-1) who is undefeated. #5 – Awesome Feather (3-1) is a quality lady, but I have to question the 4 races in a two year clip to keep her from being a threat.
Best of luck with day #1 of the biggest weekend in racing, and remember the best is yet to come!