Picks for Breeders’ Cup Saturday
It’s Showdown Saturday at the Breeders’ Cup. It’s also Halloween, so beware, there are some well-disguised longshots out there, some that will be frightfully good. I wouldn’t try to scare you off of your favorite horses. I’ll just tell you how I’m playing it. Here are my plays with the morning lines in parentheses:
I expect No. 9 Rachel’s Valentina (7-2) to take a lot of money at the windows, because of the fans of her mother, Rachel Alexandra. But no one can ignore the dominant performances of No. 10 Songbird (7-5) in her three races. No. 1 Land Over Sea (8-1) ran hard in her second place to Songbird in the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes, and I simply think she and No. 2 Tap To It (8-1) offer better value. So I’ll double up on Songbird because of the number, and fold her into an exacta box.
10 – double bet to win
1-2-10 exacta box
I scratched my head over this one way too long. I like about eight horses to win, and they’re running just 5 ½ furlongs. Prediction: a photo finish. If you have to bet, I’d toss up No. 5 Lady Shipman (5-2), No. 3 Undrafted (4-1), and No. 2 Bobby’s Kitten (15-1) for your perusal.
Filly & Mare Sprint
No. 14 Cavorting (3-1) has the outside post, but I don’t think it will dilute her value, because she’s a good closer. Nor do I think that No. 8 Stonetastic (5-1) is up to the 7-furlong distance, and No. 4 La Verdad (6-1) ran just last week. I’m homing in on No. 3 Taris (12-1) as the deal. I see her stalking and moving late. She’s won a stakes race on this course.
14 to win
3 - $2 to win, $4 to place, $8 to show (if I used $2 minimum)
Filly & Mare Turf
I’m not fighting the favorite here, No. 3 Legatissimo (8-5). She’s done nothing wrong in her last six races but lose two of them by a nose. So I’ll take her and No. 8 Dacita (8-1) in an exacta box. Dacita beat Tepin in her only other race, the Grade 2 Ballston Spa.
3-8 exacta box
No. 13 Private Zone (5-2) lost only to Tonalist and Honor Code this year, and they were at a mile. This 6 furlongs should suit him better. But he drew an unfavorable post, so I’ll box him with the ulta-talented No. 5 Runhappy (3-1).
5-13 exacta box
I gave No. 11 Karakontie (12-1) a close look as the defending champion, but I now think his post position may leave him a little too much work to do. And No. 5 Impassable (8-1) has opted into this event. So I’ll put him into an exacta box with the veteran mare No. 9 Esoterique (7-2) and No. 7 Tepin (12-1), who won in a romp in the First Lady Stakes at Keeneland.
5-7-9 exacta box
No. 7 Brody’s Cause (7-2) is the logical favorite here, and I would like No. 13 Nyquist (9-2) were it not for his outside draw. No. 9 Exaggerator (6-1) was beaten late by Brody’s Cause in the Breeders' Futurity, so I’ll count on those two be up front again.
7-9 exacta box
No. 1 Golden Horn (4-5) should do everything but sprout wings here. But did he ship well? Can he handle the turns? Will he be crowded by the inside post? I’ll leave those questions to you, because I can’t bet against him and won’t take him at anything worse than 2-1. If you’re hunting for an upset, check out No. 9 Found (8-1), No. 7 Big Blue Kitten (8-1), and No. 10 The Pizza Man (15-1). You could wheel them under Golden Horn in an exacta and maybe cash in (1-7, 1-9, 1-10).
The one we’ve been waiting for features Triple Crown winner No. 4 American Pharoah (6-5) and No. 10 Beholder (3-1), the conquering mare who has also captured a lot of hearts. My heart is there, too. But my pocketbook likes a more appealing figure, that of No. 9 Honor Code (6-1). He’s beaten No. 1 Tonalist (6-1) twice, as well as other good BC entrants, Liam’s Map and Private Zone.
9 - $2 to win, $4 to place, $8 to show
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