There were plenty of fireworks on Breeders' Cup Friday, starting with a strong speed bias that helped a couple of bombs get home early that paid $77.60 and $96.00.
Before the first of the five Breeders' Cup races were run, we were looking at an $891,813.00 carryover in the Pick 5. Make you get up early on Saturday, the pool could easily exceed $3 million.
The ridiculous speed bias prevailed on the main track throughout the day, with Goldencents setting early fractions of 22.12 and 44.75 and had plenty left in the stretch to win the Dirt Mile (G1) by 2 ¾ lengths.
The speed bias was so prevalent throughout the day that jockey John Velazquez sent Authenticity to the early lead in the Distaff, turning that race completely upside down.
After setting the early fractions she weakened and Beholder, who was tracking the early pace in third drew away to win by 4 ¾ lengths.
Royal Delta faded to finish fourth after prompting the early pace and Princess of Sylmar never got untracked and finished sixth and last.
The speed bias helped make for a rough day, but hopefully everyone stuck around for the race after the Distaff. We knocked down the $2 exacta that paid $159.40 and the $2 trifecta that retuned $1,757.60 in the finale on the Santa Anita card.
Saturday brings an entire new set of challenges. First the early Pick 5 with the huge carryover is a must play, and we can only assume that the speed bias will continue.
There are three races before we get into the Breeders' Cup action, but only one, the $100,000 Damascus is on the main track and that race drew a small field of five.
Therefore, going into the first Breeders' Cup race, which is the Juvenile Fillies (G1), we may not know if the racetrack has been adjusted.
A couple of the jockeys mentioned that the kickback from the front-running horses is bothering the horses, the sand in the mixture coarse and stinging both horse and rider. That will obviously not change between today and tomorrow.
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Here is today's opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 OClm $14,000N1X (12:25 ET)
3 Leilani's Ticket 3-1
8 Half Nelson 8-1
1 Pure Attitude / 1a Ludo Bagman 7-2
2 So Scott / 2b Uncle Smokey 2-1
Analysis: Leilani's Ticket stalked the early pace and could not get to the gate to wire winner who was taking advantage of an inside speed favoring racing strip. The colt makes his third start of his current form cycle for the Perillo barn who took over for Jamie Ness. This guy owns solid early and mid pace numbers and with the rail draw figures to be sent early.
Half Nelson dueled for the early lead and weakened late to finish fourth last out at this level in his first start off a 14-month layoff. The gelding was in the mix at this level in a couple of starts last year and figures to move forward second off the bench for the Albertrani barn.
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 1,2,3,8
TRI: 3,8 / 1,2,3,8 / 1,2,3,4,8
Analysis: Mr Palmer caught a sloppy track last out in the Indiana Derby (G2), which was his first go off a six month layoff. The colt won the Private Terms back in the spring which earned him a start in the Wood Memorial (G1) where the colt made a mild late rally to finish fourth. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott must have thought this guy was ready to fire off the bench to ship him out of town for a Grade 2. He should be tighter second off the bench and will catch a fast track here. Decent value if he goes off near his 6-1 morning line.
Battier exits the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) where the colt made a good middle move but flattened out late in a third place finish, beaten a neck by Moreno who goes in today's BC Classic (G1). The colt has a win over the Big A main track, taking the restricted Fit to Fight back in April going a mile. With most of the top jocks headed out of town the barn goes to Castillo, who sports a 0 for 2 mark riding for the barn. The colt is coming off a career top and owns the top last out speed figure. One of three sent out by Pletcher, the entry may end up lighter in value.
WIN: #4 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 1,4,5,6
TRI: 4,5 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,3,4,5,6
Today's Featured Races of the Day from Santa Anita:
SA Race 9 The BC Turf G1 (3:22 PT)
7 The Fugue 3-1
9 Indy Point 9-2
11 Magician 8-1
12 Real Solution 8-1
Analysis: The Fugue takes on the boys here in her U.S. debut. She made a trip here last fall and was third in the Filly & Mare Turf (G1) after a rough trip and a questionable ride from William Buick. The filly has handled males, taking the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) last out, her fifth win in 12 career starts. She comes into the race sharper than she did last year She beat a strong group last out at Leopardstown that included third place finisher Trading Leather, the 2013 Irish Derby (G1) winner. She catches one of the weaker U.S. groups we have seen in a few years and Euros have won six of the last eight editions of the Turf. Trainer John Gosden has won four BC races from 29 starters.
Indy Point has won two of three starts since arriving from Argentina where he was a multiple Group 1 winner. Last out the colt won the John Henry Turf Classic (G1) as the 2-1 favorite. The colt bounced back after a disappointing trip in the Arlington Million (G1) where he faded to finish a well-beaten 13th. He earned a solid figure winning the restricted Wicker in his U.S. debut. His trainer Richard Mandella has a pair of wins in the Turf and they both came here at Santa Anita, with Kotashan in 1993 and Johar, who finished in a deadheat in 2003.
Magician is also an overseas invader, this colt sent out by the Aidan O'Brien barn that has won the Turf three times, with High Chaparral in back to back years in 2002 and 2003 and in 2011 with St. Nicholas Abbey. The three year olds will have to bounce back off a disappointing ninth in the St. James Palace Stakes (G1) at Ascot. The colt won his two previous starts, winning the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) two back at the Curragh. The runner up in that race was Gale Force Ten, who won the Jersey Stakes (G3) in his next start at Ascot. The colt has enough pedigree to handle his first trip at 1 1/2 miles. There have been seven three-year-olds that have won the Turf, the last four were Euro invaders.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 7,9 / 7,9,11,12
TRI: 7,9 / 7,9,11,12 / 4,7,9,11,12
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
Mike DempseyMike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick. Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike daily with top picks from Belmont Park or grab winners in the Weekend Best Plays Report in the horse racing Multi-Track package. Want more action? Sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
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