At the Gate – SaturdayThere were no shockers on Friday among the five Breeders’ Cup races for juveniles, the winners paying $10.60, $3.20, $13.00, $9.00 and $4.00. The 50-cent Pick 5 paid a decent $627.40.
We came up with a pair of winners, Newspaperofrecord just a dazzling winner at $3.20 in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) and Line of Duty, who was 10-1 on the morning line got bet down and returned $9.00 in the Juvenile Turf (G1).
It could have been a great start to the proceedings if my top pick Chelsea Cloisters could have sealed the deal in the stretch in the Juvenile Sprint. The Wesley Ward trainee had to settle for second at 24-1, returning $19.80 to place.
The main track dried about amazingly fast and the turf course, which I figured would be soft was labeled as yielding and seemed to be in good shape although the inside might have been a little deeper.
Now we move on to Saturday with a blockbuster 12-race card that including nine Breeders’ Cup races at Churchill Downs.
The two races I am looking forward to the most are the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf and the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), but not exactly for the same reasons.
The Turf features two-time Arc winner Enable, who is going to be a very short price and is going to be very tough to beat. No Arc winner has come back in the same year to win the Turf, but her campaign may enable her to do it. Pun intended.
She has made just two starts since winning the 2017 Arc due to an injury. She comes in to this year’s Turf fresh and ready to fire a good one, and she has looked spectacular in the mornings here at Churchill Downs.
At such a short price I am going to attempt to beat her. Waldgeist was fourth in the Arc and looks to be coming into the race in good shape. Magical is going to be a price for Aiden O’Brien and was an impressive winner of the British Champion Stakes (G1) just two weeks ago.
In addition, I think the Chad Brown trained Robert Bruce has a good shot of getting it done for the home team.
The Classic drew a full field of 14 and we don’t have the marquee matchup like we have had in recent years like Arrogate vs. Gun Runner last year or Arrogate vs. California Chrome in the year before that.
Accelerate is the 5-2 morning line favorite for trainer John Sadler, who comes into the day riding a 0 for 41 mark with his Breeders’ Cup starters.
I count six contenders in the field that would be of no surprise if they win, and that does not include the Euro invader Roaring Lion, who comes to the U.S. riding a four-race winning streak in Group 1 races on turf.
If you pull out Accelerate’s four Beyers at 1 ¼ miles and he looks darn imposing. West Coast is certainly eligible to move forward second off the bench. His stablemate McKinzie could become the fourth three-year-old winner of this race sent out by Bob Baffert in the past five years.
Catholic Boy is the Travers (G1) winner. Yoshida won the Woodward (G1) and looks as if he is coming into the race in great form. Mind Your Biscuits sure looks to me like he can get 1 ¼ miles.
No matter who wins and lands second and third we should be able to catch a decent price to close out what could be a very memorable Breeders’ Cup.
What would make things a lot more memorable is if we can take down a couple of Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagers. After a long week of handicapping, I think we are ready.
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My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Aqueduct and Churchill Downs
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Here is the opener from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (11:00 ET)
#6 Point of Honor 7-2
#4 Cambier Parc 5-2
#2 Bay Harbor 6-1
#1 Cariba 9-2
Analysis: Point of Honor debuts for the Weaver barn that is 20% winners (with a +ROI) with first timers. This gal is working quickly in the mornings and looks ready to go. She is by Curlin (13% winners with debut runners) out of a Bernardini mare that has dropped two foals to race, both winners, top earner stakes winner Velvet Mood ($92,453). She has a strong off track pedigree if the track is still wet today.
Cambier Parc makes her first start for the Brown barn that is 20% winners with first timers. She is by Medaglia d'Oro out of the stakes winner Sealy Hill ($1.7 million) who has dropped five foals to race, four winners including a trio of stakes winners, top earner Belle Hill ($180,725). A solid work tab here on the main track and she is bred to handle a wet track.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,2,4,6
TRI: 4,6 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,4,5,6
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 9 The Turnback the Alarm Hcp G3 (4:44 ET)
#6 Holy Helena 4-1
#1 Teresa Z 3-1
#5 Moonlit Garden 5-1
#2 Bishop's Pond 6-1
Analysis: Holy Helena came off a three-month break in a tough spot in the Flower Bowl (G1) and she was not a threat in a seventh-place finish. She reeled off three in a row on turf earlier this year and won last year's Queen's Plate on the fake stuff. Her win on dirt was her maiden breaker at Belmont Park last May. Blinkers are added and she drops into an easier spot here. I like the switch back to the main track and she has a solid off track pedigree if the track is still wet.
Teresa Z stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish in the Beldame (G1) last out in her first go off a 2 1/2-month break. She came with a mild late run to finish third two back in the Del 'Cap (2). Her last win came three back in the Obeah at Delaware Park at today's nine-furlong distance. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and will appreciate the softer company here.
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,5,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 9 The BC Distaff G1 (4:16 ET)
#10 Blue Prize 6-1
#11 Monomoy Girl 2-1
#2 Abel Tasman 7-2
#8 Vale Dori 12-1
Analysis: Blue Prize has won four of her last five starts and is coming off a win at Keeneland in the Spinster (G1) where she drew clear and then ducked out in the stretch losing her momentum briefly and came back to finish up well. She has landed in the exacta in 7 of 8 trips at nine furlongs and makes her third start of her current form cycle. She won the Locust Grove (G3) over the main track here two back and she won the Fall City 'Cap (G2) here last fall at nine furlongs by 8 1/2 lengths. She should get a good trip sitting off the pace and while there are question marks on a few of these getting the distance we know this gal can. The Spinster has produced nine winners of the Distaff. She is sitting on a big one and is going to be a fair price. It's a long stretch and she will have time to run them down here.
Monomoy Girl prompted the early pace and battled on gamely in the stretch, drifting in and out and interfering with Midnight Bisou, prevailing by a neck but was DQ'd and placed second. She earned a career top speed fig in the effort and she has won twice at nine furlongs including the Kentucky Oaks (G1) here back in May. There have been 10 three-year-old fillies that have won this race including three of the last seven. She has not missed landing in the exacta in her 10-race career. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and just needs to avoid a pace duel up front.
Abel Tasman tossed in a mystifying clunker last out in the Zenyatta (G1) where she weakened to finish fifth. Did she not like the Santa Anita surface or was she sick? She won the Personal Ensign (G1) two back by a neck with a career top so perhaps we can call it a bounce. For the most part Distaff winners do not win this race off a sub par prep. However, she does have Baffert calling the shots, so we can't dismiss her entirely.
Vale Dori is also sent out by Baffert and she won the Zenyatta at 11-1. She looks headed in the right direction and she popped three triple digit Beyers last year, winning the Santa Margarita (G1) and coming up a neck short in the Beholder Mile (G1) and Clement L. Hirsch (G1). Those were three quality efforts that would put her right in the mix here. Worth tossing in the mix here if she goes off near her 12-1 morning line.
WIN: #10 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 10,11 / 2,8,10,11
TRI: 10,11 / 2,8,10,11 / 2,8,9,10,11
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.
R3: #3 Duango Dan 8-1
R3: #4 Admiral Blue 8-1
R6: #2 J S Bach 8-1
R7: #1 Rags to Britches 12-1
R8: #2 Natural Order 10-1
R10: #4 Hungry Kitten 8-1
R10: #6 Laska 8-1
Good luck today!
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