Horse by Horse Analysis – Saturday Full Card – John Pinder

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint  


Race Rundown:

I project the winner to sit off the speed and have a text book presser type of trip after early top-notch fractions.  Closers and late runners may have a difficult time getting up in time, although there are a few that have shown they have that ability. 

#1 Speech

I was all in on the Speech band wagon for the Kentucky Oaks, but after that troubled start it was over before the quarter pole.  Very talented filly but this distance is not flattering for her to do her best. She did face-off with the unquestioned race favorite, Gamine, earlier in the year but that was at a mile and sixteenth only losing by a neck.  I don’t foresee the rematch at shorter distance being any easier for Speech.  Pass.

#2 Gamine

This super filly’s only defeat came in the Kentucky Oaks, where the mile and 1/8 proved too much for her.  Turning back to 7 Furlongs, which is in her wheelhouse for sure, puts her in the conversation for the top spot.  Has proven her skillset to run fast and maintain it.  Only question to be answered is if she is pushed to top speeds by multiple horses to keep the lead throughout three quarters of the race does that open the door for someone to come and take it away in the final jumps? 

A must use.

#3 Come Dancing

The eldest mare of the group is six years young.  She has been very competitive in her three starts for trainer Carlos Martin.  Her never say quit attitude will make it possible for her to be used underneath for 3rd of 4th but does not have the ability to be close enough to these younger sprinters for the win opportunity. Underneath possibilities.

#4 Inthemidstofbiz

Is in the midst of an impressive winning streak.  Won impressively last time out at the distance of 6F to qualify for this race, going off at 13-1 in the G2 TCA in what was easily her top lifetime performance.  Asking her to not only repeat but improve upon that effort is asking a great deal.  Pass.

#5 Sconsin

Another late running filly that will have too much to do late to win this contest, although I do like Sconsis’s chance to hit the board around the 3rd spot and greater filling out the trifectas and superfectcas at a price.

#6 Venetian Harbor

Another top-notch runner that needs the early lead in order to be in consideration for placing.  With a potential rematch of the G1 Test where Venetian Harbor faced off with Gamine, Venetian Harbor was no match when the endurance running began.  One thing about that race was that Joel Rosario was attempting to keep Venetian Harbor on the flank of Gamine until the stretch, which could have had a different outcome if she was just allowed to go on with it. At this point I think that the pace will be too much to maintain for Venetian Harbor but as with most of the ultra-talented runners that fit the pace profile of Breeder’s Cup Saturday, value will be the ultimate tie breaker as to if there is a play or not.

#7 Serengeti Empress

Two words will set the stage for the Empress when it comes to this race, Pace Setter. She is unconditionally at her best when she goes to the front.  Can she make the front?  Can she keep it? 

I believe that she can make the front but will be under intense pressure throughout and will not be able to maintain it.  Pass.

#8 Sally’s Curlin

Likes to come from out of the clouds and lacks the early pace to be able to win this contest.   Even if there is a complete pace meltdown in the lane, I don’t believe that Sally can make up enough ground late.  Pass.

#9 Bell’s the One

Explosive closer that comes from well out of it.  Showed what she is capable of last time out versus Serengeti Empress as she was unleashed approaching the final turn and won by a nose.  Looking at the pace dynamics of this race she might have the opportunity to come running late again. BUT, (always a but right) there are a few things to consider.  We are looking at a potentially crowded stretch run which could severely compromise her chances, but (there it is again) she has shown the aptitude at Keeneland to get the job done.

Ability to win: Good but not great. 

Ability to Hit the Board: Great

Likely winner: 


Closer that fits:

Bell’s the One

Potential Value Play Underneath:





Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint 


Race Summary

14 signed on to sprint on the turf going 5F.   Look for the potential value plays, as a lot could happen in this spot.  We will upgrade the viable runners that get an outside post position.

#1 Big Runnuer

Five-year-old turf specialist has raced only seven times in his career, winning his last three.  Started out the year running in the optional claiming ranks, could be discounted because of that but fits from a style and speed perspective.  – Value Play Potential.

#2 Just Might

Will be a part of the early pace for sure but has yet shown the propensity to hold it.  – Pass.

#3 Imprimis

Participated in this race last year and was sixth beaten four lengths.

#4 Front Run the Fed

Does not have the early speed to keep up with these. Pass

#5 Wet Your Whistle

Not on the same level. Pass

#6 Glass Slippers *

GB-bred Four-year-old filly trained by Kevin Ryan.

#7 Leinster

When you look up the saying “Horse for Course”  You will find a picture of Leinster being saddled in Keeneland’s paddock.  4 – 3  – 1 at Keeneland.  This five-year-old also participated in the Breeder’s Cup Turf Sprint last year and did not fair well.  He was in between horses for the majority of the race and never really looked comfortable.  Another statistic jumped out as all of his best finishes, as the case in many turf sprints, came when he had an outside post position.  – Update: did not get a great postion but not a horrible one either.  With so many other viable options will let value guide me on how I play Leinster. Contender.

#8 Oleksandra

Another really good runner whose natural ability lends itself to come with a late run, but this one is a little more intriguing due the fact that he has had Joel Rosario as his jockey for the majority of his races.  – If he as a more aggressive rider could he be positioned closer?   Underneath possibilities with upgrade potential.

#9 Into Mystic

Four-year-old filly by Into Mischief who has is as consistent as they come.  Doesn’t seem to ready for this level but is capable of hitting the board. Underneath.

#10 Bombard

Has only sprinted 5F on the turf once and finished a respectable second in a 100K stakes at Del Mar earlier this summer. He can capture the lead in turf routes but I don’t think he is up to the task of competing with dedicated turf sprinters of this caliber. Pass.

#11 Wildman Jack

Talented gelding who has yet to put it all together.    He was in tight along the rail in this last outing came running on late.  Has also displayed the ability to put up very fast fractions early.   Has Potential.

#12 Got Stormy

Versatile Runner whose historical niche was one mile on the turf.  In her last two outings she has cut back to sprinting on the grass and has won both efforts in G3 company coming from off the pace.  An early glance looks like she will need a pace setup to win. Was helped with an outside post position.

#13 Texas Wedge

Knocking on the door but doesn’t have the ability to stay on and finish the deal.  There are many talented closers in the race and if by chance that Texas Wedge does make the front, he will be under duress in the stretch ultimately finishing 4th or worse.    

#14 Extravagant Kid

7-year-old got an outside draw he could definitely be a win candidate. He will come running late and should be included in every position from top to bottom.

* Runner overview is taken from the premium package content articles by experts (Nick Luck and Steven Bonnick) on International runners. – Please reference those articles for full context.

Logical includes:


Closer that fits:


Potential Value Plays:

Big Runnuer     Wildman Jack (Longshot)


Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile


#1 Art Collector

Five consecutive victories for this 3-year-old before a lackluster performance in the Preakness Stakes.  He ran so well in all of his previous races but in the Preakness he just didn’t have the speed when it came time for the real running to start.  He missed the Derby due to a minor injury when he nicked a bulb on his left front foot.  Could this have led to a slight regression?  There was also the fact that he was off for almost 60 days before his start in the Preakness and may have needed a race to be at his best.  He will get an opportunity to do so here so I would not count him out. 

#2 Sharp Samurai

Primarily a west coast turf miler, but has proven that he has no problem on whatever distance and/or surface he is raced on; this horse is a competitor.  This year he has contracted that sickness that we sometimes see in runners that makes us a little leery to use our betting dollar (second-itis).  He is definitely worthy of keying underneath in your exotics.

#3 Silver Dust

This six-year-old gelding is always positioned well within the races at the graded stakes level but can’t seem to find a way to finish the work he started. The odds are stacked against him when competing against a top level group of runners and a full field like the one scheduled for the BCDirt Mile.   Pass.

#4 War of Will

Competitive runner on multiple surfaces and at different distances. Has proven to be much more competitive going shorter.  Race shape will play a part of how this one factors in – Contender.

#5 Knicks Go

Will be one of the pacesetters for sure. Will he be able to take this G1 group from start to finish? Has made great strides new trainer,  Brad Cox, in 2020. But is running against OC n3x. Has Value Potential.

#6 Mr. Money

Was the beneficiary of a pace meltdown and a great rail trip last time out. Even if both of these conditions happened again, it would still be close for a placing. – Pass

#7 Rushie

Lacks the early speed that will be needed to be competitive here.  Pass.

#8 Pirate’s Punch

Is not without a puncher chance, as this four-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby, has very good overall speed displacement.  He historically had been going longer and holding his own and has been progressing nicely utilizing his front running preference.   

#9 Mr Freeze

Very intriguing runner. It will be equally intriguing to see how the betting public will view this horse.

There are many positives that make him a contender in this spot: He has a versatile running style. He does well at Keeneland 3-2-1. He is cutting back to a mile distance run after winning at a mile 1/16th just three weeks before.  Value Potential.

#10 Complexity

At first glance, this four-year-old colt looks like the real deal, but after peeling back a few of the onion’s layers, he is not as strong as I initially thought.  Scored his best speed figure last time out in the G2 Kelso where he beat just 3 competitors and got the perfect setup.  Studying his other races versus better competition reveals that he is vulnerable against a fast pace. He is no scrub but he is one I’d play against on this one.

#11 Jesus’ Team

Ran a sneaky good race and finished 3rd in his last outing for the Preakness Stakes.  Cutting back to a mile makes this one even more dangerous.   If he makes it into the starting gate, he should be given significant consideration.

#12 Owendale

Requires the race to be tailored to his liking in order for him to win.  If the pace is too fast, he will not be able to close enough and conversely just the opposite if the pace is too slow.  Another question mark is the distance: he has shown to be much more effective going longer. Too many question marks at this point. Pass.

#13 Pingxiang (AE)

Named after a city in China, this lightly raced Kentucky bred son of Speightstown has raced a total of seven times in his career all in Japan.  Has never run a distance other than 6F and five of the seven attempts were on grass.  Pass.

Logical includes:

Art Collector    Mr. Freeze     

Play Against (for the win)

Knicks Go     Complexity

Potential Value Plays:

Mr. Freeze     Pirate’s Punch (Longshot)


The Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf 


#1 Starship Jubilee

Having a difficult time reaching a conclusion with this seven-year-old mare.  She has shown the ability to be very versatile with her runs, but the one race that I continue to return to as a head-scratcher is the G1 Diana, where she was beaten easily by three that she will face again in here.  Could she have had an off day? Could it have been the pace in addition to the added distance of another 23 feet?  Who knows? I am inclined to give her another opportunity if the price is right.  Contender.

#2 Sistercharlie

A year ago, she was the unequivocal queen of the older female turf division.  Since a 3rd place finish in this race last year she has returned with two (just okay) races in which she did not display that patented late turn of foot that made her so dangerous.  Has she lost a step?  Previously in her career, she comes off a long layoff looking just as good as before.  – Pass or Value play? I lean toward Value Play.

#3 Peaceful

IRE Shipper.

#4 Mean Mary

Will want to go to the front from the very beginning and of course attempt to stay there.  How does that stack up with the other early positioned potential runners in here?  Mean Mary IS going to the front (.) Period. Even if she has to go from down on the inside or extreme outside – she is going.

#5 My Sister Nat

Certified closer that does her best when she can sit way back from a super slow pace, conserving her energy and coming through with a late run.  Even with her best late run, I don’t think the distance is conducive.  She would benefit from a little longer distance. – Pass.

#6 Rushing Fall

Many horses constantly find trouble while others find a way to consistently finish 2nd or 3rd. This mare finds a way to win! There seems to be a few in the race that like to run on the front end as well.  The only potential question that I can see is the additional ½ furlong if things get too fast – too early.  Even with that small unknown she cannot be overlooked in the least.

#7 Terebellum *

#8 Mucho Unusual

She would like this race to run a little slower than what it’s it is projected to be based on the other runners.  Has never really excelled in the top-level races until her last when she rocked a small field of closer types to sleep on the front end.  Pass.

#9. Harvey’s Lil Goil

Placed in a challenging spot here, as impressive as this three-year old has been (especially on turf), I believe she will be outrun by her elders in this spot.  She will be one of the keys to the race, as her best opportunity to win pushes the pace along ensuring a faster-than-crawl opening half-mile.

#10 Civil Union

Has a really good running style for this race from a pace perspective. This lightly raced five-year-old seems to be getting good at the right time and has shown the ability to stalk off of both slow and fast paces and close well.  She is very much a contender and could be slightly overlooked by the public due to the other well-known runners in this spot. Fingers crossed.

#11 Audarya *

English Invader.

#12 Lady Prancealot

Her only chance at doing well is if there is a total meltdown which is not a typical scenario in this type of race. Pass

#13 Nay Lady Nay

14 Cayenne Pepper *

English Invader.


Breeders’ Cup Sprint


#1 Echo Town

Quality colt whose best races (in my opinion) came in his most recent 7F races: first when he won the Allen Jerkins and the second was a second-place finish in the Woody Stephens. Hasn’t displayed the speed to be effective at the 6F distance against top opponents.  Pass.

#2 C Z Rocket

We know that the public will gravitate toward this lightly-raced six-year-old, and for good reason. Winner of his last 5 – slowly progressing from $50K claiming to his last which was the G2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. It was a hard-fought victory in that Sprint Championship in which he was going against his archrival on the West Coast.  In my opinion, he has yet to face any formidable adversaries. (After typing that, I went back to look at this horse’s win at Keeneland going 6.5F. I realize I need to do more work.  – This horse missed the break and then came running late to get the victory.  Potential.

#3 Collusion Illusion

Best races have come when he is undoubtedly the best horse in the race.  The only other race that makes him a possible win candidate was his fantastic finish in the G1 Ben Crosby when jockey Flavien Prat did a masterful job of allowing the speed to burn up in front of Collusion Illusion and then proceeded up the rail for the victory.  Pass.

#4 Bon Raison

Will not be able to close well enough for underneath plays. Pass

#5 Manny Wah

Doesn’t have the early speed to stay with the runners scheduled in the G1 event.  Will be looking for an opportunity to come running late to get a piece of the underneath prize money. This scenario is not out of the question as this evenly paced runner has shown the competence for running 2nd or 3rd in 50% of his finishes.  Underneath.

#6 Frank’s Rockette

Will fall into the category of “front runner with no quit”.  During her impressive campaign towards the Breeders’ Cup, she has been winning in graded stakes company very comfortably.  Those fields were devoid of the speed and competition to Frank’s Rockette as she will face in this race.  “Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist” is a saying that I refer to often when it comes to horseplayer rationale.  In this case, I would have liked for there to be a little evidence of her to run faster fractions earlier in those races.  Another basis for me being a little skeptical is that today’s contest will be her first time facing the boys.  Pass.

#7 Whitmore

Still has a little gas left in the tank and has proven to be quite a horse over the years.  In today’s contest, he will not have the ability to stay with these youngsters early but will be coming on late and could get a good setup – much like he did in last year’s BCSprint.  – Use underneath

#8 Firenze Fire

One of my favorite runners this year because he has proven those races under his previous trainer did hold some merit.   That being said, I don’t think that today will be the day for my friend Firenze due to my projection of a spirited pace upfront. He would need to be close enough for that late kick to be effective.  – Pass.

#9 Empire of Gold

Put the world on notice last time out when he almost upset the field in the G2 Phoenix last month.  He tired late after putting up good fractions.  Good fractions won’t be good enough against this group. Pass

#10 Yaupon

This little speedball is a perfect 4-for-4 in his career.  Not only does he win, he is pulling away from the field at the end.  He could be the real deal – no way around this one. Contender.  Could he get into a pace duel with any other horses? I believe that is the thing that could compromise his chances.

#11 Diamond Oops

When handicapping the earlier races, I graded out Diamond Oops as a “no play” for the BCTurfSprint. Things look altogether different for him in the BCSprint.  Not only does he gain an additional 1/2 furlong but he is also running on dirt against potentially 4 early-want-the-lead types. He’s a grinder with some closing ability and in this situation, I think he has the potential to be a value play. 

# 12 Hog Creek Hustle

Does his most effective running when he can come from near the back of the pack.  Will not be able to close well enough for underneath plays. Pass

#13 Jasper Prince

Five-year-old male was bred in Kentucky out of Violence and is trained by Hideyuki Mori.  Shipping in from Japan.

#14 Lasting Legacy  (AE)

Draws in with the scratch of Vekoma.  Six-year-old male whose most recent starts were mildly competitive in the Optional Claiming ranks.  Pass.

BCMile-G1 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile


#1 Circus Maximus *

IRE-bred four-year-old colt trained by Adian O’Brien. Ryan Moore in the irons.

#2 Kameko *

Trained by Andrew Balding this three-year colt out of Kitten’s Joy was bred in Kentucky.  Grinder type.

#3 Lope Y Fernandez *

IRE-bred three-year-old cold is trained by Adian O’Brien.  Performs well on Good ground. Dettori scheduled to be aboard.

#4 Siskin *

Three-year-old colt was bred in Kentucky out of First Defense.  Trained by Ger Lyons, was unbeaten as a two-year-old; one win, a second and third place in 2020.

#5 Digital Age

Four-year-old colt trained by Chad Brown has always been a good quality runner on the turf. If he can continue to stay at the level of his last race, we could be moving him from the categorization of good to great.  All of his races this year have been progressively better than the last; groundwork laid. We know that we are dealing with a progressive Chad Brown-trained horse that is on his way up, but how will he do today?  In my opinion, the mile is too short for him to unleash that blast we saw last time out. A must use for exotics but I would leave him out of the top spot.

#6 Safe Voyage *

IRE-bred four-year-old colt trained by John Quinn.

#7 Casa Creed

Trained by Bill Mott this four-year-old grinder has raced in seven graded stakes races and been and been unable to consistently find the winners’ circle. He is tactical and usually positioned well but doesn’t have the closers kick needed to be secure the victory. Underneath play.

#8 March to the Arch

Five-year-old gelding trained by Mark Casse.  Runs his best at Woodbine and against slow paces. Unfortunately, neither of those two factors will come into play for this year’s BCMile.  Pass.

#9 One Master *

GB-bred six-year-old mare trained by William Haggas.

#10 Halladay

This four-year-old colt, trained by one of the game’s best, Todd Pletcher, is the key to this race.  Seemingly but one way to go what does Halladay do with all that front running speed? It could be detrimental for him to go to the front with Factor This, but there does not seem to be a viable alternative.  Halladay’s speed at a mile seems slightly less than that of his projected front running opponent.  Post position will play an important factor in who can potentially get the upper hand up front and take this impressive group from start to finish.

# 11 Ivar

Displayed a very nice turn-of-foot winning his last outing at Keeneland in the Shadewell Turf mile.  Before Keeneland he attended a quick pace and got ran down late at Kentucky Downs.  A lightly raced Brazilian Bred four-year-old with two good recent races of varying styles on his resume make him a viable candidate – potentially at a price.  He can be versatile but the winner of this race will be Factor This or a closer.  Ivar will have to close better than several others but I believe the talent is there. Contender.

#12 Uni

Question here for Uni is something we all have faced at some point in our lives: Does she still have it?  During 2018-2019, she was at the top of her game and could run down Superman in the lane with her capacity to close late.  This year she has started much slower than usual but there could be very logical explanations.  1) Looking back, she hasn’t always come back from a layoff in top form.  2) She is not the biggest fan of the inner turf course at Saratoga.  In her most recent start, she was able to hold off Beau Recall late after very moderate fractions.  If the naysayers look the other way and Uni is forgotten about, play her for value. Rosario fits her running style the best.

#13 Factor This

Will definitely factor into the pace of this race.  This Brad Cox trainee has won five of his last six starts all at above average paces for the times that he ran them in.  Running in the lead is a necessity. Stamina will not be a problem for him as it sometimes is with pace setters. He’s been covering a mile and 1/16 (and beyond) and there have been no signs of fatigue in any of those races.  Was run by late going a mile and 1/8 in the Turf classic on Derby day by Digital Age (a fellow runner in this race). If that race would have been at a mile distance- Factor This wins.  We will see what happens in the Mile.  Win Contender.

#14 Raging Bull

Quality runner for Chad Brown that has yet to display the ability to put both pieces of turf miler greatness together in the same race: accelerate in the turn and the ability to close.  In different outings, he has shown one but not the other. Pass.

#15 Order of Australia (AE) *

* Runner overview is taken from the premium package content articles by experts (Nick Luck and Steven Bonnick) on International runners. – Please reference those articles for full context.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff 


#1 Ce Ce

Hard trying filly that has yet to display the ability to finish in her last 3 races.  In the spring she was sitting the same types of trips early but was a closing machine.  Before we turn the page on CeCe, let’s take a closer look.  She has great early speed and the ability to say on and could be in that prime position of 3 lengths off.  Only problem is that she will be facing one of the very best mares and an up and coming filly that both run fractions with no off switch.  Pass.

#2 Harvest Moon

Three-year-old runner that has progressed nicely over her five career starts for trainer Simon Callaghan.  The Graded stakes races she has been participating in were small in number of runners and not even close to the caliber of company that she will face in the BCDistaff, but Harvest Moon doesn’t know that!  Her numbers are viable for a tote placing.  – Use Underneath for Value

#3 Dunbar Road

Late running filly that will need a lot of assistance from the racing fairies in order to have a chance in here. Pass

#4 Horologist

Looking to find a comparable race to see how Horologist might stand up to the rigor of the BCDistaff, I focused in on the G1 LaTroienne Stakes.  Monomoy Girl encountered a bit of trouble entering the first turn and she was taken back to fourth wide and Horologist got a rail position into the turn.  After the turn they both sat equal distance 4 or 5 lengths off of the leader. Horologist got an unbothered ground saving run at the leaders, she was no match for the winner but secured 3rd by a half-length.  I would anticipate a similar finish.   

#5 Swiss Skydiver

Made history by beating the boys in the Preakness stakes one month ago in dramatic fashion, holding off the Kentucky Derby winner Authentic, running neck and neck down the stretch, not allowing him to go by.  A truly amazing win.  Onto the Distaff.  If anyone can take down Monomoy Girl, Swiss Skydiver has the ability to do it.  As I look at Swiss Skydiver and her efforts this year it is truly amazing what she has done.  That amazement also leads to wonder as I begin to wonder has all these graded stakes victories and taking on the boys and winning endurance testing races going to catch up with this three-year-old super filly.  For the sake of my fan boy excitement and this upcoming 2 days of racing, I sure hope it doesn’t happen in this race, but as I look to write my analysis of the races from all angles, the thought did cross my mind.  Swiss Skydiver can run early and run late but I can’t see a scenario that Monomoy Girl can’t do just a little better.  2nd place behind Monomoy Girl

#6 Lady Kate

Ran a really good race to finish second in the G1 LaTroienne that Horologist and Monomoy Girl were in.  That race was conducted at a mile and 1/16 compared to the Breeder’s Cup Distaff that will cover a mile and 1/8.  With a similar speed projection, Lady Kate will find herself on the front end attempting to outrun not only Monomoy Girl but also Swiss Skydiver for an additional ½ furlong.  Pass.

#7 Point of Honor

Her running style is to drop back and make one run.  Does not have the ability to close well enough to be considered against this group.  Pass.

#8 Valiance

Primarily a turf runner until August when he remained in a race originally scheduled for the turf; won that race, achieving his best lifetime speed figure.  Next Trainer Todd Pletcher takes this well-bred son of Tapit and wins the G1 Spinster, at a mile 1/8th on the dirt, and when you have the hot hand why not continue to roll the dice.  I am not mad at Pletcher and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners for taking a shot but this would be a tall task.  They have a great runner on their hands but she will not win this race, could get a placing.

#9 Ollie’s Candy

Should have beaten Valiance in her last race but an attempt to stay on the rail by the jockey cost her a placing. It cost her nothing else as she ran a heck of a race, other than additional purse money, a G1 win, lots of prestige – Okay I will lighten up on the sarcasm.  All kidding aside she ran a really good 2nd place race and showed good resolve and determination in the G1 Spinster.  That determination is why I believe that she is a good key horse for 3rd and 4th.

#10 Monomoy Girl

All rise! The queen will now be discussed.  Reverence is in order when you talk about Monomoy Girl.  You may now be seated.

14 Starts 12 wins 2 second place finishes lifetime. 3 for 3 this year.   With her ability to run upfront or from off the pace fast or slow it’s hard to find a reason NOT to play her for the win.  She has also been expertly campaigned in 2020, this to be her 4 start of the year with about a month and a half in between starts.  The race still has to be run but apart from anything crazy I believe that she is a lock.  Winner.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf


Race Rundown:

These turf marathons are always very interesting, to say the least. The race scenario is always the same. One horse goes to the front and plays catch-me-if-you- can, while everyone else attempts to go as slow as they can until a half mile remains then it’s a mad dash by all.  In either position, it seems that every horse has a chance to win when the real running begins.  After the initial run down and write-ups, pre-post draw, there does not seem to be any clear-cut winner from a statistical perspective.  Excited to look for value in this race.

#1 Arklow

Trainer Brad Cox and Donegal Racing are hoping for some pace in this race.  Arklow has developed a wickedly good late turn-of-foot but rarely gets to utilize it in the prescribed slow then slow then go really fast merry go round races.  It looks as if fellow runner Channel Maker will want to go to the front.  – Will anyone go with him and keep things lively up front and give Arklow a chance?  Fast to Honest Paced Dependent Contender.

#2 Magical *

Aidan O’Brien trains this IRE-bred five-year-old mare. 

#3 Tarnawa *

IRE-bred four-year-old filly is trained by Dermot Weld.

#4 Mehdaayih *

GB-bred four-year-old filly is trained by John Gosden.  Joel Rosario aboard.

#5 Donjah*

GER-bred four-year-old shipper has raced exclusively in Germany, trained by Henk Grewe.

#6 Lord North *

John Gosden trained four-year-old IRE-bred gelding.  Frankie Dettori in the irons.

#7 United

Five-year old trained by Richard Mandella made everyone a believer during last year’s BCTurf when he ran second to the 2019 Horse of the Year, Bricks and Mortar. United ran an unbelievable race, going off at odds of 51-1.  In his subsequent six starts he is 4 – 2  – 0  and hasn’t been greater than odds of 9 to 5.  Contender for sure but let’s not forget that he was a longshot with a chance last year.  Let’s look for value.   

#8 Red King

Six-year-old son of English Channel is trained by Phillip D”Amato.  Has the ability to unleash that required late run and put it on display during his last three efforts. However, his figures leave you wanting a little more.  He was able to stamp his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup by a very heads-up ride by Uberto Rispoli, who made a great early move and was able to hold off fellow BCTurf competitor United.  Pass.

#9 Channel Maker

Now six-years young, Channel Maker has attempted both ways of winning these mile and ½ turf races.  Early on in his racing career he attempted to take it to the front and attempt to rock everyone to sleep; had some success but was not stellar at it. Then there was a period of attempting different distances with trying to come off the pace with little to no triumph.  Now it looks as though he is back to his front running ways after rattling off two victories with impressive figures.  Kudos to jockey Manny Franco for two excellent trips leading gate to wire for the entire 12 furlongs. Based on how the turf has been at Keeneland he has to be a strong contender.

#10 Mogul *

Aidan O’Brien trains this GB-bred three-year-old colt.

* Runner overview is taken from the premium package content articles by experts (Nick Luck and Steven Bonnick) on International runners. – Please reference those articles for full context.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic 


Race Rundown:

Anticipation Almost Over. Not only is this race slated to be the highlight of the Breeders’ Cup weekend 2020, but it is also shaping up to be one that we look back on for years to come as one of the great showdowns of recent history.  Let’s go to work and come up with some good analysis of a theoretically very competitive race. 

#1 Tacitus

Historically, Tacitus was viewed seen as a horse that was always knocking on the door, and with just a little more distance, he would be able to excel.  After five attempts of at 10F and only one victory to show for it, it’s  time to relabel Tacitus as a horse that is always knocking at the door. Full stop. Pass

#2 Tiz the Law

Looked like a sure-fire candidate for  Horse of the Year after his run in the G1 Travers with a romping victory.  Before that, he won the G1 Belmont easily by 3 lengths. Prior to that, it was the G1 Florida Derby by 4 lengths. Now here we are after a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and we are asking questions as to what happened with Tiz the Law.  From a pace standpoint, the race was no different from any of the other earlier won contests.   He just didn’t have enough umphh to catch Authentic on that day. So, what type of pace will he face today in this race?  Based upon his post position draw and the lack of speed to his immediate right or left, he should be able to set up for a very good trip and have something left in the tank to finish.  He is very much a contender.

#3 By My Standards

Is a grinder with some closing ability and should be used underneath in exotics to from exactas to Hi Five plays but has not shown the aptitude to win in a spot like this.

#4 Tom’s d’Etat

One of the wise-guy horses that will help to even out the odds across the board. – He is legit. The only hiccup on his past performance was his last race when he missed the break in the G1 Whitney and still managed to finish a respectable 3rd; only beaten 2 lengths by the BC classic favorite,  Improbable.  Has the ability to stay within striking distance but his ace in the hole is his ability to finish strong.  The layoff is a slight pause for me but Tom’s is 7 now and has shown the ability to be ready to fire after a little bit of a refreshing.  – Contender for me.

#5 Title Ready

Dallas Stewart trains this horse who doesn’t have the impressive speed or pace figures.  It’s hard to find a case for him to win this race –  no two ways about it.  But Dallas Stewart has the uncanny ability to get his horses to run beyond their odds.    Play deep down in your exotics.

#6 Higher Power

Five-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro will attempt the BC Classic for the second time.  Last year he was able to hit the board in 3rd place (8 lengths behind Vino Rosso).  Hasn’t shown much improvement in his subsequent starts.  Pass.

#7 Global Campaign

Trainer Stanley Hough has been campaigning this four-year-old colt in four different distances of races this year after an 11- month layoff.   Working his way back to the 8.5 to 10F distances, his best races come when he can make the lead and control from the front.  He won’t be able to accomplish that in this race. Pass.

#8 Improbable

I am going to show my hand early with regards to my opinion of Improbable.  All horseplayers are trained to look for a reason to beat the favorite, right?  I am going to do that here.  Improbable is a probable winner for sure and if you want to say that you picked the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner in the year 2020, place a $2 win bet on him just in case.  Improbable has won three Grade 1 races back to back to back.  – Impressive right?  Not Quite.  In the G1 Gold Cup he beat a six-horse field including Higher Power.  In the G1 Whitney he beat a five-horse field including: By My Standard and Tom’s d’Etat (who missed the break completely).  In his last effort he did beat Maximum Security impressively BUT the fractions for that race were really fast for the mile and 1/8th and he had no opposition when it came time to run them down as there were only 4 other horses in the race.  Pass. – And don’t call me a hater – I’m just doing my job.  😊

#9 Authentic

When I started to analyze this race weeks ago, I assumed that Authentic would not be the pre-race favorite.  Even in a competitive race with any 6 potential winners that Authentic, winner of the Kentucky Derby, beating Tiz the Law; same Authentic who only lost by a nose to super filly Swiss Skydiver would be the four or fifth on the morning line – WOW.  Just goes to show how talented this field of runners really are.   As we continue to look at Authentic, we know that he is a “need the lead” type and should be able to get it based on his natural ability. If someone doesn’t put pressure on him early, my estimation is that he takes the field gate to wire like he did in the Kentucky Derby.  – Contender in that scenario is unlikely but not impossible.

#10 Maximum Security

How foretelling would it have been if this horse was named Maximum Scrutiny?

One of the best four-year-olds that we have in training and without a doubt THE one that has had to prove the most.  Going back to the 2019 Derby disqualification then the 2020 trainer scandal and now the talk of him being used up and no longer the great horse that he once was.  So, what’s the story and what do we do with Maximum Security?  Maximum Security doesn’t do well with fast paces in the early stages of the race.  In his most recent defeat in the G1 Awesome Again same as with his loss to King for a Day last year in the Pegasus Stakes, the opening and second quarters of those races were both above par pace. Add to that his hard-fought victory in the G2 San Diego.  I do not think that Max is washed up.  I think he will face a group of very talented runners that will demand he attend to a lively pace more than what he may want to. Pass

Summary:  Not just because it’s one of my favorite ways to look at a race, but I truly believe that pace will make this race. The key to the pace will be the two runners who are starting from the 9 and 10 post positions.

Authentic will want the lead and I believe he will make it to the front very similar to the early running of the Derby; however, I don’t think it will be conceded to him easily. That will liven up the pace, setting it up for a presser like Tiz or a closer like Tom.

Let’s make it happen!!!

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