Race 5: Alw 8.5 (T)
This race feels ripe for an upset with all contenders sitting around the high 70’s Beyer and no clear pace scenario. Taking two shots to get live in the pick threes.
- Best Value Play: #11 External Peace (15-1) Last out did not want to break away from the gate, require a reminder it’s race day (sign number one that day wasn’t this horse’s day). Steadied for no apparent reason (sign number two today wasn’t the day). Then the jockey rushes in the backstretch to get back in touch with the field, leaving no hope for a closing quicken. The finish down the lane was a non-effort, so don’t look at that figure earned as the jockey was saving the horse for the next battle. Two back had zero excuses as was with the pace flow but couldn’t quicken. Even with these two blunders I’m willing to excuse those efforts because I know this one can quicken. The wide turns will help on the outer to achieve this one-run wide move. 10-1 will be a gift. The 5f bullet shows there’s upside, just needs to put the pieces together.
- Best Value Play: #6 Say Hey (20-1) Last out lost the race when getting pinched hard into the first turn. Non-finish effort down the lane. Two back there’s a key 2 seconds of this replay that has me convinced this one can quicken. At timestamp 6:04:10 you can see the jockey shake the reigns to straighten down for the stretch drive, but the horse starts extending and finding another gear without being asked – that winning mental attitude is what I look for in muddy races like this. To provide even more upside, this one raced against the pace flow near the lead the whole way around. Hoping for the 3rd off the layoff cycle up.
Race 6: Maple Leaf Stakes 10f (AW)
In Casse I trust in this event.
- Most Logical: #7 Heavenly Curlin (5-1) Came back after a long layoff to run down stablemate Crystal Glacier in the 8.5f event. Last two events ran into neutral fractions. Today should get a nice setup with some speed drawn in this race. I’m trusting Casse has this one fit and wants all of this stretch out as only worked this horse ONCE and at just 4f since the last 8.5f win. Big step up in distance for this son of Curlin who was purchased for $625k by Barber/Oxley together.
- Best Value: #6 Juliana (15-1) projects to be a bit loose and might go on with it. Two back ran a honest second to Bold Script who runs consistent mid 80’s Beyer figures on Tapeta. Last out had no shot trying dirt for first time. Today gets back to the right surface with little to no pace pressure. Value line is around 10-1.
- Too short to back: #10 Art of Almost (2-1) The synth figures are just too light overall to back at what will be a short price on the day.
- Beatable: #8 Elizabeth Way (3-1) Form is very off cycle. I’m not willing to take a short price in hopes of a return to form. Would hope this one gets a layoff soon.
Race 7: Clm $40k 6.5f (T)
Might be able to eke out value focusing on these two. But wouldn’t blame anyone for spreading.
- Best Value: #5 Rosebud’s Hope (8-1) No speed drawn inside, cut back, and class of this bunch is light. Traveled very wide last event and against the pace flow last out.
- Most Logical: #9 Silent Respect (3-1) Last out got washed off the turf so we’ll excuse that effort. Two back the distance was too short and tried closing into a slow pace (against the pace flow). TimeForm US has the early call of the race a 41 which is CRAWLING. The fact this one was able to be in contention late after being so far back with that type of pace scenario is very telling of the talent. The added distance should only help. The wide draw is exactly where we want. Chaos tends to happen and being wide will only help this one stay out of trouble.
Race 8: Autumn Stakes 8.5 (AW)
Frustrated with the results of the Durham Cup and we hope to find redemption.
- Most Logical: #5 Skywire (2-1) Last out let the eventual winner got away with the easiest of leads in the Durham Cup. Many of the competitors are entered again today in this race. Let’s hope they don’t make that same mistake twice, letting Salute with Honor get an easy lead in the backstretch. Skywire is not an “immediate quicken type” (4:26:53 timestamp two back, jockey has to start using legs to keep up with the quicken of the pack and almost gets caught sleeping). This horse should have most success parking wide, traveling a little extra distance, but start making a move before they enter the turn if there pace isn’t there.
- Best Value: #4 Vanzzy (15-1) In the last two races ran on yielding or soft turf. Based on figures looks to prefer the stronger footing, so today’s try might forecast elevated numbers. I would project a stalking trip, staying a few lengths off the two logical horses. Value line is 6-1.
- Beatable Favorite: #6 Salute with Honor (1-1) Last out got the easiest of breathers in the back stretch, getting away with soft fractions. If no other jockey presses this one he wins.
*Breeders’ Cup Friday Spot Plays*
Race 6: BC Juv Turf Sprint
The heavy favorite is a massive overreaction to one figure earned at Saratoga. Adversity has been something this one has been able to overcome and will get plenty of that today. The other two races is what we project today: pace pressured on the lead and wilts late. To add to the matters, I don’t think she really wants all of this 5.5f considering at the shorter distances two and three back she was passed late.
Best Value: #12 Dirty Dangle (20-1) I love the spot for this horse. After the last win I wrote in the pp’s “look for bigger things”. What bigger stage than Breeder’s Cup? Should sit a nice pocket ride and has a proven tactical advantage. Couple trip notes below. Value line stands at 8-1 and we’ll know we’ll get all of that.
- Trip Note 9/19/2020: the fix is in, was soft ridden last out (8/16), today makes a huge blitz bouncing out, in three jumps of actual running passed everyone, look for bigger things, didn’t look fully cranked.
- Trip Note 8/16/2020: made two moves, broke well, dropped, ran on well. Jockey didn’t use all of horse, big upgrade next out. Plenty of ground loss.
Race 8: BC Juv Fillies
Try to block out the noise of the media and look at this race objectively.
- Most Logical: Dayoutoftheoffice (5-2 is the ML but our value line is anything over 2-1) Basic handicapping on figures and combine with the trip note below regarding how this one did it after the layoff, high probability upside is still left. No other pace pressure in here. Trip Note: settled 2w, with pace flow, but did it easily. Terrible trainer off layoff, so this one could be talented next out. Big gallop out.
Race 10: BC Juv 8.5f
I love when people focus on favorites as they become “super favorites” given value to other contenders. Two year olds are volatile, young, and anything can happen.
- Best Value: #6 Keepmeinmind (30-1) The name is apropos, isn’t it? Strong work outs, Jose Ortiz rides, 23% trainer, and already a run over the track… and we get 30-1?! Last out looked all but over half way through the turn, but when asked picked up his feet deep in the turn, began making a move against the pace flow. End result was a solid second finish. With a little better ride and some pace to close into, he can easily turn the tables on Essential Quality. This one is working out like a monster and should get a dream setup pace-wise. . #4 Likeable and #7 Jackie’s Warrior will be sent hard. Jose should be able to find a nice trip. At the very least, don’t leave this one off exotics. Thanks to DRF Formulator, trainer/jockey combo over last 5 years at Keeneland have won 36% of their 28 starts with a $10.60 average payoff.
*Breeders’ Cup Saturday Spot Plays*
Race 5: BC Turf Sprint
Best Value: #14 Extravagant Kid (15-1) Love the jockey change and wide draw that should assist a great ride. Two back had to deal with the good surface and almost got the win.
- Trip Notes: 10/3/2020 too patient of a ride coming for home, eventual winner made move 8 jumps before this one was hustled.
- Trip Notes: 7/11/2020: race over at start, missed break, tepid move to late, against pace flow.
Race 7: BC FM Turf
- Best Value: #9 Harvey’s Lil Goil (20-1) Last out set honest fractions on good ground, earned a solid numbers. Two back was against pace flow and was run down late, three back tried dirt and blew break a bit & had a trip. Bill Mott with target is looking tough to beat. This one has hit the board 6 out of 8 runnings. The two races with an off-the-board finishes were from the debut try and then a layoff trying to take down Swiss Skydiver, Shedaresthedevil, and Venetian Harbor.
Race 8: Sprint 6f
Looks to be enough speed for the winning trip to be just off the pace to 4-6 lengths off the lead.
- Best Value (crazy longshot, even for me): #5 Manny Wah (30-1) Jockey change should help stalk the insane pace that should unfold. Overall body of work for this four year old continues to improve steadily. Second start off the freshening and might have a bit of upside left.
- Most Logical: #10 Yaupon (7/2) Speed of the speed today. Last out MUSCLED through a terrible break, no breathers, kicked clear, against pace flow setting hard fractions. I have to imagine the trainer has this one ready to step forward for the biggest race of the horse’s career.