Breeders' Cup Top 5

Kennedy
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:32 pm

As soon as the Triple crown ends I always start to shift my gaze to the Breeders' Cup and for me there is no better way to follow along than to create lists of who I think the top contenders are in each race. I try to make lists each month and of course it would be fun if many people had some lists as well.
I'll try to fill in some analysis as I have time.

June

Classic
Justify
West Coast
Accelerate
Seeking the Soul
Thunder Snow

Justify may not have the speed figures to compete with the top older horses on paper. But you always get the feeling that there is more there to be given and he's not done developing yet. Few horses are after just 6 starts. He's also caught some terrible tracks on his big occasions which doesn't exactly lend itself to putting his full talent on display.

West Coast is a personal favorite of mine but I want to see him come back from Dubai and run well while winning a race not just getting big figs while losing.

I don't trust Accelerate much but look around at the older horses.....there is quite a void there.

Seeking the Soul is my longshot toss into the list. He has a big win over the track. His trainer has a way of getting his horses to run big on big days and he can even do it off the shelf. He could wind up being the perfect underdog horse

Part of me can't help but recall Thunder Snow's refusal to run in the Derby but I have to think they'll get him over that and he will actually try this time. When he tries he's pretty good and his talent I think rightfully places him third. But all the variables that come with being an international entrant move him lower on my list.

Turf
Oscar Performance
Capri
Talismanic
Hi Happy
Sadler's Joy

There is a bit of a risk here in that Oscar Performance hasn't gotten underway yet and sometimes horses don't improve like you think they will but I really think this horse has a bright future. He's got class and a touch of brilliance. I think with age and maturity the 12f will become more and more his thing. It wouldn't shock me to see him as the favorite for this race by the time we get to November.

I don't know if Capri is a horse O'Brien will send to the BC but I like his chances of becoming the stable representative and thus I love his chances in general. Ballydoyle pretty much always sends a live one.

Talismanic is the defending champ and should be poised to give his title defense a good try. No reason to dislike him

Hi Happy and Salder's Joy kind of represent the generic North American challenge. Mostly they're not good enough to win but often one of them will step up on the right day and come really close.

Mile
Analyze It
Rhododendron
World Approval
Next Shares
Suedois

Analyze It is in serious risk of never being considered for this race because the big races for 3yo's on the grass all seem to come longer but he's not a horse that I see as a really natural play to go longer but he doesn't have serious tier 1, championship level talent. Given the relative weakness of milers worldwide at the moment I don't think it's a stretch to say that he could be the best of them by the fall. If a European was this good we'd probably believe it but Europe also has some nice races that really let milers develop their identity as 3yo's. North Americans seem obliged to stretch out or wait to be famous until they're older. Analyze It deserves to be famous.

European milers are not good at the moment but Rhododendron might end up being the top challenge for this race. She proved she can travel here and run well and facing males is no problem. I think she's very interesting.

The old champ still has some game but I do think it'll be tougher and tougher as the year goes on. His still capable on his best day though so if Casse has him right he might still be the one.

Next Shares needs to run much better than he ever has to win a BC race but if weak races play into the hands of weaker horses I think it makes sense to cast a wider net and consider the chances of a wider group. He needs a setup but I think it could happen.

Suedois is one of those horses who will be well prepared and well spotted. His barn is dangerous and last year proved that he can do a mile in America.

Sprint
Roy H
Mind Your Biscuits
Imperial Hint
Mitole
Bobby Abu Dhabi

I'm very disappointed to have Roy H atop the list here. Not because he's bad but because I feel like the Sprint division is getting worse all the time. Roy H and Mind Your Biscuits seem to be the only top class ones out there and very few new options are on the horizon.

Mitole might be the best new shooter on the block. Speed figures look good but his class is quite untested.

Dirt Mile
Sharp Azteca
City of Light
Army Mule
Bee Jersey
Awesome Slew

A few of the names on this list are banged up and getting a break but there is some really high level talent potential here. I actually still can't believe that Sharp Azteca lost last year. If he's healthy I think he's the one to beat but of course Army Mule has been pretty scary.

Awesome Slew seems to find a way to get in the frame and seems to run some of his best races at CD.

Distaff
Unique Bella
Abel Tasman
Monomoy Girl
Elate
Midnight Bisou

This is a group you could get really excited about but despite all the talent in this group I think Unique Bella is still a few lengths the best. Excited to see things unfold though

FM Turf
Hawksmoor
Sistercharlie
Wild Illusion
A Raving Beauty
Holy Helena

I think this is a group that is wide open and I really like Hawksmoor as a horse with some serious ability and she's not really well suited to being a miler. I think her niche is going to front when going long and when the BC FM Turf is run at 11f I think class really tells. It maybe favors Europeans but I think there is also a chance fro speed to really control things.

Wild Illusion comes from the winning barn last year and despite being a 3yo I think she is good enough to come to the head of this class.

Chad Brown will definitely have a strong hand and I think Fourstar Crook was perhaps unlucky not to be added to my list here but I suspect that she will be a part of his Woodbine team and she might take on the EP Taylor instead of the BC just like last year.

Holy Helena is maybe a stretch but she stays the distance well and likes to win. She seems to fit the mold of some of the past winners who weren't as flashy or well regarded but have class and can stay.

FM Sprint
Selcourt
Lewis Bay
Marley's Freedom
Mia Mischief
American Gal

I'm not really sure if I trust Selcourt but certainly no one has done more this year to make their case to be atop this list.

I'm actually more comfortable with Lewis Bay despite the fact that she is less brilliant. Chad Brown has a good record of getting horses to run in this race and I love her at the cutback instead of going long.

Mia Mischief is interesting. 3yo's have a terrible record in this race but trends do change.

Turf Sprint
Disco Partner
Imprimis
Holding Gold
Will Call
Bucchero

I know that Disco Partner wants this to be a 6f race instead of 5.5 but he really is the best horse and Clement does an excellent job of nurturing him and Pure Sensation to top form year after year. In turf sprints you need a little luck if he gets it he wins.

Imprimis is still developing but could be any kind. He's 4 for 4 lifetime and earned a 103 BSF sprinting on the grass in his stakes debut. Feels like there is something there.

Holding Gold, Will Call and Bucchero all seem capable of top class races in one of every 6 races or so. Maybe the penny drops at just the right time for one of them. Ironically I'd probably like them less for a win in the BC if they won their final prep.
Last edited by Kennedy on Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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bare it all
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:54 pm

Baffert has Ax Man, too.
Kennedy
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:15 pm

bare it all wrote:Baffert has Ax Man, too.
Because the Dirt Mile is a one turn event I don't know if I see a good spot for Ax Man in the Breeders Cup this year. I don't think he can compete with Justify and West Coast at 10f and he's not a one turn horse.

Baffert also has Dr. Dorr and possibly even Collected (can't remember if he's still around) but I'm not a fan of either one's chances.
BaroqueAgain1
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:20 pm

Mind Your Biscuits ran so well in the one-turn Met Mile, I wonder if he'll end up in the Dirt Mile instead of the Sprint?
Somnambulist
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:22 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:Mind Your Biscuits ran so well in the one-turn Met Mile, I wonder if he'll end up in the Dirt Mile instead of the Sprint?
I doubt it. But if he does it's all the more reason for this race to be canned.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
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Kurenai
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:11 pm

Mendelssohn is prepping for the Classic in the US. He'd be on my short list for the Classic, depending on the outcome of his preps of course.
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bare it all
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:44 pm

Kennedy wrote:
bare it all wrote:Baffert has Ax Man, too.
Because the Dirt Mile is a one turn event I don't know if I see a good spot for Ax Man in the Breeders Cup this year. I don't think he can compete with Justify and West Coast at 10f and he's not a one turn horse.

Baffert also has Dr. Dorr and possibly even Collected (can't remember if he's still around) but I'm not a fan of either one's chances.
Collected hasn't had a work since the Pegasus.... maybe just laid up after that trip?

Baffert is just loaded up on colt/gelding talent (nothing new)... his B-team consists of McKinzie, Hoppertunity, Mubtahiij, Dr Dorr, Solomini, Restoring Hope, Mor Spirit (he's back in light training, IIRC)... his C-team would be Masked, Heck Yeah, American Anthem... all of those would be The Big Horse in a smaller barn.
Kennedy
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:59 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:Mind Your Biscuits ran so well in the one-turn Met Mile, I wonder if he'll end up in the Dirt Mile instead of the Sprint?
He might, it's a long season and things can twist and turn but I think the allure of the prestige and money (double) of the Sprint will make it more appealing. The Sprint carries a lot of Eclipse voting weight whereas the Dirt Mile winner kind of falls in the cracks.
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Sparrow Castle
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Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:55 pm

Headley Bell Retweeted
Ryan Martin @RyanMartinAPFG
10h10 hours ago
Per trainer Brian Lynch, there is a chance that OSCAR PERFORMANCE could target the Gr. I Arlington Million. “We’ll let the dust settle and weigh out our options”

Should he opt for a trip to Chicago, he’ll attempt to be the fifth horse to score a Secretariat-Million double.
Kennedy
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Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:45 pm

I'm a bit late for the start of July but I finally got a chance to sit down and think this through a bit. We're in a bit of a rough spot where so many potential contenders are on the bench and if they're healthy they'll be major contenders but they could just as easily disappear. Tough to make the call but many of these could drop off in August just from inactivity.

July

Classic
West Coast
Accelerate
Seeking the Soul
Thunder Snow
Hofburg

Turf
Crystal Ocean
Capri
Talismanic
Hi Happy
Sadler's Joy

Mile
Oscar Performance
Alpha Centauri
Rhododendron
Analyze It
Suedois

Sprint
Roy H
Mind Your Biscuits
American Anthem
Imperial Hint
Bobby Abu Dhabi

Dirt Mile
Sharp Azteca
City of Light
Bee Jersey
Awesome Slew
Firenze Fire

Distaff
Unique Bella
Abel Tasman
Elate
Red Ruby
Monomoy Girl

FM Turf
Hawksmoor
Sistercharlie
Wild Illusion
A Raving Beauty
Inflexibility

FM Sprint
Selcourt
Marley's Freedom
Lewis Bay
American Gal
Skye Diamonds

Turf Sprint
Disco Partner
Imprimis
Holding Gold
Will Call
Bucchero
BaroqueAgain1
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Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:59 pm

I notice that you don't have Catholic Boy anywhere. He's beaten Analyze It twice now, so doesn't CB earn a spot in The Mile?
Kennedy
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:35 am

I was close to putting Catholic Boy in the mix for the Turf but I really don't see him as one who would be capable of competing in the Mile. The Mile is about speed a good turn of foot and often favors agile horses. Catholic Boy just isn't the type in my mind and would struggle at the distance. Remember he's also been beating Analyze It at distance greater than a mile. I think it in some ways points to a maturity problem for Analyze It but also hints that maybe he should try to become a miler. The issue is that as a 3yo Turf horse there is barely any point in trying to be a miler. All of the key money races get run at 10f.

But after the Secretariat I suspect that Catholic Boy and Analyze it will go their separate ways and would ultimately focus on different BC races if in fact they attempt any at all. The Breeders' Cup level is still a stretch for both of them based on their current ability.
peeptoad
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:00 am

I'm hoping for a fantastic renewal of the Distaff this year: Elate, Monomoy Girl, Abel Tasman, Red Ruby, Unique Bella, Bisou, et al... should be a heck of a match up if they all make it.
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Curtis
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:39 am

peeptoad wrote:I'm hoping for a fantastic renewal of the Distaff this year: Elate, Monomoy Girl, Abel Tasman, Red Ruby, Unique Bella, Bisou, et al... should be a heck of a match up if they all make it.
You could be right but for me, the 3yo’s will need to move forward more than a little to step with the older mares and they could. Currently though, they just don’t seem fast enough. Bisou would have a puncher’s chance with a pace meltdown, I suppose.
stark
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:57 am

Curtis wrote:
peeptoad wrote:I'm hoping for a fantastic renewal of the Distaff this year: Elate, Monomoy Girl, Abel Tasman, Red Ruby, Unique Bella, Bisou, et al... should be a heck of a match up if they all make it.
You could be right but for me, the 3yo’s will need to move forward more than a little to step with the older mares and they could. Currently though, they just don’t seem fast enough. Bisou would have a puncher’s chance with a pace meltdown, I suppose.
They're all running for second place.


Respectfully,
Unique Bella.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
peeptoad
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:09 pm

Curtis wrote:
peeptoad wrote:I'm hoping for a fantastic renewal of the Distaff this year: Elate, Monomoy Girl, Abel Tasman, Red Ruby, Unique Bella, Bisou, et al... should be a heck of a match up if they all make it.
You could be right but for me, the 3yo’s will need to move forward more than a little to step with the older mares and they could. Currently though, they just don’t seem fast enough. Bisou would have a puncher’s chance with a pace meltdown, I suppose.
I don't disagree... but I'm not completely sold on Bella being a mortal lock either. Plenty of time for MG and Elate to make some forward progress. Plus I just like Red Ruby, even though she has more to prove vs some others.
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Treve
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:02 pm

no love for Wonder Gadot who has to date come closest to beating MG? Although I suppose the Distaff is 9f and she seems to go better longer...
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
peeptoad
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:54 pm

Treve wrote:no love for Wonder Gadot who has to date come closest to beating MG? Although I suppose the Distaff is 9f and she seems to go better longer...
Can't believe I forgot her since of all those I mentioned she's the one I actually have the most "love" for (even above Ruby). She made me some bank on Oaks day and was an easy lock in the QP. Plus, with the BC at CD this year, she should be closing strongly on the strip...
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Curtis
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:06 pm

I’m not Unique Bella’s biggest fan but when she behaves herself she’s the best. She’s the only one I can term as a monster, unless Red Ruby can continue as she steps up in class. I like Abel Tasman and Elate next. It will be interesting to see where Mike Smith ends up as things progress.
stark
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:11 pm

Curtis wrote:I’m not Unique Bella’s biggest fan.


Obviously.
As I recall you wanted to play Dr. and do some sort of surgical procedure on her ;)
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
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