BC Top 5

BC Top 5

Postby Kennedy » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:19 pm

To me the buildup to the Breeders' Cup is the most exciting thing that happens in racing and one of the ways I like to participate in the excitement is to try and keep top 5 lists for all the BC races. I'm a bit late this year with my initial list. I usually have it ready the Monday after the Belmont but vacation and work stuff prevented me from really getting into all the races in the way I'd like until now.

My plan as usual is to go with monthly updates and add the Juveniles in September. If I have time I'll try to toss in horse specific thoughts for each race but I'd love to hear how you guys see these races shaping up. If anyone has their own lists they should toss them in here!

June

Classic
Arrogate
Shaman Ghost
Gun Runner
Connect
Accelerate

To me there are definite tiers in this division and at this point it’s hard to see any horse from a lower tier beating a horse from an upper tier but this is racing and things happen. I also needed 5 horses but the tiers as I see it are the Super Elite – Arrogate, the Elite – Shaman Ghost, Gun Runner, Connect and the Average Contender – Accelerate.

Arrogate is the horse to beat in this race and health and fitness would seem to be his main competition. There are other really good horses in this race to be sure but Arrogate should never lose to them if he’s healthy. He is that good.

I have Shaman Ghost over Gun Runner just because I think he’s a bit better suited to 10f and is less likely to take on Arrogate head to head in earlier parts of a race. Thin margins though and I think they both have an excellent chance to be second.

Connect would likely be one of the favorites for the Dirt Mile but I think he’s too good to bother with the Dirt Mile especially when that race looks far from easy but the prize is just a fraction. I think the Classic is his race and might be a wise guy selection on the big day.

Accelerate is basically representative of all the other horses that may enter. On their best day they might get up for third. I prefer him over others because of his Californian connection and scope for further improvement. Maybe he does keep getting better. When you look at the horses he’s been facing there is really no disgrace in his results.

Turf
Jack Hobbs
Highland Reel
Almanzor
Minding
Ashleyluvssugar


The top two face off this week at Royal Ascot and it will be interesting. Highland Reel certainly hasn’t done much wrong but I’ve had a soft spot for Jack Hobbs since 2015. He spent 3 months atop my list for Turf but wound up not coming. No guarantees this year but I’ve always thought he was a fantastically good horse who just hasn’t been able to get into a career rhythm. I hope that happens this year and I think at his best he can beat Highland Reel.

The defending champ will be tough for anyone to beat and O’Brien is just fabulous in these races. Hard to have a knock against him other than the fact that he is far more likely to have a tough campaign than Jack Hobbs. It would be no surprise to see him in every major Turf event from now until the Breeders’ Cup and that can sometimes take some gloss off by November.

Almanzor is likely to have the Classic fall campaign of a French elite router which means a tilt at the Arc. He may well be better than the top two on my list but with the Arc as his focus maybe it means the BC is either less likely or a race they would just plan to win on the side but not really as his focus. HE’s likely good enough in either case but it does make me nervous knowing that this is likely a secondary target if at all.

Minding is the new Found and O’Brien has yet another filly on his hands who seems robust enough to mix with the boys. Obviously no guarantee that she picks this race but I do think as her career develops she’ll want the 12f instead of the 9f FM Turf.

Ashleyluvssugar is the obligatory American representative. He’s the best Californian turf horse at the distance and no one in the East seems likely to establish themselves as a real threat. I thought he was mishandled tactically last year in this race where it seemed like going to the front would be his best bet but he took back and never really landed a blow. Still he ran 5th and the only North American to beat him was Flintshire. He would have every chance of being the top North American this year even if that’s still only good enough for 5th.

Mile
Midnight Storm
Om
Bal a Bali
Churchill
Ribchester

I’m not sure if the connections of Midnight Storm will stop chasing the main track dream and get him into a race where everyone would struggle to beat him but they really should. There is a bit of a changing of the guard among the North American milers and it has been a really strong group for years now but Midnight Storm is the best of those that remain. He’s got great speed and without stablemate Obviously in the mix to kill his chances he could even be controlling speed in the Mile. Very hard to catch when he’s rolling on the lead.

I have Om placed rather highly considering that he has not run yet this year and has won just once in 5 attempts at a flat Mile but I have long held the belief that this horse has G-1 quality and I think he can really be a top class miler. He so nearly became a Breeders’ Cup winner last year in the Turf Sprint but that was at Santa Anita where the sprint is 6.5f. I don’t think there is anyway they’d cut him back to 5f. I think his 2016 campaign was just one of those where he ran well but was kind of stuck in a rut. The comparison may seem foolish but I’m reminded of a horse like Aldebaran. In 2002 he went 1 for 8. You knew he was good and he consistently ran at a high level but he didn’t win. In 2003 he went into monster mode and cracked off 5 wins and broke the 120 Beyer barrier. Om would do well to match that but I do feel like he has the talent to breakout.

Bal a Bali is frustratingly inconsistent but at his best he has the talent to win a race like this. He has won 8f turf races 4 times in America and each time received high BSF’s and in general has seemed promising but then he also runs 5th for no reason. Hard to trust but sometimes worth the gamble.

Churchill certainly looks worse now that I’m writing the analysis, at the time the list was published he has never lost and was going into ascot as a hot favorite to add to his tally of G-1’s. Now that he’s lost some of the magic is gone but this is still a really good horse who likely was placed too far out of it at Ascot. If he came for a race like this he’d have a huge chance.

Ribchester is in my opinion not like many of the classic European miler types who are quick and handy. Think Goldikova, Miesque and Six Perfections. He seems more robust and relentless but I think it’s a style that can still work especially if he gets a pace to run at.


Sprint
Drefong
American Anthem
Mind Your Biscuits
Sharp Azteca
Recruiting Ready

Dirt Mile
Danzing Candy
Mor Spirit
Honorable Duty
Follow Me Crev
Irish War Cry

Distaff
Songbird
Stellar Wind
Vale Dori
Unique Bella
Abel Tasman

FM Turf
Lady Eli
Avenge
Usherette
Rainha Da Bateria
Dacita

FM Sprint
Bendable
Paulassilverlining
Finest City
By the Moon
Constellation

Turf Sprint
Why Two
Lady Aurelia
Green Mask
Conquest Enforcer
Disco Partner
Last edited by Kennedy on Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: BC Top 5

Postby Curtis » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:42 pm

Kennedy thanks for your lists. As always, I appreciate your effort and insight. At this date it's hard to quibble much. I'd make a change or two to your Classic list. I doubt that Connect will ever run again but I get that until an announcement is made he needs to be on a list. If Gun Runner were mine, I'd see what he looks like going a mile on a nice firm turf course. I'm sure he'll be pointed to one of the G1 dirt races at Saratoga--and I can't blame them a bit--but I think he could win the BC Mile for fun no matter what monsters from Europe may lurk. If he can win another G1 on dirt and then try the turf and win the BC Mile, Gun Runner could really be an exciting stallion prospect in a market starting to get glutted with Candy Ride's. As for Accelerate, he's a nice enough horse but I think he's definitely a cut--or two--below in the sense of the Classic. Even if you discount the Gold Cup as a fluke, and I know Accelerate scratched, it would be hard to not think that Cupid has more upside than Accelerate. Baffert can't keep all of his horses away from Arrogate as there is just too much money to be had for the other placings.
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Re: BC Top 5

Postby peeptoad » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:33 am

Nice lists, Kennedy. I have no opinion this early except Arrogate for the Classic.
I'd love to see Lady Aurelia go 5F at DMR though. She fits that division like a glove.

Regarding the Mile: any news on Almanaar? He looked mighty good winning the GP Turf H back over the winter, but hasn't been seen since. :?:
Last edited by peeptoad on Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BC Top 5

Postby BaroqueAgain1 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:12 pm

I wonder if we may have seen a potential Mile runner a little while ago at Royal Ascot. The Wesley Ward-trained Con Te Patiro looked good winning the Sandringham Stakes up the straight mile course. Really nice turn-of-foot from the 3yo Scat Daddy filly, as she passed most of the field in the last furlong or two.
ETA: https://www.racingpost.com/news/royal-a ... iro/290153
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Re: BC Top 5

Postby Kennedy » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:01 pm

Curtis wrote:Kennedy thanks for your lists. As always, I appreciate your effort and insight. At this date it's hard to quibble much. I'd make a change or two to your Classic list. I doubt that Connect will ever run again but I get that until an announcement is made he needs to be on a list. If Gun Runner were mine, I'd see what he looks like going a mile on a nice firm turf course. I'm sure he'll be pointed to one of the G1 dirt races at Saratoga--and I can't blame them a bit--but I think he could win the BC Mile for fun no matter what monsters from Europe may lurk. If he can win another G1 on dirt and then try the turf and win the BC Mile, Gun Runner could really be an exciting stallion prospect in a market starting to get glutted with Candy Ride's. As for Accelerate, he's a nice enough horse but I think he's definitely a cut--or two--below in the sense of the Classic. Even if you discount the Gold Cup as a fluke, and I know Accelerate scratched, it would be hard to not think that Cupid has more upside than Accelerate. Baffert can't keep all of his horses away from Arrogate as there is just too much money to be had for the other placings.


It would a be a shame if Connect were out for good. I'm hoping that's not the case.

As for Accelerate vs Cupid to me there is a good argument to be made for the upside advantage of Cupid but I feel like he's always going to run his best races when the good horses aren't around. I know he's coming off a G-1 win but that field wasn't much to speak of and to me Cupid is one of those types that will dominate poor fields and go missing against the big boys.

One of the reasons I like Accelerate is because I trust his "floor" even if I see limits to his "ceiling" if that makes sense. You don't see many bad races from him. What you do see is him performing against some horses in fairly lofty form. He was 42/1 in the BC Dirt Mile and managed 3rd not far from Gun Runner. Lately he's had his fill of Baffert entrants but those are legitimately good horses. He also faced Midnight Storm on a wet track at 8.5f with no other speed in the race which is just about impossible.

In a race that potentially contains Arrogate, Gun Runner et al I'd rather trust someone consistent who doesn't lie as close to the pace and has proven that he can outperform expectation. That's my thought anyway.
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Re: BC Top 5

Postby Curtis » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:29 pm

Kennedy wrote:
Curtis wrote:Kennedy thanks for your lists. As always, I appreciate your effort and insight. At this date it's hard to quibble much. I'd make a change or two to your Classic list. I doubt that Connect will ever run again but I get that until an announcement is made he needs to be on a list. If Gun Runner were mine, I'd see what he looks like going a mile on a nice firm turf course. I'm sure he'll be pointed to one of the G1 dirt races at Saratoga--and I can't blame them a bit--but I think he could win the BC Mile for fun no matter what monsters from Europe may lurk. If he can win another G1 on dirt and then try the turf and win the BC Mile, Gun Runner could really be an exciting stallion prospect in a market starting to get glutted with Candy Ride's. As for Accelerate, he's a nice enough horse but I think he's definitely a cut--or two--below in the sense of the Classic. Even if you discount the Gold Cup as a fluke, and I know Accelerate scratched, it would be hard to not think that Cupid has more upside than Accelerate. Baffert can't keep all of his horses away from Arrogate as there is just too much money to be had for the other placings.


It would a be a shame if Connect were out for good. I'm hoping that's not the case.

As for Accelerate vs Cupid to me there is a good argument to be made for the upside advantage of Cupid but I feel like he's always going to run his best races when the good horses aren't around. I know he's coming off a G-1 win but that field wasn't much to speak of and to me Cupid is one of those types that will dominate poor fields and go missing against the big boys.

One of the reasons I like Accelerate is because I trust his "floor" even if I see limits to his "ceiling" if that makes sense. You don't see many bad races from him. What you do see is him performing against some horses in fairly lofty form. He was 42/1 in the BC Dirt Mile and managed 3rd not far from Gun Runner. Lately he's had his fill of Baffert entrants but those are legitimately good horses. He also faced Midnight Storm on a wet track at 8.5f with no other speed in the race which is just about impossible.

In a race that potentially contains Arrogate, Gun Runner et al I'd rather trust someone consistent who doesn't lie as close to the pace and has proven that he can outperform expectation. That's my thought anyway.


Fair enough. It's true there isn't too much to go on, yet this year, in terms of Cupid's improvement, but in my opinion, the manner in which he won the Gold Cup is what I find impressive. Last year he was pretty much a one-dimensional speed horse. In the Gold Cup he finished, something I don't remember seeing from him. I think we'll know more if he runs in the Suburban which may not have a field much deeper than the Gold Cup but I want to see how he runs fast as opposed to how fast he runs. I see Accelerate as a slightly faster version of his stablemate, Hard Aces, with a good possibility of more distance limitations. The last two named are good horses to own. You won't get your picture taken too often in top company but you'll pick up plenty of checks.
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Re: BC Top 5

Postby Kennedy » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:12 am

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:I wonder if we may have seen a potential Mile runner a little while ago at Royal Ascot. The Wesley Ward-trained Con Te Patiro looked good winning the Sandringham Stakes up the straight mile course. Really nice turn-of-foot from the 3yo Scat Daddy filly, as she passed most of the field in the last furlong or two.
ETA: https://www.racingpost.com/news/royal-a ... iro/290153


I think that would be a bit of a stretch. The Sandrignham is a handicap so is more or less a Listed Stakes or allowance class equivalent in America. She's run 6 times in America and her career top BSF is 83. Honestly her run in the Sandringham, although good, wouldn't likely be rated significantly higher than that if it were run here. Not all Royal Ascot races are created equal :)
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Re: BC Top 5

Postby peeptoad » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:34 pm

Keep your eyeballs on Collected for the Dirt Mile. He won the Precisionist by 14 lengths and earned the overall 4th best Timeform fig of the year so far. Not sure if he'll stretch out but, if he doesn't, Baffert likely has one of the top dirt milers on hand (or possibly two, since he also has Mor Spirit).
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Re: BC Top 5

Postby Curtis » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:47 pm

peeptoad wrote:Keep your eyeballs on Collected for the Dirt Mile. He won the Precisionist by 14 lengths and earned the overall 4th best Timeform fig of the year so far. Not sure if he'll stretch out but, if he doesn't, Baffert likely has one of the top dirt milers on hand (or possibly two, since he also has Mor Spirit).

Danzing Candy and Mor Spirit--if he doesn't want to stretch out--could be real tough in there, Baffert could probably fill the gate in the Dirt Mile if he chose to and no one gets hurt. I like Baffert's idea of breezing Collected on the turf down at Del Mar. He's bred well enough for it and, if memory serves, broke his maiden on it. If he trains well on the DMR turf, Baffert can run him in that turf mile stake they run on Pacific Classic weekend. If that works out he can go from there.
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Re: BC Top 5

Postby peeptoad » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:44 am

Didn't realize the plan was to try Collected on turf... if he runs the way he has been on dirt recently, then cha-ching. I trust Baffert knows what he's doing... ;)
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