Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby Spahny » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:55 pm

I wouldn't want to play anything drawn outside or trying to launch from far back in the turf races. Especially at the mile distance. I foresee a lot of wide trips and traffic tie ups. Both the Friday juvy races have 14 horse fields on a course that may not accommodate it. I like Capla Temptress in the Juvenile Filly and Beckford in the Juvy Turf. Both with Rosario up, who is very familiar with this trip. I also like Mendelssohn with speed breaking from the rail in the Juvy. Just wish Mike Smith was up. The long shot wish for the day is Encumbered at 15-1 ML. who failed in his main track try in the Front Runner. Now he is back to the Del Mar turf where he is 2 for 2 at the distance and track. Never a bad thing. Mario Gutierrez is up, which dampens the enthusiasm.

Mor Spirit and Sharp Azteca both look good in the Dirt Mile. I would lead toward Mike Smith here. Awesome Slew is interesting but is also getting some buzz so he may end up getting bet down a bit.

I will be rooting for Paradise Woods in the Distaff but Forever Unbridled is the right play. Looks like plenty of pace although I'm not sure they will be flying early. I just wonder if Forever Unbridled might run out of stretch before she can get her head in front. Pretty short stretch at Del Mar. The problem with Paradise Woods isn't the speed. I like her draw and think she can sit off. The question is can she put up 2 good ones in a row? And her only race at Del Mar was a tremendous flop. May be a wait 'till next year type?
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Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby BaroqueAgain1 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:53 pm

Great analysis, Kennedy, TBlue and Spahny. Thanks.
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Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby Tessablue » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:44 pm

Juvenile Fillies
I'm not really looking forward to betting this race, because the top three seem a bit better than everyone else and I can't find much intrigue or even really differentiate them clearly. Moonshine Memories is a perfectly logical favorite and would not be a surprise winner, but I'm going to go with others on top because she just doesn't excite me and I think two other fillies have a higher ceiling. Separatingofpowers is a largely sentimental pick here and she drew a very difficult post, but I felt like I'd seen a very special filly on her debut and I think she will relish the two turns. While Belmont is not my favorite track to prep at for west coast BCs (and given her name, a loss would be... let's say "thematically appropriate"), I think she has the raw talent to make a trip of it and be in contention turning for home. Although I am very fond of Separationofpowers, I think Heavenly Love is the most likely winner of this race. I really like seeing young horses improve their first time stretching out, and she was very good last time out- the Beyer was a bit light, but she was looking all over the place in the stretch and clearly has room to improve. Although I'm a bit nervous about Julien, I think she'll get a sweet stalking trip on the rail- or even on the lead, if the others don't fire early- and I think she takes over turning for home. As for who to use underneath those two... Moonshine Memories is a possibility but offers little value, Caledonia Road may not get the setup she did last time and needs to be pretty lucrative on the tote for me to bet her, and I sort of like Piedi Bianchi to turn the tables on Moonshien Memories here. Doug O'Neill knows how to get juveniles ready for the BC and I think she'll find herself in a more favorable pace scenario this time around.

Heavenly Love
Separationofpowers
Piedi Bianchi

Turf Sprint
This race is so much tougher away from SA. My initial instinct was to work around Lady Aurelia, because I think she's a little more brilliant without having to contend with turns, but she's the speed of speed and she's going to stick to that rail the whole way around and they'll all have to catch her. I'm hoping the hype around Disco Partner (who is really good and will probably be flying late, but I feel like the stretch tends to run out for horses who come in off of 6-8f races and traffic could be a problem) will raise her odds a bit, because at the moment her value just isn't great. One horse who could be a steal but drew an awful post is Pure Sensation, who is faster than most of these and perhaps fastest of all on his best day. The 12 post is terrible, but two of his best races came from outside posts and I expect him to be right up there pressing Lady Aurelia early regardless of the draw. I'd expect some closers to take advantage of it, and while Marsha is a vastly talented mare I feel like she takes a bit of time to get going and she may not like the short stretch. Instead, I'll go with Holding Gold, who will be coming from way out of it but has faced some fantastic horses this year and should be closing. Hogy is a cool story and a bit of a sentimental pick but he will also be flying late and could get a piece of it. I also sort of feel like Washington DC could do something but I couldn't possibly explain why. Now I realize picking six horses in a 12 horse field is a bit of a copout.. but that's sort of the only way I can figure out how to bet this one.

Lady Aurelia/ Holding Gold
Hogy/ Marsha/ Pure Sensation
Washington DC??
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Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby Tessablue » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:11 pm

Filly and Mare Sprint
By my count, some 8 of the 14 contestants in here want to be on or near the lead. Now, it's totally possible that Unique Bella is just better than these and will run off with it. But she's stepping way up in class while facing some pretty nice older mares, she's going to face early pressure like never before, and most importantly, she hasn't run faster than them. If she had spent the year reeling off 110 beyers I'd pick her and never look back. But I just don't think she's bettable at odds-on and I'm looking forward to trying to beat her. As for who I think can do so- I have a note next to Finest City that just says "why not?" And I haven't really been able to answer that question. Why not the mare who peaked this time last year, runs best on the west coast, and won't be caught up in a torrid speed duel? She likes this distance, she likes this track, and I sure like her morning line odds. I also think Highway Star is a must-bet, as one of the most honest and consistent horses in the race at what might be her best distance. But the filly I'm really excited to bet on here is Ami's Mesa, who I think is a fantastic value on the ML. I don't really care that she hasn't run on dirt because her pedigree screams it, she's very talented, and she has run figures competitive with these on synth- so unless she hates the kickback, I think she'll come running and be right in the thick of it late.

Finest City/ Highway Star/ Ami's Mesa

F&M Turf
Maybe it's because I can only really handicap in 5-20 minute intervals so I'm getting lazy, or maybe it's because I'm still traumatized from last year- when I decided at the last moment to save some money by keying Lady Eli over Queen's Trust instead of using them together, thus missing out on a very nice trifecta. But I actually think there's a decent chance that we see the exact same top three this year. Lady Eli merits zero discussion; she'll be there at the finish. But it's Queen's Trust I can't wait to bet- why can't this mare repeat? Sure it's a bit short, but unlike most of the other Euros in here we know she relishes firm turf and can handle shipping. And while I keep reading that she "isn't as good as last year," I don't understand where that's coming from- her Timeform figures are the same, and perhaps she doesn't look as good because she's been facing the likes of Enable, Winter, Blond Me, Highland Reel, Decorated Knight, and Ulysses! I'm not repeating the mistakes of the past, so I will be using Lady Eli and Queen's Trust extensively together. Who gets third? Well, I said it could be Avenge, and that's a total possibility, but this is a pretty deep field so I want to spread here. War Flag might also find this a bit short, but she'll save all the ground and she can close into any pace. Senga clearly wants firm ground and Pascal Bary is 3-for-7 in the BC; Cambodia is improving and ran her best race on this course at this distance.

Queen's Trust/ Lady Eli
War Flag/ Senga/ Cambodia/ Avenge
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Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby Kennedy » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:58 pm

Juvenile
Easy to identify the top contender in this one. Bolt D’Oro is likely going to be odds on and will likely deserve it. It’s been a while since such a strong favorite ran in the Juvenile. It may go ack to Officer since we had such a lock? Interesting that on that day Officer got cooked in his first real fight and talented European from Aiden O’Brien’s barn swept past the field to win going away. De ja vu perhaps? I’m personally not interested in that scenario but I do wonder about the chances of US Navy Flag. He seems like tough horse and a fast one. Odd for a European but he may have more gate speed than anyone here. Without a dedicated change in tactics I think that very few natural pacesetters in here other than the Ballydoyle star. I suspect Bahamian will be meant for the front. His Champagne was a curious spot that was maybe meant to keep him away from Bolt D’Oro? But it all went wrong from the break and his race was over. I think they’re in this race mostly for the attention and the best way to get attention is to lead a race early on. I think Hazit will likely go as well and US Navy Flag is going to get buried by the inside post and American speed. I find it interesting that 3 horses without a win thought that this would be a good place to go. Maybe they’re just hoping for a miraculous regression from the favorite but I’m edging more to quality over a quirky result here. I do think Bolt D’Oro will win but I don’t think he’ll just drown Free Drop Billy. I think Free Drop Billy is a really nice horse that’s going to test the favorite a little through the lane. But I expect them to be clear of the rest by some distance. I don’t really even know who I’d pick for third so I’ll give the edge to Givemeaminit. If there is one trainer who is good at getting a horse to run big in a big event despite having no chance on paper it’s Dallas Stewart. I thought he ran well at Saratoga twice and then was completely flat at Keeneland. Not sure why that was but it seems like Stewart is tossing that race. If he gets back to the hard closing style we saw at Saratoga and the juvenile offers a bit of pace to target I could see him inflating a trifecta.

Bold D’Oro
Free Drop Billy
Givemeaminit

Turf
What a race this is. I guess you should expect quality in a BC event but I think we have some really solid entrants from all over Europe and North America. My short list has 9 entrants on it and because of that I can really see myself frustrated for not getting the winner if I fail to do so because I think there are a lot of clues here and it feels like you should be able to figure it out. The problem is that the clues point in all different directions. I think the race should start with an analysis of the defending champ vs the favorite. There is a really good chance that among Highland Reel and Ulysses you’ll have your winner. They’re both serious horses and they should both run really well. I think Ulysses has had a better campaign overall this year but mostly because of his ability to handle diverse conditions, Highland Reel not so much. He’s a tough customer and he likes it firm and does not really handle it soft. They’ve faced each other 3 times with Highland Reel taking both matchups on firm turf and Ulysses finishing ahead on soft. I honestly think that Highland Reel has the advantage again here because he handles the ground really well and I do think that eye ball to eye ball he is the better horse. I thought the Prince of Wales was a very even contest and Ulysses had dead aim on Highland Reel but the O’Brien trainee really just shrugged him off and was going away at the line. It was a super classy display. Now since then Ulysses has gone on to win 2 G-1’s and finish on the board in two others behind a runaway Enable while Highland Reel has caught two soft tracks and has been well beaten. So why will Highland Reel bounce back? He loves running on these tight tracks on firm ground and I think he’s fresh. His last race was actually a massive effort where he went way out under the trees at Ascot on the outside rail in search of better going giving up a ton of ground. There may be concern that he cannot wire the field like he did last year. That doesn’t concern me. He does not need to be in front. He’s been all over the world in the biggest races there is and he is totally fine being off other speed. Watching Ulysses I feel like he never really strides out. It feels like he’s got a short stride which is why I think Highland Reel can just stretch away from him head to head. He’s fast but I’m not all that afraid of him. I think the North American’s are actually pretty decent and among Beach Patrol, Bigger Picture, Sadlers Joy and Itsinthepost there really isn’t that much difference. I kind of don’t like Beach Patrol because I think he had his day last time out. He is not significantly better than the rest. I think of all the home team I like Bigger Picture the most. He’s always close at the finish, is at his best on firm ground and improves with a fast pace but I feel is much less pace dependent than Sadlers Joy. He’s got some real quality and you saw in the united Nations that pace and a decent trip can really make things work for him. He’s fresh and very live at a price.

Highland Reel
Bigger Picture
Ulysses

Classic
Arrogate was unbelievable in this race last year and while I do wonder if he can be that good again this year I kind of wonder if he needs to be. I think Baffert does have him back to top form and I think the inside post will get him to engage in the race earlier, perhaps even like the Travers and I suspect that he will shatter some of the chances of horses like Collected. Arrogate can run 6f in 1:10 and still be running at the line which is a pretty frightening combination of pace and power. Gun Runner is a really top class foe and I do think he’s going to run well but I think he’s here more to prove how well the winner runs instead of being the winner himself. So is it just that easy? The top two dominate this race and the others don’t have a chance? I honestly think it’ll wind up feeling like that. Among the others I really the matchup between West Coast and Pavel. Kind of an “heir apparent” head to head. I think both should run well and they could be the headliners in this event next year. But I think the older horses have set the bar just a touch too high and they won’t be able to get to that level.

Arrogate
Gun Runner
West Coast
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Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby Kennedy » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:27 pm

Looking back over my single selections it looks like I really lack imagination this year!

Juvenile Fillies Turf - Orbolution
Dirt Mile - Sharp Azteca
Juvenile Turf - Beckford
Distaff - Stellar Wind
Juvenile Fillies - Moonshine Memories
Turf Sprint - Richard's Boy
FM Sprint - Highway Star
FM Turf - Lady Eli
Sprint - Drefong
Mile - World Approval
Juvenile - Bolt D'Oro
Turf - Highland Reel
Classic - Arrogate
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Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby Kennedy » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:36 pm

One of the ways I like to analyze races is simply determine how fast each entrant is at the relative distance and surface. I take Beyer, BRIS and the DRF speed rating and average them out to come up with a single rating.

The top ranked horse wins a BC race about 21% of the time since 2002 which is a bit below the average rate over thousands of "regular" races which sees the top ranked horse win around 28% of the time. The reason for this is most assuredly the high percentage of Europeans that come over for the races but rarely have applicable or measurable speed by the system. It's not something you get on a really continual basis throughout the year.

Still here are the top ranked horses this year

Juvenile Fillies Turf - Rushing Fall
Dirt Mile - Sharp Azteca
Juvenile Turf - Voting Control
Distaff - Stellar Wind
Juvenile Fillies - Moonshine Memories
Turf Sprint - Disco Partner
FM Sprint - Finley'sluckycharm
FM Turf - Lady Eli
Sprint - Roy H
Mile - World Approval
Juvenile - Bolt D'Oro
Turf - Highland Reel
Classic - Gun Runner
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Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby Kennedy » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:18 am

Another favorite project of mine is the 20-20. Basically an attempt to isolate key statistical factors that were common among past winners in each of the races. Horses are run through the profile and rated against the system. Perfect Qualifiers have a pretty positive record over the years. one of the reasons for that is that the system was created BASED on the winners so generally it's going to fit many of the past winners.

But since the criteria were developed in 2006 (and some later in 2012 and 2013) there have been 289 perfect qualifiers in BC races and betting $2 to win on all of them would have gotten you a profit of $81.00. It's not a killer system and it certainly performs better in the historical data stage which was the basis for the profiles but it's not all that bad.

Perfect Qualifiers this year are

Juvenile Fillies Turf - Happily/Juliet Capulet/Rushing Fall/Significant Form
Dirt Mile - Sharp Azteca/Mor Spirit
Juvenile Turf - Masar/My Boy Jack/Snapper Sinclair/Untamed Domain
Distaff - Abel Tasman/Elate/Romantic Vision/Stellar Wind
Juvenile Fillies - Moonshine Memories/Alluring Star/Caledonia Road/Separationofpowers/Heavenly Love
Turf Sprint - Hogy/Pure Sensation/Marsha
FM Sprint - By the Moon/Highway Star
FM Turf - Lady Eli/Dacita/Rhododendron/Birdie Gold
Sprint - Roy H/Drefong/Imperial Hint
Mile - World Approval/Heart to Heart
Juvenile - Bolt D'Oro
Turf - Beach Patrol/Itsinthepost/Seventh Heaven
Classic - Gun Runner/Arrogate/Collected

So 40 qualifiers over 11 races. It would cost you $80. We'll see how it works out.
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Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby Spahny » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:52 pm

Kennedy wrote:

Mile

One horse that could use a bit of rhythm is Om. He’s on a 9 race losing streak with 7 straight on the board finishes, all of which saw him within 2 lengths of the winner at the line. If you aggregate his speed figures in the last year over the distances relevant to a mile on the grass he’s the second fastest horse in the race. You have to wonder what it’s going to take to get him home in front. A big part of me doubts that this will be the time but I also feel he’s a must use in the exotics and you just never know when he might forget himself and accidentally win.



Om is one of the best across the board wagers on the card at 20-1 ML. I don't know if he can win either. Bet him correctly and it may still pay off. Never off the board at Del Mar and only once off the board at the distance and that one was a troubled trip. I think his last 2 races set him up well here.
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Re: Breeders Cup Picks and Analysis Thread

Postby Treve » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:37 pm

Kennedy wrote:Another favorite project of mine is the 20-20. Basically an attempt to isolate key statistical factors that were common among past winners in each of the races. Horses are run through the profile and rated against the system. Perfect Qualifiers have a pretty positive record over the years. one of the reasons for that is that the system was created BASED on the winners so generally it's going to fit many of the past winners.

But since the criteria were developed in 2006 (and some later in 2012 and 2013) there have been 289 perfect qualifiers in BC races and betting $2 to win on all of them would have gotten you a profit of $81.00. It's not a killer system and it certainly performs better in the historical data stage which was the basis for the profiles but it's not all that bad.

Perfect Qualifiers this year are

Juvenile Fillies Turf - Happily/Juliet Capulet/Rushing Fall/Significant Form
Dirt Mile - Sharp Azteca/Mor Spirit
Juvenile Turf - Masar/My Boy Jack/Snapper Sinclair/Untamed Domain
Distaff - Abel Tasman/Elate/Romantic Vision/Stellar Wind


Not bad, so far one horse in each of your perfect qualifiers list for the races have finished in the top 3. 4:1-2-1 Congrats!
Curious to see how the rest do tomorrow!
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
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