Breeders' Cup Picks and Analysis

Tessablue
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Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:59 am

For consolidating our thoughts ahead of tomorrow!

Some fun facts at the Breeders' Cup at Churchill:

-Median win odds in dirt BC races at Churchill are 11/2. One-turn races produce slightly more surprising results, with median win odds of 7/1 vs. 9/2. The shortest-priced winner was Flanders at 2/5, while the biggest longshot was Spain at 56-1.

-The median positioning of dirt winners after a half mile is 2.5 lengths.

-Mind Your Biscuits, Splashy Kisses, and Serengeti Empress will be the first horses to prep for a Churchill BC dirt race at Churchill. The Pocahontas Stakes used to be later in the year, while the Lukas Classic didn't exist the last time the BC was held at Churchill.

-Despite its reputation as a quirky or difficult track, only 25% of dirt winners at Churchill BCs (11/44) had a previous win over the track, while 17/44 had a previous race. The majority of winners- 28 of 44- had never raced at Churchill.

Good luck to everyone!
Last edited by Tessablue on Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
peeptoad
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Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:34 am

Looking at the Sprint I'm siding with one of Whitmore, Imperial Hint or Roy H as the winner. May box those and add Limo Liberal for a slice underneath. That one might want a furlong more for his best effort, even with a hot pace. And my inclination is that Promises Fulfilled may get cooked by a horse as fast as Imperial Hint. Roy gets the garden trip outside, and Whitmore inside, the two pace setters. Whitmore figures at better odds and should be running late.
1,5,9,8 ex box, 1-WP at 5/1+

BTW weather should be 50s, partly cloudy. No substantial rain expected after 7pm tonight...
BaroqueAgain1
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Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:45 pm

"...the Lukas Classic didn't exist the last time the BC was held at Churchill."

Wasn't the Lukas Classic formerly known as the Alysheba?
Tessablue
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Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:55 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:45 pm
"...the Lukas Classic didn't exist the last time the BC was held at Churchill."

Wasn't the Lukas Classic formerly known as the Alysheba?
According to Equibase, it began as the "Homecoming Classic" in 2013.
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Curtis
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Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:02 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:45 pm
"...the Lukas Classic didn't exist the last time the BC was held at Churchill."

Wasn't the Lukas Classic formerly known as the Alysheba?
The Alysheba still exists, it’s usually run on Oaks Day.
BaroqueAgain1
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Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:18 pm

That's good. There have been too many races named after great horses (like the Lady's Secret :evil:) that have been changed to honor a more recent racer.
Zen certainly deserves to have a race (or two or three :P) named after her, but taking that honor away from the great Iron Lady is just wrong.
Tessablue
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Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:56 pm

Friday's Races:

Juvenile Turf Sprint
I actually love this race, if it's always this deep and fun to handicap it's going to be a great addition to the card. I'm staying far away from Shang Shang Shang here because of her repeated issues and Ward's apparent lack of confidence in her, although I do like his Strike Silver to save ground and kick home in the stretch as she was very good in her turf debut. There's nothing to say against Soldier's Call aside from the possibility that he ends up pressured on the front end, but I like knowing that he's unlikely to have to weave through traffic late. The horse I'm most intrigued by in here is Bulletin, who probably won't go off at his ML of 10-1 but will hopefully retain some value because of his inexperience. I know there's a lot of pace in here, but Bulletin's debut was so good and I just loved the way he stretched over the turf in that race. Plenty of questions but I'm willing to take the plunge and back what might be the most talented horse in the field at what should hopefully be a usable price. In a field like this there are plenty of others to use underneath, but I'll go with Moonlight Romance, who figures to improve off that return effort, which was pretty good and over a course that had some give in it.

Bulletin
Strike Silver/ Soldier's Call
Moonlight Romance

Juvenile Fillies Turf
It's just all Newspaperofrecord here. Nobody looks remotely good enough to challenge her, so it's just a matter of filling in the rest. I think Concrete Rose is a decent sort who should work out a nice trip, The Mackem Bullet has faced a nice filly in Fairyland and appears to be on the improve, and La Pelosa offers some value for Charlie Appleby, who is 2-for-3 in BC races.

Newspaperofrecord
The Mackem Bullet/ Concrete Rose/ La Pelosa

Juvenile Fillies
So I was all set to just sort of default to Bellafina in here, but digging deeper I just have so many questions about Serengeti Empress. I know big wins are always overvalued and she's got a tall task as the definite pace horse, but I think there's more to her last race than meets the eye. It looks like the early pace was blisteringly fast in that race, and by figures she slowed down considerably in the stretch while still moving pretty well and flicking her ears around. The final result wasn't all that fast, but she ran a tick behind the males earlier on the card and the runner-up earned a staggeringly terrible 48 bsf. What happened in that race? Was it secretly very fast, or would it have been fast if Serengeti Empress hadn't set such a severe pace? She's likely to face another hot one here, but she's handled it before and I think she may have a huge upside. I just hope her odds drift up a bit. There's nothing to particularly dislike about Bellafina aside from her fairly ideal trips in small fields, and she's set up to get a nice outside stalking trip here. I think the value play in here is Sippican Harbor. It takes a 2yo with a remarkable mind to handle adversity the way she did in the Spinaway, and I hope her adaptation to closing gives her connections the confidence to drop her back a bit against a quick pace. And finally, I didn't particularly like the Alcibiades, but Keith Desormeaux knows how to prepare 2yos for the BC and Reflect could clunk up there for a piece.

Serengeti Empress
Sippican Harbor/ Bellafina
Reflect

Juvenile Turf
Not terribly enthused about this race for whatever reason, but I do like Uncle Benny stretching out for Jason Servis. Line of Duty hasn't done much wrong, drew pretty well and gets first-time Lasix for a trainer who won this race a few years back. Forty Under should be fine with the footing which is more than I can saw for most of them, and Anthony Van Dyck looks too good to ignore but man that's a tough draw.

Uncle Benny/ Line of Duty/ Forty Under/ Anthony Van Dyck

Juvenile
This was a very fun race to handicap! Some really nice 2yos in here. There looks to be a lot of pace signed on here and I don't much trust Complexity to handle it, at least not at his projected odds. He's very nice, but between the two favorites I prefer Game Winner, who drew beautifully and has demonstrated some versatility to go along with his talent. I don't love Game Winner, however, and think there's some real value to be found in here. Code of Honor pretty much goes without saying, I love a 2yo who overcomes adversity and Shug should have him primed for this. For value, I love Standard Deviation, who lost an absurd amount of ground last time out and should be at his best for Chad Brown. Finally, I kind of like Gunmetal Gray for Hollendorfer- he wasn't a match for Game Winner in his prep, but it was his first start against winners and he had to sort of take back off of heels going into the first turn. Could hit the board at a decent price.

EDIT: with Code of Honor out, I'm elevating Standard Deviation (the best remaining closer) and throwing Complexity on underneath as the most talented remaining runner.

Game Winner/ Standard Deviation
Gunmetal Gray/ Complexity
Last edited by Tessablue on Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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bare it all
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:01 am

Does anyone have a link to free PPs for the races today/tomorrow?
peeptoad
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:15 am

bare it all wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:01 am
Does anyone have a link to free PPs for the races today/tomorrow?
here are a couple-
http://www.horse-races.net/library/link ... mances.htm
http://www.latekick.com/past-performances.aspx
peeptoad
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:16 am

Tessablue wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:56 pm
Strike Silver/ Soldier's Call
like both of these in addition to Stillwater Cove and Big Drink of Water, if he draws in. Prob not betting though...
Tessablue
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:23 pm

peeptoad wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:16 am
Tessablue wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:56 pm
Strike Silver/ Soldier's Call
like both of these in addition to Stillwater Cove and Big Drink of Water, if he draws in. Prob not betting though...
Big Drink of Water is in. You'd certainly get your price on him, but betting a juvenile turf sprint does make me feel like a bit of a degenerate...
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Curtis
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:48 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:18 pm
That's good. There have been too many races named after great horses (like the Lady's Secret :evil:) that have been changed to honor a more recent racer.
Zen certainly deserves to have a race (or two or three :P) named after her, but taking that honor away from the great Iron Lady is just wrong.
The name was changed for legal reasons, same as the Norfolk, Oak Leaf, Ancient Title, etc. It wasn’t a slight on Lady’s Secret.
peeptoad
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:58 pm

Tessablue wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:23 pm
... make me feel like a bit of a degenerate...
eh, I threw win bets on both Drink o' Water and 'Stillwater... it's raining here today, so it feels right.
Kennedy
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:02 pm

Some picks for today
Juvenile Turf Sprint - Strike Silver
Juvenile Fillies Turf - Newspaperofrecord
Juvenile Fillies - Cassies Dreamer
Juvenile Turf - Anthony van Dyck
Juvenile - Game Winner

Basically all chalk for me other than Cassies Dreamer. I do think that Anthony Van Dyck is by far the least likely winner of the big favorites but I actually think he can pull it off.

If I were doing something like the Pick 5 I'd probably want to cover the following

Strike Silver/Soldier's Call
Newspaperofrecord
Cassies Dreamer/Jaywalk/Restless Rider/Serengeti Empress
Anthony Van Dyck/War of Will/Henley's Joy/Forty Under/Current/Opry
Game Winner/Tight Ten
Kennedy
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:55 pm

Saturday - Single Selections

FM Sprint - Marley's Freedom
Turf Sprint - Hembree
Dirt Mile - City of Light
FM Turf - A Raving Beauty
Sprint - Promises Fulfilled
Mile - Oscar Performance
Distaff - Monomoy Girl
Turf - Waldgeist
Classic - Mendelssohn

Horses that I like and would want covered for multi-race purposes

Marley's Freedom/Miss Sunset
Hembree/Will Call/World of Trouble/Chanteline/Rainbow Heir
City of Light/Seeking the Soul/Giant Expectations/Catalina Cruiser
A Raving Beauty/Sistercharlie/Eziyra/Fourstar Crook/Wild Illusion
Promises Fulfilled
Oscar Performance/Catapult
Monomoy Girl
Waldgeist/Channel Maker/Enable/Magical
Mendelssohn/McKinzie/Catholic Boy/Roaring Lion/Pavel
agrussel
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:52 pm

Tessablue wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:56 pm
Friday's Races:

Juvenile Turf Sprint
I actually love this race, if it's always this deep and fun to handicap it's going to be a great addition to the card. I'm staying far away from Shang Shang Shang here because of her repeated issues and Ward's apparent lack of confidence in her, although I do like his Strike Silver to save ground and kick home in the stretch as she was very good in her turf debut. There's nothing to say against Soldier's Call aside from the possibility that he ends up pressured on the front end, but I like knowing that he's unlikely to have to weave through traffic late. The horse I'm most intrigued by in here is Bulletin, who probably won't go off at his ML of 10-1 but will hopefully retain some value because of his inexperience. I know there's a lot of pace in here, but Bulletin's debut was so good and I just loved the way he stretched over the turf in that race. Plenty of questions but I'm willing to take the plunge and back what might be the most talented horse in the field at what should hopefully be a usable price. In a field like this there are plenty of others to use underneath, but I'll go with Moonlight Romance, who figures to improve off that return effort, which was pretty good and over a course that had some give in it.

Bulletin
Strike Silver/ Soldier's Call
Moonlight Romance

Juvenile Fillies Turf
It's just all Newspaperofrecord here. Nobody looks remotely good enough to challenge her, so it's just a matter of filling in the rest. I think Concrete Rose is a decent sort who should work out a nice trip, The Mackem Bullet has faced a nice filly in Fairyland and appears to be on the improve, and La Pelosa offers some value for Charlie Appleby, who is 2-for-3 in BC races.

Newspaperofrecord
The Mackem Bullet/ Concrete Rose/ La Pelosa

Juvenile Fillies
So I was all set to just sort of default to Bellafina in here, but digging deeper I just have so many questions about Serengeti Empress. I know big wins are always overvalued and she's got a tall task as the definite pace horse, but I think there's more to her last race than meets the eye. It looks like the early pace was blisteringly fast in that race, and by figures she slowed down considerably in the stretch while still moving pretty well and flicking her ears around. The final result wasn't all that fast, but she ran a tick behind the males earlier on the card and the runner-up earned a staggeringly terrible 48 bsf. What happened in that race? Was it secretly very fast, or would it have been fast if Serengeti Empress hadn't set such a severe pace? She's likely to face another hot one here, but she's handled it before and I think she may have a huge upside. I just hope her odds drift up a bit. There's nothing to particularly dislike about Bellafina aside from her fairly ideal trips in small fields, and she's set up to get a nice outside stalking trip here. I think the value play in here is Sippican Harbor. It takes a 2yo with a remarkable mind to handle adversity the way she did in the Spinaway, and I hope her adaptation to closing gives her connections the confidence to drop her back a bit against a quick pace. And finally, I didn't particularly like the Alcibiades, but Keith Desormeaux knows how to prepare 2yos for the BC and Reflect could clunk up there for a piece.

Serengeti Empress
Sippican Harbor/ Bellafina
Reflect

Juvenile Turf
Not terribly enthused about this race for whatever reason, but I do like Uncle Benny stretching out for Jason Servis. Line of Duty hasn't done much wrong, drew pretty well and gets first-time Lasix for a trainer who won this race a few years back. Forty Under should be fine with the footing which is more than I can saw for most of them, and Anthony Van Dyck looks too good to ignore but man that's a tough draw.

Uncle Benny/ Line of Duty/ Forty Under/ Anthony Van Dyck

Juvenile
This was a very fun race to handicap! Some really nice 2yos in here. There looks to be a lot of pace signed on here and I don't much trust Complexity to handle it, at least not at his projected odds. He's very nice, but between the two favorites I prefer Game Winner, who drew beautifully and has demonstrated some versatility to go along with his talent. I don't love Game Winner, however, and think there's some real value to be found in here. Code of Honor pretty much goes without saying, I love a 2yo who overcomes adversity and Shug should have him primed for this. For value, I love Standard Deviation, who lost an absurd amount of ground last time out and should be at his best for Chad Brown. Finally, I kind of like Gunmetal Gray for Hollendorfer- he wasn't a match for Game Winner in his prep, but it was his first start against winners and he had to sort of take back off of heels going into the first turn. Could hit the board at a decent price.

EDIT: with Code of Honor out, I'm elevating Standard Deviation (the best remaining closer) and throwing Complexity on underneath as the most talented remaining runner.

Game Winner/ Standard Deviation
Gunmetal Gray/ Complexity

Well done Tessablue.
Hats off.

Best of luck for similar success tomorrow!
Tessablue
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Thank you agrussel, that's very kind of you! That complete miss on the Juvy Fillies (and most of the underneath horses) was pretty painful, given the race order... but I never would have had Jaywalk in there, and kudos to Kennedy for noting her.

Anybody re-evaluating their thoughts on tomorrow based on today's results? There's no way to really know how the dirt will play in advance, but the front end was a good place to be on both courses today. I half expect Glorious Empire to run away with the Turf...
BaroqueAgain1
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Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:37 pm

It would have been a good year for Presious Passion to run. :D 8-)
Tessablue
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Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:16 am

I was just thinking of him earlier! He came so close to pulling it off.

Early Saturday races:

F&M Sprint
Maybe it's PTSD from Ami's Mesa getting nosed out last year, but I am still having a terrible time figuring out this race. Many of these mares don't seem to really want 7f, it looks like there's a ton of pace but not many of them seem to need the lead, and while Marley's Freedom is a well-deserved favorite, her odds-to-layoff ratio is not appealing. Shamrock Rose is a filly I'm very interested in, as she's improving, able to adapt to any pace scenario, and coming off a perfect prep race in which she returned to dirt and cut back in distance. Mia Mischief desperately wants a fair pace and probably won't get one here, but she ran her best race at this course and distance. And speaking of horses for courses, Finley'sluckycharm has been hot-and-cold this year, but her best can absolutely win this and she's six-for-seven at CD.

Marley's Freedom/ Shamrock Rose
Finleysluckycharm
Mia Mischief

Turf Sprint
I love this race so much. Every year I bet half the field, lose, and have a great time doing it. This year the horse I absolutely love at a price is Rainbow Heir. I'm afraid the pace might be a bit softer than expected if Conquest Tsunami breaks out and fails to get to the front, but even so I think Rainbow Heir should be adaptable enough to win this. He's fast enough, the distance should be ideal, he runs fine on good turf and Jason Servis did not come to the BC to lose. I can't knock Stormy Liberal either, he's coming into this race far better than he did last year and he's unbeaten at the distance. Havana Grey is an interesting longshot- he clearly prefers softer turf, he's faced top-level competition in Europe, and he's the fourth-favorite in the current overseas markets. Finally, I do love Disco Partner but this race seems just a bit too short for him, so I'll round things out with Bucchero. He's probably not fast enough to win this race, but let me offer a counterpoint: he's great and I love him.

Rainbow Heir/ Stormy Liberal
Havana Grey/ Bucchero

Dirt Mile
All about City of Light in here. Draw is a little tough because he'll have to gun, but nobody was willing to duel today and I'm not sure that changes tomorrow. In his last race he got a ridiculous ride that gave him no chance, his race before that was too long, and his race before that was a victory over a nice little horse named Accelerate. He's really good, should love this distance, should save ground, should win. Having a bit of trouble figuring out who to use under him, though. Firenze Fire I think is a must, I'm taking Servis horses seriously and his last race at this distance was fantastic. Trigger Warning has been consistently running better than expected while thrown into two-turn races that were way over his head, think he'll be thrilled to see the wire sooner here. Why am I not mentioning Catalina Cruiser? Because he's just the worst kind of horse to handicap. Long layoff for a trainer with a questionable record in this event, easy forward trips in small fields, a potential world of talent, 8-5 on the ML. I think I have to use him underneath City of Light.... but I don't have to like it.

City of Light
Firenze Fire/ Trigger Warning
Catalina Cruiser

F&M Turf
In a competitive edition of the Chad Brown vs. Europe Stakes, I'm going to mostly side with Team Europe. Wild Illusion is just impossible to ignore: she's improving, she's handy, she's trained by a guy who has now won three of his five BC races. Tellingly, she's also a big favorite in the overseas betting. Out of the Brown mares my favorite is Sistercharlie, which isn't exactly going out on a limb but it's hard to ignore her consistency and success at this distance. For some value, I actually kind of like Princess Yaiza. She's coming off her best race, she clearly wants softer ground and she has some early speed, which could serve her well here. Finally, if I love Wild Illusion I have to like Magic Wand, with whom she has traded decisions this year. One additional note- I've seen some talk of Eziyra on Twitter and she's third-favorite abroad right now, but I can't touch her. Her post is bad, but it's way better than Dermot Weld's record in the BC: he is 15-0-0-1 with two DNFs, and that lone on-the-board finish was in 1992. There's trends and then there's trends, you know?

Wild Illusion/ Sistercharlie
Princess Yaiza/ Magic Wand

The Sprint
What a nice race. Only nine horses, but at least five of them are serious win candidates and I'm having a lot of trouble picking between them. My heart reminds me that Imperial Hint is one of my favorite horses in training and as quick and tough as they come, with an added element of versatility this year. My head tells me that he's not going to get away on the front end, while Roy H prepped beautifully for this race and should get a perfect trip to compliment his nice outside draw. My heart will be rooting for a dead heat between Imperial Hint and the indomitable Promises Fulfilled, who has proven capable of withstanding thermonuclear paces at longer distances through what appears to be sheer force of will alone. But my head says that he's facing his tallest task yet, and may have gotten a bit lucky when CD specialist Limousine Liberal was repeatedly blocked in the stretch of the Phoenix. In the end, I think I'll split the difference and use Imperial Hint and Roy H equally, with the other two used more underneath. Maybe with a dash of Whitmore thrown in, because I can't say much against him either...

Imperial Hint/ Roy H
Promises Fulfilled/ Limousine Liberal
peeptoad
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Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:12 am

FM Sprint - Selcourt, Miss Sunset, Marley's Freedom
Trying to get a longshot into the mix, but I won't be betting this one.
Turf Sprint - Hembree
He won me $ last out so I'll stay with him. The added 1/2f on the turf sprints this year should suit him. I'll also like Stormy Liberal and Rainbow Heir.
Dirt Mile - Trigger Warning, Catalina Cruiser
I think CC is good enough to alter Sadler's BC record, but anything can happen. Been waiting since July for them to turn Trigger Warning back to one turn. Also like Seeking the Soul, Firenze Fire, and Seven Trumpets underneath. Go get em.
FM Turf - Wild Illusion, Eziyra, Paved and Fourstar Crook. In that order...
if Eziyra had a better post she might be my top pick. Think Paved will do well with the added distance. Box those 4 for the exacta.
Sprint - Imperial Hint, Whitmore.
Roy H is the other with a strong chance at the win, also Promises, but I don't like him as much getting pressed by Hint. Think Limo Liberal wants another furlong to fire his best. no bets since I expect chalk.
Mile - Mustashry, Expert Eye, Catapult
I also give Oscar Performance a huge chance if the turf is firm and he doesn't scratch. On Thursday the trainer sounded very unsure and said they were leaning towards scratching. Maybe the turf will firm up and he'll stay in. I also read that Expert Eye may scratch so I'm holding off on this one as well.
Distaff - Abel Tasman, Blue Prize, Wonder Gadot
Boxed for the exacta. I might bet Blue Prize if her odds stay near the ML. I also think this is Gadot's best dirt track. I hammered her for the oaks and she almost got there. If she's rebounded off the last couple I expect a good run from her. Dissimilarly, I think Monomoy Girl has had a long season and maybe over the top. She also could get hung wide with that post.
Turf - Enable, Arklow, Robert Bruce, Waldgeist
In that order. I expect Enable to win, but who knows... Arklow is a horse who has improved recently (and since the switch to turf) and stranger things have happened.
Classic - Thunder Snow, Catholic Boy, Yoshida

Accelerate and West Coast will take most of the green, and I'd place them next due to a combination of post and low odds. Of the two I give Accelerate a better chance if he can overcome the post. Too many questions in my mind about West Coast and second off that layoff, but no real reason why he can't be right there. Thunder Snow to me seems primed and he's adept on dirt and at the distance. He's also tractable, can send or take back if needed. I fully expect Mendy to go, esp. with the defection of Diversify, but I don't think he wants 10F like some of these others do. I feel similarly about Yoshida at 10F, though I think he'll take to the track surface here just fine. Catholic Boy might be the third best of his crop, but I think he'll jump forward again here and we know he's game; question remains whether he's good enough to handle these right now.
At my own peril I am tossing McKinzie (not sold on him in this particular spot, and esp at 10F), Mind Your Biscuits (nothing but respect for him, but another added furlong is a tall order against these) and Pavel (who is getting an amazing amount of support from the pundits considering he's 0-5 at 10F and only 1-7 against G1 company).
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