Breeders' Cup Picks and Analysis

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Big Ten
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Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:23 am

I was thinking yesterday that Accelerate should be HotY if he wins the Classic today. Send a message that just because a horse won the Triple Crown doesn't mean they're a mortal lock to win HotY.

I love Justify but it doesn't mean HotY should be an afterthought considering he didn't run all year. At least American Pharoah ran three times after the Belmont. Tells owners to race them beyond June.

With all that said and after watching Game Winner pull off a game winner, I'm getting kinda bullish on the Baffert duo. If you're Team Baffert or Team Justify, you'd want West Coast or McKinzie to win to help Justify win HotY.

Go, West Coast! Go, McKinzie! Help out your former stable mate. Two Triple Crown winners and possibly Baffert's 4th BC Classic winner in a span of 5 years. Love him or hate him, Baffert is good. His horses can usually get the job done on big days like this.

Triple Crown: 2015. 2018.
Breeders' Cup Classic: 2014. 2015. 2016. 2018?
Rock Hard Ten. Free House. Soul Of The Matter. Lit de Justice. Zenyatta. Justify. Cigar. Ghostzapper. Lava Man. Silver Charm.
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Mylute
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Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:34 am

I wanna wait to see how the tracks are playing today before I say anything.

I hope everything turns up dry, especially the turf tracks because I don’t want my boy Oscar to have to scratch or Roaring Lion.
"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
~ Robin Williams 1951 - 2̶0̶1̶4̶ ∞
Izvestia
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Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:17 pm

On my phone, so I’ll just post my picks:

FM Sprint - Selcourt, Marley’s Freedom, Finleysluckycharm
Turf Sprint - Hembree, Rainbow Heir, Stormy Liberal
Dirt Mile - City of Light, Firenze Fire, Catalina Cruiser
FM Turf - Wild Illusion, Sistercharlie, Magic Wand
Sprint - Roy H, Whitmore, Promises Fulfilled
Mile - the 2 horses I like don’t like wet... so Expert Eye and Oscar Performance are my choices... unless it gets wet then I will just go with Analyze It
Distaff - Abel Tasman, Wow Cat, Midnight Bisou
Turf - Enable, Waldgeist, Channel Maker
Classic - Accelerate/West Coast, Thunder Snow, Catholic Boy
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Mylute
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Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:21 pm

That Filly and Mare sprint tho.
"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
~ Robin Williams 1951 - 2̶0̶1̶4̶ ∞
Tessablue
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Location: Boston

Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:22 pm

Some cursory thoughts for the later races today:

The Mile
I was all-in on Polydream here because she was heavily bet down overseas, but... oh well. I still much prefer the European contingency, especially One Master, who is improving and should be fine on the stretch out, Happily, who has kept great company abroad, and Expert Eye, who picks up Dettori for a trainer with seven wins in the BC. I'm staying far away from Oscar Performance because of the ground, and my favorite American runner is Next Shares, who is coming off a perfect prep at Keeneland.

One Master/ Next Shares
Happily/ Expert Eye

The Distaff
Actually sitting this race out, just using Abel Tasman as a single horizontally and vertically. Will probably pick the horses to use underneath in the paddock, because I can't decide. If Abel Tasman runs anywhere back to her best she wins this.

Abel Tasman

The Turf
I don't think Enable is a sure thing here, although she's a must-use. I wasn't really kidding about Glorious Empire running off with it; nobody will take him seriously out there but this is the course to do it on. Also like Channel Maker and Waldgeist.

Enable/ Glorious Empire
Channel Maker/ Waldgeist

The Classic
Big field, lots of questions, used process of elimination to get here. I see two possibilities: either West Coast returns to form and walks away with it, or something crazy happens. I'll lean towards the first possibility and use him plenty, but my key horses for the latter situation are Gunnevera and Mendelssohn. I've loved Gunnevera for a while now, and I am perfectly happy to use him over Yoshida here because he was so wide in the Whitney. Gunnevera has shown he can step up in these big races, he might get some pace, and he'll be overlooked in the betting. Mendelssohn is a horse I've been very hard on all year, but now seems like the time to bet him. I don't know how he's improving given the schedule he's had this year, but he was so brave in the JCGC and I trust him the most of all the pace horses to stick around at the end (sorry Catholic Boy). I'm happy to toss Accelerate, whereas McKinzie is a horse I don't want to use but can't really find an excuse to toss. I just think his value is terrible stepping up in class and company, but I thought the same about West Coast last year. Mind Your Biscuits is probably a total sucker bet, but it would be an amazing story and I might throw him on underneath just because he's made a career out of defying expectations.

West Coast
Gunnevera/ Mendelssohn
McKinzie/ Mind Your Biscuits
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Big Ten
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Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:48 pm

Among the two Baffert horses in the Classic, I'm leaning towards West Coast because he happens to be older, has won outside CA, and his last race was just a tune-up after a long layoff.

I don't think WC was ever on the level of AP, Arrogate, or even Justify. I think he is more like Captain Steve and Game On Dude. He doesn't win consistently enough. But he is still a solid runner coming from Team Baffert and was a good replacement for Mastery.

I actually like McKinzie more as a horse but I think West Coast has what it takes to win this race considering he finished 3rd in this race last year as a 3YO. With another year under his belt, the reigning 3YO male champ can improve his placing this time around.
Rock Hard Ten. Free House. Soul Of The Matter. Lit de Justice. Zenyatta. Justify. Cigar. Ghostzapper. Lava Man. Silver Charm.
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Ballerina
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Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:43 pm

My locks were Catalina Cruiser, Roy H., Monomoy Girl, and Accelerate - 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Still scratching my head over CC - too much weight on him or competition a bit stiffer?
Tessablue
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Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:07 pm

Normally I try to write up the lessons I learned from (losing on) big race days, but the past two days have been utterly surreal and I'm still not sure it happened. I think my main lesson will be "don't expect that to happen again, ever." But some post-race musings:

-Churchill appears to be a very fair racetrack to hold this event on. There were really very few surprises on the main track and horses won from all over, including horses who prepped at Belmont, Santa Anita, Saratoga, Keeneland, and Parx.

-I really think that when it comes to international horses, certain trainers are just substantially better than others in this event. Or, to put it more simply, I'm just going to bet every horse Charlie Appleby brings over for the BC until he proves me wrong.

-Aside from Game Winner, not a very good weekend for Baffert. It's been a good day so I'm not going to delve too much into that.

-The Filly and Mare Sprint continues to ride the boundary between crapshoot and goldmine. 7f is hard to handicap on a good day, and this race always seems to have a wild finish as all those 6f fillies get tired late. I wonder when we'll get another Groupie Doll.

-Gunnevera rules.
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Mylute
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Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:10 pm

So last week I found the time to make a Google Docs of my picks for the BC races, or rather, the top four "most likely" winners or board hitters. I did pretty good, except for the Juvenile Turf races. Most of my picks actually scratched for those and I didn't have time to change them in writing, ha.

I'll post them when I get time this evening.
Last edited by Mylute on Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
~ Robin Williams 1951 - 2̶0̶1̶4̶ ∞
Kennedy
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Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:14 pm

Tessablue wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:16 am

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
(Underlining is mine)

This is an amazing opinion and even if you were off on every other race of the weekend (which you weren't) this worth a ton of credibility. Even when the race had ended I still had trouble seeing it. You had a ton of great opinions but I had to single this one out.

Very well done!
peeptoad
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Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:32 am

Tessablue wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:07 pm

-Gunnevera rules.
Huh, yeah. Since it's the second time in a row that he's screwed an exact of mine I'll take a different stance. ;) That Woodward exacta would have paid dividends to if Gunn hadn't nipped Leofric for 2nd. Nice job with Shamrock though; I had her 'capped as fourth best in there. Didn't think she'd actually win...
Tessablue
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Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:18 pm

Ha, you know think I've been betting on Gunnevera since his Florida Derby and I've never won a cent on him! I just love how he always steps up when people least expect it. He'll win his G1 some day... probably on the day I finally toss him. Wish I'd listened to you on Thunder Snow peep, that was a great pick!

And thanks peep and Kennedy, reading that makes me just as happy as the race result. I really want to do some analytics on the F&M Sprint, because it's a dynamic betting race almost every year and I think there's a cutback/ Keeneland/ synth-to-dirt angle lurking in there. Certainly seems like it's been a long while since Groupie Doll.
peeptoad
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Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:20 am

Tessablue wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:18 pm
Ha, you know think I've been betting on Gunnevera since his Florida Derby and I've never won a cent on him! I just love how he always steps up when people least expect it. He'll win his G1 some day... probably on the day I finally toss him. Wish I'd listened to you on Thunder Snow peep, that was a great pick!

And thanks peep and Kennedy, reading that makes me just as happy as the race result. I really want to do some analytics on the F&M Sprint, because it's a dynamic betting race almost every year and I think there's a cutback/ Keeneland/ synth-to-dirt angle lurking in there. Certainly seems like it's been a long while since Groupie Doll.
I agree on the synth (and possibly turf, to a lesser extent) angle, esp with a track like CD. That's one reason Shamrock stuck out on the pps, and one reason why I included both Catholic Boy and Yoshida in the Classic exacta... just didn't have your buddy Gunn. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th places horses were on that ticket though. I'll def be taking a long look at Gunnevera if he shows up in the Pegasus, though I expect his odds to be lower (he may still be double digits there though).
Good to see Thunder Snow will also stay in training next year. I think they want to defend the DWC title.
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