ARCADIA, Calif. — The annual horse racing final exam, a.k.a. the Breeders’ Cup, is upon us. Not sure if I have eight winners out of the 14 races like last year, but I do have opinions.
Was at Santa Anita on Wednesday morning watching the horses train, and it has been a real help getting to see so many workouts on XBTV this year. Put the workouts together with current form and race scenarios, then the bigger picture begins to develop, and you create betting scenarios. Here is what I see:
Juvenile Turf Sprint
1. Kimari. 2. Four Wheel Drive. 3. Dream Shot
Kimari’s only loss came when she beat 23 horses and lost to one at the Royal Ascot meeting in England. She has been brilliant in her three American races.
1. Decorated Invader. 2. Arizona. 3. Vitalogy.
Decorated Invader’s recent works have been as powerful as his races, which have been uniformly excellent. The great Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has won this race four times and his Arizona could very well make it five.
1. K P Dreamin 2. Donna Veloce. 3. Perfect Alibi
This is a scenario play. K P Dreamin is nowhere near the best horse, but if there is a hot contested pace and a closer wins, she could be the one and at a giant price. I do not like Bast, who is going to take a lot of money. Donna Veloce has run only once, but it was an awesome race.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
1. Sweet Melania. 2. Daayeh. 3. Selflessly.
Do not have a good feel for this race, but two sharp players I know like Sweet Melania. Spoke with her trainer, Todd Pletcher, Wednesday morning, and he thinks she is one of his best chances over the two days.
1. Dennis’s Moment. 2. Scabbard. 3. Eight Rings
The races and workouts strongly suggest Dennis’s Moment has star potential. I think he is going to win big and become the future-book favorite for the 2020 Kentucky Derby.
Filly and Mare Sprint
1 Covfefe. 2. Come Dancing. 3. Bellafina
Before post positions were drawn, Covfefe was going to be one of my better plays of the weekend. With her running style, the 1 post, and two very fast horses to her outside, it was not a good draw. She could get involved in a messy speed duel. If the race does fall apart, Come Dancing is the most likely beneficiary.
1. Shekky Shebaz. 2. Legends of War. 3. Imprimis
Most unpredictable race of the weekend. Trainer Jason Servis is good at just about everything, but he is the best I have ever seen at developing turf sprinters. Shekky Shebaz should love the fairway-like Santa Anita course.
1. Spun to Run. 2. Omaha Beach. 3. Mr. Money
This may look like a homer call because Spun to Run trains at Parx, but the 110 Beyer Speed Figure he earned on Oct. 12 was the best by a 3-year-old going two turns in 2019. It was the best two-turn performance I have seen at Parx in years. Omaha Beach was incredible in his comeback win over Shancelot and is working great but will be an unappealing price.
Filly and Mare Turf
1 Sistercharlie. 2.Fanny Logan 3. Castle Lady
Sistercharlie has won the last seven Grade I races she has entered, including this race last year. She looks as good as ever in her training.
1 Imperial Hint 2. Mitole. 3. Shancelot
Best race of the weekend. This is my third straight year picking Imperial Hint. He has been second and third. This is so close among the top three. The deciding factor for me was that Imperial Hint drew outside Shancelot and Mitole, and his best races are when he is outside the other speed and can make that devastating turn move without traffic.
1. Circus Maximus. 2. Uni 3. Get Stormy
Circus Maximus has been in against some of the best horses in Europe. This is his best distance. Without serious traffic problems in her Saratoga race in August, Uni might be on a seven-race winning streak. Her acceleration in the stretch is breathtaking.
1. Midnight Bisou. 2. Dunbar Road. 3. Ollie’s Candy
Midnight Bisou is trying to finish off a perfect eight-win season. She runs just fast enough to win. Dunbar Road was on a dead rail in her recent race at Keeneland.
1. Bricks and Mortar. 2. Anthony Van Dyck. 3. Old Persian
If the best of the European horses were here, I would be picking against Bricks and Mortar. But they stayed home so, even though Euros have won 16 of the last 20 BC Turfs, I am going with the American star, unbeaten and dominant in 2019.
1. McKinzie 2. Vino Rosso. 3. Code of Honor
When the season began, I thought McKinzie, the 2018 Pennsylvania Derby winner, was going to win this race. His last race, a second to a 25-1, is, however, a major concern. So I am not nearly as confident, but the horse has still run really well in big races all year and was a bit unlucky in two of his losses. Pletchter said Vino Rosso is his best chance on the weekend. Code of Honor has gotten better and better all year. Yoshida is dangerous at a nice price.