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Breeders’ Cup Day 2: Live Blogging

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 2, 2013

1) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Grade 1 – 1 1/16 Miles
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies will start with a field of 10 youngsters in less than 20 minutes at Santa Anita this year. This is a pretty nice field of fillies and favoritism should be bouncing around between Artemis Agrotera and Sweet Reason. They finished 1-2 respectively in their last start in the Frizette Stakes (Gr.1) and have been dominating in their 5 combined starts. Untapable, Rosalind, Secret Compass and She’s a Tiger are four fillies in with a really good shot as well. It’s 10 minutes to post time.

Results: She’s a Tiger and jockey Gary Stevens ran a strong gate-to-wire performance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, holding off a determined Rio Antonia with Rosalind closing on the inside for third to finish ahead in the event, but after a review by stewards determined that she came out and bumped Rio Antonia her number was taken down and 32-1 Rio Antonio was declared the winner. Race favorite Artemis Agrotera was away well and had a perfect stalking trip just behind She’s a Tiger, but was unable to capitalize on her strong position, fading back as the field moved around the far turn. Meanwhile Sweet Reason appeared to be on her way to winning after launching a move from far back in the field to reach third in stretch before flattening out. Ria Antonia entered off a 5th place finish in the Frizette Stakes and this marks her first graded stakes win.

2) Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Grade 1 – 1 ¼ Miles
Laughing is my pick here, she’s been on a roll lately, winning four graded stakes in-a-row, including two grade 1’s. She’ll have some really strong competition this time around so it won’t be a cakewalk or a “sure thing” by any means. I’m curious to see how Emollient fares in this spot and will be rooting for Marketing Mix to made a good run as well.

Results: Dank proved her 8/5 favoritism in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf today was well deserved. Running much closer to the lead than she typically does, Dank sat a very close second, just off the lead of Emollient with Laughing surprising far back running in 7th as the field moved by the stands for the first time. The field maintained positions down the backstretch with Marketing Mix moving up a bit closer into 4th as the field approached the far turn. Emollient still held a slight advantage as they began to travel into the turn but Dank moved up strongly on her outside to seize command as Marketing Mix, Romantica and Alterite all moved forward as one. Emollient hung on stubbornly in the stretch, never throwing in the towel, but Dank extended her lead under the line, winning by just over a length with a fast closing Romantica right in behind. Alterite and Emollient finished half a length in front of Marketing Mix to complete the top 5. Jockey Ryan Moore won his fifth Breeders’ Cup race with Dank and once again it looks like the Europeans are going to love the turf today.

3) The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Grade 1 – 7 Furlongs
Last year Groupie Doll was the undisputed queen of sprinting here in the U.S. and this year she returns to defend that title with a lot to prove and many contenders looking to take her title. After a long rest this year Groupie Doll has not quite lived up to her spectacular form of last year, but has still managed to win two of four starts and set a track record in the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (Gr.2). She enters off a third to Judy the Beauty in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (Gr.2). Judy the Beauty could wind up being my pick come post time, she seems to be improving at the right time and could get a really good pace to close into. Sweet Lulu, Book Review, Teddy’s Promise and Dance to Bristol are just a few of the other top class fillies looking to stake their claim to title of best female sprinter in the country. I’ll be rooting for Groupie Doll to win this again, but I’m not sure she’s as sharp as she was last year and can replicate her devastating victory.

Results: Checkout my recap on DistaffRunner at Horse Racing Nation to read all about Groupie Doll’s incredible victory!

4) The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Grade 1 – 6 ½ furlongs
The 14 horse field for the Turf Sprint has two fillies I’m extremely high on this year, as I was last year. Mizdirection and Reneesgotzip. Mizdirection is the defending Turf Spring winner and I fully expect she’ll be just as tough to beat this year as she was last. However I’m choosing Reneesgotzip to win this one, she’s probably the fastest filly in the nation, maybe even the fastest horse in the nation, and if she gets out to a solid lead and holds in the stretch I don’t think anyone’s going to pass her.

Results: Mizdirection went into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint a very solid favorite to defend her title from last year and she did just that in a thrilling finish on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita. Breaking like a bolt, Reneesgotzip shot to the lead and blazed an opening quarter in :21.47 before rushing through a half in an incredible :43.36. Mizdirection broke well and rated in 4th position for jockey Mike Smith, just a few lengths off the flying pace set by Reneesgotzip. Moving into the turn the defending champion edged up to sit in third on the outside. As the field thundered into the homestretch Reneesgotzip had powered clear by two lengths, but it was clear that Mizdirection was getting ready to roll. Halfway to the wire and Reneesgotzip was still holding the lead, desperately urged on by jockey Maldonado, but Mizdirection was flying now, eating up the ground with giant strides to win by a long neck over Reneesgotzip, just a nose in front of Tightened Touchdown. Two very classy fillies brought it to the boys once again this year, after finishing 1st and 3rd last year, Mizdirection and Reneesgotzip now finished 1st and 2nd.

5) The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Grade 1 – 1 1/16 Miles
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile looks less competitive this year than is has the last few years, mainly because Honor Code and Ride On Curlin opted not to run this year, but with Havana and Strong Mandate still in the race it’s sure to be a thriller. Strong Mandate ran a clunker in the Champagne Stakes (Gr.1) last out finishing 7th, but was the clear division leader prior to that with a dominating win in the Hopeful Stakes (Gr.1). I still like Strong Mandate and I’m going to give him another chance here in the Juvenile. It might not work out to his advantage with speed playing so well today, but Havana will surely like it. Undefeated in two starts, Havana last out captured the Champagne Stakes by a nose over Honor Code and looks to cinch up the Championship title here with a win.

Results: New Year’s Day didn’t steal any of the pre-race hype moving into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Gr.1), but when the dust settled this Bob Baffert trained colt was the last colt standing. He entered the Juvenile off a 1 ¾ win over Bond Holder to break his maiden and went off at odds of 10-1, but none of that mattered in the end. With jockey Martin Garcia aboard, New Year’s Day broke towards the back of the pack and settled into 9th position down the backside as Conquesttitan and Strong Mandate drove through brutal opening fractions of :22.66 for the quarter and :45.38 for the half. Approaching the far turn Strong Mandate took over and opened up by two lengths as the field began to navigate the turn, but Havana quickly closed up on the outside and stole the lead, rushing off to a two length lead into the stretch. New Year’s Day meanwhile was weaving his way through traffic to launch his bid at the rail, finally hitting his best stride halfway down the stretch to win going away by about 1 ½ lengths. It was a wonderful win for Bob Baffert who earlier on the card saw his filly Secret Compass euthanized after a terrible injury. Now the question is this; is New Year’s Day done for the year or will he try to pad up his resume for a chance to win an Eclipse as the nation’s leading 2-year-old colt.

6) The Breeders’ Cup Turf Grade 1 – 1 ½ Miles on Turf
Point of Entry has not run since winning the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park on June 6th, but that wasn’t his fault. He suffered a condylar fracture in the Manhattan and trainer Shug McGaughey gave his champion plenty of time to rest up and heal. Incredibly he has made a 100% recovery and is back to try and win the Breeders’ Cup Turf after his gallant ½ length defeat by Little Mike last year. It’s always difficult for a horse to comeback from an injury and run competitively at a high level, but this presents an especially tough challenge for Point of Entry since he’ll be facing horses like European sensation The Fugue, last year’s winner Little Mike and a very strong contender in Big Blue Kitten. The consensus seems to be that The Fugue will prevail, but I’m hoping for the “fairy-tale” run by Point of Entry. This horse is all heart and always gives his very best. Big Blue Kitten could prove to be his biggest challenge today.

Results: Most of the attention was on The Fugue and Point of Entry in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but Magician came from out of the clouds to give jockey Ryan Moore his second win at the Breeders’ Cup this year. Point of Entry coming off a long layoff was placed 3rd last by jockey Joel Rosario with The Fugue running in 7th four lengths ahead as the field left the gate and came by the stands for the first time. Teaks North led the field through a reasonable opening quarter before running the opening half in :46 4/5 to speed things up just a bit. Down the backstretch the field positions remained relatively unchanged but the minute the field hit the turn Little Mike made a swift move to seize the lead with The Fugue right in behind and Point of Entry beginning to rally back in 6th. Into the homestretch Little Mike held the lead briefly until The Fugue and Vagabond Shoes edged ahead, but from the back of the pack Magician was moving best of all, rushing past Point of Entry and nailing the win by half a length over The Fugue. Point of Entry finished well but wasn’t good enough on the day.

7) The Breeders’ Cup Sprint Grade 1 – 6 Furlongs
Little Mike was the first returning Breeders’ Cup winner not to successfully defend his title just minutes ago and in about 20 minutes it will be up to Trinniberg to prove he’s still got his moves. Last year Trinniberg turned in a thrilling and determined ¾ length win in the Breeders’ Cup, but since then he has lost all four of his concurrent starts, most recently finishing 7th in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (Gr.1). He’ll have a lot to prove today. This one is all about Secret Circle for me. I love Bob Baffert training sprinters and this horse is just freakishly fast and talented. Justin Phillip could also be in for a good run, he seldom runs a poor race.

Results: Secret Circle might have had just one prep race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, but he proved that favoritism was well deserved as he launched a strong move coming off the turn to hit the lead and stick it to his competition. The opening quarter went in a blistering :21.34 as a three horse battle ensued up front between Sum of the parts, Gentlemen’s Bet and Fast Bullet. Entering the homestretch Gentlemen’s Bet was just a half-length in front of Sum of the Parts as Secret Circle fanned seven wide and drove for the wire. Gentlemen’s Bet held on gallantly, but Secret Circle rolled by nearing the wire as a fast closing Laugh Track took second. That’s win number two for trainer Bob Baffert and Jockey Martin Garcia today. Many were saying it before the Sprint and they’ll continue saying it now; Secret Circle is the best sprinter in the country.

8) The Breeders’ Cup Mile Grade 1 – 1 Mile on Turf
What can you say about this race, other than that Wise Dan is just so intimidating that it’s really tough to pick against him? The reigning Horse of the Year was sensational all last year and won the Breeders’ Cup Mile in record setting style. This year he has been equally as impressive while racking up 5 consecutive wins, including three Grade 1’s and two Grade 2’s. This is his race to lose and I’m not going to try to beat him.

Results: Wise Dan has not lost a step. After finishing second in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (Gr.1) in his last start, the 2012 Horse of the Year had some detractors saying that he was slowing down and his age was showing, but the only thing that showed today was how good Wise Dan is. Breaking with a small stumble out of the gate, Wise Dan picked himself up without so much as a hiccup and settled in nicely behind the leaders with Obviously blowing through an opening quarter in :21.94 and a half in :44.47 with Silver Max in second. Into the turn Obviously continued to lead as Wise Dan came under a full head of speed and set his sights towards the finish line. Charging down the middle of the stretch the champion overtook a very game Za Approval as Silentio darted to the inside. The margin of victory was just ¾ of a length, with Za Approval and Silentio finishing second and third, but this was a no-doubt-about-it winner.

8) The Breeders’ Cup Classic Grade 1 – 1 ¼ Miles
It’s the biggest racing event of the year aside from the Kentucky Derby and this year boasts a stellar field of 11 colts and geldings all vying to be called the best in America. Game On Dude has run in this race twice, finishing a game second in 2011 and a dull 7th in 2012 behind Fort Larned who returns this year to defend his title. Since finishing 7th last year Game On Dude has won 6 straight races, including three Grade 1’s and is coming into this year’s Classic fit, fresh and better than ever. The way Santa Anita’s Track has been playing both days of the Championships so far you have to believe he’s got an excellent chance to get the lead and carry it all the way to the end. Personally though, I’m going with Belmont and Jim Dandy Stakes winner, Palace Malice. He finished a very solid 2nd to Ron the Greek who absolutely freaked in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in his last start after running 4th in the Travers, running what many consider the best performance of the race. He’s been going strong all year long and doesn’t look to be slowing up now. It’s a huge challenge for any 3-year-old to take on experienced elders such as Game One Dude and Mucho Macho Man, but if anyone can get it done I think it’s Palace Malice. It should be interesting to see how his fellow sophomore runners Will Take Charge and Moreno perform as well. Mucho Macho Man is a big favorite of mine and his last win was terrific, but my heart belongs with Palace Malice on this one.

Results: He’s got one of the most solid fan bases in the sport and has one of the most lovable and talented trainers on the planet and Saturday night at Santa Anita Park, Mucho Macho Man raced his way into Breeders’ Cup history. Breaking fastest of all Mucho Macho man was quickly flanked by Moreno on the inside and Game on Dude to his outside before dropping back to fourth as they navigated the first turn with Fort Larned moving up to lead. The opening quarter went in :23.39 as Moreno and Fort Larned battled it out on the front end. Declaration of War raced to the inside of Mucho Macho Man behind the leaders with Will Take Charge and Palace Malice running side by side three spots back. As the field approached the far turn Mucho Macho Man and jockey Gary Stevens swung to the outside of Game On Dude and took command with Palace Malice and Will Take Charge just in behind. Charging off the turn and into the stretch Mucho Macho Man began to pull away, leading by just over a length as Declaration of War came shooting to the outside, pushing Palace Malice and Will Take Charge out wide into the track. Halfway down the stretch and Mucho Macho Man was still in the lead but Declaration of War was all out to catch him. Will Take Charge began to pick up speed and unravel his customary late charge as Palace Malice faded. Those three flashed under the line to the thunderous roars of the crowd. Mucho Macho Man won, defeating Will Take Charge by a thread with Declaration of War in between, just a head back in third. Trainer Kathy Ritvo provided the most touching scene of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup when she ran out onto the track to greet her returning champion and Gary Stevens who gratefully shouted out, “You made an old man very happy”.


Posted in Breeders Cup Classic, Breeders Cup Juvenile, Breeders Cup Sprint, Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Breeders' Cup Mile, Breeders' Cup Turf, Dank, Groupie Doll, Magician, Mizdirection, Mucho Macho Man, New Year's Day, Reneesgotzip, Ria Antonia, Secret Circle, She's a Tiger, Wise Dan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies: Best long-shots and Favorites

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 4, 2011

Juvenile races have always been the toughest ones for me to handicap. The Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr.1) has produced a full field of 14 promising fillies this year, sorting out the good from the bad is perhaps not as challenging as it appears when looking at the entries. I believe there are five fillies with a good chance to win, and three with a good chance to hit the board. I hate to say it, but I think this one is all about the favorites for the win. There has been a lot of consistency among the top five contestants this year, hence the reason for three undefeated, Grade 1 winners entered in the field.

My Miss Aurelia is the deserving morning line favorite for the race off the strength of her 5 ½ length romp over Stopshoppingmaria in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes early last month at Belmont Park, but it’s an undefeated daughter of Empire Maker that I like the most right now. Grace Hall won her debut at Delaware Park by three lengths in late July before winning the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes over the gifted Judy the Beauty. She followed that win up with a easy three length score in the Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park on October 1st, winning in a hand ride after contesting the lead. So far all three wins by Grace Hall have been accomplished with just a hand ride, implying there is much more to this filly than we have seen so far.

My Miss Aurelia ran a huge race in the Frizette, capturing the race in front-running fashion by more than five lengths, and defeating Stopshoppingmaria handily for the second time in her three race career. She also defeated third place finisher Miss Netta in the Frizette, a filly I think has a lot of potential to movfe forward in the Juvenile Fillies today. My Miss Aurelia is a daughter of Smart Strike and is owned by Barbara Banke, wife to the late Jess Jackson of Curlin and Rachel Alexandra fame. I think the greatest weakness for this filly could be her front-running tactics, even though juvenile fillies have fared very well in recent years running on the front end, I think there are some very classy fillies behind her this time that will not let her run away in the stretch.

Weemissfrankie is the undisputed leader of West Coast juvenile fillies after back-to-back Grade 1 wins in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes and most recently in the Oak Leaf Stakes where she ran down the very talented Candrea, who is also slated to take part in the Breeders’ Cup. She could not have been more impressive in her Oak Leaf score where she ran down Candrea just before the wire, closing from fifth place and coming into the stretch four wide, while still catching the leader and winning by half a length under a vigorous hand ride. She ran a fantastic :59.20 five furlong work one week ago at Santa Anita to signal how fit and ready she is to run.

Miss Netta has raced just two times in her short career so far, but has shown incredible potential. She broke her maiden at first asking, taking a six furlong at Saratoga in late August but almost three lengths, running on the lead from gate, to wire. Her next start came in the Frizette Stakes (gr.1) at Belmont Park where she just happened to run into the monster we know as My Miss Aurelia, finishing a distant, but decisive third. On paper her performance looks back, but it was actually very good. She broke awkwardly, immediately dropping four lengths off the field and running very greenly for jockey Rajiv Maragh. By the time My Miss Aurelia was approaching the far turn, Miss Netta was far more than twelve lengths off the back of the pack, but began to eat up the ground and settle for Rajiv Maragh as they entered the far turn. Coming into the stretch My Miss Aurelia was pulling well clear of Stopshoppingmaria up front, but Miss Netta was flying home fastest of all, running an incredible race to get up for third, finishing almost three lengths ahead of Holiday Soiree in fourth. She could be sitting on a huge race at Churchill Downs today and her :46.87 bullet work at Belmont last weekend proves she is coming into this race very sharp.

Candrea ran a big race in the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr.1), a race that in most cases would have been a winning race if not for Weemissfrankie. She pressed the pace in second, took over from the pacesetter coming into the stretch and began to draw off and accelerate approaching the wire. Unfortunately for her, Weemissfrankie was just too good and flew by her on the outside late to snag the win by half a length. This Bob Baffert trained filly won the first two starts of her career by a combined 7 ½ lengths. She likes to sit close to the pace and launch her bid off the turn, tactics that will keep her close to the front-running My Miss Aurelia in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies if she has the speed. She had a good :48.80 half mile breeze at Churchill Downs recently and is another that looks like a candidate to run a good race.

Since I don’t have time to handicap the entire field, I tried to choose three long-shot fillies that I think have the best shots at hitting the board for a price. My first is two-time stakes winner, Say a Novena. This filly has won three of her six career starts so far and most recently captured the Brandywine Stakes at Parx Racing after missing by one length in the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park in early September. Her biggest problem is that she has never run past seven furlongs yet, but in all of her stakes tries, which make up her last four consecutive starts, she has finished running well and never tired late. She could be a nice value if she runs well today with morning line odds of 30-1.

Awesome Belle has taken the same course to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies that 2010 Juvenile winner Awesome Feather took, and they just happen to both be daughters of Awesome of Course. Awesome Belle enters the Juvenile off a 7 ½ length romp in the 1 1/16 mile My Dear Girl Stakes at Calder Race Course. The My Dear Girl Stakes is the final race in the Florida Stallion Series which Awesome Feather won last year. This year Awesome Belle didn’t fare as well, finishing fifth in the Desert Vixen Stakes after a bad trip in the stretch, and finished third in the Susan’s Girl Stakes after finding herself in tight quarters and unable to catch the top two. I think she’s beginning to improve and really good shot to hit the board. Her morning line odds are 20-1 and her most recent work was a :48.20 half mile move at Calder.

Rocket Twentyone is undefeated in two starts, but most recently captured the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes (gr.2) at Arlington Park on September 10th. The one thing she will seriously need to improve on is her speed is she hopes to finish in the top half of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies field. She ran the one mile Arlington-Washing Lassie in a slow time of 1:39.13, and has been working up to the race equally as slow. As a daughter of Indian Charlie you know she has a chance to improve, but it’s highly doubtful she can win. Maybe hit the board, and with odds of 20-1 it might be worth a shot.

So there are my three long-shot choices, of the three I like Awesome Belle much the best. Of the top five fillies in the field I like Grace Hall, Miss Netta, Weemissfrankie, and My Miss Aurelia in that order. Good luck to all and enjoy the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Friday card.

Posted in Awesome Belle, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Candrea, Curlin, Grace Hall, Miss Netta, My Miss Aurelia, Rachel Alexandra, Rocket Twentyone, Say a Novena, Weemissfrankie | Leave a Comment »

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