2021 Breeders' Cup contenders worth considering at a price
With this year's Breeders' Cup dirt races generally less than full capacity, and with several having short-priced stickouts, the turf races look more appealing options for finding longshots that can potentially upset or help boost vertical exotic payoffs.
Here is our list of longshots to watch in the upcoming two-day fixture on Friday and Saturday:
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
A daughter of California Chrome, who won the Hollywood Derby (G1) over this course, CALIFORNIA ANGEL was an upset winner of both grass starts to date, including a 17-1 upset of the Jessamine (G2) at Keeneland last time. Ill-suited to the conditions in her only loss, a six-furlong dash over the main track at Churchill, she's demonstrated an effective closing kick in both wins for the low-key George Leonard barn. She'll need some pace and a little luck on this smaller, tighter configuration, but the talent looks there.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
The American Pharoah colt MACKINNON is riding a three-race win streak into this race, including a pair over this course and distance, as well as an impressive tally in the Zuma Beach S. at Santa Anita. He displayed a lot of maturity for his age when overcoming the clipping of a rival's heels on the first turn of the Zuma Beach, and finished up strongly to win going away in sub-1:34 time for the mile. This class of foe is considerably more difficult, but he might be up to the task.
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
FAST BOAT has made considerable advancement this season for Joe Sharp, winning a trio of turf sprints across the country. His upset in the Troy (G3) at Saratoga two back was an especially good performance. Should avoid the wet ground that hampered his chances in the Jaipur (G1) last June, and capable of rebounding from a rough-trip fourth in the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) most recently.
Breeders' Cup Mile
Apologies if we're beginning to sound like a broken record, but we're likely go to the well again with MASTER OF THE SEAS. Our 2000 Guineas (G1) selection last May, he was frustratingly nosed out there by Poetic Flare, who went on to have a commendable season. Master of the Seas was sidelined throughout the summer, but didn't improve as as much as we had hoped second off the layoff in the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) three weeks ago. This race has always been the target this fall, though, and the firmer conditions figure to be more agreeable.
Breeders' Cup Turf
Godolphin shocked the 2017 Turf here with the unheralded Talismanic, and are represented here in part by the three-year-old YIBIR. Ineligible for many of Europe's top races by virtue of being a gelding, he's nonetheless shown signs of being an up-and-coming middle-distance/stayer type for the worldwide franchise. Although not beating much, relatively speaking, when qualifying for this race in the Jockey Club Derby at Belmont, Yibir did turn in a solid :22 and change closing kick in that 12-furlong fixture. He's not yet the class of a Tarnawa in this spot, but a share is not out of the question with continued progress.