2022 Breeders' Cup contenders worth considering at a price
As was the case last year, the longshots we find the most intriguing a week out from the Breeders' Cup are largely concentrated on the weekend's grass races. That's not surprising, given the full fields and the general competitiveness of those races.
Here are four longshots worth taking a look at to potentially upset, or boost vertical exotics plays, over the two-day fixture:
In a wide-open race where fair prices might be available on most everyone, Be Your Best is a filly I keep coming back to. An impressive winner of her first two outings at Saratoga, she was only a mild third last time as a 6-5 favorite in the Miss Grillo (G2) at Aqueduct. Given the softer course conditions and tepid pace she was forced to chase, her closing kick appears to have been blunted on multiple counts.
Trainer Horacio De Paz has saddled only one graded stakes winner in a career dating to 2015, but is a 19% lifetime conditioner. Hopefully, most bettors' unfamiliarity with De Paz will ensure this filly goes off at a square price in a race which U.S.-trained runners have tended to dominate European shippers.
Trainer Wesley Ward has the horse to beat in defending titlist Golden Pal, but stablemate Arrest Me Red is no slouch. Indeed, the son of Pioneerof the Nile is one of the top specialists of his kind in the country, bar his world-renowned stablemate.
Arrest Me Red has never been unplaced sprinting on the grass, and the one time he finished off the board on turf was in the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon (G2) at Keeneland in 2020, which stretched the limits of his stamina. His record so far this year has been strong, including a win in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) and placings in the Jaipur (G1) and Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G2). In the latter, over a course which is not always to everyone's taste, he found himself farther off the lead than usual and rallied belatedly.
If Golden Pal for some reason doesn't put forth his best effort, Arrest Me Red figures to be one of a number waiting in the wings.
Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes (G2)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) May 6, 2022
1100m, 500.000 USD
🇺🇸 Churchill Downs
Arrest Me Red (USA)
(4C Pioneerof The Nile - Maraschino Red, by Medaglia D'oro)
J:Irad Ortiz, Jr.
T:Wesley A. Ward
O : Lael Stable
B:Mr. & Mrs. M. Roy Jackson
Since American Theorem truly began concentrating on sprinting last spring, he's become a faster and more reliable horse. Although one can argue about the quality and depth of the division out west this year, the same could be said about other parts of the country, too, and there's little debate that American Theorem has proven to be at or near the top among them on that circuit.
With Jackie's Warrior having busted twice as a heavy favorite in the past two Breeders' Cups, and with Jack Christopher facing older for the first time in a tough spot, the late-closing American Theorem figures to offer value and is a potential danger if things get too hot up front.
It's hard to look past the European invaders Modern Games and Kinross on the win end, but the fact trainer Chad Brown is more than willing to throw Domestic Spending into this fire off of a layoff approaching 15 months is eye-opening.
Recall that Domestic Spending was considered the leading older turf horse in the country in 2021 up until he was forced to withdraw days before an intended start in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1), due to a soft tissue injury. The back class is obviously there.
MUCCIOLO: Tipsheet: 2022 Breeders' Cup Mile
Many will draw parallels between what Domestic Spending will attempt to do and Da Hoss, who won the 1998 Mile off of one prep since his victory in the 1996 Mile. Perhaps a better example is Gilded Time, who ran an incredible race to finish third, beaten less than a length, in the 1993 Sprint at Santa Anita despite not having run since winning the 1992 Juvenile at Gulfstream Park.
Domestic Spending will be up against it from a fitness perspective, but is hard to dismiss entirely despite his recent inactivity.