Best Longshot in the Breeders’ Cup
by Scott Shapiro
The Breeders’ Cup is a time for horseplayers to not only watch the superstars of the game compete on the biggest stage, but also a time to find value at the windows with full fields of talented runners from across the globe. The 2016 rendition of the World Championships is no different with several races that have lukewarm favorites and plenty of ways for the handicapper to go.
One of the more wide-open events over the two-day racing extravaganza is the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The $1 million event is run at 6 1/2 furlongs down the uniquely configured hillside turf course at Santa Anita Park.
There are a few characteristics I look for when handicapping races down “the hill.” Horses that have performed well over the course are ideal, but in absence of that I like a horse that draws outside, possesses tactical speed and is cutting back in distance. A few horses check all three of those boxes for Saturday’s turf dash, but one to me offers the most value and is in with a huge shot to make it a very profitable day.
Om (#12) has been a model of consistency over the lawn in his career for trainer Dan Hendricks. The four-year-old son of Munnings has won four of 10 on the grass and hit the board in all but one try. He has also performed well at Santa Anita against some of the best turf routers on the West Coast.
On Saturday, Om cuts back to one-turn for the first time since the San Pedro on April 12, 2015, over the main track and appears in a great spot to pull the upset.
Om finds himself drawn well to the outside with Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens aboard. He is coming off a very strong runner-up performance in the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile won by Vyjack and should get a perfect trip just off the early pacesetters. If he takes to the hill like I expect, he could provide us with a double-digit Breeders’ Cup day winner.
There is a plethora of ways to try to take advantage of the value that Om should present, but here is how I will go about wagering on him.
$30 Win/Place #12 = $60
$3 Exacta 12 with 4+5+7+9+10+11+14 = $21
$2 Exacta 4+5+7+9+10+14 with 12 = $12
$1 Trifecta Wheel 12 with 9+10+14 with ALL = $36
$.50 Trifecta Wheel 9+10+14 with 12 with ALL = $18
In addition to gambling on Om in the race itself, I will also play the Pick 4 that starts in Race 4, as well as the Pick 3 that begins in Race 5.
I will spread deep in both the Juvenile Fillies and the Twin Spires Sprint with my top pick Lord Nelson being scratched early Thursday morning. I will use the two Chad Brown horses in the Filly & Mare Turf and also will include British-bred Queen’s Trust for conditioner Sir Michael Stoute. Here are my tickets:
$1 Pick 4
2+3+4+6+10+11+12 with 1+8+11 with ALL with 12= $73.50
$2 Pick 3
1+8+11 with ALL with 12 = $42
Good luck at the windows and play smart this weekend.
Om photo courtesy of Benoit Photo