Breeders' Cup 2014 Value Plays for Friday and Saturday
by John Mucciolo
Trainer Brian Meehan is always a conditioner to keep a keen eye on when he imports horses across the pond to race on U.S. soil. The Irish native has enjoyed a bevy of success in the states, including the Breeders' Cup where he has saddled Dangerous Midge (2010) and Red Rocks (2006) to victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf; and the talented filly Shumoos, who was a fast-closing second in the 2011 Juvenile Sprint against the boys. He has the Group 3-placed FAITHFUL CREEK (20-1) in a race that appears to be wide-open, and the son of Bushranger should be a nice price.
Goldencents is a most formidable foe as he makes a title defense in the 2014 edition on this race, but I will look for a late runner who could crash the exotics, or even upset if the top choice falters in the lane. The Carla Gaines-conditioned BIG BANE THEORY (15-1) did have a fine set up in the grassy City of Hope Mile, in a field that lacked a ton of class, but the son of Artie Schiller still impressed with push-button acceleration and has always trained very well on the main oval at Santa Anita. In a race with a likely swift early tempo, and the ones running early with Goldencents will likely to pay the price for it, the California-bred Big Bane Theory may receive another fine set up for a crafty barn at a healthy number. And Goldencents being buried on the rail could make him a bit vulnerable, as well.
Juvenile Fillies Turf:
If Lady Eli is as good as advertised and as her conditioner Chad Brown has stated, her foes might be running for second. So we'll take a look at another Brown pupil, TAMMY THE TORPEDO (12-1), for gimmicks value. The $225,000 daughter of More Than Ready was a dynamic debut winner at Saratoga with a visually impressive turn of foot at first asking, and her third in the subsequent Miss Grillo might have been a bit better than it appears on paper. The dark bay was stuck behind a slow pace which hampered her chances in the stretch, but she should get a more honest race to contest in this affair and should be of very good value, to boot.
Filly and Mare Sprint:
STONETASTIC (8-1) might be the speed of the speed in a race with no confirmed front runners and her morning line odds look appealing. Trained by the heady Kelly Breen, the Prioress Stakes romper had a useful prep for this affair and might be clear turning for home.
French import VEDA (12-1) has class, endured a fine prep for this and is a specialist of sorts at this distance for high-class conditioner Alain de Royer Dupre (who saddled Lashkari to a win in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Turf in 1994) . The daughter of Dansili was a fine second in the French 1,000 Guineas three back and following an even performance, she came up just short against a strong field in the Prix Wildenstein while well clear of her nearest foe. The Aga Khan homebred will hope to follow in a stellar line of sophomore fillies to win this race -- Miesque (1987), Ridgewood Pearl (1990), Six Perfections (2003) and the remarkable Goldikova (2008).
The high class TELESCOPE (4-1) will be one of my main plays during the two-day World Thoroughbred Championships. The Sir Michael Stoute star has never finished out of the top three in his lifetime while facing some of the best company in Europe and the son of top global sire Galileo skipped the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe to point for this race, which is good enough for me being from the barn of a four-time Breeders' Cup-winning conditioner. The four-year-old colt could be the third betting option at the start of this 1 1/2-mile turf test while breaking from the rail post.
While I will not dispute the chances of the sterling Shared Belief, who is unbeaten and has handled everything thrown his way, nor the power or local experience of Kentucky Derby hero California Chrome, or even the mighty speed of Parx track-record setter Bayern from the barn of the sublime Bob Baffert, ZIVO (15-1) could wind up being a live long shot. The Chad Brown-conditioned Empire State-bred is a one-run closer in a field full of fast horses and we expect him to come calling in the final furlong. The son of True Direction continues to outrun his pedigree, finishing second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last time while enduring an horrific trip. And the bay five-year-old has posted BRIS Speed figures of 104 and 103 in his pair of runs at the 10-furlong distance.