Breeders' Cup Winners Return: What Can We Learn?

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Ed DeRosa

January 30th, 2015

The winners of both main track Breeders’ Cup races for two-year-olds make their three-year-old debuts this weekend, but it is actually the fourth-place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that is the most likely winner of the trio.

Certainly, both Juvenile Fillies winner Take Charge Brandi and Juvenile winner Texas Red will be favored when they return in the Martha Washington Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park and the San Vicente Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita Park, respectively, but The Great War—fourth to Texas Red in the Juvenile—could be shorter than both of them when he returns in the 96 Rock Stakes on Saturday at Turfway Park.

So The Great War is unbeatable and likely unplayable, but what about the actual Breeders’ Cup winners? I prefer Take Charge Brandi’s chances to Texas Red’s, as the filly seemingly has more going her way in the Martha Washington, but the race could offer some value, as Sarah’s Sis is 5-to-1 morning line, and if things get crazy on Brandi could drift, and I’d bet her at 9-to-1 or better. Even if that doesn’t happen, though, then as the third or fourth choice she could offer some value underneath the favorite.

It’s also worth mentioning regarding the Martha Washington that Oaklawn has a $2.20 minimum show payoff, so if the bridgejumpers are out on the champion filly then a shot against her makes more sense at Oaklawn than most other tracks.

The San Vicente is one spot where I’m truly against the favorite, as Texas Red turning back at a short price off about a three-month layoff doesn’t do much for me at a short price.

One turn back I do like in the race, however, is Lord Nelson, who’s ideally drawn inside and exits the productive Kentucky Jockey Club. His running style fits the profile of what’s been winning at this seven-furlong trip this meeting at Santa Anita Park, and Texas Red ensures we’ll get a price we want.

Dan Zucker of mostly agrees with me in this week’s podcast. I say “mostly” because he’s more bearish on Take Charge Brandi than I am. He also has some intriguing thoughts on Saturday’s graded stakes trio at Santa Anita Park, including (guess what?) not liking any of the favorites.

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The above podcast touched on a number of issues I discussed this week w/ James Scully on our weekly vidcast ON POINT, including Upstart’s impressive debut in the Holy Bull Stakes. James was on Upstart early, suggesting him as a value play in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 when he closed at better than 50-to-1.

Finally, Triple Crown Insider covers all the three-year-old bases this year by discussing the Sam F. Davis Stakes, the Tampa Bay Downs prep for the Tampa Bay Derby.

None of this week’s races are Kentucky Derby points races, but they will surely go at least some way in helping us figure out where the depth in this division is.