Hanson: Handicapping the late Pick 5 on Breeders' Cup Saturday
Having a contrary opinion, whether standing against a heavily-backed favorite entirely or including a plausible backup at the slightest whiff of potential vulnerability, can sometimes make a difference. For example, the late Pick 5 that ended with the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita in 2019 returned nearly $1800, primarily due to the defeat of even-money favorite Midnight Bisou in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) in the sequence's third leg.
With that said, here's how we'll attack the corresponding Pick 5 that caps a tremendous day at Keeneland on Saturday.
Here's the ticket:
- 10,11 with 4,10,11,13 with 5,10 with 2,3 with 2,4 = $32
Race 8 -- Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1)
Arguably the two best sprinters of the season, Volatile and Vekoma, have not made it to the starting gate and thus this race has turned into a hodgepodge where no one really stands out on previous accomplishment. However, #11 DIAMOND OOPS (8-1) enters in solid form winning three of his last four at seven panels or less on the main track and with victorious form over this track to boot courteous of a last-out score in the Phoenix (G2). #10 YAUPON (7-2) could be as good as advertised and will take some catching, but does face older rivals for the first time in a stakes situation here.
Race 9 -- Breeders' Cup Mile (G1)
This appears the spread race of the sequence. Although it's conceivable #13 FACTOR THIS (8-1) and #10 HALLADAY (12-1) could duel each other into submission, neither are fire breathers. Who's to say they might not turn this into an intramural battle through sensible fractions while leaving enough in the tank? Both are among the quicker members of an usually strong American contingent. #4 SISKIN (15-1) has come unwound in the starting gate a couple times racing outside Ireland but has the credentials to win if on his best behavior. #11 IVAR (4-1) looked tremendous winning the course-and-distance Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and perhaps can do it again.
Race 10 -- Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1)
To key or not to key #10 MONOMOY GIRL (8-5)? That is the question. Seems as good as ever this season after missing all of her 4-year-old campaign, and has crossed the wire first in 13 of 14 starts. The nagging feeling is that she hasn't been in any spots to be severely tested, and there's something to be said about having too easy of a final prep coming into this. The aforementioned Midnight Bisou is a case in point. The hickory filly #5 SWISS SKYDIVER (2-1) has run two amazing races in the Preakness (G1) and Alabama (G1) which seemingly compare favorably to Monomoy's best. If she can narrowly outrun perhaps the best 3-year-old colt in the land, she's probably capable of doing the same against a future Hall of Famer.
Race 11 -- Breeders' Cup Turf (G1)
On form, the race goes through #2 MAGICAL (5-2), who gave the great Enable a scare in this event two years ago with ground and tactics working against her in two losses this season. However, she doesn't appear to be single material as #3 TARNAWA (6-1) enters in the form of her life with ground and distance of no concern. Does face males for the first time here, but U.S. contingent all seem exposed at this point and fellow European #6 Lord North untested at this trip.
Race 12 -- Breeders' Cup Classic (G1)
#4 TOM'S D'ETAT (6-1) had been targeting this race for more than a year and and the only blip in his preparation was an unfortunate and easily forgivable stumble at the start of the Whitney (G1). Proven over the track, distance should be no issue, and capable from just about anywhere Rosario might need to place him. #2 TIZ THE LAW's (3-1) Travers (G1) arguably still the best performance by a 3-year-old all season and fits very well in comparison with the form produced by the leading older contenders in this race. Has had time to adapt to the surface and figures to be within striking range throughout.