Mucciolo: Five under the radar horses for Breeders’ Cup Friday
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships are rapidly approaching. Keeneland will play host to the grand spectacle of racing that takes place on November 6-7, and while we all have an idea who the horses to beat are, I have tabbed some value contenders that I feel will be lively in their respective races.
American Pharoah (G1) runner-up Rombauer gave a fine account of himself in his initial dirt performance at Santa Anita last time out when rallying from last to finish a smart second. McCarthy pupil has trained forwardly in the interim, and while the colt is not my top selection in the field, I like his chances to make the frame at a big price on Friday.
Juvenile Fillies (G1)
It’s hard to call a Grade 1 winner under the radar, but Vequist will go off at a nice number in such a fantastic field of 2-year-old fillies. Trained by Butch Reid, the Frizette (G1) runner-up hasn’t done much wrong from three career assignments, and she figures to prosper with the added ground in her two-turn debut.
Juvenile Turf (G1)
The Chad Brown-trained Public Sector will look to give his conditioner a second straight victory in the race, and I think he will be live at a fair number on Friday. Kingman colt was a going-away graduate at Saratoga on debut, and he had little chance behind a pedestrian pace when a clear second in the recent Pilgrim (G2). March foal will be full of run late behind a more honest tempo at Keeneland.
Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)
The stakes-winning Alda has a fine foundation with four races under her belt this season, and I really liked her runner-up showing in the Natalma (G1) at Woodbine last time out. Well-bred daughter of Munnings will aim to give Graham Motion a second win in succession in the affair, and I expect her to improve second time going one mile as well.
Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2)
Trainer Wesley Ward has no shortage of talented youngsters for the 5 1/2-furlong dash, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him saddle the top-three finishers in the race. Of his embarrassment of riches in the race, the best value could lie with Matron (G3) vixen Royal Approval. The Three Chimneys Farm homebred dominated maidens at Kentucky Downs two back, which preceded her measured tally at Belmont Park most recently. Bay faces a tall task when facing a deep group of boys, but her versatility makes her interesting to me at what should be a square price.
In the case that Royal Approval opts for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, I will dabble with Phil Gleaves’ Second of July. Futurity (G3) victor has displayed a sharp turn of foot from two lifetime tries, and the Jack Milton gelding figures to receive a robust early pace with which to rally into as well.