Scully: Price plays in 2020 Breeders’ Cup
Fields are set for the two-day, 14-race Breeders’ Cup program at Keeneland. I have a couple of top picks at double-digit odds on the morning line, and longshots often hit the board in competitive Breeders’ Cup races.
Some of the following longshots may not be good enough to win, but they will deserve consideration underneath for the vertical exotics. Here are my price plays for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup:
Juvenile Turf – Race 7 Friday
Peter Miller gets the most out of his horses on Breeders’ Cup weekend, winning five races since 2017. Only Chad Brown has more Breeders’ Cup victories over the last three years. Miller sends out #10 Ebeko (20-1), who exits a victory in the Oct. 4 Zuma Beach S. at Santa Anita. Formerly based in Ireland, Ebeko looked hopelessly beaten when making his U.S. debut in the Sept. 7 Del Mar Juvenile Turf, but came flying in the stretch for second. He moved forward off the effort last time, and Ebeko will look to make a late impact with Flavien Prat.
Juvenile Fillies Turf – Race 9 Friday
#3 Alda (12-1) trailed behind a glacial pace in the Sept. 20 Natalma (G1) at Woodbine before finishing with interest for second. A convincing turf maiden winner at Belmont in July, the Graham Motion-trained filly closed determinedly to win the Aug. 23 Catch a Glimpse S. at 6 1/2 furlongs when making her first start against winners at Woodbine. Out of a Maria’s Mon mare, the Munnings filly hails from a regal female family and should appreciate traveling a two-turn distance for the first time. The stakes winner will certainly receive more pace, and Alda registered a 104 Brisnet Late Pace rating last time.
Filly & Mare Sprint –Race 4 Saturday
#5 Sconsin (20-1) is my top pick. Sophomore fillies have won the last two editions of the 7-furlong test, and Sconsin enters on the upswing for Greg Foley. I like her profile. A maiden winner in February, the late runner showed her readiness for stakes competition when romping over entry-level allowance rivals in mid-June. Sconsin finished with gusto to hit the board behind a pair of loose-on-lead winners (Four Graces and Mundaye Call) in her first stakes attempts. When she received an honest pace last time, Sconsin blew past Four Graces and Mundaye Call to win the Eight Belles (G2) in smashing fashion, netting excellent Brisnet numbers (100 Speed and 106 Late Pace) for her first stakes win. The Filly & Mare Sprint couldn’t set up any better on paper, and Sconsin will continue to show more.
Turf Sprint – Race 5 Saturday
For multi-race purposes, the Turf Sprint is an event to spread in my estimation. #14 Extravagant Kid (15-1) will be on my tickets. He’s never won sprinting on Keeneland’s turf, but has run well in all four previous attempts. Incredibly, Extravagant Kid has been compromised by the rail post in his last three starts over the course against deep stakes fields. I like the move to an outside post following a half-length second in the Oct. 3 Woodford (G2).
Dirt Mile – Race 6 Saturday
#4 War of Will (10-1) is better on dirt than turf, and he finally gets back to the main track in the Dirt Mile. I like his chances. The War Front colt compiled three stakes wins in the first five months of 2019, including the Preakness (G1), but the second half of the season didn’t go smoothly as he tailed off. War of Will figured to be much improved at age four, but connections wound up chasing a Grade 1 turf win, which he picked up in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1), to enhance his stud value. That experiment is finally over, and fitness won’t be an issue here. War of Will has trained forwardly on the main track in preparation, will receive a good trip with his tactical speed, and he can prove best over a less-than-stellar field.
Mile – Race 9 Saturday
Multiple Group 1 winner #4 Siskin (15-1) will bring top-class form to a contentious edition of the Mile. The Juddmonte Farms homebred prefers ground on the firm side, which the 3-year-old will receive at Keeneland, and Siskin should be an overlay after acting up badly in the gate last time. I’m throwing that effort out. The hard-trying sophomore won five of his first six starts, and Siskin rates as a legitimate contender if he can avoid starting gate issues at Keeneland.
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