Scully’s Best Bets on Breeders’ Cup Saturday

Profile Picture: James Scully

November 4th, 2016

After tabbing three longshots of interest in the Breeders’ Cup earlier this week, I will turn my focus to best bets. Both are in juvenile races Saturday.

Not This Time is listed as the 7-2 morning line favorite in the Juvenile but given the depth of the field, with seven legit contenders among the 11 entrants, he won’t be too short of a price come post time. I’m looking forward to playing the Dale Romans-trained son of Giant’s Causeway off an outstanding win in the September 17 Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs.

On a muddy track playing favorably to early speed, Not This Time missed the break in the Iroquois and found himself in a disadvantageous spot rounding the first turn toward the tail of the field. Any concerns were short-lived, however.

With Robby Alabarado not even asking for run, the dark bay colt offered a sensational turn of foot on the far turn to blow past the competition. Not This Time continued to pour it on the stretch with smooth and powerful strides, stretching the margin out to 8 ¾ lengths by the wire. The comment line “at will” aptly describes the ease of victory.

Not This Time was flattered when the non-threatening Iroquois runner-up, Lookin at Lee, came back to finish a much closer second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. A half-brother to 2015 Dirt Mile and Woodward (G1) winner Liam’s Map, Not This Time has trained forwardly at Santa Anita according to reports and I’m expecting further improvement in the second stakes attempt.

The horses with stakes experience in the Juvenile Fillies appear to be much weaker than their counterparts in the Juvenile and I’m very keen on the chances of last-out maiden winner Valadorna.

A daughter of Curlin, the Mark Casse-trained Valadorna missed the break and raced greenly in upper stretch of her career debut at Churchill Downs before offering an outstanding stride late, just missing on the wire as she ran out of room in deep stretch. She easily overhauled third-placer Untapped in the latter stages and that rival, a full sister to Untapable, came back to record an impressive maiden tally late in the Keeneland meet.

Valadorna was even better the second-time out, returning on Keeneland’s opening day with an eye-catching performance. A woman among little girls, the big and strong filly broke clean and after relaxing in midpack behind a slow early pace, Valadorna seemingly pulled herself into contention on the far turn. Julien Leparoux appeared to always have plenty in reserve as the bay miss stormed home to a six-length decision, finishing much faster than the fillies in the Alciabides (G1) later on the program.

That’s a key factor when analyzing the 12-horse Juvenile Fillies because most of Valadorna’s rivals have been finishing slowly. Valdorna can continue to show more with a rallying win.

Not This Time photo courtesy of Coady

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