Spot plays for Breeders’ Cup Friday at Keeneland

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

November 5th, 2020

Picks and plays for three races on Breeders’ Cup Friday at Keeneland.

Race 4: McConnell Springs S. (1:15 p.m. ET)

This 6-furlong dash for fillies and mares looks wide-open on paper, so I’ll take a shot with #8 Wildwood’s Beauty (9-2). The 4-year-old filly arguably settled too far behind a slow pace when fourth in the Madison (G1), then chased too fast of a pace when fading to fifth in the Derby City Distaff (G1).

I’ll draw a line through Wildwood’s Beauty’s most recent effort (a third-place effort against allowance company) since she was racing over the synthetic Polytrack at Arlington Park. Returning to dirt and dropping down the class ladder can produce a winning effort.

$20 to win on #8 Wildwood’s Beauty
$5 exacta: 8 with 2,4 ($10)
Total: $30

Race 6: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2, 2:30 a.m. ET)

I loved the effort #14 Golden Pal (8-5) turned in to win Saratoga’s 5 1/2-furlong Skidmore S. back in August. After carving out fast splits of :21.99 and :44.37, the son of Uncle Mo kicked on strongly down the homestretch, sprinting the fifth furlong in :10.75 and the final sixteenth in :05.76 to score by 3 1/2 lengths. His final time of 1:00.88 missed the course record by just 0.67.

Conditioned by Wesley Ward, who won the 2019 Juvenile Turf Sprint with Four Wheel Drive, Golden Pal certainly has the pedigree to be an elite turf sprinter—his dam, Lady Shipman, finished second in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). Even while breaking from the far outside post, I’m optimistic Golden Pal can secure victory at Keeneland.

$10 double: 14 with 2,6,9 ($30)

Race 7: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1, 3:10 p.m. ET)

Vintage (G2) winner #9 Battleground and Bourbon (G2) winner #6 Mutasaabeq (5-1) are logical contenders at relatively short prices, but I’m just as intrigued by #2 New Mandate (12-1), who has recorded three straight victories for trainer Ralph Beckett.

New Mandate handled a tight turn at Sandown when breaking his maiden in a 7-furlong handicap, and he later demonstrated his class by rallying to victory in the 1-mile Royal Lodge (G2) at Newmarket. As a gelding, he’s ineligible for some of Europe’s biggest races in 2021, so the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf is a prime opportunity for New Mandate to nab a Group 1 prize.

With 14-time Breeders’ Cup-winning jockey Frankie Dettori in the saddle, New Mandate figures to save ground while breaking from post 2. He looks like an excellent value play.

$20 to win on #2 New Mandate
$3 exacta: 2 with 6,9 ($6)
$7 exacta: 6,9 with 2 ($14)

Good luck!