The Player’s Edge – November 1st, 2013: Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita

Profile Picture: Matt Carter

Matt Carter

November 1st, 2013

Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Turf


Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Sprint


Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Mile


Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Classic


Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Turf Little Mike Back to Defend

The first leg of the late pick-4 on Saturday at Santa Anita is the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf for three-year-olds and upward going 12 furlongs on the main track. The race features last year’s first and second place finishers, Little Mike and Point of Entry. Little Mike will try to follow in the footsteps of Conduit, who won this race in 2008 and 2009.

Little Mike is coming of f a win in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Belmont Park by a nose over Big Blue Kitten, who is also in the Turf. It was another length back to Real Solution, another Turf entrant. Those three horses have history on their side as the horses that win the Breeders’ Cup Turf either prep in Europe or at Belmont Park. The last winner to not prep there was Johar, who dead-heated with the European High Chaparral. Johar was trained by Richard Mandella, who will be running Indy Point on Saturday.

Indy Point has won two of three since beginning his career in his native Argentina including the Grade 2 John Henry last out. The son of Indygo Shiner looked good in winning that race, but his dull last place finish in the Arlington Million was a head scratcher and he will be much higher than his 2-1 odds last out.

Europeans have a strangle hold on the race winning five of his last seven including three of four at Santa Anita and this year, the two in the field look like they are the ones to beat.

The Fugue is the actual morning line favorite for the race at 3-1 and could possibly go off at higher odds than that. Her win in the Irish Champion Stakes was spectacular and she comes into this race better than she did last year when she finished third with a troubled trip in the Filly and Mare Turf.

The European duo also includes the Aidan O’Brien trained Magician, an Irish-bred son of Galileo. Magician won the Irish 2000 Guineas back in May and has not run since finishing ninth in the Group 1 St. James’s Place at Ascot in JuneHe may be the one putting pressure on Little Mike early.

Point of Entry is another coming off a long layoff, having not been to the races since winning the Grade 1 Manhattan in June at Belmont Park. He suffered an injury in that race and while it is always difficult to back to the races off an injury, trainer Shug McGaughey would not Point of Entry unless the horse was 100%. The five-year-old was second last year and may have been the winner with a better trip. He is likely to be over his morning line odds of 4-1.

The long shot bomber in the field at 20-1 on the morning line is Twilight Eclipse from the Tom Albertrani barn. The four-year-old gelding needs to step up his game, but is one of five horses in the field to win at this distance including the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream Park in March. Two starts back he finished second, beaten just one lengths by Big Blue Kitten in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer. Jockey Julien Leparoux may opt to break and sit just off the speed and will get first run. Whether or not he is good enough to hold off the Europeans, that’s a whole other question.

Post time for the Turf is 6:22 pm ET.


Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Sprint Full Field of 14 Sprint Six

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint for this handicapper seemed to be one of those races where the winner just jumped out of the page and the others were running for second. This year; however, is a different story. There is not one slam dunk as every horse enters with positives and negatives. We start with the morning line favorite, Private Zone.

Private Zone ended 2012 with four straight runner up finishes and the look of a horse that just wanted to run in a pack, but since September, he has been a different horse. At Del Mar in a small stakes race he battled back to win by a neck then was passed in deep stretch in the Grade 1 Vosburgh last month only to come back and win again. He is fast and has been working well in the mornings. A speed friendly track will help, but there is a lot of speed in the race.

Last year’s winner, Trinniberg, is also in the field, but this year he may simply be an also-ran. He has not shown the same ability in his four starts since the Breeders’ Cup and is likely to go off at higher than his 8-1 morning line. He adds speed to the lineup.

Other speed horses include Majestic Stride, Sum of the Parts, Fast Bullet and Wine Police. The track is seemingly biased to speed lately, but the race profile sets up for a closer.

Justin Phillip would have been the choice had he drawn any post other than the rail. The five-year-old horse is making his 32nd lifetime start and is looking for his 8th career win. He has been in-the-money 21 times with career earnings of over $1.2-million. He finished second to Private Zone in the Vosburgh and was racing against a speed bias that day. Jockey John Velazquez needs to work out a trip and have some racing luck.

A couple of long shots to look out for are The Lumber Guy, Gentlemen’s Bet and Bahamian Squall. The Lumber Guy and Bahamian Squall finished seventh and fifth in the Vosburgh, again racing against the bias. The Lumber Guy was second in the Sprint last year off a similar schedule. He was almost 4-1 that day and is now 12-1 on the morning line.

Bahamian Squall only has a Grade 2 win on his resume, but his trainer, David Fawkes, has won a Breeders’ Cup Sprint before and he brings Bahamian Squall off a similar race schedule to Big Drama when he won in 2010. Big Drama was a better horse, but Fawkes looks to have a live long shot.

Gentlemen’s Bet ran some huge numbers at Churchill and Prairie Meadows during the summer and then came back last month with a fourth place finish behind Sum of the Parts in the Grade 3 Phoenix at Keeneland. While the Filly and Mare Sprint has been won by synthetic track prep runners, the Sprint is a different story.

Secret Circle is 4-1 on the morning line, a ridiculous price when you consider he has only made one run since April 2012 and that was in an allowance race less than three weeks ago. He was impressive in that race and is a Grade 2 winner, but this is asking a lot of horse to come back with two top races, especially against Grade 1 winners.

This is a spread race in any multi-leg exotic and a huge mutuel payout would not be a shock. Post time for the Sprint is 7:01 pm ET.


Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Mile Wise Dan Looks Tough

The third leg of the late pick-4 and first leg of the double with the Classic on Breeders’ Cup Saturday is the Grade 1, $2-million Mile for three-year-olds and upward on the turf. Wise Dan, coming off a rare loss, is once again the horse to beat.

Wise Dan is even money on the morning line and could go off lower. He may be coming off a loss, but that race was on the polytrack at Keeneland and he was very wide early, resulting in significant ground loss. That will not be a problem in the Mile on his preferred surface with only a field of ten and what should be a blistering pace.

Silver Max beat him in the Shadwell “Polytrack” Mile last out on the square, but now will face more pressure directly from his outside with the five-year-old Obviously. On his best day, Silver Max is very game. He is a four time stakes winner and has won over multiple turf courses varying from firm to yielding. Trainer Dale Romans and jockey Robby Albarado teamed up to win the 2011 Mile with Court Vision at Churchill Downs.

Obviously is fast and has only had two horses in front of him at the half mile in his last 11 starts. He might not be; however, the horse he was earlier in this year and late last year. He was actually out broke in his last two starts and if he breaks slow again, he could rush up early and create a blistering early pace.

It will be interesting to see who wins the battle between Silver Max and Obviously, but they may not be around to see who wins the war. Often though, when two horses go head-to-head all out on the lead, the horse that pulls away, will win the race because they are so far in front.

The Euro charge is led by Olympic Glory, winner of the Group 1 QE II Stakes at Ascot last out. That race was just two weeks ago so he may bounce straight to the moon. Excelebration was Europe’s second best miler last year and even he could not complete the QE II, Mile double.

Cristoforo Colombo is an interesting colt from the Aidan O’Brien yard and last ran in a small stakes race at the Curragh three weeks ago. He has yet to win a stakes, but toss O’Brien at your own peril. He always brings over strong horses for these Breeders’ Cup races.

The long shot pick in the race is No Jet Lag, winner of the Grade 2 City of Light Handicap Mile over Obviously in his last start. The Kentucky-bred was sired by Johar and began his career in England. His Racing Post Ratings; however, are nowhere near those of the Euros in the field, but he may have found a home in Southern California.

One thing is for sure, if Wise Dan does not win, anything can happen.

Post time for the Mile is 7:40 pm ET.


Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Classic Game On Dude!

The finale of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup is the $5-million Classic and it could not have drawn a better field. First things first, Ron the Greek is out, leaving a field of 11. One of the most interesting things on the day is that the last four winners of the races last year; Little Mike, Trinniberg, Wise Dan and Fort Larned, could very well win the last four races again this year.

Fort Larned won the 2012 Classic wire to wire by a half-length over Mucho Macho Man and both are back this year. Fort Larned has had an up and down campaign in 2013 with two wins, two fifths and one where he dropped the jockey out of the gate as the 4-5 favorite. He won the inaugural Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs in late September and will once again be out winging on the front end.

He may find company out there; however, with Moreno and the race favorite, Game On Dude.

Game On Dude did not break last year and finished seventh, beaten 15 lengths. It was the worst start of his year, but he has come back this year better than ever. He absolutely crushed the Pacific Classic field at Del Mar in August and runs very well fresh. He has seven wins in eight starts at Santa Anita; his only loss was the Classic.

Moreno, Palace Malice and Will Take Charge are the three-year-old tackling older horses and they all have their positives and negatives. Moreno knows only one speed and that is fast. He may create a scenario that favors horses from off the pace, which is where Palace Malice and Will Take Charge will both be.

Palace Malice won this year’s Belmont Stakes and was a credible second to Ron the Greek in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last out against older horses. Palace Malice has tactical speed and picks up Johnny V in the irons.

Will Take Charge has won back to back graded stakes races; the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parks in September. He may have been aided by a bit of an inside bias at Parx, which is rare for that track, but his last three races make him a contender in the Classic. He will be running late and the connections can only hope for a fair track, which it appears will not be the case.

Paynter has been a great story this summer coming back from having no shot of living after illness. He drew in post two and will be most likely sitting just off his stablemate Game On Dude. The way the track has been playing Friday, you do not want to be in an inside post on the dirt. If you are wide, you can break, shoot to the lead and you are, as Trevor Denman says, “home Jerome.”

Declaration of War goes out for trainer Aidan O’Brien as he once again tries to upset the Classic. Declaration of War has some dirt breeding and he started his career with Todd Pletcher then won two races in France on all-weather surfaces. O’Brien will eventually win one of these and Declaration of War may be his best since Giant’s Causeway.

Flat Out had a shot to upset until the track turned into a conveyor belt. He will be running late against a bias, unless something changes from Friday to Saturday. It’s a shame because Flat Out can flat out run.

Post time for the big one is 8:35 pm ET and don’t forget; no one hit the pick-5 on Friday, creating a carryover of just under $900,000 into the Saturday card. Get started handicapping now.


Thoroughbred Racing Action

Great racing action from across the country this weekend. Watch these races all on

Saturday – November 2
  • Santa Anita:  Breeders' Cup Classic - G1, $5-million, 3yo & up, 10f
  • Santa Anita:  Breeders' Cup Mile - G1, $2-million, 3yo & up, 8f turf
  • Santa Anita:  Breeders' Cup Turf - G1, $3-million, 3yo & up, 12f turf
  • Santa Anita:  Breeders' Cup Sprint - G1, $1.5-million, 3yo & up, 6f
  • Santa Anita:  Breeders' Cup Juvenile - G1, $2-million, 2yo, 8.5f
  • Santa Anita:  Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies - G1, $2-million, 2yo f, 8.5f
  • Santa Anita:  Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf - G1, $2-million, 3yo & up f&m, 10f turf
  • Santa Anita:  Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint - G1, $1-million, 3yo & up, 6.5f turf
  • Santa Anita:  Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint - G1, $1-million, 3yo & up f&m, 7f
  • Santa Anita:  Damascus Stakes, $100,000, 3yo, 7f
  • Santa Anita:  Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes, $100,000, 2yo, 6.5f turf
  • Woodbine:  Princess Elizabeth Stakes, $250,000, 2yo f, 8.5f
  • Woodbine:  Maple Leaf Stakes - G3, $150,000, 3yo & up, 10f
  • Churchill Downs:  Chilluki Stakes - G2, $150,000, 3yo & up f&m, 8f
  • Delta Downs:  Gold Cup Stakes, $100,000, 3yo & up, 8f
  • Hawthorne:  Bucks' Boy Handicap, $100,000, 3yo & up, 8.5f turf
  • Calder:  Bold World Handicap, $50,000, 3yo & up, 8f
  • Calder:  Capano Handicap, $50,000, 3yo & up, 8.5f turf
Sunday – November 3
  • Woodbine:  Ontario Fashion Stakes - G3, $150,000, 3yo & up f&m, 6f
  • Santa Anita:  Goldikova Stakes - G2, $150,000, 3yo & up f&m, 8f turf