The best 3-year-olds and up, will run Saturday at Churchill Downs for a share of a record $30 million in purse money in the nine race card day. For us horse players and fans, this is our Super Bowl. A challenging betting day for horse players, but it takes just one hit, to make it a big winning day for you.

Four defending champions will be back to defend their titles when the gates open, and I expect to see a handful of favorites to come up short today, making way for some huge mutuel payoffs. The Breeders’ Cup begins in Race 3 today at 11 a.m. Below you will find my main contenders for each race, along with my Best Bet, Price Play, and Pick 4 ticket.

Good luck and enjoy the best racing day of the year: The 34th running of the Breeders’ Cup.

Filly and Mare Sprint (Race 3)

MARLEY’S FREEDOM comes in with four consecutive wins, and is the horse to beat, even with the poor outside draw. Expect a fast pace, which works in the filly’s favor, who likes to come from off-the-pace. FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM is a must use at a price, with six wins in seven starts at Churchill Downs. Tactical foot puts her close to the front. GOLDEN MISCHIEF and CHALON run solid efforts every race and will be in the shadows of the front runners for first attack.

Turf Sprint (Race 4)

Trainer Peter Miller brings in three major contenders from California with STORMY LIBERAL, RICHARD’S BOY, and CONQUEST TSUNAMI. Stormy Liberal returns to defend his title, and has a knack of finding the wire first, making him my top pick. DISCO PARTNER will probably be your lukewarm favorite at post time. The four year old comes in off a impressive four length win last out, after tracking the pace and drawing clear. Snappy fractions are expected, so stalkers and closers is the direction I’m playing.

Dirt Mile (Race 5)

CITY OF LIGHT draws the rail and might challenge early with Javier Castellano aboard. The four-year-old colt is a multiple Graded Stakes winner, and has been training sharp in his morning works. CATALINA CRUISER is undefeated in four starts and is a early speed type. Might cross to the inside with his quick turn of foot, starting from the far outside post. Concern is, trainer John Sadler is winless in 41 Breeders’ Cup starts. SEEKING THE SOUL and FIRENZE FIRE are my price players. Could take advantage of a pace duel between my top two selections. 

Filly and Mare Turf (Race 6)

The Europeans are going for the three-peat, after getting their picture taken the last two years. They appear to be loaded this year with a strong group crossing the pond. EZIYRA is going to be double digit odds when she breaks from the 15 post, and will be sitting in the back of the pack, before making one big run. Should get legit pace to roll on if ready. WILD ILLUSION could be the best of the Euro runners. Comes in off two Group 1 wins and should make some early noise with the inside draw. Chad Brown enters five runners from his stable. SISTERCHARLIE and A RAVING BEAUTY have the best chance of beating the europeans. SISTERCHARLIE will be flying late, and A RAVING BEAUTY will have rabbit duties on the lead.

Sprint (Race 7)

The Sprint is loaded with speed and is a tough race to figure out. The California runners have fared pretty well, winning 8 of the last 12 sprints. ROY H returns to defend his sprint title, and could get the dream trip, sitting behind the wall of speed. IMPERIAL HINT is strictly the one to beat, and will be a top choice on many tickets. I’m going to bet against the speedy five-year-old. There’s a strong chance the favorite will get in a frantic speed duel, and getting a little leg weary down the stretch. WHITMORE should gather late momentum with ground saving rail trip. PROMISES FULFILLED and DISTINCTIVE B will be involved from the start, knocking heads with the favorite.

Mile (Race 8)

North American runners have been effective in the turf mile, winning six of the last seven races. OSCAR PERFORMANCE will look to get back-to-back wins in front running fashion. Exits a gate-to-wire win in the Woodbine Mile, and should be living large on the lead today. One to catch to get the win. NEXT SHARES should work out a nice ground saving trip near the fence, and looms a big threat to the top pick if pace gets intense. California horses HUNT and CATAPULT, are major players rolling late, but California runners haven’t captured the title since 2004. POLYDREAM has the best chance of the European invaders to get the win.

Distaff (Race 9)

Which ABEL TASMAN will show up today? The best 3- year-old from last year, or the one who ran a clunker last out as the heavily bet favorite in the Zenyatta Stakes four weeks ago. If anyone can get her back to form, it’s trainer Bob Baffert. I’ll take my shot with her, and that Baffert has her ready to go for a strong comeback at a square price. MONOMOY GIRL will be your deserving favorite, with only two losses in her ten career starts. She’s also 2-3 at Churchill Downs at today’s distance. Concern is, first time facing older. BLUE PRIZE, WOW CAT, MIDNIGHT BISOU loom late major threats. Must use on your exotic tickets.

Turf (Race 10)

ENABLE might be the best horse on the card today. Even money morning line and deservedly so. The four-year-old filly has six Group 1 wins under her belt, and has one lone loss in her career. She’ll be involved from the bell with her sharp early foot, and should prove tough to mow down on the stretch run tackling the boys. The Europeans brought a strong team over. MAGICAL and WALDGEIST, are proven Group 1 winners and both appear to be peaking at the right time. The best chance for the Americans to pull off the upset are CHANNEL MAKER and GLORIOUS EMPIRE. Expect both to keep the favorite company up front for the mile and a half journey.

Classic (Race 11)

The $6 million Classic is an intriguing and fascinating race with many ways to go. You can change your mind with a top pick every day studying the past performances and looking at videos of previous races. ACCELERATE will be your favorite at around 2-1 when the gun goes off. But I’m going to try to beat him with some value horses, so he’s a toss for me. The last six Classic winners have been within two lengths after the opening half-mile, so it’s a must to use front runners and stalkers. My late closers will be used underneath on my trifecta ticket. THUNDER SNOW returns to the scene of the crime, where he turned into a bucking bronco out of the gate in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Since then, he’s had some impressive wins, and was a neck shy last out in the Jockey’s Gold Cup. He’s also been training like a machine since. Bob Baffert sends in MCKINZIE and WEST COAST, both run hard every effort, and will push the pace from the start. Strong price plays to get the win. MIND YOUR BISCUITS never runs a bad race. Strong pace scenario would enhance his chances sitting off-the-pace. YOSHIDA and PAVEL will be picking up the pieces at large prices.

 

Best Bet Race 10 ENABLE

Price Play Race 11 THUNDER SNOW

50 cent Pick 4 Race 8 (All/2,7,9,10,11/2/1,6,7) $105

 

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Arrogate as running in the Breeders' Cup Classic.