Here are Star Tribune handicapper Johnny Love's picks for Saturday's Breeders Cup races, as well as a link to post positions and odds for each of the races.
To see the complete field and odds for each race, go here.
Race 3 The BC Juvenile Fillies race goes through the favorite SONGBIRD. Unchallenged in all three starts and projects as the one to catch with jockey Mike Smith dictating the pace from the break. LAND OVER SEA has finished well behind Songbird in last two efforts but gets perfect inside draw to shadow her rival, healthy price to use underneath. RACHEL’S VALENTINA is undefeated in both stars with a lot of fight in her, but has yet to race around two turns.
Race 4 Wide open BC Turf Sprint that is loaded with early speed, so searching for a closer that has a knack for finding the wire first. UNDRAFTED is one of three Wesley Ward runners in the field who will get the perfect stalking trip behind the wall of speed, expect jockey Frankie Dettori bid his time before late assault. Stablemates GREEN MASK and THE GEAT WAR too will be escorting the pace and look every bit top contenders. LADY SHIPMAN will be the favorite going in the gate but will be part of the torrid pace, I’m playing against.
Race 5 The BC Filly and Mare Sprint should set up perfectly for the classy filly CAVORTING. The expected favorite should benefit from contested fractions where she’ll be able to unleash her strong stretch run passing her tired rivals from the outside. WAVELL AVENUE finished right behind Cavorting last out after stumbling out of the gate, don’t overlook. LA VERDAD enters with six consecutive wins but wheels-back after seven days rest; style is no secret, straight to the front.
Race 6 Irish-bred LEGATISSIMO will be a single on many Pick 4 tickets, including mine. She looks much the best in the BC Filly and Mare Turf with three Grade 1 wins overseas. Can handle any distance on a soft or firm lawn. High percentage turf winning trainer Chad Brown, brings in DACITA and STEPHANIE KITTEN, both will be cut loose late from the back.
Race 7 It’s all about catching RUNHAPPY and PRIVATE ZONE to get the victory in the BC Sprint, so expect a extended pace battle between the two favorites. Runhappy has won his last four in gate-to-wire fashion, but has been prone to bad starts. Private Zone is a seasoned veteran and winner of multiple stake races, but has to deal with firing out of the 13 hole. Give slight edge to Runhappy as the one to keep going. If meltdown does occur, LIMOUSINE LIBERAL and HOLY BOSS are my choices to pounce on the wasted pace setters.
Race 8 European shippers swept the board last year in the BC MILE and they are loaded once again, but I’m going to take a shot with American-bred GRAND ARCH at 15-1. Won last out on yielding turf course at Keeneland, so knows his surroundings and gets nice inside draw. TEPIN drew off handily last out on the Keeneland lawn to a seven length win. Top Euro’s in the field are MAKE BELIEVE, ESOTERIQUE, and TIME TEST.
Race 9 The BC Juvenile has a large field with many ways to go. Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan has one lone ride this weekend with CONQUEST BIG E, so expect him to be ready to go. We probably shouldn’t expect to get the 30-1 ML, but still will get a hefty price. NYQUIST is undefeated in four starts but breaks from the far outside, not where you want to begin. Love to see jockey Mario Guitierrez gun it to the lead, might last longer than we think we a group full of followers. GREENPOINTERCRUSADER keeps improving with each race and most likely post time favorite.
Race 10 GOLDEN HORN appears to be the day’s best and will be extremely tough to beat in the BC Turf. Winner of seven of eight starts and lone loss was by a nose. Jockey Dettori says it’s the best horse he’s ever ridden. Stamped in as Best Bet today. PIZZA MAN, TWILIGHT ECLIPSE, and BIG BLUE KITTEN are my underneath players.
Race 11 The Classic took a blow this week when Champion mare Beholder scratched, the main threat to Triple Crown winner AMERICAN PHAROAH. Now I see American Pharoah going for a high paying jog to the wire for a well deserved send off. TONALIST was my choice to pull the upset with Beholder in there prompting the pace, but now will have much more work to do in trying to stay near to American Pharoah up front. HONOR CODE has suffered through some wide journeys, but is usually in the mix at the end. Needs a swift pace with his one dimensional closing style.
Best Bet Race 10 Golden Horn
50 cent Pick 4 Race 8 (All/All/1/4) $84