The best 3 year-olds and up around the world, will face off against each other at Santa Anita Park on Saturday for a share of $22 million in purse money in the nine race card.
The Breeders’ Cup finishes the racing season in a big way. There will be over a 100,000 fans passing through the gates this weekend and millions more watching at home. For racing fans, this is our big day. Championship Saturday is the best betting day of the year, because each race will have million of dollars in the betting pool. Favorites will also be square prices, and there’s always a big price or two that will pull off a upset lighting up the tote board.
So get ready for the best day of horse racing.
First post: 1:55 p.m. TV: NBC Sports Network.
Filly and Mare Sprint (Race 4)
COVFEFE is all about speed and the rail should be a magnet with her quick turn of foot. Filly has five wins in five starts, and is always on or near the lead. Will have company up front with her, but her class should hold up to the wire. COME DANCING is the main threat to COVFEFE, and should sit the perfect trip behind the speed for first attack. Consecutive wins coming in, with three-peat well within range. SPICED PERFECTION and LADY NINJA are my late closing threats at healthy prices.
Turf Sprint (Race 5)
California based runners have dominated this race at Santa Anita, but that was down the 6 1/2 furlong hill. This year’s race will be at 5 furlongs, so I’m looking elsewhere. PURE SENSATION is a 8 year-old gelding, the veteran of the field. Comes in sharp after going gate-to-wire last out in Grade 3 stakes race and training smartly coming in. Will have bullseye on his back from the start. TOTALLY BOSS will save ground along the rail, but jockey Jose Ortiz, will have to navigate his travels from mid pack with many runners in front of him. Comes in with back-to-back wins. There’s a ton of speed in the race, so in case of pace meltdown, keep your eye out for IMPRIMIS, STUBBINS, and EDDIE HASKELL.
Dirt Mile (Race 6)
OMAHA BEACH was your morning line favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby, but missed the race due to illness and surgery. He returned in the first week of October with a impressive win after a faulty start. Hall Of Fame jockey Mike Smith remains aboard and is strictly the one to beat. IMPROBABLE returns to the mile distance, where he got his last win two back. Owns excellent positional speed and runs hard every effort. SPUN TO RUN comes off career best speed figure and will be involved from the bell. GIANT EXPECTATIONS will be closing with a rush, saving ground along the way with the inside draw.
Filly and Mare Turf (Race 7)
SISTERCHARLIE has a six game winning streak coming in and is strictly the horse to fend off down the stretch with her late closing kick. Lack of group speed is a concern, but trainer Chad Brown has won this race four times. Expect the mare to sit a tad closer to the pack. MIRTH will come smokin’ out of the gate, pounding her hoofs up front, attempting to lead the field to the wire with the bullseye on her back. VASILIKA loves the Santa Anita Turf. Multiple wins on the home track in her 3 year career. Best chance for the Europeans are BILLESDON BROOK and VILLA MARINA.
Sprint (Race 8)
This will be a fantastic race, with many options to look at. California runners have won the last three and I’m staying on the same course. CATALINA CRUISER has one lone loss in eight starts, and that was after a contaminated start. Expect the five year-old to keep the front runners honest departing along the fence. MITOLE has been a monster throughout his career, winning 9 of 13 races and never finishing out of the money. Morning Line favorite is the one to beat. IMPERIAL HINT will vie for command up front and is a threat with his tactical speed. Multiple winner has had a splendid career. FIRENZE FIRE will get the dream trip behind the wall of speed and is a must use on your ticket at expected double digit odds.
Mile (Race 9)
North American runners have dominated this race and top European trainer Aidan O’Brien is 0-for-23 in this event. GOT STORMY usually sits off-the-pace, but with not much speed in the field, jockey Tyler Gaffalione, might hit the go button and attempt to pull off the minor upset on the lead. UNI is most likely your favorite when the gates open, but late runner’s biggest enemy is the lack of group speed. Going to have to work hard to get the job done. CIRCUS MAXIMUS and SPACE TRAVELLER are my top picks for the Europeans.
Distaff (Race 10)
MIDNIGHT BISOU is a beast. This winning machine has won her last seven races and has three wins at Santa Anita. This impressive filly will be a single on many exotic tickets and most likely your lowest price favorite on the card. PARADISE WOODS will get ideal stalking trip with the inside draw and is probably the biggest threat to the favorite.The local favorite will have to step it up a notch to get the job done, but well within reach. Expect SECRET SPICE, SERENGETI EMPRESS, and MO SEE CAL to be duking it out on the lead, setting it up for top two picks.
Turf (Race 11)
Europeans have won over 75% of this Turf event, including the last four. No reason to jump ship here. OLD PERSIAN is a multiple winner across the pond and didn’t disappoint last out in his North America debut at the Grade 1 Woodbine’s Northern Dancer. Trainer Charles Appleby has had this race on his calendar since then for his 4 year old colt. ANTHONY VAN DYCK might be the best runner of the europeans, and is trainer Aidan O’ Brien’s best chance to get the victory. Not visiting the winner’s circle in last three starts, kept me from putting on top today. BRICKS AND MORTAR is by far the best of the American runners, and the horse to beat on paper. Boasts 10 wins on his resume, including six in a row coming in. Has dominated the circuit this year, but concern of never racing at today’s mile and a half distance is the reason he didn’t get top billing. ACCLIMATE will be the rabbit on the lead and has fared well on the Santa Anita grass.
Classic (Race 12)
The Classic this year is pretty evenly matched, but the last four winners in this event have won at 5/2 or less. There’s decent speed in the group, so I’m going to look for a closer who can pick up the pieces. I’ll take a shot with the Japanese bred YOSHIDA, with Mike Smith aboard. The 5-year-old hasn’t won a race in over a year, but is coming in with triple-digit speed figures in last two starts, and has been training lights out on the Santa Anita surface. Bettors like me are going to be hoping for snappy fractions to swoop on. McKINZIE is as consistent as they come. Has finished in the top two spots in 12 of 13 career starts and is the deserving favorite. Expect to get first run on the pace setters. VINO ROSSO returns after a questionable DQ last out in the Jockey Gold Race at Belmont. Tactical foot puts him on or near the lead. MONGOLIAN GROOM will be sent hard out of the gate with the target on his back.
50 cent Pick 4 Race 6 (1,4/All/1,2,3,4,5/2) $60
$20 Win/Place Race 12 (Yoshida) $40