Breeders’ Cup returns to Del Mar for 2-day extravaganza
The Del Mar candy store is open.
This kid is absolutely dizzying at the prospect of immersing himself in the 14 delicious Breeders’ Cup championship races to be played over the next two days in the oval between the surf and the turf.
The action begins with five Future Stars Friday races with top two-year-olds from the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.
However, Saturday is Marquee Day with nine Breeders’ Cup races crowned by the $ 6 million classic, which will go a long way in resolving the still raging debate about the Horse of the Year.
The Del Mar range is a changeling that sometimes aids front runners and is sometimes very friendly to loop closers. If you can sync your handicap to the way you play the track, you could have a very good couple of days.
Closer ruled during the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, the only other time the event honored Del Mar. This led to many surprises, especially on the main route, where not a single favorite prevailed in seven races and only two came on the board.
Meanwhile the long shots kept coming. Bar of Gold was the biggest surprise and shocked the weather in the filly and mare sprint with 66: 1.
As always, European runners were tough on the turf in distance races, winning the turf, the filly and mare turf, and the juvenile turf. US-based runners conquered the Turf Sprint and Juvenile Fillies Turf, while the Canada-US Commuter World Approval won the mile.
These results are not, of course, blueprints of success, but they are worth keeping in mind when you decide to take part in some of the cutest handicap puzzles in horse racing.
Here are my top 3 Friday races in order, with brief comments.
$ 1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint: Go Bears Go (15-1) – John Velazquez rides a cuddly drawn colt that has faced top competition in Europe; Kaufymaker (12-1) – reaches out for Trainer Wesley Ward after learning to evaluate and deal quickly; Derrynane (12-1) – Maybe a colt trained by lawn ace Christophe Clement could have put it in the lead if it weren’t for a long draw.
$ 2 million juvenile filly: Echo Zulu (4-5) – The undefeated lone runabout with the best speed values in the short field will be hard to beat. No winning bet here; Juju Card (5-2) – I’m giving Brad Cox, who trained, a chance to overturn the favorite, but she has to run faster early than ever; Tarabi (12-1) – He continued to run well after hitting the goal when finishing second from Echo Zulu.
$ 1 million for teen filies turf: Mise En Scene (6-1) – The easily driven Miss had a rough trip when she was fourth in British Group 1 ahead of the undefeated Inspiral; Koala Princess (6-1) – Says Joel Rosario landed over Pizza Bianca in the 2v2 sprinter; Consumer Spending (8-1) – Chad Brown trainee moves up but ends up best in the west. Riding Flavien Prat.
$ 2 million teenagers: Command performance (5-1) – Deserved thunderous applause for the first route in Belmont as runner-up in this race; Jack Christopher (9-5) – The monster trained by Brown has superior speed values, but has to master rail and two turns for the first time; American Sanctuary (30-1) – Has had tough trips the last two and should benefit from a hot pace.
$ 1 million youth lawn: Albahr (6-1) – Inside Draw can push a strong European colt over the top; Slipstream (12-1) – Will fly late under Rosario who taught him to judge last; Portfolio Company (6-1) – Prat may have to shoot forward from a tough outpost.
Mike Brunker’s horse racing column appears on Fridays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4656. follow @mike_brunker on twitter.