For all the attention the Triple Crown races get, the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita is the best betting weekend of the horse racing year. Big fields, huge pools and competitive races means there is money to be made (or lost, but hopefully that’s not the case).
If you can, get out to Sam Houston Race Park, Gulf Greyhound Park, Delta Downs or whatever the nearest track is and enjoy the day.
For a look at Friday’s races, please go here.
By the way, there is a great book that details our wagering strategies called Acing Racing. If you don’t have it, you should pick one up.
*Disclaimer 1: These are the best horses in the world. It’s not easy to land on a winner. If you like a horse and I don’t mention it, bet it anyway.
*Disclaimer 2: We are usually good for one bomb during the BC. Not sure which race it will be, but you can assume we are going to get one of them before it’s all said and done.
*Disclaimer 3: We crushed it last year, which usually means a tepid year this year.
OK, enough disclaiming. The confidence level (on a scale of 1-10) is how strong we feel about each race. Anything under 5 is usually a pass race. But since we know you won’t pass…
Here we go with a great day of racing and hopefully a great day of winning:
FOURTH RACE — JUVENILE FILLIES
The picks: 12-11-2-4
Confidence level: 4
Others to use: 1-3-8-10
This is a tough one, because the horses we like best are stuck outside. That should give an edge to the favorite, Angela Renee, who has a win over the track. But she will be a short price and there is good value in By the Moon, who trounced Renee in New York, and Top Decile, who should improve big time here. Not getting too crazy on these early races but if you can beat the 2 horse here, you should scoop a nice pot.
FIFTH RACE — FILLY/MARE TURF
The picks 1-5-3-2
Confidence level: 3
Others to use: 4-6-8-10
OK, one more disclaimer: This is the race I historically do the worst at betting. So take these with a full teaspoon of salt. We are going to a swing with long shot Abaco, one of those consistent, grinder types who doesn’t win big races very often but always shows up, and should be sitting on her best race yet. Certainly has value in exotics even if she isn’t good enough to win. The Europeans generally have a huge edge here, and the other horse we like — Secret Gesture — fits the profile. Dank won this race last year but came in with much better form. Will take a lot of money but we will take a stand against her on the win end.
SIXTH RACE — FILLY/MARE SPRINT
The picks: 1-3-5-7
Confidence level: 7
Others to use: 2-4-6-8
Sweet Reason is the best filly in this field. She has been beaten by more than two lengths just once in nine career starts. She has hit the board in eight of those. She is also unbeaten at the distance. There are only two real concerns: the rail draw is not ideal, and her only time outside the top three was at Santa Anita in last year’s Juvenile Fillies. (She finished a closing fourth, beaten two lengths). She threw a huge scare into Untapable in her last start going longer. While that one is going on Friday, Sweet Reason finds a perfect spot, and the 9-2 odds are enticing. However, the snake in the grass might be the speedy Stontastic, who is a monster when able to get a clear early lead, and that could easily happen here. If she does, she will be hard to catch. If she is pressed early, she will fold like a tent. Artemis Agrotera and Judy the Beauty figure here as well and will be used in plays, but we’re going to key on Sweet Reason and Stonetastic.
SEVENTH RACE — TURF SPRINT
The picks: 5-9-10-13
Confidence level: 2
Others to use: 1-2-4-10-11-13
I’m just glad Mizdirection is retired so I can quit trying to beat her in this race. That said, this is completely wide open. We’ll go with the price in Ambitious Brew, who has experience on the downhill turf course — 2 wins and a second by a nose — and should get the first run at the front runners. Spread deep in exotics, though, because it is a very competitive group.
EIGHTH RACE — JUVENILE
The picks: 7-12-9-1
Confidence level: 5
Others to use: 8-10-11
While horses like Carpe Diem and Daredevil deserve all the attention, we are once again looking for a bomb with Texas Red, the kind of horse we like to use in races like this. He was third behind the phenomenal American Pharoah (who scratched from this race) in his first start at the distance and should improve. There is a ton of early speed here, and he should be able to run down many of them in the stretch. Calculator comes out of the same race and was just under two lengths ahead of Texas Red, so he bears watching as well. Favorites tend to do well in this race, but don’t be shocked if Texas Red picks up the pieces at a very strong price.
NINTH RACE — TURF
The picks: 7-11-1-9
Confidence level: 6
Others to use: 4-6-8-12-13
It would be easy to put a big circle around Flintshire, who was second in the Arc, Europe’s most prestigious race. The Europeans are much better at this game than their American counterparts. But as usual, it’s rarely that easy. Chiquita was trounced in the Arc but took a lot of action that day. Telescope has been knocking heads with monsters. Brown Panther is intriguing; he wasn’t supposed to run here but freaked out at Woodbine before the Canadian and had to be scratched. If he behaves today he will be a factor. Hardest Core and Main Sequence are the best of the Americans. Magician won this race last year and figures as well. It’s Flintshire’s race to lose, but there are several who could jump up and bite him.
10TH RACE — SPRINT
The picks: 6-2-4-14
Confidence level: 7
Others to use: 5-8-9-10
Rich Tapestry has been all over the world facing the best sprinters on the planet. His second in the Dubai Golden Shaheen jumps off the page. Plus, he got in a prep at Santa Anita, winning that. It was only a five horse field, but he beat Dirt Mile favorite Goldencents and fellow sprint contender Secret Circle. If Tapestry loses, it will likely be because Bob Baffert owns this race. He sends out Secret Circle plus lightly raced Indianapolis. For bombs, take a look at Big Macher and Bourbon Courage, who shortens up after chasing top older horses going longer.
11TH RACE — MILE
The picks: 3-5-8-9
Confidence level: 4
Others to use: 3-4-10-14
With Wise Dan out, Toronado will be the heavy favorite. But we’ll take a flyer with the speedy Obviously, a front-runner who will have the lead turning for home. He loves Santa Anita, will get a solid trip and will be tough to catch. He is a bit of a quirky horse; if he doesn’t make the lead, he’s done. But he looks like the speed here and will at least give you a thrill turning for home. This is a hard race to win wire to wire, but Obviously is capable.
12TH RACE — CLASSIC
Confidence level: 4
Others to use: 5-7-8-12-13-14
A few months ago, this looked like California Chrome’s race to lose. Then he lost two straight, Shared Belief emerged as a monster and suddenly the landscape changed. Chrome might bounce back here, but we will take a stand against him. We will also not go all in on Shared Belief, who has done nothing wrong, but really labored in his last race and might be regressing. Still, he is a must use. We’re going to take a shot with a couple long shots — Toast of New York and Cigar Street. Toast of New York won the UAE Derby and should handle the surface here. He was behind Shared Belief at Del Mar, but should improve off that race. Cigar Street comes from a very sharp barn and could be sitting on a big one. Bayern has been brilliant at times, but this might be too far for him and he will likely have to battle Moreno for the early lead, so we will leave him out of most plays.