Below is our analysis for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Friday meeting, featuring four of the 13 races at this 31st renewal of a great racing event. With so many races, some of our opinions are stronger than others, and that should play itself out when reading our thoughts and tips.
Race 6 – $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf – 1 mile – turf
What a race to start us off! One of the premier pace questions of the entire meeting, really. How fast to #3 LUCK OF THE KITTEN and #5 HOOTENANNY go? It seems foolish to let them get out of hand, so we’d expect #4 COMMEMORATIVE to sit just off them. The problem could be that he ends up in a seat just like Giovanni Boldini last year – close to the hot pace (set then by Bobby’s Kitten), but too close, and forced to go on with it early. We think the first two mentioned will go on with it for a long way, and they could hang around to lead the American interests.
#7 WAR ENVOY and #9 AKTABANTAY are likely to play a role more like Outstrip last year, coming from off the pace into the early gallop. Both are dangerous, and we are keen on them getting Lasix. Deep down, though, we think War Envoy is slightly better.
We aren’t willing to ignore #1 WET SAIL. This is the first Breeders’ Cup for trainer Charlie Fellowes and his charge ran really well in the Totepool 2yo Trophy last time against a rising monster in Limato. He’ll save plenty of ground, and while potentially outclassed by the races he’s been entered, give him a shout to get a slice given how well he held up against Limato. This guy was a private sale to Qatar Racing after his race two back.
The Euros get the edge here, and they probably deserve it, but could see any of our top four getting it done, and would be surprised if they don’t have a say in the finish. Aiming for value here.
1st – #1 WET SAIL, 2nd – #4 COMMEMORATIVE, 3rd – #7 WAR ENVOY 4th – #9 AKTABANTAY
Race 7 – $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile – 1 mile – dirt
#1 GOLDENCENTS prepped for this race almost as similarly as he did a year ago, second in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. It’s fairly simple, he’s the best horse in the race on paper. He won last year when speed was definitely a good thing, cleared from the outside when gunned into a breakneck pace and still lasted while well clear. He doesn’t have to be on the lead here, but it’s not going to hurt, drawn the rail. Just the best horse.
#9 TAPITURE has had a solid 2014 season, and was really the only horse to make any meaningful ground in the Pennsylvania Derby. Meanwhile, #6 GOLDEN TICKET has put together another busy year, making his ninth start of the season, having won in his only foray outside of graded company. A good closing second here last year, he’s a chance to land another placing blow yet again.
1st – #1 GOLDENCENTS, 2nd – #9 TAPITURE, 3rd – #6 GOLDEN TICKET, 4th – #8 FED BIZ
Race 8 – $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf – 1 mile – turf
In all honesty, we just don’t have a firm handle on this race. The early gallop doesn’t seem too frenetic, although several will likely want to be involved, including new American-based filly #6 SIVOLIERE.
A perfect mid-pack trip should yield for #2 OSAILA, who definitely feels the overall best of the international contingent. Her Moyglare fifth was solid, especially considering the success that has come from some of the also rans, most notably third placer Found, who went on to win the Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) on the Arc day card.
Don’t lose sight of the fact they learned plenty with #14 QUALIFY, sixth in the Moyglare, coming from well off the pace to win at the Curragh last out, Aidan O’Brien admitted as much after the race. This filly by the top southern hemisphere stallion Fastnet Rock, could be very good, and she’ll have to be to land a blow from gate 14. Could she? It’s possible. We like her to come running towards the end. On the head-to-head, the draw leads us to tip Osaila over Qualify given their head-to-head matchup, but expect both to be in the frame at the end.
Chad Brown trainees #4 LADY ELI and #1 PARTISAN POLITICS are both good lookers, with Lady Eli having been incredibly stout winning the Miss Grillo in a hammer-lock after chasing a very slow tempo. She should be farther back today, but will actually have something to chase. Partisan Politics was much too far adrift in the early going when getting nothing to come after and was handling rivals well in the late going. She’s another who will appreciate a more fair setup.
1st – #2 OSAILA, 2nd – #14 QUALIFY, 3rd – #4 LADY ELI, 4th – #1 PARTISAN POLITICS
Race 9 – $2,000,000 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff – 1 1/8 miles – dirt
It was a very rare off performance for #11 CLOSE HATCHES last time in the Spinster, and she’s much too valuable to keep after if there was anything amiss, and her recent workouts suggest she is just fine. Outside of #10 UNTAPABLE, these fillies leave us wanting more. As for Untapable, we don’t think you can hold her wide and wandering run at Parx against her, especially considering the way the track played that day. She has held her form incredible well bar the Haskell and is the biggest threat to the top pick.
The consistency of #7 DON’T TELL SOPHIA is incredible respectable. Far back in the Spinster, she rallied and drew away with success. She typically endures some trouble given her style, and now steps up in the toughest spot of her career.
1st – #11 CLOSE HATCHES, 2nd – #10 UNTAPABLE, 3rd – #7 DON’T TELL SOPHIA, 4th – #9 RIA ANTONIA