Finally, a break in the clouds! While I spent the weekend writing my Brit Lit paper (an explication no less, ugh), a lot of my picks came through for me. The race of the week was the Spend A Buck (III), which had two of my three picks scratched out (#1 pick Csaba moved to the Tropical Park Derby the same day, which I wish I had known about and #3 pick Gourmet Dinner), allowing my #2 pick Cash Rules to cash in the win. Csaba instead went to the longer, ungraded Tropical Park and won by a blow-out 14 lengths. My baby and “heart choice” Dayatthespa wired the incredibly tough field in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (I) as well, which was encouraging to see. I really needed the confidence boost after a couple weeks of soggy tracks, odd results, and just missing the mark leading up to the Breeders’ Cup. Ironically, on Sunday Joshua Tree won his second Canadian International (CAN-I) the same way by robbing the field of any pace and went wire-to-wire with Frankie Dettori aboard. The Irish-bred has now earned more than $3 million with two wins in this race plus one place over the past three years with three different owners. He deserves special praise for his win this weekend, as does Dettori for his excellent pace judgement.
As the Breeders’ Cup berth races have just about wound down, it’s time to start considering early favoritism for the races. A piece of insight worth weighing: 23 of 57 (40.3%) Breeders’ Cup winners from the past four years won their last prep before winning their BC race. While it’s tough to knock the other 60% who did not win their last prep, it’s an extra special reminder to consider the horses who are getting close to if not already at their peak form. The last prep race for contenders is a huge factor, but they need not to have won them necessarily. Breezes will show a horse’s current form as well as looking at why they may not have won that last prep— did they encounter traffic? Is the pace going to be more to their liking at Santa Anita?
Over the next couple weeks, expect a lot of Breeders’ Cup insight— including the usual adage of horse profiles on the Classic contenders. I can’t wait to write more on the Breeders’ Cup and see posts from others on who they like!