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Breeders’ Cup Saturday Picks: Game On, Dude!

Enjoy the rest of my finalized picks for Saturday! Yee haw!

Juvenile Turf Top 3

1) Dundonnell

2) Artigiano

3) Fantastic Moon [GB]

Value Pick: Artigiano

Contest Wager: $20 win on Dundonnell

I think this was the toughest race of the 15 for me… I still like Dundonnell a whole lot, and because of the breadth of the field I hope to get some good odds on this Juddmonte colt. Artigiano’s sharp for the improve and Fantastic Moon [GB] factors as a fitting pacesetter. I also like I’m Boundtoscore’s chances and am intrigued by longshot Gervinho on his home turf.

Filly & Mare Sprint Top 3

1) Groupie Doll

2) Dust and Diamonds

3) Switch

Value Pick: Dust and Diamonds, Rumor

Contest Wager: $10 exacta box on Groupie Doll, Dust and Diamonds

Dust and Diamonds is bound to improve and dig this pace scenario and track, but can Groupie Doll ace her last test of 2012? I think so, but beware, she isn’t a lock here whatsoever! Switch is always good right here and at her home track.

Dirt Mile Top 3

1) Shackleford

2) Jersey Town

3) Rail Trip

Speedballs that want the lead like Fed Biz and Tapizar are sure to help set things up. Shackleford should dig the speed-biased main and is a miler at heart, not to mention one of the best horses this year. Jersey Town looks tough in his works and his Kelso (II) victory and should storm the pace late. Hard to dismiss the local Rail Trip, who takes a cutback here for Ron Ellis. I also like Emcee, but the two turn introduction causes me to wince a bit.

Value Pick: Rail Trip, John Scott

Contest Wager: $20 win on Shackleford

Turf Sprint Top 3

1) Corporate Jungle

2) Mizdirection

3) Next Question

Value Pick: Mizdirection

Contest Wager: $20 place on Mizdirection

Another tough race, I’m going “Brown” with Corporate Jungle, who has been a special horse to me this year and is taking a cut back in this race after working well on the turf course. Mizdirection is tough and has great morning line odds for some reason. Next Question’s been looking good on the grass course as well and is hard to fault.

Juvenile Top 3

1) Power Broker

2) Shanghai Bobby

3) Title Contender

Value Pick: Title Contender

Contest Wager: $20 win on Power Broker

All these colts are intriguing in their own way, and after a lot of flip-flopping about the two turns and the track, I’m going with Power Broker who has a win at this course under the same conditions and is in his element here. If Shanghai Bobby, who ships in and stretches out to two turns first-time, wins I’ll ease up on my criticism. Title Contender’s been looking real nice this week.

Turf Top 3

1) Trailblazer [JPN]

2) Point of Entry

3) Shareta [IRE]

Value Pick: Shareta [IRE]

Contest Wager: $20 win Trailblazer

While I hope Point of Entry has enough left in the tank for one more G1, Trailblazer is warmed up perfectly for this race and is good to go the distance. Shareta’s seriously underlooked as a top Euro performer. I also like Slim Shadey [GB] out on the lead.

Sprint Top 3

1) Capital Account

2) The Lumber Guy

3) Amazombie

Value Pick: Capital Account, Gantry

Contest Wager: $20 place on Capital Account

I feel pretty good about supporting Capital Account in a very tough field in a sprint (aggh I hate handicapping sprints!). The pace should be lightning as predicted, which The Lumber Guy could lay off of early and if Amazombie’s back up to speed, might want to watch out for that one too. I still also like Gantry who ships in with a lot of clout and skepticism.

Mile Top 3

1) Excelebration [IRE]

2) Wise Dan

3) Willcox Inn

Value Pick: Willcox Inn

Contest Wager: $20 win Excelebration [IRE]

Looking good on the American grass after a fresh G1 score in the Queen Elizabeth, Excelebration [IRE] is going to be Wise Dan’s greatest foe here as the latter is hot off a Shadwell Mile (I) score. I’m probably cuckoo for choice #3, Willcox Inn, who flew off the handle and was the only one closing in on Wise Dan in the Shadwell Mile stretch.

Contest Wager for Classic: $20 place Fort Larned

Shanghai Bobby Tries to Stay Undefeated in Juvenile

After horses like Hansen and Uncle Mo led the way in the Juvenile (I) to create hysteria on the Triple Crown trail, similar thoughts can be had about Todd Pletcher’s undefeated star Shanghai Bobby. Can the colt go 5-for-5 and be Pletcher’s second chance of having an Uncle Mo heading into next year? Expect short odds on that one, but be wary with upstarts like Power Broker and no Lasix allowed this year!

Contenders are:

  • Shanghai Bobby* -  The Harlan’s Holiday colt has all the makings of a juvenile star with Pletcher as his trainer, going undefeated on the east coast circuit as he slowly goes further out in distance. He bested Goldencents last out by 5 lengths in the Champagne (I), and puts in his best move in the drive to the wire. Track conditions may push him to go to the front early, but his class should hold him up.
  • Fortify – A personal favorite, the Distorted Humor colt is on the slowly improving path and was 3rd last out in the Champagne (I), bested some 6 growing lengths by Shanghai Bobby. He is the only colt in the field to have run without Lasix, ever.
  • Power Broker* – The copper-colored Pulpit colt peaked right on time to break his maiden last out in the G1 FrontRunner Stakes by a dominant 6 ½ lengths under the same conditions as this race. He’s working well but numbers-wise will have to improve to best Shanghai Bobby.
  • Dynamic Sky – Trakus figures and general opinion plugs this Sky Mesa colt as a deserving longshot, closing in fast to miss the G1 Breeders Futurity by a length. If he transfers well onto dirt, he could mean business.
  • Title Contender – Baffert’s second-stringer by Pulpit, he took advantage of the fast rail breaking his maiden last out on his second try to win at a mile on the Santa Anita main by 2 ¾ lengths. Will likely try to gun for the lead again, if anything to warm things up for his stablemate.
  • He’s Had Enough – Does O’Neill have something up his sleeve with this Tapit colt? Originally pointed for the Turf, he has switched places with stablemate Know More and is now in the dirt race. A great pedigree for dirt, this will be his first dirt test with a win on synthetic in his maiden after a couple disappointing past starts.
  • Capo Bastone – The Sadler-trained son of Street Boss hopes to pick up the slouch in time for this big race, and he has yet to have had a legitimately clean trip in his 3 starts. He was a distant 3rd last out in the FrontRunner (I) after a bad break and going wide into the stretch. Should a speed duel develop, he could very well benefit.
  • Monument – Sadler’s second-stringer entry by Cindago was the Cal Cup Juvenile winner under the same conditions last out by 2 ¾ lengths, and is 3-for-4 total lifetime on the dirt coming in 2nd to Carving in his only loss. He’ll have to improve a lot to contend.
  • Speak Logisitics – The Plesa-trained High Cotton colt enjoyed a wet track last out to win the  1 1/16-mile In Reality Stakes at Calder. That and his previous win were both wire-to-wire efforts and he is on the improve.

Top 3 for this short field… Later this week I’ll announce my confirmed top 3 picks and value pick for the Juvenile.

Shanghai Bobby – Not my favorite horse, but he’s been nothing but dominating since the start and has the right connections to get this in the bag.

Dynamic Sky – Too much speed on the front end could set up for this bomber

Power Broker– Much impressed with this colt in his FrontRunner showing, he has the best chance to run down Bobby.

Overflow Field Packs in for Juvenile Fillies Turf

Always a tough race to pick apart, the Juvenile Fillies Turf (I) field is full of talent and mystique once again this year. As a predictor of future success more so than its dirt (and even male) counterpart, the favorites are always vulnerable and this year that is especially true with Santa Anita’s weird downhill turf course. Fillies near or at their peak are going to be favored in my book.

Contenders are:

  • Sky Lantern [IRE]* - The Richard Hannon-trained daughter of sprinter Red Clubs [IRE] has won 3 of 5 starts (all wins were on wet turf) in the competitive Euro ranks, including the G1 Moyglare. She’s never done worse than 2nd and looks to be one to beat.
  • Spring Venture* - Trained by Mark Casse, the Spring At Last filly proved game winning the Natalma (II) and she’s a perfect 3-for-3 closing in from off-the-pace.
  • Sustained - The War Front daughter is part of the Romans-trained force, never off the board in some dicey races of which she has won 1 of 3 in a maiden special weight coming from near the back. Aims to keep improving.
  • Tara From the Cape - The Leroidsanimaux [BRZ] filly is hot out of Pletcher’s barn, who is responsible for a lot of juvenile success in and out of the Breeders’ Cup. She has won 2 of 4 and is usually off-the-pace.
  • The Gold Cheongsam [IRE] - Another Red Clubs [IRE] daughter, she has won 3-of-7 this year in turf sprints and was 3rd last out in her stakes debut. Stretch-out is not for sure against top class.
  • Kitten’s Point - The Graham Motion trainee by Kitten’s Joy was defeated a narrow nose in her second start in the loaded Jessamine (III) going 5-wide. A sharp closer that should keep improving.
  • Moonwalk* - The Malibu Moon filly has never been off the board and was a much-improved winner in the Jessamine (III) last out lying close to the pace.
  • Nancy O - By successful sire Pivotal [GB], Nancy O was out-of-place last out in the dirt Frizette (I) and is still a maiden who has yet to get a clean trip in any of her races. She was squeezed tight in her 3rd in the Natalma (II), so she could very well be a live longshot who just needs room.
  • Flotilla [FR] - The Mizzen Mast daughter broke her maiden easily enough, and while she has been off-the-board in her other 3 starts, she wasn’t too far off the leaders in her native France.
  • Waterway Run - Yay for Arch babies! 4-for-3 total and 2 of those wins coming on wet grass, the English shipper was a well-oft winner in her starts and is a G3 winner being introduced to the route.
  • Flashy Ways - The Catienus daughter is 2-for-2 and a winner at a mile on Santa Anita’s course, winning the Surfer Girl Stakes last out.
  • Watsdachances [IRE]* - The Diamond Green [FR] filly is 3-for-4 and never off the board, and won the Ms Grillo (III) by a safe 2 1/4 lengths despite a rough trip. Trained by Chad Brown, she’ll be a good favorite.
  • Summer of Fun - The Include filly was barely ousted for the win in the tight Jessamine (III), losing by a head to be 3rd and has won at 1 1/16 miles in her maiden. She prefers to be close to the pace and is fierce holding it down.
  • Oscar Party - The Dixie Union daughter trained by Wayne Catalano was 4th in the tough Jessamine (III) and before that swept her maiden pretty easily in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies.

I’ll give my top 3 picks and value pick for the Juvenile Fillies Turf (I) next week.

Kitten’s Point - Graham Motion is a top-class conditioner and Kitten’s Joy has it down-pat as a prolific juvenile sire for turf runners. This filly is also a very good, improving runner.

Sky Lantern [IRE] - Super tough in the Euro ranks, I hope she can ship

Sustained - War Front is great for siring excellent juveniles, and she looks to keep improving

Watsdachances [IRE] - Excellent filly with a trainer I trust

Flotilla [FR] - I simply must include her for shipping in from France without a berth. She could be sitting on a breakthrough.

R.I.P. 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Maram, who died yesterday from an acute illness. She had her first foal earlier this year, a colt by Giant’s Causeway. Her name means “wish, dream, desire, destiny” in Arabic. The 2008 Juvenile Turf Fillies test was a thrilling nailbiter, when Maram flew from 7th place to nip front-running Laragh at the wire while holding off Heart Shaped in a photo finish. (Photo by Mary Forney)

R.I.P. 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Maram, who died yesterday from an acute illness. She had her first foal earlier this year, a colt by Giant’s Causeway. Her name means “wish, dream, desire, destiny” in Arabic. The 2008 Juvenile Turf Fillies test was a thrilling nailbiter, when Maram flew from 7th place to nip front-running Laragh at the wire while holding off Heart Shaped in a photo finish. (Photo by Mary Forney)

Frankie Dettori guides Pounced to victory in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

Frankie Dettori guides Pounced to victory in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

We don’t try to change him much, because if we do try, he gets mad and wants to fight. So we let him do his thing, make him believe he’s the boss.

Trainer Mike Maker of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Hansen

A Halo’s Image filly named Nyabinghi works under tack before the Ocala Breeders’ Sale (OBS).

A Halo’s Image filly named Nyabinghi works under tack before the Ocala Breeders’ Sale (OBS).

Fifteen Fillies Line Up for Alcibiades

Because there’s not a whole lot to say about every single juvenile filly in this grade I race, I won’t bother to do much handicapping apart from a few notes. Plus, THERE’S FIFTEEN OF THEM! That’s a whole lot of babies, hope there won’t be too many veer-outs and the myriad of other issues you can expect to see from a field of green racehorses. This is another “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with a berth for the Juvenile Fillies race. Here’s the field for the Keeneland event:

$400,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (I) - 2-Year-Old Fillies. 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack at Keeneland. Post Time: Friday, October 7 at 5:45pm

[Post Position, Horse (Pedigree) - Jockey, Trainer - Brief summary & opinion if any]

1) Putthebabiesdown (Closing Argument x Turtle Beach, by Out of Place) - Alan Garcia, Ken McPeek - Tough competitor for my favorite name. One win and a third from 3 career starts.

2) Flashy Lassie [pictured] (Flashy Bull x Lemon Pop Lassie, by Lemon Drop Kid) - Kent Desormeaux, Garry Sims - No doubt going to be one of the hot favorites after winning the Debutante (III) handily. She has two wins and a second in 3 total starts.

3) Venetian Sonata (Bernardini x Moonlight Sonata, by Carson City) - Jesus Castanon, Will Helmbrecht - Her full brother Wilburn scorched the field this past weekend in the Indiana Derby (II), so high hopes are abound.

4) Tu Endei Wei (Johar x Ms. Cornstalk, by Indian Charlie) - James McAleney, Reade Baker - Undefeated Canadian filly and a half sister to Canadian Horse of the Year Biofuel. This one is going to be a key favorite after winning the Ontario Debutante Stakes.

5) Sweet Cat (Kitten’s Joy x Claire’s Smile, Carson City) - John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher - A win and a second out of 2 career starts for the dangerous Velazquez-Pletcher combo. Perfect turf pedigree.

6) Egg Drop (Alphabet Soup x Rehocracy, by Adhocracy) - Joe Talamo, Mike Mitchell - One-for-one, gray filly in the field ridden by Joe Talamo.

7) Stephanie’s Kitten (Kitten’s Joy x Unfold the Rose, by Catienus) - Corey Lanerie, Wayne Catalano - Product of the Ramsey breeding operation, one win and two thirds out of 3 total starts. Another turf pedigree to Polytrack.

8) New Wave (Tale of the Cat x Ecology, by Unbridled’s Song) - Julien Leparoux, George Arnold - One win and a second out of 3 total starts for this striking gray filly.

9) And Why Not (Street Cry [IRE] x Alchemist, by A.P. Indy) - Garrett Gomez, Michael Matz - My favorite in the field who has all the makings and right connections to be really good. A maiden win and a third in the Spinaway (I) out of 2 total starts.

10) Frolic’s Revenge (Vindication x Stormy Frolic, by Summer Squall) - Juan Leyva, Milton Wolfson - Second-most experienced entry with 5 total starts, yielding two wins, a second, and two thirds.

11) Heart of Destiny (Lion Heart x Doc’s Destiny, by Doc’s Leader) - Edgar Prado, James Baker - Two starts yielding a win and a third for this chestnut filly.

12) Cheerleader (Flashy Bull x Destiny’s Yield, by High Yield) - Jamie Theriot, Bret Calhoun - One-for-one gray filly.

13) Tavern On the Bay (Offlee Wild x Terrified Ice, by Darn That Alarm) - Victory Lebron, Danny Turner - Most experienced entry with 6 total starts yielding a win, a second, and two thirds.

14) Ann of the Dance (English Channel x Dans La Ville, by Winning) - Rajiv Maragh, James DiVito - 3 total starts yielding two wins and a third.

15) On Fire Baby (Smoke Glacken x Ornate, by Gilded Time) - Joe Johnson, Gary Hartlage - One-for-one gray filly.

Awesome Feather made a dynamite return to the races today, winning her 7th straight race to remain undefeated. She flew past the field to take the $60,000 Le Slew Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths in the excellent time of 1:22 4/5 for 7 furlongs. Welcome back, Feather! 

Awesome Feather made a dynamite return to the races today, winning her 7th straight race to remain undefeated. She flew past the field to take the $60,000 Le Slew Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths in the excellent time of 1:22 4/5 for 7 furlongs. Welcome back, Feather! 

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