Del Mar Racetrack in Southern California will host its first Breeders’ Cup this weekend, with 13 races worth $26.5 million run virtually on the beach—it’s not called “where the turf meets the surf” for nothing.
Four Breeders’ Cup races—the Juvenile Fillies Turf (5:25 pm, all times ET), the Las Vegas Dirt Mile (6:05 pm), the Juvenile Turf (6:50 pm), and the Longines Distaff (7:35 pm)—highlight Friday’s card and be broadcast on an NBCSN telecast that begins at 5:00 pm.
Nine Breeders’ Cup races will be run on Saturday, beginning with the 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies at 3 pm and culminating in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at 5:35 pm. NBC’s coverage begins at 1:30 pm on NBCSN and switches to NBC at 8 pm for the Classic.
Big field sizes like the ones you’ll find in the Breeders’ Cup lead to big betting pools, which lead to big payouts. (Click for the 2016 Distaff and Classic payouts.) Not every race is going to end up a betting bonanza: last year, Classic prices were significantly depressed by the presence of Arrogate and California Chrome; the same was true in the Distaff with Beholder and Songbird.
So if this year is anything like last year, you’ll need to get creative to make any money in these two races, and a handful of public handicappers are here to suggest some ways to do that, or other races to look at if they think the Distaff and Classic will chalk out. Below you’ll find their thoughts on Friday’s race; selections and wagers for Saturday will be posted on Friday.
Clicking the links on the types of wagers will take you to explanations of how to bet them--scroll or search for the term you're looking for.
Good luck and safe trips to all, and here’s to cashing winning tickets.
Seth Merrow, publisher of Equidaily.com and handicapper for Capital OTV-TV: Breeders' Cup action kicks off on Friday with four events. Most likely winner: Hmmm, I'll go with Mor Spirit in the BC Dirt Mile - but with trepidation. It's no easy task to win a race like this without having competed since June, but if any trainer can have a horse set to go, it's Bob Baffert.
In the BC Juvenile Turf, Snapper Sinclair seems perhaps an interesting longshot. Undefeated in two starts since moving to turf, he won a stake at Kentucky Downs last time, and horses coming out of that venue have run well subsequently this fall. Encumbered is also undefeated on grass, and both his wins came at Del Mar. Beckford might be better than his fifth-place finish in a European Grade 1 last time, and Voting Control comes in for trainer Chad Brown and owner Klaravich Stables, a team fresh off winning meet titles at Belmont.
I'll box those four in an exacta.
Brian Nadeau, handicapper at Horseplayer Now, Capital OTB, and Brooklyn Backstretch: While Friday is just a table-setter for the tremendous betting menu Saturday offers, there is still value galore in the Juvenile Turf, where Hemp Hemp Hurray looks like the controlling speed over what looks on paper like a modest group, lacking the top Europeans or any real pace. I'm going to tie my day to him and play him to win, place and show, while also keying him in the big Pick 4 that's offered on the quartet of Breeders' Cup races. He should be every bit of 10-1, and over a tight Del Mar turf course that figures to play to speed, he could get brave if uncontested on the lead. The three races around the Juvenile Turf seem much more logical, as Happily and Rushing Fall lay over the field in the Juvenile Fillies Turf; Sharp Azteca, Mor Spirit and Accelerate seem to do the same in the Dirt Mile; and the trio of Stellar Wind, Elate and Paradise Woods are likely to get you through the Distaff. I'll mix and match all of them with Hemp Hemp Hurray in the Pick 4 and hope he forgets to stop.
Ed DeRosa, director of marketing for Brisnet.com: My Breeders’ Cup Friday will hinge on the bread in the four-race sandwich, as my strongest opinions are in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, which is race 6 on Friday’s 10-race program, and in the Distaff, which is race 9. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Dirt Mile (race 7) and Juvenile Turf (race 8) play out but less excited for them as wagering prospects.
In the Juvenile Fillies Turf, I’m very high on #4 Madeline, who at 20-to-1 could make my Breeders’ Cup right off the rip. She pressed the pace going 6 furlongs against better and now gets two turns and firm turf with a nice post. The price is right to bet that she stretches out OK and kicks on before the others.
4 across the board and keyed in exactas and trifectas with #2 Happily, #10 September, and #11 Rushing Fall.
The Distaff is less about a strong opinion for one horse and more about being against Stellar Wind, who I don’t like missing the Zenyatta Stakes and who reportedly hasn’t worked well coming into this. One horse who has been working well is Elate, who reminds of Royal Delta coming from trainer Bill Mott’s barn. Forever Unbridled will also be on all tickets, having run down champion Songbird in her last start. Abel Tasman is the other that’s a must-use at the price. My wagering strategy is to toss Stellar Wind from everything and get at least two of the three aforementioned females in the trifecta.
Barbara Bowley, co-founder of the horseracing tournament website The Tournament Edge: The best betting day of the year is Breeders’ Cup Saturday, and the second best is Breeders’ Cup Friday. So why am I recommending that you take it slow on Breeders’ Cup Friday and hold a large portion (at least 75% of your wagering budget) in your pocket for Saturday? Because unless you really know what you’re doing, getting overly enthused about five- or six- digit payoffs that may just happen on Friday will see you blow too much of your Saturday budget, where you can take a more calculated stance and still collect enough to keep you in a brand new pair of cashmere socks every day for… well, for quite a long time.
I love the mid-card Pick 4 sequence on Friday starting with Race 6, the mile-long Juvenile Fillies Turf. With a guaranteed pool of $1.5 million, you can play for as little as 50 cents for your base wager.
In the first leg, Race 6, I’m taking three fillies, two of them Euros: the Irish-bred Happily #2 and September #10, a European runner with a stellar Japanese-based sire, Deep Impact. Both are stamina-tested. My US filly Orbolution #6 has some late kick and could come flying late.
Second leg: Race 7, the Dirt Mile. There is most likely going to be a torrid pace, and I want you covered in both of most likely scenarios: the frontrunners take it all the way, or the front end falls apart and the closers come in to pick up the pieces. I’m using Iron Fist #1, Sharp Azteca #3, Awesome Slew #5, and Mor Spirit #6.
Third leg: Race 8 is the Juvenile Turf. The Euros have a distinct advantage here, and I can’t see past the two Irish-breds, Masar #6 and James Garfield #7. No one here has their speed and class. If you don’t agree, then hit the ALL button on this leg.
Fourth leg: Race 9 is the Distaff. The favorite will most likely be Stellar Wind #2, but the smarter money will be on Elate #5, Forever Unbridled #6 , and Paradise Woods #7.
Pick 4: $.50 base wager – 2,6,10/ 1,3,5,6/6,7/2,5,6,7 = $48
Article by Teresa Genaro