The Breeders’ Cup, horse racing’s version of the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA Championship and the PGA Championship all rolled into one, is a two day festival that takes place on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 this year at Santa Anita.
This promises to be one of the most exciting Breeders’ Cups in history. Let’s get right to it by making picks for the Breeders’ Cup’s five most intriguing races: the Distaff, the Juvenile, the Mile, the Turf and the Classic.
2014 Breeders’ Cup Betting Picks
Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Defending champ Beholder had to withdraw due to an injury leaving the race wide-open. Beholder’s main competition was supposedly Close Hatches, but the Bill Mott trainee failed miserably in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland in her last.
Beholder and Tiz Midnight put a serious beat down on her in the Grade 1 Zenyatta, but jockey Joe Talamo definitely wasn’t on the engine that day. Expect Joe to put her on the lead and see if anybody wants to tackle her. She could freak like she did in the Grade 1 Vanity.
Place: Close Hatches
The failure at Keeneland can be forgiven and Santa Anita should set up for her style, about 1 to 2 lengths off before pouncing to the lead. She’ll offer odds as well after the Spinster debacle.
Show: Belle Gallantrey
Like Close Hatches and Iotapa, she’s a front-runner. That should bode well in this race. She’s definitely talented enough to win it and she likes Santa Anita, 2-1-1 out of 4 races.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
American Pharaoh should go off as the favorite with Daredevil and Carpe Diem, the two Todd Pletcher horses, battling for second choice status.
Win: Carpe Diem
The $1.6 million buy sired by Giant’s Causeway could have won the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity at Keeneland by 16 lengths if had wanted to. Instead, he settled for a 6 length victory.
Place: American Pharaoh
The chalk’s going to find it a lot tougher to lead this crew gate to wire than the crew he faced in the Grade 1 Frontrunner. Can he rate? We’re going to find out!
Peter Miller, a top Santa Anita trainer, conditions this son of In Summation. If there is a pace meltdown, he’ll pick up the pieces.
Breeders’ Cup Mile
Without two time horse of the year Wise Dan entered, the BC Mile has turned into one of the most competitive races on the card. Nobody really knows who is going to end up as the favorite in this event.
Win: Tornado (IRE)
The four-year-old colt has 6 wins, two victories being Grade 1s, and 3 second place finishes from 11 starts. He also has some of the highest Time Form ratings of the bunch and would have been a serious threat to Wise Dan if that one had made the race.
Place: Trade Storm (GB)
The pace should be quick enough to set things up for the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile winner who has European class for days.
Show: Tom’s Tribute
Some may think he’s not classy enough to win this and he did beat Obviously in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile with a slow time, but he’s a West Coast horse that has won 6 out of 13 races.
Breeders’ Cup Turf
Win: Magician (IRE)
He won the BC Turf in 2013, the defending champ got a nice race state side in the Arlington Million when finishing second, and trainer Aidan O’Brien is deadly with his runners in this event.
Place: Flintshire (GB)
The second place finisher in the Prix de l’Arc Triomphe, perhaps the most important grass race in the world, is in excellent form and should be ultra-tough to keep off the board.
Show: Main Sequence
All he does is win races. Main Sequence will be looking for his fourth win in a row. This is a huge step up, though, which is why it’s hard to put him first.
Breeders’ Cup Classic
It looks like the three-year-olds are the ones to beat in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Will the Classic come down to Shared Belief, California Chrome and Tonalist battling it out for supremacy?
Win: Shared Belief
There might be some truth to the idea that Shared Belief is better on synthetic surfaces than he is on dirt. Or, he could have just bounced in the Grade 1 Awesome Again, hence the less than stellar performance, after winning the Grade 1 Pacific Classic with a 115 Beyer Speed figure.
Place: California Chrome
I’m not too worried about the implosion in the Pennsylvania Derby and before winning the San Felipe this past spring, he had been winning races in slow times. If trainer Art Sherman’s got him right, he could win this.
Show: Majestic Harbor
It looks like there is going to be more speed in this than previously thought if Moreno and Big Casanova join Bayern. That could set things up for Majestic Harbor who on his best day can be as tough as any horse on the West Coast. The odds on this guy will be well north of 20 to 1.