It was a good Friday for both me and Michael; we each had two winners and other than Tapitsfly, we tapped all the selections on Ladies Day. Now it’s on to the main course and the eight stakes, culminating with the BC Classic, are not easy races to handicap. Major bragging rights are on the line (especially for Michael), so here we go!
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
Just remember Raven’s Pass in the 2009 BC Classic and do not ignore Pounced, who also hails from the barn of John Gosden. Son of the dazzling turf star Rahy is my choice.
Pounced, Viscount Nelson, Interactif, Bridgetown
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
With 14 horses entered it is very possible we could see another $75 winner like last year, but doubt it will be defending champion Desert Code. California Flag is blazing fast, but I will give top billing to the European colt,Strike the Deal. Of course I will be rooting for Jenine Sahadi (Michael remembers her well) to score with Gotta Have Her.
Strike the Deal, Diamondrella, Lord Shanakill, Gotta Have Her
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint
No doubt that Zensational is fast and has an affinity for the Santa Anita oval, but I will go with the more seasoned Fatal Bullet who ran second to Baffert’s Midnight Lute last year and is working well for this. Tough Euro filly Fleeting Spirit draws outside and will be flying late.
Fatal Bullet, Zensational, Fleeting Spirit, Gayego
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
With half the field untested on synthetics, this is a wide open affair. I am going for the gusto with the lightly-racing Pletcher colt Eskedereya. Great route pedigree and jock. Would be a shocker, but gets a more favorable post than Lookin At Lucky.
Eskendereya, Lookin at Lucky, Alfred Nobel, Noble’s Promise
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile
I believe the talented Irish-bred filly Goldikova will defend her title. She beat one of the top American milers Kip Deville in last year’s BC Mile and has added three Group 1 titles to her resume’. Cowboy Cal is the only racehorse that Bob McNair retained following his Stonerside disbursement to Darley, so it would be nice for the McNairs to win this stake.
Goldikova, Zacinto, Cowboy Cal, Delgator
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
The Euros beat the Americans last year and they will be hard to deny them this year. Mastercraftsman fared well on Polytrack in Ireland for trainer Aidan O'Brien. Will be interesting to see how Midshipman runs after winning last year’s BC Juvenile and making just his second start since that score.
Mastercraftsman, Bullsbay, Midshipman, Neko Bay
$3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf
Defending champion Conduit has two losses this year to the ultra-impressive Sea of Stars . Looks rock solid. Dar Re Mi gets first Lasix and is not intimidated by the boys.
Conduit, Dar Re Mi, Spanish Moon, Presious Passion
$5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic
I can’t blame the connections of Zenyatta for charting this course, but think it will be an awfully tough race for the undefeated filly. Added distance, facing the boys, including several Group 1 monsters from Europe; a world apart from what she has previously encountered. Raven’s Pass gave the Americans a lesson last year and Rip Van Winkle is likely to do the same in the 2009 BC Classic. I have always loved Einstein and he will likely forge his way into the exotics before retiring to stud. Summer Bird has had a terrific year; he may fare better than Curlin in adapting to the surface. Twice Over is another talented Euro who could score another Grade 1 for the venerable Juddmonte Farms.
Rip Van Winkle, Einstein, Summer Bird, Twice Over