I spent a good part of my off-time this week working on the Breeders Cup past performances, planning analysis and picks of all 14 races. Then, reality set in. I cannot wager on the races, as I am a Texas citizen, and the DAW websites like TwinSpires and TVG do not allow wagering from here. I’d likely have to travel to Lone Star Park or Sam Houston and wager there, or some OTB facility. None of which are in any close distance for yours truly, minus a car. That circumstance may change, but not counting on it.
I got frustrated over the wasted time, and decided instead to flesh out the blog some, and get you my take on the Breeders Cup Classic, horse-for-horse. Here’s how I see it:
1 MATH WIZARD comes out of a close win in the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx, 9/21. I like how his early closer set up the win on a super-slow pace. Not a great track record lifetime. Only other wins in his career was a 25k claimer, and his 2nd maiden race. In this race, he vaulted past a small top of 99, and his prior effort of 84, with a 100. I have to forecast a bounce as a possibility.
Forecast: Outsider, middle of the pack finish.
My odds: 30-1, compared to 17-1 morning line. Not an overlay, but nearly so.
$: Will take a few more dollars than normal, but not much of a mover.
Pace: Early closer, needs slow pace initially, quickens later tho still slower than normal.
2 SEEKING THE SOUL owns an impressive 20-of-29 in the money lifetime. Won the Stephen Foster at Churchill earlier this year, and the Ack Ack last year, also at CD. A few placings in between, and some great fast runs, but he doesn’t appear anywhere in my variables or odds charts.
Forecast: No chance, might even be last.
My odds: No data. Definitely worse than his listed 20-1 odds for morning line.
$: No data. He’ll be dead on the board as a longshot.
Pace will have to be super slow for this late closer to have a chance.
3 OWENDALE won the OK Derby at Remington last time out, the Ohio Derby at Thistledown in June, and the Lexington at Keeneland in April. Generally a very legitimate player in terms of pace and class. For this race, it’s still a tough ask. I am a fan of his last effort over 9 furlongs. But he sorely lacks appearance in my variables to rank fairly.
Forecast: Outsider, middle of the pack.
My odds: 17-1, right around his 15-1 ML status.
$: Slightly against his direction, meaning he’ll definitely be a double-digit longshot.
Pace: Early closer; normal speed by 1st call, slow by 2nd.
4 WAR OF WILL, the Preakness winner, enters with some questions re his overall pace. I’ll start with his pedigree, which ranks best among his peers (War Front/Visions Of Clarity, out of the mightly Sadler’s Wells). Combined 18.1 AWD is the best score here. Comes out of his 3rd place finish in the aforementioned PA Derby, with a small new top of 99. It was a good gain from 93 in the Jim Dandy, so there’s a possible bounce risk. He gets blinkers for the first time. I say Mark Casse has done the best job of the trainers here, a major reason why I think War Of Will will prevail today. Paulick Repot via the NYRA Press Office profiles War Of Will and Casse here https://www.paulickreport.com/news/breeders-cup/war-of-will-actually-focuses-in-new-blinkers-got-stormy-will-be-more-effective-at-santa-anita/
Forecast: Winner, easy to single in the ABC chart.
My odds: 5/2, way better than his posted 20/1 ML odds. He’s the lone overlay of the field.
$: Taking less $ than most others, being virtually ignored. Only horse who seems to be of this trend here.
Pace: He’s won race at either speed, so to say that his requirements are average isn’t entirely accurate. A good thing, tho.
5 YOSHIDA has raced rather consistently and at top level, but no wins since his Grade 1 Woodward last year. The one big stat I see here are his last-call numbers: 110 in this year’s Woodward, 113 in the Whitney, and 110 in the Stephen Foster. This late closer therefore has the best tactical speed of the field. His trip in the Woodward was very fast at 103 and a bit interesting, getting into traffic and making contact, yet still finding room late to place. His ability to gain on the leader late is always attractive.
Forecast: Outsider, middle of the road.
My odds: 17-1…a lot worse than his listed 8-1.
$: Some will flow both sides, but not enough to take a stand on, for or against. I’d go slightly against his 8-1.
Pace: Somewhat average throughout.
6 ELATE owns a strong in-the-money record through 18 races, including his last 8, all in Graded company. Unfortunately, he doesn’t show up in my variables, or odds. Will not consider.
Forecast: Out of the picture.
Odds: No data, tho he should be a real money burner, with his 6-1 ML odds.
$: No data
Pace: A bit slow throughout for this early closer.
7 HIGHER POWER has 5 wins in 14 races, including this year’s Pacific Classic. His 110 in the race is the fastest for the 10 furlong distance of this field. He did bounce last time out in the Awesome Again with a 96. With these 2 races being his most recent, a bounce back here should not be out of the question.
$: He may be slightly ignored in the wagering, but still be attractive.
Odds: 14-1, a sure underlay.
Pace: Average throughout.
8 MCKINZIE is 12-7-5-0 lifetime, and never worse than 2nd in 7 races at Santa Anita. Wins include the Whitney, the Alysheba, the Malibu, the PA Derby and the San Felipe. His 107 in the San Pasqual earlier this year is the fastest SA race of this field. His 102 in the Awesome Again last time could be considered a bounce, as his Whitney score was a 109. I’m a big fan of his consistency, with 7 consecutive runs over 100. 4 works since the Awesome Again, all at SA, last one a bullet.
Odds: 6-1, close to his 3-1 ML odds.
$: He’ll take a lot more $ than seems fair, maybe even bet down to even money.
Pace: Average early, slow late.
9 MONGOLIAN GROOM owns a decent record, and won the Awesome Again last time out with a small new top of 105. Besides these 2 races, he doesn’t rank with the others here.
Forecast: No chance.
Odds: No data.
$: Very little movement; likely to remain a longshot.
Pace: Slow early, average late.
10 VINO ROSSO has 5 wins in 14 races, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup on 9/28 at Belmont. Won the Gold Cup here on 5/27 in his SA debut with a strong 109. Only horse with the ‘exploding’ pace tag in this field…a small new top that represents a new lifetime best first set this year (as opposed to multiple times). Last 3 BRIS numbers: 109, 101, 102. With the big gain, he’s past the track par score for the distance, and would be the one to take a stand against, hoping for a bounce.
Forecast: Outside, middle of the pack.
Odds: 5-1, matching his 4-1 ML odds.
$: He’ll be the lightning rod for wagers, tho ultimately it should balance out, and remain a contender but not the favorite.
Pace: Fast all throughout.
11 CODE OF HONOR was nosed out by Vino Rosso in the JCGC last time out, matching the 109 score, a new top following a 109 in his Travers win. With the DQ in the JCGC and wide trip, I feel his 109 could have been even better. 5 wins in 9 lifetime, once out of the money. I rate this deep closer as the speed of the field.
Odds:5-1, close to his 4-1 ML odds
$: Similar to Vino Rosso, he’ll attract a lot of suitors, both for and against. He’ll also stay around 4/1.
Pace: Normal early, slowing down later.
Top 4: 4-8-7-11 War Of Will, McKinzie, Higher Power, Vino Rosso.
Overlay: War Of Will.
How I wager: Win bets on any of my top 3 that are 6-1 or worse. Exactas involving my top 3, but avoiding the 1st-2nd, 1st-3rd public choices. I’d play overlays to win, and top 2 favorites by betting public over them.