Breeders Cup 2018 analysis (Friday Juvenile card)

The preparation is just about halfway through for my Breeders Cup analysis. I’ve gone through each of the Friday races, and started on 2 of the 9 for Saturday. I’m wagering live dollars for each day. I also have Future Wager pool money on a few races.
I use my usual array of variables with these races, tho, owing to the presence of many foreign horses, I also use the Racing Post ratings from the UK. As suggested on at least 2 websites, I make adjustments based on the purse size of the race as well as for age and distance, to determine what the corresponding BRIS number would be.
Friday’s weather at Churchill Downs suggests there will be rain on the track. I am factoring in an off track for those races just in case. I also am taking into account all AE horses.

JUVENILE TURF SPRINT: Soldier’s Call, So Perfect, Stillwater Cove. This race has no predominant favorite; prices should be plentiful.
Predicted overlays: So Perfect, Stillwater Cove, Moonlight Romance.
So Perfect has posted small new tops in his last 5 races (out of 6 lifetime!). Last out was a hard-luck 3rd place finish in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (Grade 1) at Newmarket. Equating to a 97 Brisnet, I feel her trip cost her somewhat, and she should be ready for a win. The race came following a 7 week layoff.
Stillwater Cove won her maiden debut, was last in the Albany Stakes at Ascot, then won a 100k stakes event at Saratoga, then was 5th in the Natalma. One should expect a win today, right? Won debut and also 1st off layoff; she’s been off since mid-September. Switches back to prior winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. 4 workouts, 1 a bullet.
Moonlight Romance had won her 2nd maiden race at the 100k level at Belmont (also her turf debut), then ran last in a stakes race over at Ascot, then won the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Special last time out. 5 works in prep.
Suggested odds: Soldier’s Call 3-1; Well Done Fox 14-1; So Perfect 9-2; Stillwater Cove 5-1; Shang Shang Shang, Sergei Prokofiev, Big Drink Of Water and Comedy all 18-1; Moonlight Romance 8-1.
Update: Following changes, I’m changing my order to 2-4-10, tho for sake of my handicapping that won’t make any real impact outside of overlays.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF: My Gal Betty, Lily’s Candle, East. Overlays: My Gal Betty, The Mackem Bullet.
My Gal Betty has raced 4 times at Woodbine, with 3 wins and 1 2nd, last out, in the Natalma. Twice a winner 1st off layoff. Forged 3 small tops in her last 3 races. Slightly wide trip last time out may have cost her undefeated status. 5 works, 4 of them very fast.
Lily’s Candle has raced 5 times in France, with 3 wins. Owns best speed for distance. Best race was her last once, in a Grade 1 race at Longchamp (Criterium des Poulches; Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac). Appears to have the best pace pattern of these.
East has impressed in her 2 lifetime races, both wins. Last out win at the Grade 3 level in France. First-time Lasix recipient, which should help her cause.
The Mackem Bullet has 6 races in GB, all but her debut in the money. Is the speed of the field. She has grown well with new tops in every lifetime race.
Suggested odds: Just Wonderful 7-1; Newspaperofrecord 2-1, The Mackem Bullet 7-2; My Gal Betty 8-5; Lily’s Candle 9-1; East 12-1.
Update: Changing my top 3 to 13-2-12: My Gal Betty, The Mackem Bullet, Summering. My Gal Betty has become my best bet between the 5 races.

JUVENILE FILLIES: Splashy Kisses, Cassies Dreamer, Reflect, each of which are overlays.
Splashy Kisses was 2nd in the Pocahontas last time here at Churchill. Should bounce back from 69 after that 19th-length loss. 5 works in prep, 2 very fast.
Cassies Dreamer was 3rd in the Spinaway and Frizette; definitely suggesting placement in the Oaks Trails lists soon. A little trouble at the start of the Frizette, which cost her the win. Only deep closer in this field; she might need a slightly slow pace to win.
Reflect won her debut, then didn’t much impact since. Track bias in her favor: In 22 races at the 8.5 furlong distance, horses with an early closing style have won 32%. 14% wins out of posts 1-3.
My odds: Serengeti Express 7-1; Reflect 6-1, Restless Rider 9-1; Cassies Dreamer 9-2, Jaywalk 7/2, Splashy Kisses 2-1.

JUVENILE TURF: Anthony Van Dyck, Opry, Somelikeithotbrown. Overlays: Uncle Benny, Opry.
Opry 3rd in his maiden debut, won the With Anticipation at Saratoga. 4th in the Pilgrim at Belmont. 3 works, 2 of them very fast, one a bulet.
Uncle Benny is 2 for 2. Last out he won his turf debut in the 150k Futurity at Belmont. Early-presser types like himself, who run fastest on the backstretch, have won 2 of 7 turf miles during the meet. This combined with 14% from posts 1-3 make him a strong contender.
My odds: Anthony Van Dyck 2-1; Somelikeithotbrown 9-1. Uncle Benny & Much Better11-1, Opry 2-1.

JUVENILE: Code Of Honor, Dueling and the favored Complexity. Overlays: Well Defined, Dueling.
Dueling did take 3 tries to break maiden, but did win first time in a route. Improved to 89, with nice pace pattern. Wears blinkers for the first time. In 22 races during the meet for distance/surface, early closers are winning 32%. Posts 1-3 are 14%. Only early closer in the field.
Well Defined 4 for 4 in the money. Best speed figures for distance, achieved last time out with a 103 at Gufstream in 9/29. Overall has the best speed. Lifetime stars are 103, 101, 76, 85.

Update: Following the scratch of Code Of Honor, my new top 3 are 1-6-4: Dueling, Complexity, Tight Ten.
Dueling was my erroneous Juvenile Sire Future Wager selection, 29-1.

First look at the 2018 Breeders Cup Classic

Grouping horses by my personal rank of variables, here’s how I see the race, counting the top 14 and ignoring (for now) the remaining 5:
Accelerate had won the Pacific Classic by 12 lengths. For that, he scored a 114, a small new top.
Thunder Snow’s 106 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup was good just for 2nd to Discreet Lover. Maybe his somewhat wide trip kept him from that win.
Roaring Lion continues to have the fastest pace pattern of this grouping, including his win in the QE2 at Ascot last week. I judge based on Racing Post numbers.
City Of Light had a previous stretchout win (Oaklawn Handicap, going up 2 furlongs). Also owns 3 shipping wins. He’s also waiting the longest to stretch of these, 11 weeks by post time since finishing 2nd in the Forego.
Mendelssohn is the only pure sprinter of this field. I gather he will need a very fast pace to win out, much as he did in last year’s Juvenile Turf.
Yoshida has one stretchout win, the Woodward, his most recent start, on 9/1. He also won with a similar 4-lb gain in weight carried; that was this year’s Turf Classic here at Churchill. Also owns 3 shipping wins.
McKinzie had progressed well at all points of call while winning the Pennsylvania Derby, first race after a 6 month layoff. He had also seized the lead at the 2nd call. So far, he’s put up 2 bullet works at Santa Anita.
Mind Your Biscuits won the Lukas Classic had a similar progression, tho 7 weeks off. 2 quick works at Churchill.

if the Breeders Cup were today…

Considering the top 14 that would go in, I’d choose Accelerate, Mendelssohn, Roaring Lion, and then either Yoshida or City Of Light. Discreet Lover and West Coast officially did not show up in my rankings. The one horse I can safely throw out is Thunder Snow.
My projected odds right now, based on my own values and discounting horses who did not show up in my variables:
McKinzie, Mind Your Biscuits: 5-1
Accelerate: 6-1
Roaring Lion, Thunder Snow: 8-1
City Of Light, Yoshida: 9-1
Mendelssohn: 11-1
These odds are being used to compare to the actual live odds. If I see a difference of more than $4 payout less to $1 wagered than in my own odds, then there is an overlay. For example, if my horse is 5-1 and the live odds are 9-1, overlay. 8-1, no overlay.

2018 Breeders Cup Classic/Turf pools selections..

This was one of those future wager weekends where the weekend’s activity had little to no true impact on the intended race.  The only race that could have been involved was the Arc d’Triomphe, which the heavily-favored Enable did win.  There was no way to secure any PPs, so I had no idea, and, therefore, no clue on how to adjust for his ability during Sunday.
Here’s how I did wager:
$2 wins on

Bravazo  34-1
Collected  40-1
Diversify 21-1
Pavel 31-1
Roaring Lion 40-1

I skipped Accelerate as his odds were too low. Catholic Boy I refused to double-dip with unless he was worse than 12-1.
Pavel is a double-dip as I had him at 24-1 in Pool 1. Ditto for Diversify as I had him at 10-1 prior.

In the Turf: $2 wins on my original top 3…
Arklow  17-1
Channel Maker 9-1
Crystal Ocean 12-1

Next will be an update to the Enlightened Trails.

Breeders Cup 2018 Turf future wager analysis/selections


Examining the BC Turf contenders within this wager, a lot of work went into converting Racing Post numbers. I use the TS numbers to convert to its BRIS equivalent. I subtract more for sprints and 2YO races, and more for Graded races than for maidens.
I used the same variables as with the BC Classic. For this 12-horse field, I chose top 4 for each. The most top 4 placements for horses earned the better ranking.

12th: LIAM THE CHARMER (#8) Despite recent wins in the John Henry Turf Classic and a 100k optional claimer, serving as his sole 2018 races, he’s no match for this field.

11th: QUARTERO de CORDAS (#9) has raced all 14 times in Brazil, at Gavea. No notes are available as to how he can fare. I did see he won at 12 furlongs in a Grade 1 race there, the Grande Premio Brasil,

10th: SADLER’S JOY (#12): Hasn’t won since a Grade 2 race at Gulfstream to start his 5YO season. He’s come rather closer in Graded company since, both in FL and NY tracks. Won the 12 furlong Sword Dancer at Saratoga last summer.

9th: TALISMANIC (#13) Wins in France and Cali, plus entries into Hong Kong and US racing, on differing surfaces, this 5YO horse is hard not to root for. Owns a 14-furlong win, the Prix Maurice de Nieuil at Saint Cloud in France.

8th: ROBERT BRUCE (#11) had raced in Chile for his 3YO year, then 3 races at Belmont, one at Arlington. Winner of the Fort Marcy and the Arlington Million. His final Chilean race was the Grade 1 El Ensayo Mega, 12 furlongs in all.

7th: CARRICK (#2): Won the Secretariat on 8/11 at Arlington. That race produced his lifetime best of 100. He bounced to a 75 in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic last week. Does he bounce back? He just might.
6th: GLORIOUS EMPIRE (#6): Won the 12 furlong Sword Dancer last time out on 8/25 with a 97. Prior to that he posted his lifetime best score of 98.

5th: ROARING LION (#10) See my notes from the BC Classic Future Wager. Given that he’s yet to be pointed to being here or the Classic, and I rank him best in the other race, he’s probably not going to get bet in this one unless my top choices are favored considerably.

4th: ENABLE (#5): Much-ballyhooed UK horse, winner of 8 of 9 lifetime. 12 furlong wins in his last 6 races (188bet September, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Darley Yorkshire Oaks, King George VI/Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Darley Irish Oaks, and the Investec Oaks). Owns the best pace of this group and best pace pattern.

3rd: CRYSTAL OCEAN (#4): 11-5-4-2 lifetime. Last win was the Grade 2 Hardwicke at Ascot, 12 furlongs. Others at that distance: the Al Rayyan Aston Park, and the Bet365 Gordon Richards. Best speed figure was set just last time on 9/8 in the 189bet September Stakes. His pace and pace pattern are just a fraction lower than Enable’s. Runs again on 10/20.

2nd: ARKLOW (1) Runs in the Canadian International later this month. Ran a 99 at Churchill in the Grade 2 American Turf on Derby Day 2017. 12 furlong win last time out in the KY Turf Cup at Kentucky Down. It produced a figure of 105.

1st: CHANNEL MAKER (#3): Ran in this year’s Turf Classic at Churchill, 5th with an 81 score. Winner at 12 furlongs last time out in the Turf Classic Invitation at Belmont just last week. Has one of the better pace and pace pattern variables.

Based on current live odds, I’m confident in wagering on my top 3 for win bets. If more $ is taken, I may have to consider Roaring Lion, even tho I’m set on him for winning the Classic. Enable, win or lose in the Arc on Sunday, probably won’t impact my eventual wager all that much.

2018 Breeders Cup Classic future wager analysis/selections

The 2nd of 2 Breeders Cup Classic Future Wagers are already underway. I’ve only just now completed my research on the current field and how I feel it will be impacted.
Here are the variables I’m using for this wager: longest distance win, best pace at Churchill Downs (as the race is being run there), any forward or forging pace in the last 90 days since this weekend, measured by how fresh the fastest race was; fastest binomial pace; pace pattern. Horses that rank in the top 6 of each category the most are the ones I will wager on. Ties are broken based on the better individual numbers. I default to horses with best pace pattern or better pace if ties are still deadlocked.
11 of the 19 horses potentially qualified with 2 categories in the top 6. 3 horses stood out in particular. 8 horses had a place in either 0 or 1 category.
Here are the horses I like:
12th PAVEL (#13) Best CD run was 106 in this year’s Stephen Foster Handicap. One of the better pace patterns of the field. I have him at 24-1 from pool 1.
11th: DIVERSIFY (#7) won this year’s Suburban, and last year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup at 10 furlongs. Fastest CD run was last year’s Clark Handicap at 100. I have him at 10-1 from pool 1
10th: TOAST OF NEW YORK (#17) won a 10 furlong allowance race in GB. Best score at CD was actually his most recent, a 104 in the Grade 3 Lukas Classic.
9th: WEST COAST (#18) won last year’s Travers at 10 furlongs. He also has one of the faster pace scores. Last 3: 104, 100 (adjusted from Racing Post), and 116.
8th: : AXELROD (#2) ranked with a 110 lifetime best mark in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby on 9/22. His current pace is actually one of the fastest of the field. Don’t know where he’s being pointed to next.
7th: MIND YOUR BISCUITS (#12) His best CD race was in the Lukas Classic, with a 109, best of this field here. Also owns a good overall pace.

6th:: COLLECTED (#5): Winner of last year’s Pacific Classic at 10-furlongs. 2nd best pace pattern of the field.

5th: McKINZIE (#10): Earned a strong gain in pace for his lifetime best, last time out…a 112 winning the Pennsylvania Derby. One of the fastest of this field.
Top 4 seem to the edge and am likely to wager on:
4th: CATHOLIC BOY (#4) He won the Travers, and the Belmont Derby Invitational, both at 10 furlongs. The Travers win earned him a new top of 108. One of the faster pace patterns. I have him at 7-1 from pool 1.
3rd: BRAVAZO (#3): He finished 6th in this year’s Kentucky Derby with a 93 but it’s good enough to be a fast CD pace. Peaked at 102 in the Travers before bounce in the PA Derby. Fast pace pattern

2nd: ACCELERATE (#1): WInner of the Santa Anita Gold Cup, the Pacific Classic and the Santa Anita Handicap, all at 10 furlongs. Peaked at 114 on 8/18 in the Pacific. 2nd best pace pattern of the field.

1st: ROARING LION (#14) Longest distance win of the field, 1-5/16, in the Juddmonte International at York. That same race is where he achieved his best speed, based on Racing Post info. Ranked fastest overall and best pace pattern. Don’t know if he’ll run in the Classic or the Turf but I’m likely to hedge.

As odds stand as I type this on Friday evening, I feel comfortable putting another win bet on Diversify at 26-1. Roaring Lion and Bravazo definitely getting bet. I’d have to go down to my #6 seed, Bravazo to wager a $2 win.

Later tonight, a look at the Breeders Cup Turf possibles via the future wager.