I am overjoyed to learn that the Breeders Cup had put in place several Future Wager pools for some of the BC races.
I have begged for these pools to be instituted for some time, at least some expansion of the pools. Before this, outside of a sportsbook, the only way to wager on the KY Derby or KY Oaks would be the 4 pools that run between November and April. Now there is new juice available, and I’m ready to make a run at these.
23 horses are in the Classic Future Wager (doesn’t that just sound lovely?) and 22 in the BC Distaff. Bets are individual $2 wagers. No field selections in these pools. Nice and simple.
5 horses have already qualified in the BC Challenge Series. The next races to impact the Classic will be the Awesome Again at Santa Anita in September, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in October.
For the Distaff, there are 3 that will impact: the Personal Ensign, being run this weekend; the Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita in September, and the Spinster at Keeneland in October. In the Personal Ensign, these horses will contend: Abel Taman, She Takes Heart, Fuhriously Kissed, Wow Cat, Farrell and Elate.
All BC Challenge races award an entry to the winner of the corresponding BC race. The field gets filled further by nominations; that is my best guess, anyway.
There are 2 pools for the Classic, one this weekend, the other on the first weekend in October. the BC Juvenile, plus a Juvenile Sire pool, will be open next weekend! The Distaff pool is this weekend, and the Turf will be on the first week of October.
For my strategy, I know this much: It will be different than for the Derby or Oaks because we’re taking into account a lot of lifetime and recent stats, and very little inherent stuff. Of course, these horses will run 1 or 2 more times before November, so it’s still rather risky. Aside, there is the matter of actually winning the challenge races, or having the earnings or nomination to get into the field.
I won’t be using the field selections of these wagers, tho I know they’ll definitely take some money, as usual. Without an exacta opportunity in these 6 pools, it’s probably not wise to choose this option.
Here are my variables. I have had to take a limited view as I’m using Brisnet’s past performance services, and they allow me to see just the last 10 races, not lifetime stats. It’s something of a drawback, but not entirely.
I have just 5 variables in play. I choose the top 7 in each plus ties. Those with the most rankings get top consideration, up to 5 horses.
My wagers will be the mandated $2 win on the first 5 in the list that I believe will be 6-1 or worse by pool’s close.
DISTANCE: Longest distance win, as published in Brisnet. Exactly 7 horses had won in 10-furlong races.
CHURCHILL DOWNS PACE: Fastest listed pace run at Churchill. 9 have had any recent runs there.
FORGED PACE: Any horse who set a new speed figure ‘top’ since May. I choose the most recent 7 of these tops, measured by date set.
BINOMIAL PACE: Multiply the most recent speed figure by 3, next most recent by 2, third-most by itself gets added in. The totals get added up. The raw number is what I’m looking for. In the case of hores running outside of North America, I have my own system that uses the British Racing Post numbers, adjusting based on distance, age and class. Looking for the highest raw numbers.
PATTERN: I look for either of 2 patterns: Up/down in speed figure, and a variance in the horse’s last 3 races that is no greater than 7 points. Fastest patterns get in.
11 horses in all qualified with at 2 in the top 7. Here are those 11:
11th: #4 CATALINA CRUISER has just 3 starts but all doozies. 2.25 lengths win in his maiden debut vs fellow 3YOs at Santa Anita last October, 95 Brisnet. Off 7 months he wins by the same margin vs optional claimer 40k horses, same 6 furlong distance. Speed was 106. Wins the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar going away, after a 2 month layoff and his first time at a route distance, winning with a 108. 15-1 are nice odds if I have to bet down this far to get him.
10th: #6 COLLECTED has 8 wins in 14 lifetime. No races since the Pegasus World Cup in January, he peaked at 111 in 2 Graded races last year. Last year’s Pacific Classic win was a 10-furlong race. Current pace projection for pace is slightly downward but still plenty fast compared to these other 22 horses.
9th: #23 WEST COAST ran a game 2nd last out in the Dubai World Cup and in the Pegasus prior to that. Winners of last year’s Travers Stakes at 10 furlongs. Very fast pace numbers based on his last 3 runs.
8th: SAXON WARRIOR a wild card here as he’s raced only in the UK. Winners of his first 4, and never worse than 4th. The Racing Post suggests his pace numbers are very fast in comparison to the others in this pool. He even sports a very fast pace pattern.
7th: #20: THUNDER SNOW still a true mystery horse, as he was removed from the Triple Crown races. Winner of this year’s 10-furlong Dubai World Cup and last year’s Prix Jean Prat in France. Pace pattern is competitive to these.
6th: #3 BRAVAZO hasn’t won since February, that being the Risen Star. Has had limited success in Graded company since. Set new top on June 9th in the Belmont, with a 101. Best run at Churchill was this year’s Derby, with a 93 while finishing 6th.
Now for the top 5:
5th: #17: PAVEL was 4th in this year’s Dubai World Cup, and since then was 6th in the Santa Anita Gold Cup, won the Stephen Foster with a 106 at Churchill (best CD score of these horses), and was 2nd in the Pacific Classic. Overall pace and pace pattern is in the top 7 here. Love the 30-1 odds.
4th: #22 VINO ROSSO was 3rd in the Jim Dandy, and 4th in the Belmont, where his 105 set a new top. Ran a 91 in the Kentucky Derby. Pace is decent but pace pattern is as good as others here. 30-1 is also a nice price.
3rd: #12 HOFBURG won his 2nd maiden race with a 96, 2nd in the Florida Derby with a 104, was 7th in the KY Derby, 3rd in the Belmont, setting a new top of 106, and then paired up with a 105 while winning a sloppy Curln Stakes at Saratoga on 7/27. Pace and pace pattern here very competitive. Also one to like at 30-1
2nd: #7 DIVERSIFY has won 10 of 15 lifetime, including his last 3; the Whitney with a 101, the Suburban with a new top of 114, and the Commentator at Belmont with another 101. No pace pattern for him here but he qualified in all other categories. Ran a 100 in last year’s Clark at CD. 5-1 odds are not attractive enough to wager on but that can certainly change.
1st: ACCELERATE is touted as the big favorite and I must agree. 18 of 20 in the money lifetime; 1st or 2nd in his last 6 races. Very fast pace and pace pattern. Set new top of 114 last time out, winning the 10-furlong Pacific Classic by 12.
Hofburg, Vino Rosso, Pavel, Bravazo and Thunder Snow most likely to be wagered upon, $2 each for win.
Here’s how I see the Distaff:
7 horses qualified out of the 22 for my consideration for betting for win here:
7th: #9 FARRELL: Winner last out of the Grade 3 9-furlong Shuvee at Saratoga. Peaked prior to that with a 100 in the Fleur De Lis on 6/16 at Churchill, scoring 100. 30-1
6th: #18 SHE’S A JULIE: Best race was in July, winning the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks with a 99. Followed up with a 96 running 2nd in the Alabama. One of the faster fillies of the field, with last 4 races in the 90s. Worth a shot at 50-1
Top 5 here for my consideration:
5th: #1 ABEL TASMAN ran lifetime best 112 in last year’s Distaff, finishing 2nd. Since then, she was 4th in the La Troienne, then won the Ogden Phipps, scoring a 101. Twice a winner at 9 furlongs. Winner of the Kentucky Oaks with a 102. One of the faster pace figures of the field. Hard to like at 4-1.
4th: #8 ESKIMO KISSES Won the Alabama with a new top of 103 last week. Great pace profile, tho no real pattern. Might be good for value at 8-1.
3rd:#3 BLUE PRIZE won this year’s Top Flight Invitational and the Fleur De Lis, the latter being a small new top of 102, set on 6/16. That 9-furlong race at CD ties 3 others for the best CD score of the 22 in this pool. Also has one of the leading pace totals. Good pick here at 30-1.
2nd: WONDER GADOT: Winner of this year’s Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales, she ran her best at CD in the KY Oaks, scoring a 102. Not the fastest here but has a competitive pace pattern 5-1 is an iffy pick here.
1st: MONOMOY GIRL is highly favored in the pool at 7/2. Probably not going to pick here but she deserves her place. Winner of 8 of 9 lifetime except for last year’s Golden Rod. Peaked at 102 in her KY Oaks win, and since then ran a 100 in the Acorn, and a 96 in the CC American Oaks. Competitive pace and pattern here.
I’m likely going with these five, depending on the movement of odds and the outcome of the Personal Ensign: Blue Prize, Eskimo Kisses, She’s A Julie, and Farrell. I know I need a 5th. Will split those hairs on Sunday if need be!
Post coming Friday night as I preview the major stakes action that is Travers Day at the Spa.