Breeders’ Cup Picks for Friday, October 31st 2014 Races

2014 Breeders’ Cup Picks for Friday, October 31, 2014

by Kenneth Strong, Professional Horse Racing Handicapper,

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Grade I, Purse: $1,000,000
Race 6, Santa Anita, Friday, October 31, 2014
2-Year-Old Colts & Geldings, Turf, 1 Mile

2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Picks and Analysis

1. War Envoy
2. Hootenanny
3. Imperia
4. Commemorative
5. Faithful Creek
6. Longshot: Danny Boy must overcome his tough wide post but could rally into the Superfecta and a nice price if the speed hooks up.

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The Europeans have dominated in the Breeders’ Cup Turf races for years and 2014 should be no different. The European horses are classier and fitter than their American
rivals in general and it’s very difficult to go against those two angles, not to mention the fact that the Europeans also appear to be faster.

War Envoy ships in for trainer Aiden O’Brien, who has an excellent 8-12-7 record from 88 Breeders’ Cup starts and who also won this race in 2011 with Wrote and in 2012 with
George Vancouver. The same jockey who was aboard for both of those wins, Ryan Moore, is back again to ride, and Moore has also compiled an excellent record of 6-2-1 from 27 Breeders’ Cup mounts. In both of his final preps for this race in Grade 1 and Grade 2 races at seven furlongs, War Envoy closed ground late against tough horses. It almost appeared asif he was prepping for this race, and being taught to stalk from behind horses and run late. That will be the strategy here and both jockey and trainer have already proven themselves in this particular race. The odds should also be inviting.

Possible favorite Hootenanny has speed and gets the services of top international jockey Frankie Dettori, but trainer Wesley Ward is 0-for-16 in Breeders’ Cup races and there is other speed in here, more than he likely faced overseas where they generally rate their horses early. Although he finished a decent second in a Grade 1 in France in his last start beaten only a half-length, he gave way late and he’s never been beyond six furlongs. Still, he’s fit and classy and might just be able to open up into the stretch.

The top American hope in the race is likely Imperia, who rallied nicely to win the Pilgrim Stakes G3 at Belmont in only his second lifetime start last out. He appears to be still learning but could have some serious upside to him. Vision Perfect, who finished second in the Pilgrim, came back to win the Awad Stakes at Belmont Park, and both jockey Javier Castellano and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin have decent Breeders’ Cup records.

Commemorative ships in from England off his second win in a row in a Grade 3 going a mile and trainer Charles Hills won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with Chriselliam in 2013. That’s enough to make this horse a contender at good odds. He does face other speed in the from of Hootenanny and Luck of the Kitten.

Trainer Brian Meehan’s interesting longshot Faithful Creek drew in from the also eligibles for this race and he’ll get Lasix and blinkers for the first time off a third place finishin a Grade 3 going a mile in Ireland. He’ll need a perfect trip but the price will certainly be right. Meehan is 2-1-1 from 10 starts in the Breeders’ Cup. Jockey Kieren Fallonhas compiled a record of 2-2-2 from 20 Breeders’ Cup mounts. A capable team with an overlay.

2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Entries with Post Positions, Horses, Jockeys, Trainers, Odds

Post, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Odds

1 Wet Sail, Spencer, Fellowes, 15-1
2 Daddy D T, Nakatani, Sadler, 15-1
3 Luck of the Kitten, Smith, Ward, 8-1
4 Commemorative, Doyle, Hills, 8-1
5 Hootenanny, Dettori, Ward, 3-1
6 Conquest Typhoon, Husbands, Casse, 12-1
7 War Envoy, Moore, O’Brien, 9-2
8 Offering Plan, Ortiz Jr, Brown, 20-1
9 Aktabantay, Peslier, Palmer, 12-1
10 Startup Nation, Rosario, Brown, 12-1
11 Imperia, Castellano, McLaughlin, 6-1
12 International Star, Velazquez, Maker, 15-1
13 Lawn Ranger, Landeros, McPeek, 20-1
14 Danny Boy, Leparoux, Romans, 20-1
15. Faithful Creek, Fallon, Meehan, 20-1

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Grade I, Purse: $1,000,000
Race 7, Santa Anita, Friday, October 31, 2014
3-Year-Olds & Up, Dirt, 1 Mile

2014 Breeders’ Dirt Mile Picks and Analysis

1. Goldencents
2. Fed Biz
3. Golden Ticket
4. Tapiture
5. Vicar’s in Trouble


There’s no question that Goldencents is the horse to beat in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. He won this race in wire-to-wire fashion last year, he looks like the controlling speed and he gets top Santa Anita jockey Raphael Bejarano. Goldencents was caught late and lost by a nose in his final prep for this race going six furlongs and while Bejarano said he waited on the other horse, he may just have lost to a very good horse in Rich Tapestry. It’s Goldencents’ race to lose and he is the most logical winner in all the Breeders’ Cup races. He will be a key on the majority of multi-race wager tickets and if he loses the exotics will pay big. You aren’t likely to get much of a price on him, but it’s a case of you can’t bet on him and you can’t bet against him.

After Goldencents, this race becomes a bit of a crap shoot. If he runs his race, the speed that chases him is likely to tire in the stretch, which sets the Superfecta spots up for plodding ralliers like Golden Ticket, who ran second in this race last year. Fed Biz is the one speed horse that could stay close to Goldencents and hold on for a piece. He actually defeated Goldencents in the past going seven furlongs and his trainer Bob Baffert has a strong record 10-11-3 from 83 Breeders’ Cup starts. The problem is he comes off a hard fought neck loss to Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite Shared Belief and that race may have taken a toll on him. Vicar’s in Trouble is an intriguing 3-year-old cutting back in distance with a strong record and he could get a perfect trip stalking a forced pace if Goldencents and Fed Biz hook up. Tapiture is another who could get the same type of trip and who has enough class to upset if an early battle develops. We used Pants on Fire underneath in this race last year and he ran terrible, so we’re leery about his chances.

We’ll key Goldencents first and second with Fed Biz to finish in the top three, and round out our Superfecta tickets with Tapiture, Vicar’s in Trouble, Golden Ticket, Pants on Fire, Carve and Big Bane Theory.

2014 Breeders’ Dirt Mile Entries with Post Positions, Horses, Jockeys, Trainers, Odds

Post, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Odds

1 Goldencents, Bejarano, Mora, 6-5
2 Carve, Smith, Cox, 15-1
3 Vicar’s in Trouble, Velasquez, Maker, 12-1
4 Pants On Fire, Lopez, Breen, 6-1
5 Handsome Mike, Guittierez, Mora, 30-1
6 Golden Ticket, Rosario, McPeek, 15-1
7 Bronzo, Torres, Inda, 12-1
8 Fed Biz, Garcia, Baffert, 7-2
9 Tapiture, Napravnik, Asmussen, 6-1
10 Big Bane Theory, Talamo, Gaines, 15-1

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, Grade I, Purse: $1,000,000
Race 8, Santa Anita, Friday, October 31, 2014
2-Year-Old Fillies, Turf, 1 Mile

2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Picks and Analysis

1. Qualify
2. Sunset Glow
3. Osaila
4. Sivoliere
5. Lady Eli
6. Longshot: Prize Exhibit fits the Euro angle and comes into this race off a narrow neck loss in a Grade 3 in England going seven furlongs.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf should favor the Europeans once again on class, fitness and pure ability. We’ll go with the proven Breeders’ Cup combination of trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore and play Qualify to win. Qualify comes off a good win in a Grade 3 in Ireland going seven furlongs in which she also appeared to be getting educated for this race, tucking in behind horses and waiting for the stretch to make her big run. The only problem is her wide post, but we’re hoping Moore can work out some type of trip with her and fly home late at what should be a good price.

We normally wouldn’t go with an American-based horse in this race but Sunset Glow was shipped to England earlier in the year and proved her class by finishing second in the Grade 3 Albany Stakes. Trainer Wesley Ward is an excellent trainer, but he has to overcome his cursed 0-for-16 record in the Breeders’ Cup to win this. Osaila comes into this race off a good win in a high value stakes at Newmarket and top international jockey Frankie Dettori rides her right back. That alone gives her a shot at the win here.

Rounding out our picks for the Superfecta will Sivoliere, who finished third in a seven furlong Grade 3 in France in her last start, and who also now has the a top trainer-jockey combo of Chad Brown-Gary Stevens going for her, and Lady Eli, impressive winner of the Grade 3 Miss Grillo in her last with the top trainer-jockey combo of Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz in her corner.

2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Entries with Post Positions, Horses, Jockeys, Trainers, Odds

Post, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Odds

1 Partisan Politics, Castellano, Brown, 15-1
2 Osaila, Dettori, Hannon, 5-1
3 Sunset Glow, Espinoza, Ward, 7-2
4 Lady Eli, Ortiz Jr, Brown, 6-1
5 Isabella Sings, Velasquez, Pletcher, 12-1
6 Sivoliere, Stevens, Brown, 12-1
7 Rainha Da Bateria, Rosario, Motion, 12-1
8 Nicky’s Brown Miss, Torres, Capilupi, 20-1
9 Lady Zuzu, Leparoux, Lukas, 15-1
10 Quality Rocks, Lezcano, Mott, 20-1
11 Conquest Harlanate, Husbands, Casse, 10-1
12 Tammy the Torpedo, Bejarano, Brown, 12-1
13 Prize Exhibit, Spencer, Osborne, 20-1
14 Qualify, Moore, O’Brien, 5-1

Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Grade I, Purse: $2,000,000
Race 9, Santa Anita, Friday, October 31, 2014
Fillies & Mares, 3-Year_olds & Up, Dirt, 1 1/8 Miles

2014 Breeders’ Cup Distaff Picks and Analysis

1. Don’t Tell Sophia
2. Untapable
3. Iotapa
4. Tiz Midnight
5. Stanwyck

Close Hatches would have been our choice in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff based on both her ability and top Breeders’ Cup trainer Bill Mott, but she looked so terrible in her final prep in the Grade 1 Spinster at Belmont we can’t use her anywhere. She could come back to haunt us with her speed and class but we’re going to bet against her here at a short price. The logical choice in this race is 3-year-old Untapable. She’s run some monster races this year and her only bad race was against males when Bayern freaked in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. Untapable should never have been in that race. Jockey Rosie Napravnik has a decent 1-for-5 record in the Breeders’ Cup and trainer Steve Asmussen is 4-4-2 from 32 starts. The only things stopping us from using Untapable on top is the bad karma that has haunted trainer Asmussen this year and the fact that she wasn’t quite as impressive as usual winning the Grade 1 Cotillion in her last start at Parx.

The race sets up with Tiz Midnight, Belle Gallantey and Close Hatches wanting the lead with Untapable, Ria Antonia and Iotapa right behind that group. This could lead to an all out battle among that group on the final turn, which sets the race up for our pick Don’t Tell Sophia. Untapable could surge to the lead turuning for home, but we’re hoping a turn battle takes something out of her and sets the race up for our pick, who upset the sub par Close Hatches and Ria Antonia in the Spinster in her last start. Beware that the track profile favors speed horses and pressers in this race, and Don’t Tell Sophia will have to run through the perceieved track bias to win this. We’re betting her regardless, as she is in superb form right now. Her jockey Joe Rocco has never ridden in the Breeders’ Cup, and her trainer Phillip Sims finished fifth with his only starter in the Breeders’ Cup, so we’re taking a bit of a shot at a price here on a sharp horse.

This is a tricky race and keep in mind that if Tiz Midnight, Belle Gallantey or even Close Hatches opens up early they could go a long ways and even win the race. If a speed horse gets loose in here Don’t Tell Sophia would have to run the race of her life to win. We’re obviously hoping for a duel. Either way, Iotapa is a solid presser type that could get a nice trip and hang on for a piece while Stanwyck is a longshot rallier for the Superfectas.

2014 Breeders’ Cup Distaff Entries with Post Positions, Horses, Jockeys, Trainers, Odds

Post, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Odds

1 L’Amour de Ma Vie, Guyon, Brandt, 15-1
2 Tiz Midnight, Espinoza, Baffert, 10-1
3 Iotapa, Talamo, Sadler, 6-1
4 Belle Gallantey, Ortiz, Rodriguez, 6-1
5 Unbridled Forever, Velazquez, Stewart, 20-1
6 Stanwyck, Nakatani, Shirreffs, 20-1
7 Don’t Tell Sophia, Rocco Jr, Sims, 5-1
8 Valiant Emilia, Bejarano, Mandella, 20-1
9 Ria Antonia, Lopez, Amoss, 15-1
10 Untapable, Napravnik, Asmussen, 5-2
11 Close Hatches, Rosario, Mott, 3-1

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Saturday’s picks and predictions! Good Luck!