A FEW BREEDERS’ CUP PICKS AND PANS FOR 2023
The Breeders’ Cup is traditionally the greatest two days of racing on North American soil. Events like the Kentucky Derby and other Triple Crown races feature “big” weekends as well as some blockbuster stakes days throughout the year, but nothing can compare top to bottom to the Cup. The beauty of this wonderful event is layered like an onion. The competition, pageantry, athletic excellence, and of course the speculation is off the charts.
With all that mumbo-jumbo in mind, let’s give a few thoughts on Championship Saturday as far as wagering is concerned. Normally an event that can produce massive payouts, my advice is pretty simple. Pick who you think is going to run the fastest and hope you guess right.
This race could feature the closest thing to a slam dunk at the 2023 Cup. Cody’s Wish is magnificent for many reasons. An across-the-board bet (win, place, show) on this Bill Mott trainee should yield a trip back to the window. Likely a heavy favorite, he may not pay a lot, but he should PAY. An interesting horse in this one may be Preakness champ National Treasure. Breaking from the outside post for trainer Bob Baffert, he might just take’em all the way if not pressured on the lead.
FILLY AND MARE TURF
The turf races at the Cup can often be dominated by the Europeans. Of course, they only run on grass, thus their proficiency. Chad Brown has developed into a fantastic grass trainer and he has a super fast female in this one. If In Italian can break well she should be on the front end. Can she hold for the mile and a quarter is the big question. McKulick is another Chad Brown runner who could be dangerous at a price.
FILLY AND MARE SPRINT
More fabulous females that will feature plenty of fleet feet. Goodnight Olive is the defending champ here and looks to be in top form for that same Chad Brown. Never out of the top three with eight wins in eleven career starts, she too is one to play as a “sure thing” (if there is such a thing in this game). The outside post belongs to a front-end runner named Yuugiri who runs with the determination of her pappy (Shackleford). Absolutely one to play, if she can relax on the lead, look out.
Usually one of the most thrilling races, this go on the grass is also a showcase for the European runners. Master of the Seas is based across the pond but has run a few times in the States and will be the logical choice here for trainer Charlie Appleby. We want to take a swing here and go with the Bob Baffert-trained Du Jour. Likely coming at a price as Big Race Bob does not campaign very many turf horses, his huge closing kick under jockey Flavien Prat might just spell payday.
Often times this can be one of the most competitive and star-studded races on the card. The top girls usually stick around a few more years than the boys as the breeding shed is not dialing them up just yet. This edition is no different as West Coast queen Adare Manor has won five in a row, East of the Mississippi maiden Idiomatic has won four in a row, wonderful Wet Paint swept the Oaklawn series for three-year-olds, Hoosier Filly has been fantastic at times, veteran Clariere is a proven grade 1 winner. All those are magnificent, but we like Kentucky Oaks and Acorn champ Pretty Mischievous. My advice here is the superfecta box.
Another grass race figured to be dominated by those horses with the funny accent. But wait a minute, there are some state-side runners with a real shot. Todd Pletcher sends out a super-talented runner that may be aptly named. Up To The Mark won his last race at a mile distance, but his late-running style should relish this mile-and-a-quarter distance. Local boy Gold Phoenix is trained by Phil D’Amato and could really shake up the world as he could go off at better than his 30-1 morning line. War Like Goddess is a girl looking to beat the boys and she has plenty enough kick to be dangerous here.
If we are just being real, this Classic edition features a field that has been decimated by injury throughout the year. But we still have 12 running for their share of $6 million. Can Arabian Knight roll to victory in gate-to-wire fashion? Bob Baffert trains so the answer here is absolutely. Here is the kicker in this one. The Japanese runners have done extremely well on the national stage in the past few years. Ushba Tesoro was dominant in winning the Dubai World Cup back in March. Is he the Godzilla some think he could be in this one? We will just say he needs to be on your exotic tickets.
Without question one of the most exciting races in the history of the event, upsets can be the norm in this one. Last year's winner at odds of 42-1 was Caravel and she is back to defend. She will not be that price in this one, but the five-furlong distance plays into her hands. If she breaks well them boys could be in for another beating. Motorious is a closer that could garner the gold as an extremely hot pace is likely.
The race order has been altered for some reason this year and these six sizzling furlongs will close the Cup. Defending champ Elite Power is in the house, but how about that mercurial Speed Boat Beach? He has a great turn of foot and training magician Bob Baffert in his corner. Mark Glatt brings back veteran Dr.Schivel who was robbed at the wire in this race at Del Mar in 2021. Hoist The Gold was fantastic in the Phoenix at Keeneland last out for trainer Dallas Stewart. The Chosen Vron has won eight races in a row dating back to last year. Gunite is a grade 1 winner as well. What does all this mean?... It’s going to be a heck of a nightcap.