2022 Breeders’ Cup – Top Picks for Day 2
After Future Stars Friday, the top older horses in the world take the stage on Saturday for the final day of the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland! Nine championship races run the full gamut of divisions: dirt and turf, sprints and routes. With huge fields and classy runners all day long, there is no better day of the year to bet horse racing than Breeders’ Cup Saturday.
Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
Unlike many years the field is full of horses who truly love this specialist seven-furlong trip. The field has drawn a lot of speed, meaning it sets up for a horse who can come from off of it. Favored Goodnight Olive and defending champion Ce Ce could both work a trip from just off the pace. Though, especially with rain in the forecast, it is worth giving a look to 15-1 morning-line shot Chi Town Lady, who had her breakout win in the Test (G1) and could get a perfect late-running trip. Obligatory also belongs in exotics though seven furlongs is not her best winning distance.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
This race goes through defending champion Golden Pal. He has never fired a clunker in the United States, is four-for-four at Keeneland, and has both the speed to make the lead and the grit to box on if something weird happens at the start. Campanelle, the other Wesley Ward, had never run poorly at the distance and can work any kind of trip. Bran comes off a huge late-running win at Kentucky Downs, but can effectively shorten up to this more conventional trip as well. Highfield Princess has won three Group 1 races in a row but may be an underlay given the tendency of overseas horses to underperform.
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
This race drew a strange crew this year: most of the runners are either one-turn types at seven furlongs or a mile, like short-priced Cody’s Wish and Gunite, or they are two-turn horses who like going longer (but not quite the Classic trip), like Cyberknife. Laurel River may be the truest two-turn miler in this race, with two sharp allowance wins at the trip at Del Mar, though he then showed some class in the one-turn Pat O’Brien (G2). Simplification has mostly been going longer than this but runs like a horse that the two-turn mile should suit, and his tactical versatility shines. At a big price, Law Professor has tactical speed and some ability at the two-turn mile as well.
Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
In Italian stealing major turf races has become a theme this year but with fellow frontrunner Going to Vegas entered as well this will be a different story, and should set up for someone rallying in the lane. This race has been very kind to international horses lately, as only one of the last six winners has been US-based. Nashwa, a proper Group 1 horse in England and France, is the one to beat second off a layoff. Above the Curve also has top-quality European form though, unlike Nashwa, this distance may be on the short side for her. If Frankie Dettori can get her a cleaner trip than she had in the E. P. Taylor (G1), Moira’s devastating late kick can make her a threat. Even with pace pressure, the consistent In Italian could still hang around for a share underneath.
Breeders’ Cup Sprint
Speed is your best friend in a dirt sprint at Keeneland. Surprisingly, this race does not have a lot of real early gas other than likely favorite Jackie’s Warrior, giving him his best chance yet to break his Breeders’ Cup jinx. The one most likely to stay in range and make a race of it is Kimari, a Keeneland-loving mare who is no stranger to trying males. Under them, though, longshot chaos is likely. O Besos has not had a lot of chances going this short but has done well and has proven he can finish into a pedestrian pace. Though Flash of Mischief comes in off of a win in only a minor stakes, he beat a horse with real back class in Empire of Gold and the price should be big enough to bet he might not bounce.
Breeders’ Cup Mile
The weather forecast suggests that, by the time of the Mile, some rain may be starting to fall. The likely favorite, deservingly, is Modern Games. He can handle any kind of turf condition, he can ship well for ace trainer Charlie Appleby, and he has never finished out of the exacta going a mile. Annapolis was a revelation in the local prep, and the way he ran first off a layoff over soft turf in the Penn Mile (G2) suggests that the rain should not dull this now-better horse’s chances. Regal Glory ran a quality second when trying males two starts back and her consistency and pace versatility weigh in her favor. Ivar does his best work at Keeneland and likes to run on late, though he is more intriguing if the turf stays on the firm side.
Breeders’ Cup Distaff
The Distaff division has been one of the most exciting all year long, and this race is a fitting culmination. The edge goes to Malathaat, who has been running against top older horses all year long. 1 1/8 miles is her favorite distance, she is perfect at Keeneland, and she is also perfect over an off-track if it comes to that. Tactically versatile Nest has been the most impressive of the three-year-olds, and is also a Grade 1 winner at Keeneland. Improving three-year-old Society looks like the speed of the speed, and frontrunners can perform well routing on the Keeneland dirt. Long shot Blue Stripe is better than she was when she tried the Distaff last year, and does not need a massive step forward from her last-out Clement L. Hirsch (G1) win to get a piece underneath.
Breeders’ Cup Turf
11 of the last 14 Breeders’ Cup Turf winners have been trained overseas. The leading overseas contender is Rebel’s Romance, one of two for Charlie Appleby, who has been on an upward trajectory in his last four starts, including two German Group 1 wins. He should be good whether the turf is firmer or waterlogged. Appleby also sends out Nations Pride, who began his career in Europe but spent his summer running well in all three legs of New York’s turf triple. Mishriff adds blinkers, though will be better suited if the turf stays firm to good. North America’s best hope is War Like Goddess, a mare with a devastating turn of foot; she beat males in the Joe Hirsch (G1) last out. As a longshot for exotics, Red Knight came close despite trouble last out. He is a real 1 1/2-mile horse for trainer Mike Maker, and his best races can sneak a check.
Breeders’ Cup Classic
Though he has raced just five times, Flightline’s devastating victory in the Pacific Classic (G1) proves that he can stay 1 1/4 miles and that he deserves favoritism here. He has a high cruising speed but can stalk the pace if necessary, and his ability to overcome a tough start in the Met Mile means he doesn’t need everything easy. Epicenter, facing older for the first time, has run two excellent races at the Classic distance and is young enough to move forward still. Taiba needs to answer the 1 1/4-mile question but is more seasoned now than the last time he tried it. For a long shot in exotics, Happy Saver (the likely longest shot on the board) is a Grade 1 winner at this distance and still regularly claims shares against top handicap foes.
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