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From Coast to Coast

2013 Breeders' Cup Turf: Analyzing the field

The post positions have been drawn and the field is set. Now that we officially know who is in, barring any unforeseen scratches, we can take a look at the field. Who’s a toss? Who’s a live long shot? Who drew poorly and who drew well? Without further ado, here is the field for the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf.
 
 
1. Vagabond Shoes 15-1
 
If it weren’t for his late running style, the rail would have been a killer place to be. As it stands, Vagabond Shoes makes one run, so the crush of speed vying for the lead and the shortest route around the track should not bother him in the early stages of the game. He retains jockey Victor Espinoza, who has been aboard for his last three outings. Together the duo ran second in both the G1 Eddie Read and the G2 John Henry Turf Cup and won the G2 Del Mar Handicap. Though the rail has been winning at an 18% clip, Vagabond Shoes has not been particularly effective at Santa Anita. The added distance may benefit him as he won at 1 3/8 and ran a game second at 1 ¼, but given the competition, I feel he is a toss in this spot.
 
 
2. Teaks North 30-1
 
Stakes winner Teaks North has the advantage of being the closest to the inside of all the speed types, all of who drew consecutive posts. Trained by the controversial Eric Guillot, the gelded son of Northern Afleet does not seem to have a whole going for him. He is 0-for-3 at the 12 furlong distance and 0-for-1 at Santa Anita. His best effort of the year arguably came in the G1 United Nations when he ran second to Big Blue Kitten, but he has not duplicated that effort since then. Another toss.
 
 
 
I have been high on Twilight Eclipse since he set a new world record for 1 ½ when winning the G2 Pan American at Gulfstream back in March. He has had some good efforts since then, but he has also thrown in a couple of clunkers, too. When he is on his “A game,” he is very good, but I sense that he is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type. Though he has never raced at Santa Anita, I believe he’ll find the course to his liking, and we already know he likes the distance. With Julien Leparoux in the irons, I give him a legitimate shot. Live long shot alert.
 
 
 
It may seem odd that the defending champion is not the morning line favorite, but until recently, the popular Little Mike has not shown last year’s form. After dropping four straight since last year’s shocking BC Turf win, the Spanish Steps gelding finally found the winner’s circle when trying a new strategy in the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. Of the 4 speed types, he is the most likely to take the lead, and if none of the other three decide to contest things on the front end, he may just take them all the way on the lead. I liked what I saw in the Joe Hirsch, so I’m finally back on board with Little Mike. Definitely has a shot.
 
 
5. Skyring 30-1
 
One hit wonder alert! This son of English Channel won the G2 Dixie back in May, and that’s about all that he has done that is worth discussing. He has done absolutely nothing since, and I do not see anything that leads me to believe that will change on racing’s biggest stage. Toss.
 
 
6. Tale of a Champion 30-1
 
Locally based Tale of a Champion has a Grade 2 win to his credit, but the field he faced in the Charles Whittingham was less than impressive. Last year he ran 8th in the BC Turf Sprint, and I doubt that he can do better than that in this spot. Toss.
 
 
7. The Fugue 3-1
 
Strictly speaking, the lone filly in the field is the one to beat. She qualified for both the Turf and the Filly & Mare Turf, but her connections felt that she would be better suited to the mile and a half Turf against the boys. She has always finished first or second going 12 furlongs, but she has never done it against her male counterparts. She beat some of Europe’s finest last out, and if not for a horrendous trip, she would already have a Breeders’ Cup win on her résumé by virtue of last year’s Filly & Mare Turf. Regular jockey William Buick will join her stateside, and every indication points to The Fugue being ready to show the boys her rump as the field crosses the wire. It would be a crime to leave her out of any wagers.
 
 
 
America’s darling turf router returns to the starting gate for the first time since June. Point of Entry is undefeated this year, and though he has been training well, I have to question his fitness. Animal Kingdom ran a bang up 2nd in last year’s BC Mile under similar circumstances, but there is a pretty significant difference in a mile and a mile and a half. Questions and doubts aside, I have complete confidence in both trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey John Velazquez, so I imagine Point of Entry is ready to strut his stuff. A must include in any wager.
 
 
9. Indy Point 9-2
 
Spoiler alert! Who is chestnut, Argentinean bred, a multiple Group 1 winner, and has taken a liking to California? If you guessed Indy Point, then you know who I think has an excellent shot to play spoiler to The Fugue. He inexplicably threw in a clunker in the Arlington Million, but he bounced right back to win the John Henry Turf Cup in nearly track record time over the Santa Anita turf course. He’ll enter the Breeders’ Cup off a nearly 5 week freshening and will likely take up a good stalking position. The 9 hole should serve him well, and with his running style, he will be near the pace if the pace is comfortable or nicely settled off a quick pace. Definite contender.
 
 
 
The first of the Ramsey duo is also the most likely to bring home the win for America’s top owners. While Point of Entry was away during the second half of the year, the 5-year old son of Kitten’s Joy rose to the top of America’s turf route division with wins in the G1 United Nations and G1 Sword Dancer and runner-up efforts in the G2 Monmouth and the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. He enters the biggest race of his career in top form and will be running late. Contender.
 
 
11. Magician 8-1
 
The lone 3-year old in the field may not be on the same level as The Fugue, but he has made a good showing this year. The lightly raced Aidan O’Brien trainee has two wins from 3 starts this year, comfortably winning both the Group 1 Irish Two Thousand Guineas and the Group 3 Dee Stakes. He finished 9th and last in the Group 1 St. James’s Palace last out but a line can be drawn through that effort as he was badly impeded two different times during the stretch drive. He likes to stalk the pace, and his outside post should help him get a good position. This will be the furthest he has ever been asked to race, though, and I believe he is up against it class wise. He is not a complete toss, but I do not think he is a top contender either.
 
 
12. Real Solution 8-1
 
I have liked Real Solution since he returned to the States from Italy. He has consistently put in good efforts for the Ramseys since his return, but the only win, and biggest of his career, he has in the U.S. came in the Arlington Million. Of course, if you’re going to win just one, that’s a good one to win. I firmly believe that he would have won that race had it been cleanly run instead of getting the win via The Apache’s disqualification, but you can’t re-run the race once it’s in the books. Like Magician, he is not a complete toss, but he is not a top contender either. Like stablemate Big Blue Kitten, he will find his best stride in the later stages of the race.
 
 
Summary: The post position draw actually looks pretty good. There are not any glaringly obvious bad or good draws, and it looks as though everyone should be pretty happy with the post they drew. Under normal circumstances, I would say that Little Mike would be the contender most likely to set the pace, but now it is hard to say for sure. The defending champion unveiled a new dimension in his last start, and if he does not contest the early lead, then long shot Skyring will likely go to the front. Teaks North and Twilight Eclipse should be part of the early pace, too, and Indy Point, Tale of a Champion, and Magician will settle in right behind them. Vagabond Shoes, The Fugue, Point of Entry, Big Blue Kitten, and Real Solution will all be charging home late.
 
          Top Picks: The Fugue, Indy Point, Little Mike, and Big Blue Kitten
          Contenders: Point of Entry, Magician, and Real Solution
          Live Long Shot: Twilight Eclipse
          Pretenders: Vagabond Shoes, Teaks North, Skyring, and Tale of a Champion

 

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Older Comments about 2013 Breeders' Cup Turf: Analyzing the field...

With no disrespect to the very quality field in this race, I'm going to stick with my gut on Point of Entry.
The point I will make is Indy Point of Entry...........cold exacta
You're right, railbird. I wasn't 'capping back then, but I have heard about and watched replays of the 2003 finish. Sometimes those blanket finishes are the best, especially if they're all quality contenders.
Ashley, nice job. You may not have been handicapping in 2003 when the best fiish in BC history happened, it was the Turf race at Santa Anita- Dead heat Johar & High Chapparal with Falbrav (FR shipper) a nose behind. This years turf looks like a blanket finish- again.
Little Mike is hard for me to ignore because I've played well with him in the past. But, I was also at the Arlington Million this year and Real Solution also got my attention. I like both of these two, hope Indy Point has another off day like he did in the Million

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.