Breeders’ Cup is notorious for producing numerous upset winners. Each year,
racing fans and handicaps must “expect the unexpected.” From the 53-1 Lashkari
in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Turf to the 17-1 upsets by Calidoscopio and
Little Mike at last year’s Breeders’ Cup, long shot winners are all but
guaranteed at the two-day championships.
Are you searching for some possible long shot plays for today’s Breeders’ Cup
Friday races? I chose at least one horse from each race worth a look that was
given morning line odds of at least 8-1, giving you plenty of options to choose
Authenticity: Authenticity has been notably consistent this year, never
finishing worse than third in eight starts. Winner of the La Troienne Stakes
(gr. II) at Churchill Downs in May and the Shuvee Handicap (gr. III) at
Saratoga, Authenticity’s past two starts resulted in runner-up efforts in grade
ones on both coasts. The first of these came behind Royal Delta in the Personal
Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga, which preceded a respectable finish behind
Beholder in the Zenyatta.
London Bridge: Making the trip from England, London Bridge has won three
of his seven starts this year. Among these victories was an easy triumph going
a mile and one-half in a handicap at Ripon. That win came in June and though he
has failed to win his two subsequent starts, he has run rather well in both of
those outings, finishing third and fourth – respectively. However, his
fourth-place finish came in a mile and seven-furlong race, which is one furlong
longer than the Marathon. In this start, London Bridge displayed fatigue in the
late stages, fading to be defeated by nearly five lengths. Like the other
Europeans aligned for the Breeders’ Cup, the extent of London Bridge’s quality
and ability is unknown, but he does appear to have a fairly good chance in this
Suns Out Guns Out: Another son of Belmont Stakes winner
Empire Maker, Suns Out Guns Out only has three wins to boast from twenty-two
starts. One of those victories came in his most recent start, a 4 ¾-length win
in a mile allowance optional claiming at Parx. Prior to this, he was fourth in
the Greenwood Cup Stakes (gr. III).
Old Time Hockey: Although
he has never won on dirt, Old Time Hockey has perhaps the most back class of
any horse in the Marathon. His best finish on dirt was a runner-up finish
behind eventual grade one winner Golden Ticket at Gulfstream Park in the third
start of his career and since then, he has raced solely on turf. His past two
starts have resulted in solid fourth-place efforts in grade twos on Southern
California grass and though he has not found the winner’s circle since
capturing the La Jolla Handicap (gr. II) last August, he has run moderately
well against graded stakes company. A mile and three-eighths is the longest
distance he has competed at, but he has shown the desire to go longer.
Aotearoa: An easy
winner over the synthetic in a state-bred maiden at Del Mar, Aotearoa expended
his energy in the starting gate prior to his next start, the I’m Smokin Stakes
at Del Mar – in which he finished an uninspiring fourth. But he rebounded next
out when he upgraded to open company in the Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita,
closing to prevail by ¾ of a length.
Got Shades: Third in his debut at Lone Star, Got Shades won a pair of
stakes at Louisiana Downs prior to shipping west for the Zuma Beach Stakes at
Santa Anita. In this race, he appeared full of run at the top of the stretch,
but lost his momentum and failed to advance, finishing third. Perhaps his
biggest advantage is his rider: Gary Stevens.
Poker Player: A
two-time winner from three outings, Poker Player broke his maiden at Kentucky
Downs before capturing the Bourbon Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland, a race
originally scheduled for the turf that was moved to the synthetic track. The
validity of his win in this race is a mystery, but he is a talented colt with a
chance who could offer a savvy price play.
Wilshire Boulevard: This Aidan
O’Brien trainee broke his maiden at third asking prior to finishing a distant
tenth in a listed stakes at Royal Ascot. But he rebounded next out, taking a
group three at The Curragh. After finishing a narrowly beaten second in a group
two at York, he was a good fourth in a group one at Longchamp. His consistency
and quality is questionable, but he just may spring an upset.
Broadway Empire: Riding a three-race winning streak, Broadway Empire upset
Departing last out in the Oklahoma Derby (gr. III), winning that contest by 4
lengths. Prior to that, he captured a pair of stakes at Northlands Park by a
combined 10 ¼ lengths, including the Canadian Derby (gr. III).
Brujo de Olleros: Originally from Brazil, Brujo de Olleros has only
raced three times this year, holding two seconds and a win. After being
narrowly defeated in a handicap at Parx in June, Brujo de Olleros was a
dominant winner of a stakes race at Delaware Park. In his most recent start,
Brujo de Olleros proved a difficult foe for Graydar. However, he has become a
“wise guy” horse and may be bet down to lower odds.
Golden Ticket: Winner of last year’s Travers, Golden Ticket’s 2013
campaign has been his most consistent yet, as he has finished no worse than
fourth in his seven starts this year. Last out, he was a respectable fourth
behind Classic contender Mucho Macho Man in the Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) at
Santa Anita. Prior to that, he conquered his rivals in the ten-furlong Prairie
Meadows Handicap by eight lengths – a start that succeeded his runner-up finish
behind 2012 Classic winner Fort Larned. He has performed well in high-caliber
races before and should not be ignored in this race.
Holy Lute: After beginning his
racing career in July with a third-place effort at Hollywood Park, this James
Cassidy trainee broke his maiden at Del Mar going six and one-half furlongs
prior to gamely winning the El Cajon Stakes by a head. Third last out in the
Indiana Derby (gr. II) behind Power Broker, Holy Lute has made quite the
impression training for the Breeders’ Cup.
Hymn Book: Hymn Book boasts impressive back class, having won last year’s Donn
Handicap (gr. I), and although he is winless in 2013, he has been very
consistent. He played the role of runner-up in his first three starts this year,
finishing behind the likes of grade one winners Take Charge Indy and Mucho
Macho Man, as well as fellow Dirt Mile contender Pants on Fire. Last out, he
was third behind Graydar and Brujo de Olleros in the Kelso Handicap (gr. II).
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Clenor: She began her career in Ireland, losing her first three starts,
although her third start was a troubled but decent third in a group three at
The Curragh. Clenor then made the move to Southern California and has been
unbeatable since. Her first two starts in the United States came at Del Mar,
where she won a maiden special weight and the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf
Stakes by a combined 5 ¾ lengths. Her final start before the Breeders’ Cup was
a game win in the Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita. Although she has the
benefit of a win over the Santa Anita turf course, she has yet to be victorious
in a graded stakes event and has competed against rather unaccomplished horses
in her wins.
Although still a maiden, Colonel Joan was an impressive second in the Surfer
Girl Stakes at Santa Anita last out behind Clenor and Nesso. Despite breaking
slowly and going wide, Colonel Joan managed to finish only 1 ½ lengths behind
the winner. This is clearly the toughest challenge of her life yet, but she
Second in a pair of turf maiden special weights at Saratoga, Kitten Kaboodle
broke her maiden with style, capturing the Jessamine Stakes (gr. III) at
Keeneland by 4 ¾ lengths.
Sky Painter: After winning her debut
at Saratoga, Sky Painter faced graded stakes company in the Miss Grillo Stakes
(gr. III) at Belmont, in which she closed strongly, only to come up a nose
short. She has a remarkable turn of foot and could make an impression late.
Testa Rossi: Beginning her career in
France, Testa Rossi lost her first two starts prior to winning three
consecutive races. She then relocated to the United States, where she gamely
captured the Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont.