Day one of
the 2013 Breeders’ Cup is in the books and now, as racing fans file into the
grandstand at Santa Anita, the excitement is in the air for the finale. Nine
Breeders’ Cup races will be contested today, featuring some of the best
Thoroughbred athletes the world has to offer. Anticipation is building with
each second. Which horses will be crowned winners today? No horse won a
Breeders’ Cup race at a price higher than 9-1 yesterday, but the championships
aren’t over yet; upsets could certainly be in store.
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
Declaration of War: 2013 has been this four-year-old’s best year yet, as
he has captured a pair of group ones: the Queen Anne Stakes (gr. I) at Royal
Ascot and, most recently, the Juddmonte International Stakes (gr. I). Even in
his four losses this year, he has run respectably against top-class horses such
as Al Kazeem, Dawn Approach, Farhh, Moonlight Cloud, and Toronado. He may be
better at a mile than at ten furlongs, but he is capable of winning at a mile
and one-quarter, which he made evident in the Juddmonte International. Perhaps
the biggest doubt surrounding Declaration of War is his ability on dirt, but
his pedigree suggests that the surface should not be an issue, as he is a son
of War Front – who excelled on dirt – and is out of a half-sister to 2012
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Union Rags.
Arguably the best three-year-old colt in the nation, Palace Malice matured
slowly, but always showed promise. A 3 ¼-length winner of the Belmont Stakes
(gr. I), Palace Malice was a clear winner of the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) over
Will Take Charge – to whom he finished fourth in the Travers Stakes (gr. I)
after a very poor break that cost him the race. Last out, he finished 6 ¾
lengths behind Ron the Greek in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but was nearly two
lengths clear of Flat Out and completed the race in a time that would have won
the past nine runnings. Nonetheless, he will need to improve off of his last
race to win here.
Paynter: Miraculously returning to
the track after he had overcome life-threatening illnesses, Paynter easily won
at the allowance level at Hollywood Park in June prior to finishing a game
second in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar. A trip to Saratoga
resulted in a last-place finish over a sloppy track – a race through which a
line can be drawn. He returned to Southern California to finish a good second
behind fellow Classic contender Mucho Macho Man in the Awesome Again Stakes
(gr. I) at the end of September. Paynter’s odds may be lowered due to
Will Take Charge: Will Take Charge
showed potential at the beginning of 2013, winning the Smarty Jones Stakes and
Rebel Stake (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. But bad luck impeded his success,
especially when traffic troubles halted his impressive rally in the Kentucky
Derby (gr. I). But after competing in each Triple Crown race, Will Take Charge
has had a spectacular second half of the season, finishing a willing second in
the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) behind Palace Malice prior to capturing the
Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II).
Concave: A filly based in Southern California that has taken turns
with her familiar competitors in graded stakes events, Concave won the first
two starts of her career, including the Sorrento. She has not raced since
finishing third behind She’s a Tiger in the Del Mar Debutante, but has trained
very well at Santa Anita and appears primed to return to her winning ways.
Rosalind: An easy debut winner at
Ellis Park, Rosalind was a decent third behind fellow Juvenile Fillies
candidate Untapable in the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) before finishing a good
second behind My Conquestadory in the Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) on the
synthetic at Keeneland.
Filly & Mare Turf
Alterite: Beginning 2013 with a win in a listed stakes in France,
Alterite was tenth in a group one behind Flotilla prior to finishing a narrowly
beaten second in a group one at Longchamp. Following a sixth-place effort
behind eventual Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (gr. I) victress Treve, Alterite made
the move to North America, where she captured the Garden City Stakes (gr. I)
and finished a good second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr.
I) at Keeneland.
This Ken and Sarah Ramsey “Kitten” has won half of her starts this year and
since May, she has been remarkable, losing only once. After a disappointing
start to 2013, Kitten’s Dumplings scored her first victory of the year in the
Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs in May. Following wins in the Regret Stakes
(gr. III) and the Lake George Stakes (gr. II), Kitten’s Dumpling shipped west
for the Del Mar Oaks (gr. I), in which she only managed fourth as the favorite,
but closed willingly. Since then, she has captured the Queen Elizabeth II
Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
Laughing: Unbeaten in her four starts this
season, Laughing won a grade three at Monmouth over Dayatthespa prior to taking
the Diana Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Following a game victory by a neck in the
Ballston Spa Stakes (gr. II), Laughing won her final prep race for the
Breeders’ Cup – the Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. I) – by a determined
half-length. She is obviously among the top turf females in the nation, but has
a tendency to not travel well, which would be a major disadvantage for her if
that is the case. In addition, she has received an easy lead in her past three
wins and is not as likely to have that advantage in this race.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Dance Card: Dance Card has only raced once since running away with last
November’s Gazelle Stakes (gr. I), finishing a respectable third behind Cluster
of Stars and Dance to Bristol in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) in
September. Starting in the Breeders’ Cup after recently returning from a long
layoff is no easy task, but Dance Card is a classy filly.
Summer Applause: A filly that
impressed me with her athletic appearance in the mornings, Summer Applause has
formed a lose-win-lose-win pattern this year. If you’re into patterns, take
notice of her, as she lost last out. She has three wins from seven starts in
2013, which came in easy wins in the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II), Allaire
DuPont Distaff (gr. III), and Lady’s Secret Stakes. Most recently, she was a
good second behind Emollient in the nine-furlong Spinster Stakes (gr. I). She
won her debut in December of 2011 at seven furlongs, which is the same distance
as the Filly & Mare Sprint.
Sweet Lulu: Sweet Lulu began her
racing career in May and won her first four races, including the Test Stakes
(gr. I). After gamely winning this grade one contest by a head, she stretched
out to a mile and one-sixteenth in the Cotillion Stakes (gr. I), in which she
finished two lengths behind Distaff contender Close Hatches. A return to seven
furlongs should suit Sweet Lulu well, making her an imposing participant.
Boat Trip: After a pair of good performances at the allowance level at
Hollywood Park to begin 2013, including a win over Kinsale King, Boat Trip was
a narrowly beaten fourth in a roughly run Green Flash Handicap going five
furlongs over Del Mar’s turf course. Last out, he closed willingly to finish
just a nose behind Chips All In in the Eddie D Stakes (gr. III) over the
downhill turf course.
Capo Bastone: A talented juvenile
last year, Capo Bastone began 2013 with a win at the allowance level at
Gulfstream prior to disappointing in a trio of graded stakes races. However,
last out, he was an impressive two-length winner of the King’s Bishop Stakes
(gr. I) on the dirt at Saratoga. He has never raced on turf, but was a winner
on the synthetic in his career debut.
Runner-up in the Turf Sprint last year, Unbridled’s Note does not appear to be
quite the same horse he was in 2012. His only win in his four starts in 2013
was his first of the year. Since then, he has placed in a pair of graded stakes
races and finished far back in a graded stakes event at Churchill Downs. But it
is worth noting that he is a fan of the downhill turf course.
Bond Holder: Bond Holder raced four times, improving with each start,
before he broke his maiden, but garnered his first win in style, capturing the
FrontRunner Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita. In this grade one event, Bond Holder
closed into a brisk pace to draw off to a 2 ¼-length victory. With possibly
much pace in the race, the Juvenile could set up for him, but he will need to
continue to improve. He, along with the other Southern California two-year-olds
other than Tap It Rich, have been rather slow and unimpressive.
Dance with Fate: Among
the somewhat uninspiring California juvenile crop, Dance with Fate was a poor
eighth in his debut before winning his second start, in which he defeated Bond
Holder. He then finished second in both the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) and the
FrontRunner. He will need to step it up in order to win.
This son of War Front has never raced on the dirt, but has trained well over
it. His first two starts resulted in wins at Del Mar, including an easy win in
the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Stakes. Last out, he was defeated by Juvenile Turf
contender Aotearoa in the Zuma Beach Stakes by ¾ of a length. He has never
competed against graded stakes company, but is worth a look here.
New Year’s Day: A
willing third in his debut at Del Mar in August, New Year’s Day was a clear
winner of a maiden special weight two weeks later. Competing against proven
competition will be a difficult task for him, but he has trained well in
preparation for the Breeders’ Cup.
Magician: In three starts this year, Magician has won twice, taking
his first two starts of 2013 by a combined 7 ½ lengths. Among these was a
victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) at The Curragh. Most recently,
however, he was last in the St. James Palace Stakes (gr. I) at Royal Ascot in
Real Solution: A colt who began his
career in Rome, Real Solution’s 2013 debut was also his U.S. debut. This came
in the Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. III), in which he finished fourth. Following a
respectable third in the Manhattan behind Point of Entry, Real Solution ran an
incredible race in the Arlington Million Stakes (gr. I), finishing second at
the wire but being promoted to first after the disqualification of The Apache.
He most recently was defeated by just over a length in the Joe Hirsch behind
Little Mike and stablemate Big Blue Kitten. He is worthy of being in this race,
but this is certainly his toughest test to date.
Vagabond Shoes: Vagabond
Shoes has only won once in his seven outings this year and although he began
2013 with three lackluster performances in Southern California graded stakes, a
narrow loss in an allowance optional claiming at Hollywood Park in May gave him
the confidence booster he needed. Since then, he was a good second in the Eddie
Read Stakes (gr. I) prior to gamely capturing the Del Mar Handicap (gr. II), a
race that preceded an eager runner-up effort in the John Henry Turf
Championship Stakes (gr. II).
Bahamian Squall has only won once this year, taking the Smile Sprint Handicap
(gr. II) over defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Trinniberg. Since then,
he was second to Justin Phillip in the Vanderbilt and a disappointing fifth in
the Vosburgh. He will need to rebound here.
Gentlemen’s Bet: Gentlemen’s Bet has never won a graded stakes
race, but was a tenacious winner of the Iowa Sprint Handicap prior to
encountering an intense speed duel in the Vanderbilt that left him third behind
Justin Phillip. He was then fourth in the Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) at
Keeneland, but this result can be ignored, as he did not seem to be fond of the
synthetic surface. Of course, he’ll need to improve to win here, but he is
Bright Thought: Bright
Thought began 2013 with a win in an allowance at Penn National, but was later demoted
to tenth due to a purse disqualification. After easily capturing a starter
stakes and allowance optional claiming at Santa Anita, Bright Thought set a
world record for a mile and one-half in his victory in the San Luis Rey Stakes
(gr. II). However, he has not started since March.
He Be Fire N Ice: This
son of Unusual Heat did not venture into graded stakes company until August, finishing
a game second behind Obviously in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. II). Most
recently, he rallied to finish a half-length behind No Jet Lag in the City of
Hope Mile (gr. II).
No Jet Lag: After a
rather unsuccessful beginning to his career in Europe, which spanned seven
races, No Jet Lag made the move to America, where he has been unbeatable in two
starts. Following a win at the allowance level at Del Mar, No Jet Lag showed a
remarkable turn of foot to take the City of Hope Mile. He’s clearly talented,
but it remains to be seen how he will fare against this caliber of horses.
Za Approval: After
winning at the allowance level at Gulfstream Park in January, Za Approval was
fourth in the Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. III) behind Data Link. He followed up
this effort with a pair of graded stakes victories prior to shipping west to
finish second behind Obviously in the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (gr. I). A
runner-up finish behind 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan preceded an easy win in
the Knickerbocker Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont last out.