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Breeders Cup 2015
Kentucky Derby 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Pedigree Power

2013 Breeders' Cup Winning Ways

Royal Delta BC2012 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

The Breeders' Cup contests bring together the finest horses in the United States and their top European counterparts. These races can be very lucrative for handicappers. Since 2000, more than 65% of the winners have paid double digits. Multi-race wagers and exotics offer a shot at very serious money.

Since 2000, the Breeders’ Cup has been held at Santa Anita four times: 2003, 2008, 2009, and 2012. The 2003 and 2013 editions were contested over dirt while the 2008 and 2009 versions were held over synthetic surfaces.

Let's examine how the favorites and Europeans perform, plus the running styles and prep races that yield the most Breeders’ Cup winners.


Prep Races: The 1 3/4 mile Marathon has been contested five times. Two Europeans Muhannak and Man of Iron won the race over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride after winning listed races over Polytrack in Dundalk, England. After their victories in the Marathon, neither horse won another race. Eldaafer won a controversial Marathon in 2010 when the second place finisher, Prince Will I Am impeded two on-coming horses in the stretch. Eldaafer entered the 2010 Marathon after winning the Turfway Park Fall Championship. The old warrior competed in four of the last five Marathons, finishing off of the board in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Afleet Again won an allowance/optional claimer at Monmouth prep in his previous start before shocking in the 2011 edition of the Marathon. Last year, the Argentinian-bred Calidoscopio blew away the field by over four lengths. He won two of his three previous starts in Argentina.

Running Style: No Marathon winner has wired the field. The two winners over Pro-Ride pressed the pace while the dirt runners raced in mid-pack or farther back before unleashing their run in the stretch.

Favorites: This is the race handicappers can use to pad their bankroll for the rest of the Breeders' Cup. No favorite has won the Marathon and only two have finished in the money. All except one winner paid double digits. Afleet Again rewarded his backers with the highest payout, a whopping $85.20.

Europeans: Ten European horses have contested the Marathon. Two won and one finished third, while the rest were unplaced. Last year, they finished in the last two spots with Sense of Purpose and Fame and Glory, who was pulled up, while two Argentinians competed.

2013 Plays: There's no formula for prep races. This year, the only entrant who has previously contested the Marathon is Atigun. He was third in last year's edition while setting the pace for most of the race. His last five starts have come over the lawn and he's scheduled to prep in Thursday's Bowl Game at Belmont. Hunt for logical long-shots in the Marathon. The Argentinian Ever Rider has won or placed in seven starts in his native land. A case could be made for Sky Kingdom, victor of last year's Tokyo City. His form over the Del Mar Poly can be forgiven. If you like the name angle, Blueskiesandrainbows is another who likes Santa Anita. He's been in the money in all but one of his seven starts over the track.


Prep Race: The Juvenile Fillies Turf has been contested five times. Two prep races stand out as key factors, the Miss Grillo and Natalma Stakes. The first two Juvenile Fillies Turf heroines, Maram and Tapitsfly, won and placed in the Miss Grillo Stakes (G-3). The 2008 and 2009 Breeders' Cup events were held at Santa Anita.

 The one mile Natalma (G-3) over the Woodbine green was instrumental in the victories of the next two Juvenile Fillies Turf winners. More Than Real placed second in the Natalma (G-3) in 2010 before succeeding in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. In 2011, Stephanie's Kitten was third in the Natalma. Stephanie's Kitten squeezed in a victory in the Alcibiades (G-1) over the Keeneland Polytrack before posting her win in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Lat year, Flotilla invaded from France. After finishing fourth, beaten only ½ length in the Criterium des Pouliches (G-1), Flotilla won by 1 ½ lengths at 11-1.


Running Style: All five winners sat in fifth place or farther back before unleashing their stretch runs.


Favorites: All five fillies paid double digits to win. In all but one instance, the favorite for the Juvenile Fillies Turf finished out of the money. The win payout has been in the neighborhood of $20. More Than Real returned the largest reward at $29.20. Although not as lucrative as the Marathon, the Juvenile Fillies Turf offers decent financial rewards to those who look beyond the obvious.


Europeans: Out of 17 European fillies to contest the Juvenile Fillies' Turf, only one visited the winners' circle. Last year they completed the $85.50 exacta.


2013 Plays: Fillies who fit the profile this year are Natalma winner Llanarmon and runner-up Spanish Flower, Criterium des Pouliches heroine Queen Catrine, Testa Rossi victorious in the Miss Grillo and Sky Painter, runner-up in the Miss Grillo by a slender nose.

dirt mileDIRT MILE

Prep Race: The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile has been contested six times. Two Dirt Mile winners, Albertus Maximus and Dakota Phone prepped in the Goodwood Stakes, both recording third place finishes. The rest had various preps. The only Dirt Mile hero who won his previous race was Furthest Land in the Kentucky Cup Classic. Corinthian, the first Dirt Mile winner was fourth in the Woodward before running off to a 6 1/2 length win.  Caleb's Posse finished third in the Indiana Derby before pulling an upset and last year's winner Tapizar was sixth in the Kelso before roaring to a 2 ¼ length victory in the Dirt Mile.


Running Style: No Dirt Mile winner has wired the field. Two made their runs from the back of the pack and two pressed the pace. One mid-pack runner won. When the Dirt Mile was contested at Santa Anita, two winners pressed the pace while the other raced in the back of the pack and made his run in the stretch.


Favorites: The Dirt Mile is another long shot special. None of the favorites won and only one hit the board. Payouts ranged between $14.60 to $77.40 and most exactas paid over $100.

Europeans: Only one European horse has entered the Dirt Mile since its inception. He placed fourth.

2013 Plays: The best advice I can give here is to get out the darts. Centralinteligence has the same profile as last year's winner Tapizar, as both were sixth after trouble and entered the Dirt Mile second off of a layoff. Maybe this will be the year a favorite wins. Todd Pletcher could enter the tough duo of Graydar and Verrazano.


Prep Race: The Juvenile Turf has been contested six times. Four of the last six winners had their final prep overseas. Two raced in the Grand Criterium, one won while the other was second. Last year's winner George Vancouver, was third in the Dewhurst Stakes (Eng. G1). The US based Juvenile Turf victors, Nownownow and Pluck won the Bourbon and Summer Stakes in their preps.

Running Style: Sitting mid-pack early suited four Juvenile Turf champs while a closer and pace presser also won.


Favorites: One favorite, Pounced, was successful while four favorites ran second and one was unplaced. The winning payouts ranged between $6.80 and $27.20.

Europeans: The Europeans rule in the Juvie Turf. 19 runners from overseas were entered in the last four years and seven hit the board. Of those, four won, two were second and one placed third.

2013 Plays: We still don't know whose shipping in from England, Ireland and Europe. Berkshire, Australia and the Japanese-bred Karakontie have earned berths through the Win and You're In prep races. Sudirman, Giovanni Boldini and War Command may also join the field. The home boys include Poker Player and Bashart, the one-two finishers in the Bourbon, Aotearoa, Diamond Bachelor and Got Shades, the top three from the Zuma Beach Stakes plus Pilgrim winner Bobby's Kitten.

Royal Delta Breeders Cup DistaffDISTAFF

Prep Races: The distaff has been quite predictable over the last seven years. A win, second or third place finish in the Beldame has been the recipe for success for four of the six winners. Two mares, Zenyatta and Life is Sweet used the Lady's Secret as a prep race. This year, Royal Delta is going for a historic three-peat. The only other mare to win back-to-back Distaffs was Bayakoa in 1989-1990.

Running Style: Only Royal Delta has gone wire to wire in the last seven years. She pulled off this feat last year. In 2011, she sat third before taking command in the stretch. Mid-Pack runners have prevailed three times, while two deep closers and one pace presser have won.

Favorites: Three favorites have won the Distaff since 2006. One was second while the rest finished off of the board. From a win bet standpoint, this is a poor betting race. The highest payout was in 2006, when Round Pound paid $13.90 to win. If you're going to bet the Distaff, concentrate on the exotics. The lowest exacta was in 2008 when the two favorites, Zenyatta and Cocoa Beach paid a paltry $6.70. Royal Delta didn't return all that much either. Last year, she and My Miss Arelia combined for a $15.20 exacta while the trifecta paid $110. Otherwise, the exactas have returned from $32 to $400.

Europeans: No Europeans have entered the Distaff in seven years.

2013 Plays: This year's field is shaping up to be a very strong race, much more exciting than the Classic. This could also mean we're looking at a chalky special betting wise. Bill Mott's mares have won three of the last four editions of the Distaff and placed in 2009. Can Royal Delta pull off one last hurrah? I'm not betting against her. How about a Mott exacta with Close Hatches? She and Princess of Sylmar have met up twice, each earning a win. If you want variety, look no further than Beholder, queen of the west.

This concludes the first day of the Breeders' Cup races. Check back on Thursday for observations of the next day's contests.


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Older Comments about 2013 Breeders' Cup Winning Ways...

Thanks everyone for the compliments! I hope the articles are helpful and prove to be a good guide for all of us!
Nice article. Can't wait for the next piece. I hope Verrazano breaks the streak and is the first favorite to win the Dirt Mile.
Excellent article, Laurie!!!! Though I have to admit I don't get enough time to read all the good article contributions on HRN, I took the time to read your input. I found your info very interesting, and useful. I believe had I lost on my wagers in the BC, I am now victorious, with your info(was lost, but now I'm found!!! ha!!). Looking forward to your next episode!!!!
very nice work. I put a few of these I didnt have in my "Breeders Cup Stat Book", I almost cant believe I have such a thing. I am eagerly awaiting part 2
Printed it!!!! Thanks so much. Horse race betting ,the worlds greatest crossword puzzle.
Thanks for the correction. Afleet Again was 2nd ni his optional claimer. Thanks everyone for your kind remarks and I'm glad you like the article!
Great article, but a quick correction and 1 point. Afleet Again didn’t win his prep race at Monmouth prior to the BC Marathon, and hadn’t won a race that year. Now to my point: 3 of the 5 winners of the marathon were sire side descendants of Mr. Prospector and 1 (Man of Iron) was a dam side descendant of Vice Regent. From a pedigree handicapping standpoint this race reminds me of the Belmont Stakes.
Phenomenal article, Laurie, I thoroughly enjoyed your input and analyst. I'm looking forward to your next write up. Keep up the good work.
I love the big photo, and the last photo.
Thanks EP Taylro! Next post is Thursday covering the BC Saturday. Thanks Andy, looking foward to it!
Laurie, I love the way your articles are organized. See you at Santa Anita in a couple of weeks.
Good job Laurie. One correction. Fame and Glory ran in last years Marathon and pulled up. So there was one Euro in that race, and it is 1 3/4m . 12f was from 2008-2009, then they upped it. But you did a nice write up, hope you put out another for the classic , turf, sprint etc. keep it up.

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Meet Laurie Ross


I've been around horses for most of my life, working in racing stables as a hot walker and exercise rider in my teenage years, and later as a volunteer with rescued and retired racehorses. I became interested in pedigree when the sons and daughters of my favorite horses started their racing careers.   


For more than a decade, I've passionately studied pedigree, how it applies to handicapping and breeding theories. In 2010, I joined Horse Racing Nation as their Pedigree Analyst, focusing on juvenile stakes winners, Triple Crown contenders and first crop sires from a handicapping perspective.   


In 2011, I accepted the role of South Florida Coordinator and Advisory Board Member for the national non-profit Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association (ThoroFan). Working closely with Gulfstream Park management and other race fans, we created a ThoroFan Chapter at Gulfstream Race Track. Our main project is assisting Thoroughbred rescue and re-training groups.


I continue to maintain my website Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds and blog of the same name. As a pedigree consultant, I specialize in assisting small to mid-size breeding/training operations with broodmare breeding reports, sales catalog analysis and recommendations on claims and private sales. 10 - 20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue and retraining groups.
I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic please contact me at lross@horseracingnation.com.

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