Chicago Dark Horse – 2012 Breeders’ Cup Selection Analysis
This is such an exciting time for us all! I can’t wait for
the Breeders’ Cup to begin! Here is the analysis of my selections. I can tell
you that NONE of these were easy… My son Gabriel (aka the Little Dark Horse)
also chimed in with his picks and analysis as well…
Alas, two year old races…here we have the bain of my existence! While
many of my colleagues are adept at picking juvenile races, I am not as gifted. With
that being said, I landed on Super Ninety Nine here. I realize that he just
broke his maiden, but if his first race is any indication of what’s to come,
any kind of improvement should be able to win this race. Bob Baffert is
dangerous with the two year olds and even on the cut back to 6 furlongs, I
really like his chances here. I don’t think we’ll get much of a price though.
Also considering #3 Merit Man.
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick Ceiling Kitty – she has a
grade 1, a grade 1, and a grade 2. That’s pretty good grade. She got first
place a couple of times. “
I think this race is the most difficult of them all to handicap. My
criteria for selection here was an older horse that has run at least at a
distance of a mile and a half and won at least once at that long of a distance.
Worth Repeating fit that description and is a perfect 2-for-2 on dirt. Good
enough for me here in a race that is extremely difficult to decipher.
Also considering #7 Not Abroad.
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick Atigun – because he ran in
pretty good grades. Bullet work outs, yeah those are good. His number is fast,
ooh 94 is fast too.”
Well we all are aware of the European dominance on the grass in the
Breeders’ Cup (and all of North America for that matter) and I think the Euros
take another one here. Sky Lantern has yet to miss the board in five starts and
should have a great trip just setting off the pace early. Her main downfall is
that she has yet to run a full mile; yet I think her pedigree suggests that she
can handle it.
Also considering #5 Spring Venture.
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick Sky Lantern – He has the
fastest speeds. That’s the most speed. 100 can go pretty fast but I don’t know
if 111 can be beat. Just because he is from Ireland doesn’t make him that fast
As my good friend BSM always says, “winners win” and I think that will
be the case here. Executiveprivilege is a versatile horse that can win on the
lead or coming from behind. She is a perfect 5-for-5 in her life and has one
win on the dirt (a 1/16 mile victory in the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes at Santa
Anita). She dominated that race and there’s nothing to make me think she can’t
take this one too. See her victory at Del Mar HERE.
Also considering #3 Spring in the Air, #5 Dreaming of Julia,
#8 Kauai Katie.
Little Dark Horse says…, “Executive Privilege – because all
of the HRN bloggers picked her and her speed is good. She has two grade 1’s and
a grade 3.”
It’s really tough to go against Marketing Mix here in
my opinion, but I think Nahrain is truly the one to beat here. She has raced
well here in North America in two starts, winning the Grade 1 Flower Bowl back
in September. She has five wins of nine lifetime starts on the grass and I also
believe the addition of blinkers will keep her extra focused and sharp for this
Also considering #6 Lady of Shamrock, #9 Marketing
Mix, #10 Ridasiyna.
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick Marketing Mix – I saw her
run at Arlington, and I also pick her because she has really good grades and
her speeds are pretty good too. “
To me this is by far the best race of the two-day
event. The class of Grace Hall, the undefeated record of My Miss Aurelia, the
speed of Questing, the power of Royal Delta, and the heart of Awesome Feather
all come together to create this one of a kind event. The stars sure have
aligned!! I give the nod to Awesome Feather here though. She has proven herself
at 1 1/8 miles and she has just dominated all of her opponents. I think the
Nasty Storm stakes was just a minor tune-up for this race and I truly expect
her to win this going away.
Also considering #6 Royal Delta.
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick Awesome Feather – She has
never lost ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, and
This was also another difficult race to handicap
however I’m giving the edge to Tim Ice and Tri-Star Racing’s Brown Almighty. This
horse needs just a little pace to chase and I think he’ll get it here. He had a
very impressive run in the Bourbon Stakes considering he was behind by quite a
bit early. With a couple of good work outs at Keeneland in before shipping to
California, I think he’s in very good form and can definitely win this race
(and at a 20-1 morning line price too!).
Also considering #6 Dundonnell and #9 Noble
Little Dark Horse says…, “Brown Almighty – He’s my favorite
horse almost. He’s like my favorite horse and I hope Tim wins.”
Yes I know, Groupie Doll will be extremely hard to
beat. No doubts about that at all. However, people that know me know that I
rarely eat chalk and I’m expecting the Doll to go off at ridiculously low odds.
So why Turbulent Decent then? I don’t know…maybe 4 for 6 at seven furlongs on
dirt is good enough for me.
Also considering #3 Dust and Diamonds.
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick Groupie Doll – because she
has awesome speeds. She has lots of wins.”
Even if Shack gets some pressure from #2 Delegation
early, I think he has the class to run away from this field. I like the fact
that he is coming back to the one mile distance and has a Grade 1 victory on
dirt in 2012. Shack around two turns? Well that I’m not so confident about,
however after all he did win the Preakness. I just don’t care much for the
other runners in the field and I’m sure Shack will go off as a prohibitive
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick Shackelford – Most of the
HRN bloggers picked him and he has a lot of grade 1’s and grade 2’s. I can ride
faster than a 115 Beyer on my bike.”
I landed on California Flag here and that was almost
by default. What stood out to me were his recent workouts, his 11 wins on turf,
and his love for the downhill course at Santa Anita. He has six wins on that
turf course, five of which are at the 6 ½ furlong distance. At eight years old
too I will say that he is the oldest and wisest in the field.
Also considering #13 Unbridled's Note.
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick California Flag – He had good
“bulletin” workouts, good speed, and he loves Santa Anita.”
Here’s our first look at potential contenders for next
year’s Kentucky Derby. Though Shanghai Bobby is both impressive and undefeated,
my pick will be Power Broker. The 1 1/6 miles will be the longest that Bobby
has gone, and Power Broker already has a Grade 1 victory at Santa Anita and at
this very distance. I like his improving form pattern and I think he wins big.
Also considering #4 Shanghai Bobby.
Little Dark Horse says…, “Shanghai Bobby – He’s never ever
lost, he doesn’t have any bullet work outs but that’s ok. “
This is a very good field and tough race to handicap. Point
of Entry is in great form and looks unbeatable. St Nicholas Abbey won this very
race last year and is following a similar pattern coming into this race. Triple
Contenders Dullahan and Optimizer make an appearance and we even have the
Arlington Million winner, Little Mike. My pick here however is Shareta. I have
to go with the Europeans on grass going a mile and a half and Shareta has
already proven she can get that distance. She will sit off the pace and should
be in a great place to strike coming down the stretch from the downhill start.
Also considering #1 Point of Entry.
Little Dark Horse says…, “Little Mike – He has good
speeds and stuff and he won the Arlington Million this year with good speeds.”
Coil is a perfect 3-for-3 at the 6 furlong distance,
so what’s not to like? I’m expecting plenty of pace to chase in this sprint and
I expect Coil to strike from the second flight of horses. I believe in Bob
Baffert at Santa Anita! I think my friend Dub owes me a drink from my
victorious selection of Amazombie in this race last year, right?
Also considering #11 Amazombie.
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick Fast Bullet – Because his
name is Fast Bullet and he has a lot of bullet work outs!”
It’s really tough to go against the AMAZING Wise Dan
here, but I’m going with the only other horse that I think has a shot, and that’s
Excelebration. If you look at this horse, the only horse that he has lost to in
recent history is, oh I don’t know… could it be FRANKEL??!! So he’s basically only
recently lost to arguably the best horse in the world right now. That’s good
enough for me.
Lone speed kills and I don’t see any other horse that
will challenge Game On Dude up front. If he can slow down the pace early, he
wins easy. He is a perfect 5-for-5 at Santa Anita and his hit the board 5 of 7
times at this distance. I worry a little about the return of Mucho Macho man a
bit, but he will need to save some ground early from an outside post. It would
be silly to discount Pool Play here as well as he is a perfect 2-for-2 in Grade
1 stakes races on dirt. Sure it seems he’s a bit up against it here, but who
Also considering #1 Pool Play.
Little Dark Horse says…, “I pick Pool Play – He has no
bullet work outs but he won the Gold Cup at Hawthorne!”
Well there’s my analysis of this very good two-day Breeders’
Cup card!! Who do you like in these races?
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog! I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old. Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!! I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!). I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
While finishing school in Chicago, I spent every possible moment at Arlington Park with my dad. We took the time to develop computer programs (on the ever popular Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS) to try to find patterns and handicap races more accurately. My dad taught me a lot about handicapping races, paying particular attention to class moves!
Since then, I have become more involved with horse racing each passing year through a variety of different media-based roles. Once deemed the "second best racing ambassador in Chicago" (hey I've been called worse), I now reside in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the USA and will be covering many different aspects of racing - in my unpredictable DARK HORSE STYLE!