HorseCenter: Breeders’ Cup 2021 Saturday picks and wagers

HorseCenter: Breeders’ Cup 2021 Saturday picks and wagers
Photo: NYRA

Today’s edition of HorseCenter will be in blog form because of circumstances that prevented video production this week. However, your co-hosts Brian Zipse and Matt Shifman wanted to make sure that you could get the picks, analysis, and favorite wagers for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup.

[HorseCenter: Breeders' Cup 2021 picks and wagers for Friday]

In this show, the guys cover all nine Breeders’ Cup races, including a showdown in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. As always, thanks for visiting HorseCenter.

Filly and Mare Sprint

Brian’s top choice – Bella Sofia. Lightly raced 3-year-old is getting good at just the right time. She can take the race to the heavy favorite and beat her at her own game.

Brian’s second choice – Ce Ce. Should sit the trip behind Gamine and Bella Sofia early, and if they soften each other up, she should be ready to capitalize at the head of the Del Mar stretch.

Matt’s top choice – Ce Ce. If the two favorites, Gamine and Bella Sofia, knock heads early in the race, Ce Ce could pick up the pieces in what is now a five-horse field.

Matt’s second choice – Bella Sofia. This filly is a length away from an unbeaten record in five starts, and maybe there is a chance that the big favorite Gamine is vulnerable.

Brian’s Filly & Mare Sprint wager: $5 Daily Double ($20)

1st leg – Bella Sofia, Ce Ce

2nd leg (Turf Sprint) – Golden Pal, Kimari

Turf Sprint

Brian’s top choice – Golden Pal, He is the fastest turf horse in the land and should be awfully tough to catch at 5 furlongs, as he looks for his second straight Breeders’ Cup victory.

Brian’s second choice – Kimari – The Wesley Ward-trained stablemate of Golden Pal is also a major talent. She is fresh and should come flying late.

Matt’s top choice – Lieutenant Dan. The American runners have the advantage in this turf sprint around the tight turn. This guy is in the best form of his career and is 6-1 on the morning line.

Matt’s second choice – Golden Pal. Trainer Wesley Ward is dangerous in these turf sprints, and Golden Pal is a very worthy favorite.

Brian’s Turf Sprint wager: $10 Daily Double ($20)

1st leg – Golden Pal, Kimari

2nd leg (Dirt Mile)– Silver State

Matt’s Turf Sprint wagers – 50¢ All-Turf Pick 4 ($40.50)

1st leg – Lieutenant Dan, Golden Pal, Arrest Me Red

2nd leg (Filly & Mare Turf) – Loves Only You, Rougir, War Like Goddess

3rd leg (Mile) – Pearls Galore, Space Blues, In Love

4th leg (Turf) – Turnawa, Domestic Spending, Walton Street

$5 Pick 3 ($30)

1st leg – Lieutenant Dan

2nd leg (Dirt Mile) – Life Is Good, Silver State

3rd leg (Filly & Mare Turf) – Loves Only You, Rougir, War Like Goddess

Dirt Mile

Brian’s top choice – Silver State. With plenty of pace to pressure Life Is Good early, look for the older Met Mile winner to roll by in the stretch for an upset of the heavy favorite.

Brian’s second choice – Life Is Good. He is an extremely talented 3-year-old, but this race probably will not set up for him well.

Matt’s top choice – Life Is Good. This will be the toughest race of his career, but Life Is Good should be up to the task.

Matt’s second choice – Silver State. This Steve Asmussen runner has had a great year and will come running late at attractive odds.

Brian’s Dirt Mile wager: $10 Daily Double ($40)

1st leg – Silver State

2nd leg (Filly & Mare Turf) – Loves Only You, Love, War Like Goddess, Audarya

Matt’s Dirt Mile wager - $10 Daily Double ($40)

1st leg – Life Is Good, Silver State

2nd leg (Filly & Mare Turf) – Loves Only You, Rougir

Filly and Mare Turf

Brian’s top choice – Loves Only You. Japanese mare has been very competitive with top males this year in multiple countries. She also likes the distance and travels well.

Brian’s second choice – Love. Irish-bred has been a top-notch filly in Europe the last few years and continues to run well against the best competition.

Matt’s top choice – Rougir. This 3-year-old filly had a big win in the Prix de l’Opera (G1) at Longchamp and is 6-1 on the morning line.

Matt’s second choice – Loves Only You. The Japanese turf star has run so well against the best international turf horses this year.


Brian’s top choice - Jackie’s Warrior. America’s best sprinter is primed to prove it in his biggest test yet.

Brian’s second choice – Dr. Schivel. Loves the Del Mar track and looks to be the biggest threat to the top pick.

Matt’s top choice – Jackie’s Warrior. Even though he will make his first start against older horses, he dominated the sprint scene this year and is likely to continue in the Sprint.

Matt’s second choice – Dr. Schivel. This 3-year-old has beaten older West Coast sprinters, currently has won five races in a row and is unbeaten at Del Mar.


Brian’s top choice – Mo Forza. Underappreciated American has won eight straight on the California turf. He always puts himself in position and always finishes strongly.

Brian’s second choice – Master of the Seas. Classy European 3-year-old should love the firm turf he will see at Del Mar.

Matt’s top choice – Space Blues. This Charlie Appleby/Godolphin runner will make the final start of his career with victories in his last two starts in top European races going seven furlongs.

Matt’s second choice – In Love. An American runner with a huge victory last time in the Keeneland Mile (G1), he is listed at 8-1 on the morning line.

Brian’s Mile wager: $5 Exacta box ($30)

Mo Forza, Master of the Seas, Hit the Road


Brian’s top choice – Letruska. Could wind up as our Horse of the Year with a victory on Saturday. She has been the best female all year long, and I see no good reason to doubt her now.

Brian’s second choice – Royal Flag. Improving 5-year-old from the Chad Brown will come running late to pick up the pieces.

Matt’s top choice – Letruska. She has been an irresistible force during her dominant run through the Older Female Dirt division.

Matt’s second choice – Malathaat. She is just a neck shy of being unbeaten in her seven-race career. In this spot she will race behind horses and make her determined late run.

Brian’s Distaff wager: $5 Exacta box ($30)

Letruska, Royal Flag, Clairiere


Brian’s top choice – Yibir. European 3-year-old has improved leaps and bounds of late for trainer Charlie Appleby. His turn of foot at Belmont Park last time was sensational.

Brian’s second choice – Domestic Spending. Top American turf horse has a big shot to beat the internationals. Brown will have him ready for the 12-furlong test.

Matt’s top choice – Tarnawa. The defending Turf winner leads a formidable group of European runners as a very deserving favorite.

Matt’s second choice – Walton Street. This 7-year-old from the barn of Charlie Appleby had a big win in the Canadian International (G1) to go with his excellent form in big races around the world.

Brian’s Turf wager: $10 daily double ($60)

1st leg – Yibir, Domestic Spending, Teona

2nd leg (Classic) – Hot Rod Charlie, Essential Quality

Matt’s Turf wager: $10 daily double ($60)

1st leg – Tarnawa, Walton Street, Domestic Spending

2nd leg (Classic) – Essential Quality, Art Collector


Brian’s top choice – Hot Rod Charlie. As much as he has been tested already since last year’s Breeders’ Cup, he just keeps coming back for more. Look for him to get first jump on the leaders and have home-field advantage at Del Mar.

Brian’s second choice – Essential Quality. He has done everything right so far in a championship career that will come to a close on Saturday. With the speed ahead of him early, he should have every chance when the real running begins.

Matt’s top choice – Essential Quality. What a year and what a career that this 3-year-old has had. He is only one length from being unbeaten in his 10-race career. I wasn’t a fan of him before the Kentucky Derby, but he has won me over.

Matt’s second choice – Art Collector. His likely odds and his current form are too good to ignore.

Brian’s Classic wagers - $10 Exacta part wheel ($20)

Hot Rod Charlie over Essential Quality and Medina Spirit

$10 Exacta part wheel ($20)

Essential Quality and Medina Spirit over Hot Rod Charlie

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