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HRN Original Blog:
Head Heart & Hooves

Previewing the Breeders' Cup Race-By-Race

G1 Juvenile Fillies Turf

Sky LanternI will be looking to a pair of Irish fillies in this event: 3 SKY LANTERN and 6 WATSDACHANCES.  My thoughts on this race are in direct accord with the morning line, as domestic filly 5 SPRING VENTURE looks to have the best shot of the U.S. horses here.  Yout guessed it: I'm about to chalk out completely.

 Sky Lantern has run mainly straight sprints, but went right-handed in a Group 3 two back and finished a close second.  She stepped up to Group 1 company off that effort and ran her best race to date, winning “easily” by 2 1/2 lengths.  She likes to be somewhere near the pace, and if she can run close to the way she did in her last outing, she will be tough to deny here.   


Spring Venture has done nothing wrong in her career, stepping methodically up the ladder in three starts.  This filly also likes to be close to the pace and she has won all three of her starts by doing so.  Patrick Husbands keeps his mount on this pricey filly looking to go 4-4.  She has two solid works coming out of the G3 Mazarine and no faults in her Woodbine form.  This, however, is a tough test - the type that seriously jeopardizes unbeaten streaks.  Were it not for the Irish talent here, I would likely side with her.


Watsdachances has the advantage of a pair of stateside forays under her belt - races in which she notched two victories no less, both times overcoming bumps at the 3/16 pole.  She has the safety of experience in her corner, but she only broke her maiden in Europe and did not face the same caliber of company as Sky Lantern.  Still, she has proven U.S. form and is trained by Chad Brown.  She would not be a surprise.


Finally, 14 SUSTAINED may be a good price option.  She was bumped twice in finishing second to Watsdachances in the Ms. Grillo last out and has the right to fare better on firm turf with less trouble.  If she can get a good trip, she could factor at a solid 12-1.


I will use all 4 aforementioned fillies in multi-race wagers and may bet exactas of the Irish fillies if the prices are right and they make a good impression on the track.


G1 Juvenile Fillies

 Beholder1 BEHOLDER was dominant last out, but possibly too dominant.  She is already 5-2 and will surely take money off the flashy 108 BSF and 11-length win.  However, she is going 1.5f longer than ever before, and she was nosed out in her longest try by 2 EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE, drawn to her outside.  Perhaps we have a dominant horse who has just found her surface, but I’m looking elsewhere for a top selection. 



Executiveprivilege has already exhibeteExecutiveprivileged a level of dominance: she is unbeaten in five starts.  She has also moved methodically up the ladder: 51k maiden, listed stakes, G3, G2, G1.  Each time she has gradually increased in distance.  The G1 Chandelier last out was her first dirt race and her first route and she posted her best margin of victory yet.  Figures folks will take away from her due to the low(-ish) numbers, but she looks poised to earn her purchase price and then some back in this race.  There is a lot of speed here and this filly should get first run if that untested speed should tire.


Spring in the Air 

I am taking a (perhaps foolish) stand against Pletcher’s pair here and looking to a price in the event of a pace meltdown or simple misfire from some of the top contenders.  3 SPRING IN THE AIR is 4: 2-2-0 lifetime and she made up ground impressively in her last outing, the G1 Alcibiades.  However, she has never tried dirt and comes off a good showing on Keeneland polytrack (a go-against BC angle).  Regardless, she overcame trouble to win that race and did so from way back.  She looks to be the early trailer in this field and may be the only horse that likes to make one late run.  As such, in spite of her drawbacks, she is a must-play underneath and potential upset candidate in a small but potentially star-studded event.


I will use all three, to varying degrees, in multi-race wagers.  I may use Spring in the Air in some win bets and exactas with Executiveprivilege - prices depending, of course.


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Meet Alex Fawell 

Unlike many, I did not grow up with horseracing. My first time at the races was the 2008 Kentucky Derby. I bet on Colonel John. That fall, I had the good fortune to go to England, where I visited Ascot and Kempton. When I returned to the U.S., I was hooked. I started reading handicapping books, studying historic sire lines, watching races and going to Portland Meadows regularly. While the purses there were small, I was able to be close to the action and see firsthand the day-to-day operations of an average American racetrack.


Last year I moved home to Chicago. I went to Arlington for the first time this year. In the interim, I have devoted my time to understanding all aspects of horseracing  I hope to provide unique isights on handicapping perspectives and multifaceted analyses on the state of horseracing today. I will strive to write with an open mind and a willingness to learn through the writing process. I will not claim to be an expert, but I will read thoroughly, write carefully, and be honest.


To me, the all-time greats are Kelso, John Henry, Round Table and Yeats. Horses I like because they have won me money include Raven's Pass, Alternation, and I'll Have Another. The greatest horse I have even seen live is Zenyatta. I also enjoy the Bears, the Bulls, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, Mexican food, good Bourbon, and old-time music - specifically that played on the 5-string banjo. Thanks for reading!

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