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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Head Heart & Hooves

Previewing the Breeders' Cup Race-By-Race

 BC Dirt Mile

Jersey Town    This looks like a three-horse race to me.  3 JERSEY TOWN really popped last time in the Kelso, but that was his first win in two years.  He did just beat Shackleford soundly in the Kelso, however, and has not ducked anyone.  Jersey Town ran terribly in last year’s rendition of this race, but I’ve always liked this horse and will have to use him.  He came into the 2011 Mile off the Kelso as well, but that was an 11-length third leading to an 11-length sixth.  While a win would be a surprise, Jersey town is a must-use in exotics.
    6 SHACKLEFORD could be ready to improve off of his last-out second to Jersey Town.  Today’s distance (7-8f) is clearly Shackleford’s best and he may be rounding into form at the right time.  With a lot of horses who like to sit off the pace, Shackleford may be the one to lead them.  If he does, he will take some beating.  The Forestry colt has faced and beaten some of racing’s best and has every right to be favored here.  He is beatable, but even as I look at his faults, I have a hard time making a case for another.
    The best alternative may be the lightly-raced 7 EMCEE.  His win in the Forego last out was his best race to date, but he adds an extra furlong here.  If he can get the distance, he would be very tough to hold off in the stretch.  Emcee should be game for this one and could provide a thrilling stretch duel if he takes a run at leading Shackleford.

    Clearly chalking out here, I am going to watch this one for the entertainment.  It will only serve as a bridge in multis using the three aforementioned entries and I’ll cheer against the upset.

BC (Downhill!) Turf Sprint

    Maybe it’s oversimplification, and I do hate cliches, but I am looking to the horses for this course.  1 CALIFORNIA FLAG is a neat old campaigner and downhill turf savant.  The old grey was eighth in last year’s G2 rendition of this race and has not run since April, but his recent works indicate he cannot wait to get out of the starting gate.  CA Flag is 6/9 lifetime on the Santa Anita turf and offers nice value at 6-1.  He should be sharp and could even go gate to wire if he is.
    11 MIZDIRECTION is a popular 20-1 price hors
e (who could drop to 10- or 12-).  He doesn’t have the experience with this course that CA Flag does, but he won both of his starts here including a G3.  Mizdirection is 3/4 with a second this year and has only finished out of the exacta once.  Mike Puype gave this filly (another grey) a 7f workout in preparation for this followed by a 5f bullet.  This will certainly be a test for this game filly, but she certainly has a good shot.
    12 CHOSEN MIRACLE and 13 UNBRIDLED’S NOTE have also had success over this corse.  They finished 1-2 in the Eddie D last out, with Unbridled’s Note taking that one from post 12.  Out wide again, Unbridled’s Note will be making only his second start on turf.  If he has found his surface, this one could be dangerous from off the pace.  As for Chosen Miracle, he could be compromised if he doesn’t get the lead, which he has a good chance of getting.  He will see how far his speed can carry, but he has not faced a field like this on the turf.

    I will use CA Flag, Mizdirection, and Unbridled’s Note in intra-race exotics and multi-race wagers.


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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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