Play against Enable with these 3 Breeders' Cup Turf rivals

November 02, 2018 03:14pm
Play against Enable with these 3 Breeders' Cup Turf rivals
Photo: Bee Buck Photography
Champion filly Enable is an imposing threat in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf on Saturday at Churchill Downs. As a two-time Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) winner, the 4-year-old Irish-bred filly is an international superstar in the racing world, too.

With that said, no horse has won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same year, and even money or less is hard to swallow given the presence of other quality European invaders. It makes sense to play against her.

Not surprisingly, the three most logical horses to beat Enable with – Waldgeist, Talismanic and Magical - exit the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as well.



Waldgeist obviously fared best of the trio, finishing a closing fourth after spending most of the race covered up toward the back, slightly inside of Talismanic.

In the stretch run, Waldgeist encountered some traffic problems trying to bully his way through the inside paths, but that is the life of a closer. Traffic can occur in the Turf as well given a 13-horse field. If he gets a clear shot, though, he can win.

Waldgeist is a 4-year-old son of Galileo trained by Andre Fabre. Fabre conditions Talismanic as well, so the pair has been seen together in the mornings at Churchill Downs. Fabre, who trained Flintshire, also won this race with In the Wings in 1990 and Shirocco in 2005. He knows what it takes to win the Turf.

Talismanic struck just last year at the Breeders' Cup, but his most recent run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe looks disappointing to say the least. The defending champion raced in the clear for the first half, right next to his stablemate Waldgeist. He then tipped out in the stretch for a clear run, but offered little to finish 13th by 11 lengths over “good” turf.

Two races ago, Talismanic ran a solid second to Waldgeist in the Prix Foy (G2) over a firm turf course. Is Talismanic better on a firm course compared to wet? Yes, probably.

Then again, Talismanic owns a number of wins on good turf, and did finish third in the Prix Foy last year over yielding turf, missing second by a neck to Cloth of Stars. Cloth of Stars ran third in this year’s Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, losing by a length. 

When Talismanic won this race last year, he received a dream trip breaking from the rail and saving ground through a lively pace, before switching out in the stretch run.



Talismanic drew the rail again in a race projected as fast by the TimeformUS Pace Projector, and is listed at a fair 12-1 on the morning line. No rain is on the forecast for Friday or Saturday, so if the course dries out a little bit, he can contend.

As for Magical, she spent most of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in last before making a mild bid in the stretch run to finish 10th, losing by roughly five lengths. At first glance, 10th sounds disappointing. But there were 19 horses in the field. Think about the Kentucky Derby, in which the 20-horse field inevitably leads to chaos.

Magical rebounded against her own sex in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (G1). This time, she showed a little more speed and held off the closers.



For those unfamiliar with runner-up Coronet, she finished second in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) to Sea of Class, the runner-up in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe to Enable.

Another plus for Magical is the addition of Lasix, which sometimes helps horses move forward. Waldgeist and Talismanic are running without Lasix, and Talismanic won this race last year without the medication. This is a debatable topic, as not everyone agrees on the effects. But on a personal level, one of the first lessons learned as a handicapper was to pay attention to horses with first-time Lasix.  

All of the American runners will use Lasix, but this is a top-class European contingent lined up against them. If one flops, another Euro should pick up the pieces. Channel Maker, Glorious Empire and Robert Bruce only hold a small chance.

With four main Euro contenders, and one of them a superstar, an idea is to box them in an exacta, or only use Enable underneath if looking to beat her. For horizontal wagers, Enable is the obvious “A” horse, while Waldgeist, Talismanic and Magical are fine as “B” options. Waldgeist deserves consideration for the “A” spot.

On paper, Enable looks like an awesome filly. The public is attached to her, though, giving horseplayers the opportunity to score against a fan favorite. Remember the one rule of wagering on horse racing: There is no absolute lock. Any horse can lose. 

 

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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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