Gauging select Breeders' Cup favorites and their chances

October 14, 2019 03:30pm
Gauging select Breeders' Cup favorites and their chances
Photo: Bee Buck Photography
Most Breeders' Cup favorites are legitimate win contenders, making it difficult to ignore them. After all, they become favored for good reasons, whether it is because of a successful campaign or one standout race.

But once in a while, there is a vulnerable one. And with these the deepest fields of the year in respective divisions, it's a lucrative opportunity to play against.

Here, we'll discuss expected favorites of a select few Breeders' Cup races and their chances. 

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Expected favorite: Sweet Melania

With a visually-striking 5 ½ length win in last week's Jessamine Stakes (G2), Sweet Melania will either go off favored or close to it. Bettors have to find the Jose Ortiz/Todd Pletcher combination an attractive one. 

But the concern is the Europeans. On the possibles list is Love, who won the Moyglare Stakes (G1) and ran third in the Fillies' Mile (G1). Daayeh, the Moyglare runner-up and Rockfel Stakes (G2) winner, is another possible invader, as is Powerful Breeze, the runner-up in the Fillies' Mile.

Albigna, the Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) winner, is a fourth possible Euro shipper. She only ran sixth in the Moyglare, behind Love and Daayeh.

Those Europeans could prove simply themselves to be of a higher class, making Sweet Melania a vulnerable favorite. This Juvenile Fillies Turf is competitive than her visually impressive performance at Keeneland suggests.

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

Expected favorite:

While some might call this fake news, right now there are a few negative points against the brilliant 3-year-old Covfefe in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

For one, Minit to Stardom and Selcourt will bring plenty of speed, too. The two of them could contest the pace with each other, or with Covfefe, setting the table more for a stalker or closer.

The post position draw will carry great importance. Covfefe fares better when drawn outside the speed, as it allows her to sit off the pacesetter. This favorable post draw scenario helped her in the Test Stakes (G1) and Dogwood Stakes.

When Covfefe draws inside of the speed, as in the Roxelana Stakes at Churchill Downs, she is forced to take outside pressure as the pacesetter. Covfefe faded late to third in the Roxelana for her lone 2019 loss.

In the latter situation, a talented stalker such as Guarana (if she opts for this race), Come Dancing or even Bellafina could take advantage.

It depends on which speed horses enter and what post Covfefe draws, but in the right situation, Covfefe is vulnerable as the favorite.

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf

Expected favorite: Sistercharlie

Time to go in the other direction and discuss a strong favorite.

Sistercharlie only won the Flower Bowl Stakes (G1) at Belmont by ¾ of a length over Mrs. Sippy. But from a visual standpoint, the win is impressive. Once Mrs. Sippy came within range, Sistercharlie held her at bay, taking complete measure.

Prior to the Flower Bowl, Sistercharlie took the Beverly D Stakes (G1) by three lengths, with Filly & Mare Turf contender Fleeting in fourth.

Sistercharlie also won the Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga by 1 ¾ lengths over Rushing Fall and Homerique, two talented fillies.

Does Sistercharlie even need her rabbit, Thais? That is debatable.

Despite Thais competing the Breeders' Cup last year, she did not even help Sistercharlie. Thais broke slow, which allowed the outside speed to cross over before the first turn and prevented Thais from setting a fast early pace.

Yet, Sistercharlie won the race by a neck without a fast pace.

None of the expected Euros for the Filly & Mare Turf are scary, and Enable and Magical will opt for the Turf if either of them go (Enable is a longshot to appear).

As of this moment, Sistercharlie is a probable repeat winner.

Breeders' Cup Distaff

Expected favorite: Midnight Bisou

While Midnight Bisou put together a remarkable campaign by winning 7 of 7 races, there is reason to believe her first loss could come in the Distaff.

For one, a couple of those victories came against soft competition. At 1/9, almost everyone expected Midnight Bisou to win races such as the Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) and Beldame Stakes (G2). In the latter race, Wow Cat actually made Midnight Bisou sweat for a few moments in the stretch.

Also, Midnight Bisou defeated Elate in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) two starts ago, but what version of Elate did she defeat? Elate lost at 3/5 in the Spinster Stakes (G1) in her next start and has often burned money.

Elate is headed toward the Classic, but the other remaining competition could provide a stiff challenge for Midnight Bisou.

For example, with the right trip Paradise Woods is an impressive mare, as she showed by winning the Zenyatta Stakes (G1) last month. The runner-up Secret Spice and third-place Ollie's Candy are consistent fillies as well.

As another note about Ollie's Candy, for whatever reason she did not display her usual speed in the Zenyatta and lagged in fifth, before moving on the backside. With her energy wasted on the early move, she hung late.

Besides the California trio, Street Band is on the upswing with a win in the Cotillion Stakes (G1) and third-place finish in the Alabama Stakes (G1).

The Alabama winner and Spinster third-place finisher Dunbar Road is eligible to move forward, too, especially if she gets to rally outside.

Plus, Blue Prize, Serengeti Empress and Guarana could all enter.

This is a deep Distaff field, making Midnight Bisou vulnerable as the favorite after a long campaign.


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