Super Screener: Takeaways from a chalky Breeders' Cup

Churchill Downs proved to be a worthy Breeders' Cup venue once again, just missing the deluge that fell 24 hours prior to the first championship race. Saturday's card truly represented a day of champions, while Friday gave us a number of horses to follow next year.

As a handicapper, what struck me most about this year’s Breeders’ Cup was just how chalky it came up in the win spot. Of the 14 races, an astonishing 12 (86%!) were won by the first or second choice
.  That's not what you are hoping for when it comes to the Breeders’ Cup races from a wagering perspective.

Despite the parade of favorites over the two days of racing, Horse Racing Nation's Super Screener handicapping system was able to successfully root out low-priced types that came up vulnerable. Here are the five most interesting low-priced flops tabbed by the Super Screener:

Perhaps the most valuable feature of the Super Screener is its track record over the years in isolating from the many longshots in these Breeders’ Cup races those that have the best shot to hit the Superfecta. This year was no exception. Below is a chart that captures the outcomes of horses we designated as Top Value/Top Longshot that finished in the Top 5 and went off at 10-1 or higher.

The highlight of the weekend was isolating as a Top Longshot the only double-digit price to win any of the 14 Breeders' Cup races. That came in the Filly & Mare Sprint, when Shamrock Rose stormed home from post 14 to shock at odds of 25-1. She met the long-shot criteria for this race to a and delivered big time!

What can we learn from the 20-1 and above bombers that hit the Superfecta? We’ll be digging in deep to address that question in the following weeks, calibrating the 
Super Screener criteria for each race.

The following chart captures all the 20-1+ horses that finished in the Superfecta over the 14 races. We have included the track at which they submitted their final prep, their running style in the Breeders’ Cup race and their finish.

What are some of the quick conclusions we can draw from this table?

 Nearly 80% of the longshot bombers were closers and, to a lesser extent, off-the-pace types.

 There were no longshot bomber pace types that hit the Superfecta in any race.

 10 of the 14 long shot bombers (71%) finished third or fourth

Pay close attention to
 horses exiting races from Keeneland. As is the case with current Super Screener screening criteria, it is the scene of the final prep race for many future Breeders’ Cup long shot bombers

While the primary purpose of the Super Screener is to provide detailed race and horse-by-horse analysis, isolating the top longshots and favorites to fade, we also offer suggested wagers to select from to provide ideas on how to structure wagering strategies and potential tickets. These suggestions, combined with your own convictions and betting preferences, provide additional useful information to make for a successful experience at the races.

Below is a summary of the return of suggested wagers across the chalky Breeder’s Cup races.

In addition to the results just shared, there were some other interesting highlights and key trip notes to share as captured below.

 In the Juvenile Fillies Turf, a Super Screener “A” horse in Newspaperofrecord just crushed her foes, submitting the best performance across all Breeders’ Cup races. A Super Screener Top Longshot pick, East, closed for a distant but solid seco
nd at 14-1. Note, Chad Brown has now won four of the last five editions of this race and Aidan O’Brien has not won this race (or come close) in the past 12 runnings.

 In the Juvenile Fillies, the Super Screener’s pair of “A” horses comprised the Exacta, with Jaywalk winning the race and Restless Rider finishing second
. We faded Bellafina due to the lack of any energy being distributed late in her prior races.

 One of our top conviction horses running in this year’s Breeders’ Cup, Line of Duty, looked hopelessly defeated about mid-stretch in the Juvenile Turf, but then found another gear and gobbled up ground with incredibly long strides to snare the hard-fought win over a very game Uncle Benny. The former foe survived an inquiry/objection which was the right call. Line of Duty’s morning line odds were 10-1, which made him a solid Super Screener Top Value play. However, he went off at odds of 7-2 when it was all said and done.

 The lone “A” horse in the Juvenile, after the scratch of Code of Honor, was Bob Baffert’s Game Winner, who battled a tenacious Knicks Go (40-1) down the entire stretch before finally putting that one away. Look for Game Winner to be firmly on the 2019 Kentucky Derby trail.

 The Super Screener called the Dirt Mile exacta cold with City of Light capturing the win and Seeking the Soul finishing a strong seco
nd at odds of 10-1.  

 Trainer John Sadler was 0-fer heading into this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Selcourt finished out of the money in the Filly & Mare Sprint, but Catapult did finish a game second in the Mile. Redemption and glory finally came when Sadler took down the Classic with a sharp-looking Accelerate, who came from off the pace to win rather easily. On to the Pegasus World Cup for Accelerate’s final career race.

Did the dirt surface and turf play fair at Churchill Downs, or was it biased as some proclaimed? Let’s take a look at the data. There were seven races run on both courses. For each race, we looked at the energy distribution profile of the horses that finished 1-2-3-4.

As the chart below indicates, both surfaces played pretty darn fair. It “felt” at times that both surfaces played “speedy” but in hind sight those pace winners were just better than all the rest, including Bulletin and Newspaperofrecord on the turf and Jaywalk and City of Light on the dirt surfaces.

That’s a wrap on this year’s Breeder’s Cup. The Super Screener, however, will continue analyzing top stakes on a weekly basis. This month we have Del Mar and Churchill Downs in particular in action. Look for new innovations and improvements in our Super Screener product in the year ahead.

Until next weekend, go fast and win!


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