Some people were watching the election. Some were watching something else. Some were at work. Some were relaxing at home. Some were shopping. Geo was deep into replays, past performances, history, trends, statistics, workouts and whatever additional relevant information he could gather and dissect about the 2020 Breeders’ Cup renewal this weekend at Keeneland in Lexington Kentucky.
The weather is supposed to be beautiful. The fields are competitive and the opportunities will be plenty!
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Here are Geo’s thoughts:
In this absolutely twisted, crazy year we have all endured, 2020 has provided changes to scheduled events all over the country. For our Sport of Kings, it was no different, especially considering the Triple Crown which eventually had the Run For the Roses happening in early September.
However, considering all the changes and or cancellations, we are thankful to have this fabulous two-day Breeders’ Cup event happening right when we expected it to be, following Halloween and in early November. The years have passed and we have such a storied history since inaugurating back in 1984, as we have reached our 37th chapter.
We now return to beautiful Keeneland where it was last hosted back in 2015. As I write this column, the weather forecast is calling for breathtakingly perfect conditions, mostly sunny skies with mild November temperatures in the area of 70 degrees.
Who’s better than us? Our sport’s very best thoroughbreds, large fields and and many quality horses at a price.
As a seasoned handicapper and prognosticator of the sport, I’m always thrilled to work on this event, spending numerous hours diving deep into past performances, completing a thorough pedigree analysis, and watching hours of replays realizing a horse’s behavior and willingness to give it all he has.
As a guide, especially for the Breeders’ Cup, always keep in mind the significance of the European and Foreign-based runners. Throughout the storied 36-year history, they have had tremendous success.It is imperative that you consider their abilities and the significance of their bloodlines. They are fabulous contenders and worthy of their presence on the track.
Ok, are you ready? 5 Breeders’ Cup Championship Races on Friday for all the Juveniles and 9 tremendously competitive Breeders’ Cup Championship races on Saturday.
For you, our dedicated readers of Past The Wire, I have completed my work for all 14 championship races, I have provided my top 4 contenders in a precise order of finish, along with some additional bullet points for perhaps a few other contenders, depending on the race.
I’m hoping you will use my thoughts as a guide to make an informed window decision.
A pair of beautiful racing days, and all the information you will need. Ok, Let’s go!
Good luck to all and let’s make this a Breeders’ Cup we’ll be able to cherish always.
Friday November 6th, 2020
Keeneland Race # 6 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint 5 & ½ Furlongs Grade 2 Purse $1,000,000
# 5 Cowan
After viewing all of his career race replays, I felt committed to using him as my top choice in this large field packed with speed. He sports the confident connections of Jockey, Ricardo Santana Jr. up for Steven Asmussen. He was purchased for $185,000.00 and has progressed nicely with each of his 4 starts. He won his debut on the soil at Churchill Downs and then faced a bad trip in his 2nd start. He then switched to the weeds and has gained solid experience for this million-dollar run. I’m expecting him to have an alert start with his natural tactical speed, and for him to find comfort with several other speed horses in front of him, then with an aggressive ride, his Jock will find a lane and drive home to the finish. He comes into this race with several smart breezes and should be ready for it.
#14 Golden Pal
One of the many Wesley Ward entries for this race, and in my opinion his very best. The 14th post is a bummer, so he’ll have to work harder earlier, but his last at Saratoga was simply fabulous, posting a big time Beyer, and I feel he can still improve off that effort. The great Irad Ortiz is up and this guy was originally my top choice, but with the post position, I decided to list him 2nd. He’s been working exclusively around the dogs and appears to be ready for a top effort.
# 9 After Five
This grey purchased for $165,000 is another from the greatly successful Wesley Ward barn which has the propensity for getting two-year-old’s ready fast. He’s already 2 for 2 ( both 2nds) on the lawn and with Jose Ortiz up I’m expecting him to come flying late if he’s got the room to do it.
# 6 U Betta Believe It This guy makes his U.S. debut and is 3 for 4 on the lawn and at the distance, if he proves to travel well, I consider him a threat at a price. There’s little doubt about his talent, he’s already proven his ways and he’s beaten some good company overseas.
#8 Amanzi Yimpilo
I’m adding a 5th, considering I was very impressed with this filly who comes off a race already proving she can beat the boys. Luis Saez is up for Wesley Ward and must be considered, being 3 for 3 on the lawn. Who knows, there is so much speed in this race, if she’s fastest out of the gate, Jockey Saez may have her run away from the boys, worth considering in your deeper gimmicks for sure.
Keeneland Race # 7 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Mile Grade 1 Purse $1,000,000
Talk about a head scratcher, as this race on paper, through pedigree analysis and film study, is simply a wide-open event. There’s a myriad of things to consider here and then you need to hope that the European horses entered travel well and are totally composed, something that is never a guarantee with two-year-olds. It’s definitely a great betting race for all your gimmicks at the windows. Here’s my best top 5 in precise order:
# 1 Sealiway
This European invader comes off a tremendous performance going 7 panels. So impressive, I had to watch the race various times, which convinced me to use him as my top choice.There’s no doubt the rail draw will help here too. I’m fully expecting this colt to be in a solid position as they turn for home to take it all. Let’s just hope he handled his travels well. Jockey M Barzalona comes in for the ride too. Lastly, watch the board, based on what I saw in his performance, I would be shocked if he doesn’t get the window attention he deserves.
# 9 Battleground
This colt ships in from overseas as well after a pair of impressive wins on the lawn over the summer. The layoff is concerning, having not raced since July 28th, but he comes out of the fabulous Aidan O’Brien barn who comes into the day with 12 Breeders’ Cup victories. Jockey Ryan Moore is back up in the saddle and will always provide value to the horse. He’s got the pedigree that solves for the added distance, and I see him flying late to potentially grab the wire first, but for now, he’ll be listed as my 2nd choice.
# 4 Public Sector This well-bred guy was purchased for $193,000.00 and has already provided value to his owners by winning his debut at Saratoga and then raced well in the Grade 2 Pilgrim at Belmont Park. The connections are as good as it gets with Irad Ortiz up for Chad Brown, so you instantly obtain betting value as he’s listed at 8-1 on the ML. He’s been working around the dogs at Belmont Park, and you must fully expect him to be ready for his best effort in this very competitive field. A threat to take it all with his best race.
# 2 New Mandate
This gelding is another guy shipping in from overseas and he comes to us with a 5 for 5 in the money on the lawn record, winning 3 times. You get value with the great Frankie Dettori up in the saddle as he’s won 14 Breeders’ Cup Races over the years. I’m expecting him to sit mid-pack early on and then come flying late down the lane. He’s a solid price consideration for your betting gimmicks and I wouldn’t ignore completely with your multi-race wages
# 7 Fire at Will
A September 2019 Keeneland purchase for $97,000.00, he comes of winning the Grade 3 Pilgrim defeating my 3rd choice here,Public Sector. I’m impressed with his turf speed and I’m expecting him to be on or very close to the lead early on. Jockey Santana is up for the very consistent Michael Maker barn. There’s no reason to think this colt couldn’t improve off of his last effort.
Keeneland Race # 8 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies One Mile & 1/16th Grade 1 Purse $2,000,000
# 3 Day Out Of The Office
This filly really sparkled winning her last, the Grade 1 Frisette at Belmont Park. To me it was very telling, not only was it her 3rd straight, in her 3 career starts, but the way she handled the stretch-out to the mile distance. This daughter of Into Mischief was a $175,000 purchase and she’s won each of her first 3 starts in improving fashion. I trust the Timothy Hamm barn and I’m loving that Junior Alvarado is back in the saddle. I’m feeling she’ll have the option of seizing the lead from the very start, or sitting a tactical 2nd, this waiting to make her move as they turn for home. A must in your exacta wages based on her line of past performances.
# 7 Princess Noor
This gal has been equally impressive winning her first 3 starts. Victor Espinoza is up for the great Bob Baffert so you’ll be backed by the fabulous connections. She was purchased for the absolute insane amount of $1,350,000.00 which explains not only her expected performance, but the backing she’s gotten at the windows with each start. This filly ships in from the West Coast and must be considered an automatic contender here. I’m placing her 2nd based on two factors, her speed figures aren’t as good as my top choice, and the fact that it’s highly likely that you will get reduced value at the window. There’s no doubt she’s got the talent to make this race a very exciting one.
# 1 Simply Ravishing
This completes my top 3 of fillies that have won their first 3 starts. There’s little doubt she will show quality speed from her rail position, but I’m feeling that it will be more tactical for position vs these other special fillies. Luis Saez, her regular rider, is back up for the dependable Ken McPeek barn. Her latest was a smashing victory over this same Keeneland soil in the Grade 1 Alcibiad, so she’s got that advantage over my other listed choices.
# 5 Girl Daddy
This grey gal has been an impressive daughter of Uncle Mo, purchased at the Keenleand sales for a very robust $500,000.00. She comes into this race winning her first two starts. Joe Talamo is up for Dale Romans so you’re well covered there, and she has a steady workout line for her first race since September 3rd. If she can get over her slower starting ways, perhaps she can better my rating of 4th and gather a bigger piece of the purse.
Keeneland Race # 9 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Mile Grade 1 Purse $1,000,000
# 4 Plum Ali
I worked long and hard on this race as well. It’s very competitive with many fillies racing well here in the U.S. coupled with many being shipped in from Europe. After careful reconciliation of numerous factors, I have landed on this filly. I’ve been loving the Christophe Clement barn all year long and I’m loving the rider switch to the strong-armed Joel Rosario. This gal is 3 for 3 on the lawn and has won over today’s distance. In her last, she was a well bet favorite winning the Grade 2 Ms Grillo at Belmont Park. I was impressed with her overall effort in that race as it wasn’t the easiest of trips. I’m expecting her to break alertly, sitting mid-pack and then firing a powerful close down the lane to get up and win.
# 10 Campanelle
This gal is a European invader trained by the dependable Wesley Ward barn. She won all 3 starts in Europe, including the Grade 2 Queen Mary Stakes and the Grade 1 Prix Morny, so you simply cannot argue with her success. If she travels well, she must be considered as a serious threat with this group. You get Frankie Dettori as your rider, providing added value for you. This filly is likely to show some nice speed from the #10 hole and then angle in to be one of the front runners. Watch the window as there may be some smart money on her for those that know she took the trip well. I also like her works, not terribly fast, but consistent and all around the dogs which give you in indications she comes into the race fit and ready.
# 5 Aunt Pearl
This well-bred filly comes into this race winning both her career starts and she has never yet been headed, both wire to wire finishes. Jockey Florent Geroux is back up for the Brad Cox Barn who’s in the middle of a sensational year, winning just about 25% of their starts. I’m fully expecting her to attempt the same, breaking out on top and looking to wire these fillies. I respect her ability, but I’m feeling that this time out she gets caught by my top two choices.
This filly has been flawless, winning all of her 3 career starts on the West Coast for the much respected Simon Callaghan barn. By default, there’s lots to like about her and to consider her a contender in this field. Purchased for $125,000, she has also been well backed at the windows. She’s been perfect at this distance, as all three of her starts were at a mile on the weeds. Flavien Pratt adds to her appeal, so she may better my rating of 4th, but as I write this, I simply find my choices above as greater win contenders. Go ahead and use this filly in your deeper gimmicks, you’ll get a very nice price on her considering her success.
# 11 Royal Approval
This daughter of Tiznow comes into this race sharp and fit. It’s not often you’ll see a morning line of 10-1 for a Wesley Ward trained horse with Irad Ortiz in the silks, but that’s what you have here. Always good to cover your bases, especially in your multi race wagering cards. This filly is stretching out, but I see improvement for sure, watch the board
Keeneland Race # 10 Breeders Cup Juvenile One Mile and 1/16th Grade 1 Purse $2,000,000
# 13 Rombauer
Bombs Away! This West coast invader has had a troubled year. He’s had unfortunate trips, mainly at the start of his races, but I have loved the way he’s always kept coming. I’m confident with the Michael McCarthy barn who now gets the services of Javier Castellano (who to me will always add value to a racehorse). He began his career making his first two starts on the weeds, and then switched to today’s distance on the soil. In his last, the American Pharaoh, he again bobbled, started last and stayed the course and finished with lots of ambition. This son of Twirling Candy can mount a relentless close if he gets a good trip here and he just may get up to beat them all as a very robust price
# 7 Jackie’s Warrior
There’s no doubt all eyes trackside as they load this field into the gate will most likely be on this colt. He’s got high speed and comes into this Breeders’ Cup event winning all four of his starts, all of them rather impressively while showing dynamic speed. I’m confident to say that Jockey Joel Rosario will again look to get on the lead from the very start, his last in the Grade 1 Champagne was simply flawless, a gate to wire romp, but he only beat 5 other rivals. He’s got to be the horse to beat so obviously he can better my 2nd place rating, I’m simply taking a shot that my top choice may pass him as they approach the wire
# 3 Reinvestment Risk
A solid and rather imposing colt purchased for $280,000.00, the son of Upstart has Irad Ortiz, his regular rider, back up in the silks and saddled by Chad Brown who has won 15 Breeders’ Cup races over the years. He’s been beaten twice rather soundly by my 2nd choice, so he will need to turn the tables, but I’m feeling this guy can get better and must be considered in this field
# 5 Essential Quality
The Brad Cox grey colt will be one of the main X-Factors in the race, His last race over this same Keeneland strip was simply outstanding, the Grade 1 Breeders Fut. His improvement from his debut was well noted, I believe this guy is most capable of chasing Jackie’s Warrior, so it will be interesting to see how close he is to the front runner. Luis Saez is back up and this colt comes into the race with a solid 5 Furlong Breeze. He should be considered a contender for sure, and used on most multi-race tickets. If you’re boxing my top 3 in exactas and triples, then you should also add this guy to the mix.
Thank you for checking out Geo’s deep dive into the Friday Breeders’ Cup card. Later this week we will have Geo’s late pick 4 analysis on Breeders’ Cup Saturday ending with the Breeders’ Cup Classic!