Most of you who know me, or read Past the Wire already know I normally don’t care much for future wagers. They are usually way too risky, don’t offer the odds I think should go along with the proposition, and you can always find value come race day when you know a lot more than you do weeks or months in advance. This past week was an exception. A friend of mine was in Las Vegas and I asked him to get me the advance odds on a horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. It is yet to be determined if I was fortunate or unfortunate that no books in Vegas are taking futures on horse races right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I guess I will be left with a sharp call or poorly aged column but I think there is a real good chance we saw the winner of both the Classic and the Sprint last Saturday.
While I don’t like to make advance choices, when I do my record is pretty good. If you are new to Past the Wire you might want to read this. A few years ago I thought I was onto a winner in advance and wrote Warning Shot Fired. It’s worth a look.
Sometimes your gut is your best instinct in this game we play. I saw two races Saturday and my gut immediately said Classic and Sprint winner. I was willing to put my money where my mouth led to.
I loved Code of Honor in the Travers. Americas Best Racing interviewed me in the paddock on the Friday prior for their Facebook live show and I explained why. I knew Shug wanted it and was pointing for it. He’s good at that. I knew the same with Orb in the Kentucky Derby. I felt Code of Honor would have won the Derby had it not rained. I still think so despite all the Maximum Security news that broke afterwards. His trip was rougher than most realized, and he could have been best. We’ll never know. We know he wasn’t fully cranked on Saturday but he was sharp from off the pace and when he saw Endorsed in the stretch he got down to business and went after him. I like that in a horse. Code of Honor did not like the track at Santa Anita for last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. he was having a hard time getting over it and you could see that into the Clubhouse turn. That race is a toss out.
You just know Shug wants a Breeders’ Cup Classic nearing the twilight of his outstanding career. You know he would love it no place more than Lexington Kentucky, at Keeneland his old stomping grounds. You have to have the horse, we all know that, but after what I saw Saturday I believe he does. I am hoping for maybe three or four races leading up to the big dance, all setting him up to peak on the right day. I can envision it, and feel it in my gut.
As fast as polished steel. That’s what came to mind when I first saw Volatile run. That is exactly what came to mind every time I saw him run again. Last Saturday he stopped the clock in seven and change geared down. Phoenix Thoroughbreds have come up with the flat out fastest horse I have seen in a while, and I, no we all have seen some really fast horses. Steve Asmussen kept Mitole on edge all year and had him set for his best in the Breeders’ Cup. I expect he will do the same with Volatile who may even be faster yet than what he has shown, if that is even possible.
While Volatile is super fast, he can shut off a bit and bide his time before accelerating, sort of like a Maserati, you can hear and feel the power and speed before you even tap the pedal to get it to take off. That ability will help a lot in those super fast sprints. Who knows, maybe he can get a mile and will go for the Met. He surely looks like he can, but I think we see him in the Sprint at Keeneland. You can’t beat what you can’t catch.
Steve Asmussen is obviously optimistic and had this to say after the colt’s win at Churchill Downs on Saturday:
“Obviously he’s a tremendous talent from a very significant family. The second dam to him is Lady Tak, who was actually our first millionaire and an extremely significant horse to our stables development. He has her freak-like ability. She was the filly that won the Test and we’re hoping off the back of this he shows the same affinity to the Saratoga course that she did. We are definitely expecting to step him up to Graded Stakes Company from here.”
Interesting he mentioned Lady Tak, she is indeed a Test winner at Saratoga and what I took note of first time I saw his pedigree.
We can either have a Tonalist plus one, or a Tonalist daily double, or a very poorly aged column. Time will tell but I am anxious to see how the year goes for these two.
Volatile Photo: Coady Photography
Code of Honor Photo: Past the Wire