UPDATED TO REFLECT SCRATCHES
The Breeders’ Cup is back at Churchill Downs. For those into Roman numerology, this is Breeders’ Cup XXXV. New to edition XXXV is the move of all juvenile races to the Friday card — now dubbed Future Stars Friday
Without further ado, here are my picks.
Race 1 – 1. Stronger Than Ever, 2. Enthrall, 3. Dutch Parrot. Comment: Stronger Than Ever drops in class and is as capable as others.
Race 2 – 1. Captain Von Trapp, 2. Chess Chief, 3. Straight Shot. Comment: Captain Von Trapp gets a slight edge coming out of the same race as Chess Chief.
Race 3 – 1. Shareholder Value, 2. M G Warrior, 3. Casses Story. Comment: Shareholder Value has been popular in the claim box and offers value at a 10-1 morning line.
Race 4 | Street Sense Stakes | 1 mile
2. Manny Wah
3. Trophy Chaser
4. Louder Than Bombs
Comment: Improbable looks probable to handle the stretch from six furlongs to a mile. Manny Wah picks up John Velazquez which helps his chances.
Race 5 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes | 5 1/2 furlongs turf
1. Sergei Prokofiev
2. So Perfect
3. Chelsea Cloisters
4. Stillwater Cove
Comment: Sergei Prokofiev is a Group 3 winner abroad and gets Coolmore’s top jock Ryan Moore. So Perfect is beaten less than a length in each of two Group 1s. Chelsea Cloisters improves with a straighter trip and Stillwater Cove will benefit from the cutback in distance. A wide open affair, especially with the defection of Shang Shang Shang.
Race 6 | Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf | 1 mile turf
1. La Pelosa
2. Just Wonderful
4. Lily’s Candle
Comment: La Pelosa won in Canada and is capable at a price while getting regular rider William Buick back. Just Wonderful is a Group 2 winner and gets Coolmore’s top jock Moore. Newspaperofrecord would not surprise and is the clear top pick among the Americans, but giving the edge to Europeans on the turf.
Race 7 | Grade I Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies | 1 1/16 miles
1. Serengeti Empress
2. Restless Rider
Comment: While Bellafina is the favorite, the outside post position cannot help her. Serengeti Empress is working well and has one of the most impressive stakes wins on this track this side of Rachel Alexandra’s Kentucky Oaks romp. An inside post to boot makes her the choice. Should Serengeti Empress run out of gas, Restless Rider should be sitting right off her in the catbird’s seat ready to pounce.
Race 8 | Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf | 1 mile turf
1. Line of Duty
2. Anthony Van Dyck
3. King of Speed
4. War of Will
Comment: Line of Duty has the breeding, the class and an advantageous post. Anthony Van Dyck will have to overcome an outside post but is the largest threat.
Race 9 | Grade I Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile | 1 1/16 miles
2. Tight Ten
3. Game Winner
4. Standard Deviation
Comment: A deep edition of the Juvenile sees undefeated Complexity with room to improve in his third start. Tight Ten has worked well in advance of this. Game Winner would be the most logical winner but will have to overcome a less than advantageous post position. Standard Deviation would add value to exotics and can improve third out.
Race 10 | Grade II Marathon Stakes | 1 3/4 miles
1. Big Dollar Bill
3. Toast of New York
4. Honorable Duty
Comment: Big Dollar Bill has won at this rare distance. Rocketry is a proven commodity at lengthy distances. Toast of New York should appreciate stretching additional furlongs.