So much for the Friday Breeders’ Cup card being predictable. Updated to reflect scratches, most notably Imperial Hint out of the Sprint.
Race 4 | Grade I Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint | 7 furlongs
1. Spiced Perfection
3. Come Dancing
4. Dawn the Destroyer
Comment: Covfefe is a deserving favorite and ticks every box, except that she’s the favorite. Spiced Perfection, offering a better price, has won a Grade 1 at the distance on this track last year and figures to improve in her second start off a summer layoff — and the comeback race was a Grade 2 win at Keeneland Race Course. Come Dancing is the other horse that I’ll include in multi-race wagers appearing ideally suited for the distance.
Race 5 | Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint | 5 furlongs turf
1. Sheikky Shebaz
2. Final Frontier
4. Stormy Liberal
Comment: A wide-open affair. Sheikky Shebaz will benefit from a shorter distance than his second-place finish in his last at Belmont Park. Final Frontier beat Sheikky Shebaz in that Belmont race after Sheikky Shebaz won their prior race. At a 12-1 morning line, Sheikky Shebaz is the value. Leinster also could appreciate a shorter distance. Stormy Liberal is the two-time defending champion, but doesn’t appear to be on that same level now.
Race 6 | Grade I Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile| 1 mile
1. Coal Front
2. Omaha Beach
3. Mr. Money
4. Spun to Run
Comment: Jockey Mike Smith goes to Omaha Beach after riding Coal Front to a win in the Parx Dirt Mile Stakes, but the betting will be that Omaha Beach regresses from his comeback win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Mr. Money shortens in distance and is a threat stepping up from the state derbys circuit. Spun to Run would not surprise. Will use several in multi-race wagers.
Race 7 | Grade I Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf | 1 1/4 miles turf
2. Villa Marina
3. Mrs. Sippy
Comment: The reigning champ in this race returns and will be a single on many of my tickets. Villa Marina with a Group 1 win in France has the class to upset, but don’t see it. Mrs. Sippy was a respectable second to Sistercharlie in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont and comes from the barn of Graham Motion, who had a 13-1 winner on Friday.
Race 8 | Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint | 6 furlongs
2. Catalina Cruiser
Comment: Even when beaten, Mitole posts big speed figures and gets the edge as the most consistent of these. Another single possibility. Catalina Cruiser is almost as consistent and offers some value on the toteboard.
Race 9 | TVG Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile | 1 mile turf
1. Circus Maximus
3. Got Stormy
4. Bowies Hero
Comment: A wide-open race where several will be used on multi-race tickets. Circus Maximus is a two-time Group 1 winner and gets the edge. Uni is a multiple Grade 1 winner and is the best of the domestics. Got Stormy should benefit from firmer turf. Bowies Hero is a multiple Grade 1 winner at a 12-1 morning line. A lot of value on that one after an impressive win in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland Race Course, but will have to overcome an outside post.
Race 10 | Grade I Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff | 1 1/8 miles
1. Midnight Bisou
2. Blue Prize
3. Dunbar Road
4. Street Band
Comment: Midnight Bisou is perfect this year and will have every chance of extending that seven-race streak. Blue Prize was a tough-luck fourth in this race last year and has the best chance of breaking the Midnight Bisou streak. Any ticket that doesn’t single Midnight Bisou also will include Blue Prize, Dunbar Road, Street Band and Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress.
Race 11 | Grade I Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf | 1 1/2 miles turf
1. Bricks and Mortar
2. Old Persian
4. Anthony Van Dyck
Comment: Bricks and Mortar is the favorite for this and Horse of the Year and figures to extend a seven-race win streak that began late last year. Old Persian appears to be at the top of his game and is the one with the upset chance. Multi-race tickets likely will be limited to these two with some singling Bricks and Mortar.
Race 12 | Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic | 1 1/4 miles
2. Code of Honor
3. Vino Rosso
Comment: McKinzie switches to Joel Rosario and is the most consistent in a Classic field that isn’t one of the greats in Breeders’ Cup history. If there was a special Eclipse Award for money earned being moved up because of a disqualification, Code of Honor would get it having been moved from third to second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and from second to first in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. That said, he and Vino Rosso — the horse taken down in the Jockey Club Gold Cup — are distance proven. Elate is not Zenyatta, but can’t be excluded against these and is three-for-three at the distance.