Breeders’ Cup Saturday – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

Breeders’ Cup Championship Weekend at Santa Anita Park reverts to the more traditional race conditions on Saturday, with all races for three-year-olds and up. European raiders have historically fared far better at the Saturday fixture, particularly in the turf races writes SCOTT FINLEY.

As with Friday’s weather forecast, bright skies, no rain, temperatures approaching 30 degrees, and firm going on the Santa Anita turf course may not suit shippers from Ireland, England, and France, so best to pay attention to all runners in the parade ring and during on-track warm-ups.

During races on Thursday’s opening day card at Santa Anita, horses on, or pressing, the early pace finished strongly, especially in the grass races. Watch closely the Friday Breeders’ Cup races to see if the same speed bias prevails. If so, it may prove to be a significant handicapping factor for Saturday.

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🇺🇸 Race 3 (18:30 GMT) – Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (1609m) starts proceedings with a depleted field of seven after the early withdrawals of Practical Move and Algiers. No.3 Cody’s Wish looms an odds-on favourite and it will be a shock if last year’s winner of this race is beaten.

The only possible chink in Cody’s armour may be that all but one of his 10 lifetime victories were achieved over a one-turn track layout. With the exception of last year’s Dirt Mile at Keeneland, each of the three other times Cody has raced around two bends resulted in defeat.

In what will surely be the shortest SP of the Breeders’ Cup meeting, CODY’S WISH looks to be a play only for those that relish lumping on to odds-on favourites…not a sensible bet for this correspondent.


🇺🇸 Race 4 (19:10 GMT) – Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf over ten furlongs on turf (~2000m) looks to be Europe’s for the taking in a race that has always played well for foreign shippers. The key question, though, is which one of the six will be first past the post?

Warm Heart and Inspiral hail from the powerful O’Brien and Gosden yards, respectively, with both sporting superb Gr1 form and proven ability to ship to win.

Given Charlie Appleby’s incredible 70% strike rate in North American Gr1 races, one must also take no.3 With The Moonlight into consideration. She has been placed in all five North American starts, all in top company, and won twice in Dubai when shipping there earlier this year. With William Buick aboard, the 20/1 on offer looks like a solid each-way play.

Lumiere Rock, trained by A.P’s son Joseph Patrick O’Brien, has made the frame on each of her efforts outside of Ireland, but may not yet be quite be Gr1 class. Ralph Beckett’s State Occasion and Japan’s Win Marilyn look a bit out of their depth, but in this same race in 2021 Japan gained their first-ever Breeders’ Cup victory. After success in the Gr1 Hong Kong Vase last December, a Win Marilyn win would not be a huge surprise.

In Italian, never out of the frame in 13 lifetime starts on grass, and second in this race last year, hails from the all-conquering barn of America’s champion trainer Chad Brown. With her early-speed running style and aggressive rider Joel Rosario up, it would be no surprise for In Italian to take the race gate to wire.

With so many likely outcomes making this a difficult race to handicap, no.2 WARM HEART gets the nod. Her four-pound three-year-old weight allowance, proven form going left-handed, and Ryan Moore in the saddle could make all the difference.


🇺🇸 Race 5 (19:50 GMT) – PNC Bank Filly & Mare Sprint over 7 furlongs on dirt (~1400m) features another odds-on favourite taking on a small field, with little chance of Goodnight Olive being beaten.

Never out of the frame and winner of this same race in 2022, Goodnight Olive has the running style to stay close to the pacesetters (of which there are several) and pounce after straightening for home. Under America’s Champion Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr, it will be a shock if Olive is beaten at the tricky 7f distance, where she has won six of eight starts.

If the early price of around evens is still on offer, no.1 GOODNIGHT OLIVE is the Saturday Breeders’ Cup Nap of the day.


🇺🇸 Race 6 (20:30 GMT) – FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf over the classic mile distance (1609m) has been the kindest race to foreign raiders over the years. Along with two well-meant shippers from Japan, three European runners take on nine from the USA and Canada

Godolphin won this race last year and hold a strong hand again with Mawj and Master Of The Seas, the former trained by Saeed bin Suroor and the latter by the all-conquering Charlie Appleby. Were it not for an extreme outside draw in gate 14, Master Of The Seas would be a confident selection. Winner of a key Breeders’ Cup Mile trial at Woodbine in September and beaten a nose in Keeneland’s Turf Mile (another productive BC Mile trial), William Buick replaces James Doyle in the saddle and may be able to work out a winning trip with the Dubai gelding’s stalk and pounce running style.

Should Master Of The Seas not get the best of trips, then Mawj is an able replacement for her Godolphin stablemate. Receiving a six-pound age and sex allowance and from a decent draw, it would not be a surprise to see Godolphin take two of the first three places.

Nevertheless, no.14 MASTER OF THE SEAS is the top selection, with Japan’s Songline also in with a sporting chance.


🇺🇸 Race 7 (21:10 GMT) – Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff over nine furlongs on dirt (~1800m) is a race that traditionally favours the first three in the betting and has been one of the best Breeders’ Cup races for favourites over the years.

Godolphin are again double-handed, with Pretty Mischievous and Wet Paint both trained and raced in the USA. These two faced off in the Gr1 Kentucky Oaks in May, with the former coming out on top.

Of the four-year-olds, Juddmonte’s Idiomatic, Stonestreet Stables Clariere, and the Klaravich Stable pair of Search Results and Randomized appear best of the rest.

Difficult to separate the above six fillies, so an each-way play on no.3 PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS (quoted at 10/1 or better) seems the best way to play this trappy race.


🇺🇸 Race 8 (21:50 GMT) – Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf over 12 furlongs (~2400m) is the other Breeders’ Cup race which has been farmed by foreign shippers over the years, with eight of the last ten winners being trained in Ireland, England, or France. Aidan O’Brien and Charlie Appleby have sent out five of those eight European-trained winners.

O’Brien sends out three this year, with Auguste Rodin the likely post time favourite. Bolshoi Ballet and Broome complete the Ballydoyle trio. With Ryan Moore up, no.5 Auguste Rodin looks to build upon his dual-Derby winning form. Proven over the undulations of Epsom and winning left-handed last time out in the Gr1 Irish Champion Stakes, AUGUSTE RODIN is a confident selection to win and secure the British and Irish three-year-old championship in the process.

Best of the home team may be no.8 UP TO THE MARK, ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr, trained by Todd Pletcher and from the often lucky in Breeders’ Cup races Repole Stable. Trading around 8/1, Up To The Mark is has a decent each-way shot to make the frame and give the foreign raiders a late challenge in the final furlong.


🇺🇸 Race 9 (22:40 GMT) – Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic over 10 furlongs on dirt (~2000m) is America’s richest race, with a purse of $6,000,000 and traditionally determines the Horse of the Year.

Perennial leading California trainer Bob Baffert has won four of the last ten Classics and saddles likely favourite Arabian Knight. Likely to face strong early pressure while breaking from post 12, Arabian Knight will need an uncontested or soft lead, which is unlikely to happen, with several confirmed front-runners drawn inside of him.

Depending upon the projected fast pace scenario playing out, either Chad Brown-trained; Frankie Dettori ridden Zandon or Japanese champion Ushba Tesoro, winner of the Dubai World Cup going left-handed on dirt and coming to Santa Anita off a six-timer, could run down the pacesetters.

No.2 ZANDON is the sporting each-way selection at the likely odds and will surely inspire Frankie to a flying dismount if successful.


This preview is currently being updated and later races will follow




Author: Eugene Morris