[Editor's Note: This Breeders' Cup preview was submitted by Eric "Sheets" Haber, a horse racing expert (and long-time BigAl.com client).]
It is important to realize that wagering on horse racing is completely price dependent. Horses which are great bets at 10-1 could be avoided at 2-1. Horses which are the most likely winners can be terrible bets, and horses which only have 10% winning chances can be incredible bets. What makes this write-up more complicated is that the odds are unknown. We have preliminary odds to go on, but I do advise that wagers are not placed until close to post time, as odds can be volatile. As a result, what I am going to do is give my opinions on where value might exist base on my estimates of winning chances compared to the projected odds, and also give some guidance regarding what odds might be enough to make a horse good value. I will end each race with who I feel is the most likely winner, and who I feel is the best value.
Friday, November 6-----Two-Year-Old Day
The Breeders Cup broke the races into 2 days, with day 1 being dedicated to the babies. Two-year olds are extremely volatile, more so than older horses who have established some semi-consistent form. With that said:
Juvenile Turf Sprint
Favorite Golden Pal is going to be even money and is the most likely winner. The price is not good enough to play him though. There are several live longshots as well, all of which probably have about 10% winning chances, and can be used at 15-1 or higher. That includes Second of July and Momos. If either of those horses does drift up to 10-1 you can try them, but overall a very uninspiring start to the card, at least from a betting perspective.
Most Likely Winner: Golden Pal
Best Value: Momos
Extremely competitive race---Sealway is the most likely winner and is currently around 10-1. Good enough for me if it stays that way. Perhaps 9-1 would be good enough. Underneath is a whole mess of horses who can win, but my numbers show me that the next most likely winners are Devilwala and Go Athletico, both of whom are also over 10-1. In fact, Devilwa is 30-1 morning line.
Most Likely Winner: Sealway
Best Value: Devilwa
Honestly, I make 5 horses pretty much equal, with another just behind, who is extremely long odds.
Vequist, Simply Ravishing, Girl Daddy, and Dayoutoftheoffice are close. I would give Dayoutoftheoffice a tiny edge but not much. I guess right behind them Crazy Beautiful and Princess Noor are ok, but Crazy Beautiful at 20-1 is just way too long. It probably has 15% winning chances and is a huge overlay. I do not like Princess Noor as the favorite.
Most Likely Winner: Dayoutoftheoffice
Best Value: Crazy Beautiful
Juv Fillies Turf
Aunt Pearl is a terrible favorite, with about 10% winning chances and currently 5/2. Campanelle is the most likely winner by a little bit, and 4-1 is fair. I will probably end up also going with one of 2 horses who are slightly less likely to win than her, but much longer odds. MissAmulet at 10-1 is about break-even value so you can try her, or if you want something longer, Spanish Loveaffair at 20-1 is just too long, and rates as good value.
Most Likely Winner: Campanelle
Best Value: Spanish Love Affair
I make Reinvestment Risk at 9/2 slightly better than Jackie’s Warrior and the latter rates to be about even money. Also, there are a slew of horses with winning upside, some of whom are extremely long. Dreamer’s Disease, Next, and Rombauer all have upside, all have about 8% winning chances, and rate to be bombs. Watch the board on this race, but for me Reinvestment Risk will be an easy key if it somehow gets up to 8-1, with sprinkles of those long shots as well.
Most Likely Winner: Reinvestment Risk
Best Value: Dreamer’s Disease
Saturday, November 7, The “real” Breeder’s Cup day:
Filly and Mare Sprint
Really not a great betting race to kick off Saturday. Just no value at all. Gamine is probably the most likely winner but will be going off under even money and just not great. There are a few who are a little worse, with perhaps 10% winning chances, which probably won’t be going off long enough to generate value. Those include Come Dancing, and Speech
Most Likely Winner: Gamine
Best Value: None
Some real strong value here, with Imprimis and Got Stormy being very vulnerable favorites. Of the shorter horses, Leinster is the best, but the real value comes deeper. I think that Wolfman Jack and Big Runnuer are probably the most likely winners and they are both over 15-1. I will be using both, even if they are only 12-1. Oleksandra and maybe Frontrunthefed could be secondary plays but Wolfman Jack and Big Runner are super strong values here.
Most Likely Winner: Wildman Jack
Best Value: Wolfman Jack/Big Rununer
Both Go Knicks and Complexity are short prices, and each are vulnerable in their own way. Art Collector is also short and not worth its price. If I had to pick between those top 3 chalks, I would say Complexity is slightly the best, but I doubt any of them produce good value. I guess I would say that if you get Complexity at 4-1 or Go Knicks at 6-1 grab it. Maybe Go Knicks has a shot to drift up there. Live longshots might be Sharp Samurai or Owendale Honestly, I give them about an 8% chance to win, so make sure you get 15-1 or more to play them, but you might get it.
Most Likely Winner: Complexity
Best Value: Sharp Samurai
Filly and Mare Turf
Rushing Fall is super solid and clearly the most likely winner. I feel he will be too short to bet, though. If somehow you can get 4-1 then grab it, but he will be much shorter. Mean Mary looks just a tad worse, but she is not long either. Sister Charlie and Starship Jubilee are just a little bit worse than the favorite but could be good relative value---if you can 10-1 on either, grab it. Harveys Lil Girl, Prancealot, and Mucho Unusual are next tier, and if you can get 20-1 on these, you are getting good value. All in all, though, do not expect too much value here.
Most Likely Winner: Rushing Fall
Best Value: Probably none
As usual, the sprint is a war. Just a lot of possible outcomes here. Firenzie Fire is just behind CZ Rocket in my ratings and might go off 12-1. If so, then FF is in play. Then, as it usually is the case, there are 2-3 bombs which have 7-8% winning chances who could go off 30-1. Hog’s Creek Hustle and Echo Town are exceptionally long and will win more often than their prices indicate. I would stay away from all the favorites and just use the horses mentioned above, with no clear key.
Most Likely Winner: CZ Rocket
Best Value: Firenzie Fire/Echo Town
Factor This is the most likely winner in a competitive race. It probably has about a 12-15% chance to win, so at 10-1 and higher I like it. Also, Digital Age is solid at 8-1 as are Halladay and March to the Arch all at decent odds over 10-1. If all of those hold their morning lines, or drift higher, you cannot go wrong with any of them. The favorites are weaker than all of these.
Most Likely Winner: Factor This
Best Value: March to the Arch
Monomoy and Swiss Skydiver are the most likely winners but should be extremely short-- Cee Cee is only slightly worse and is somehow 12-1 currently. If she is anywhere near this, she should be the best value/key. Ollie Candy and Dunbar Road are the next tier and 12-1 would be fair on those. I will be keying Ce Ce though if these odds hold.
Most Likely Winner: Monomoy
Best Value: Ce Ce
Wow, usually there are 1-2 standouts in this race which I either commit to or try to beat. I do not know what it is about this year, but my analysis has this race as almost every horse having exactly equal winning chances. However, there are a few horses which are a tiny bit better, and one of them is a huge bomb. If I had to narrow this field down, I would say that Mogul, United, Magical, Channel Maker and Donjah are slightly better than the rest. Well, Donja is 25-1 so I will probably be gambling on him. At least I know I am getting good value relative to his winning chances, which is all I can ask.
Most Likely Winner: United
Best Value: Donjah
I wish I had something more earth shattering for you in the Classic, but, the most likely winners, to me, are Tiz The Law and Authentic, and neither will be a great price, and no one else rates to be great value. If you can get either of these horses at 5-1 then go for it, but it probably is not happening. The one longer shot which has a shot to be good value is Tom’s Detat. I give him about 15% winning chances so I guess if you can get 9-1 or so, he might be worth a stab, but the Classic is just not shaping up as a great betting race. I do not like any of the other favorites either.
Most Likely Winner; Tiz The Law
Best Value: None.
Good Luck to All!