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Breeders' Cup Preview
by Al McMordie - 10/26/2015
Breeders' Cup Preview,
By Big Al McMordie
This weekend's Breeders' Cup will feature a much-hyped showdown of a Triple Crown winner (American Pharoah) and the best female runner we've seen since Zenyatta (Beholder) in the Breeders' Cup Classic, but it also promises a lot more. A total of 10 races were oversubscribed which means that the pre-entries for these 10 races had more than 14 horses entered (or 12 in the Filly & Mare Turf and Dirt Mile). There are also a record 44 horses that qualified for automatic starting positions through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and were pre-entered. A total of 13 Breeders' Cup races over two days should result in juicy prices on top caliber stakes horses that would normally go off at odds-on. There should also be some huge payouts along the way in the exotics (exactas, trifectas, supers, doubles, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5) making this a don't-miss opportunity for even the casual bettor.
My New Kentucky Home
For the first time since 2011, the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will not be held in Southern California. The great Keeneland race course in historic Lexington, Kentucky will host its first-ever Breeders' Cup. And although it's a smaller venue than many of the host sites in the past, the heart of American horse country should pull out all the stops to ensure one of the most memorable events in Cup history. Keeneland invested a lot of money to be in a position to be the host track, including the conversion of its main racing surface from artificial to dirt, the refurbishment of its training track, and the addition of new luxury chalets and pavilions to the facility. As for the competitors themselves, overall about 200 top-class runners have descended on Lexington for the 13 Breeders' Cup races, including almost 30 from overseas.
The Euros are Coming
The closer proximity to the east coast, along with cooler and wetter weather conditions, are some of the reasons why more European runners will be on hand this year. Not nearly as well known as American Pharoah in America, a European star named Golden Horn will try to become the first horse ever to follow up a win in the prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Paris - Oct. 4) with a Breeders' Cup Turf victory in the same year (and he's just the second Arc winner to even attempt it since 1992). In addition to Golden Horn, there are two other European-bred horses in the Turf, plus an outsider from Argentina. But there are other top European runners coming over as well, including one who will to try to spoil the party for American Pharoah and Beholder in the Classic. Several of the top milers in the world that have been running in England, Ireland, France, Canada and Dubai will be at Keeneland for the BC Mile. And once again, the Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf look to be heavily dominated by foreign runners.
Babies and Returning Champions
One of the most exciting two-year-old Fillies we've seen in a long time - Songbird - is set to face off against (among others) Rachel's Valentina, an electrifying daughter of the great race mare Rachel Alexandra, in the Juvenile Fillies. In the Juvenile race for the boys, two undefeated runners -- one from California and one from up north -- will throw it down as likely favorite Nyquist gets perhaps his toughest challenge from Canadian invader Riker. But the local connections are well represented too, as the late-running Brody's Cause will likely be charging at everyone down the stretch just as he did right here at Keeneland in the Breeders' Futurity less than a month ago. Then you have the drama of four horses returning to defend their titles from 2014. But it's quite possible that, because of the deep fields and quality horses from Europe, none of the four will be favored. This group is headed by Untappable (Distaff), Judy the Beauty (Filly and Mare Sprint), Karakontie (Mile) and Bobby's Kitten (Turf Sprint).
The Battle of the Sexes - Equine Style
Male vs. Female in professional sports is somewhat rare (unless it's a novelty like Billy Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs), but not so in horse racing. There was the famous -- and ultimately tragic -- match race between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure back in 1975. And on the Breeders' Cup stage, we've seen brilliant fillies and mares beat the male horses on several occasions, including Goldikova, who won three straight BC Mile races (2008-2010), and the great Zenyatta, who triumphed in the Classic in 2009. This year, we have perhaps the most intriguing example with American Pharoah and Beholder in the BC Classic. Pharoah is a male, but he's a 3YO, while Beholder is an older mare at five. And there's additional drama as Beholder will try to become the first-ever horse to win three different Breeders' Cup Races (Juvenile Fillies in 2012; Distaff in 2013). But there are other stories in the Classic as well, including a European 3YO invader by the name of Gleneagles, who boasted a seven-race win streak before losing in his last effort under less-than-ideal conditions. Then there's the only horse to ever beat Pharoah since his second career race, which happened to be last time out in the Travers -- Keen Ice. But the older horses are formidable as well, led by 2014 Belmont winner Tonalist who's looked outstanding this year and Honor Code, whose come-from-the-clouds running style produced one of the most exciting races of the year in the Whitney.
Al McMordie handicaps the major horse races, and has had tremendous success in horse racing over the past 20 years. Dating back to last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, when Al cashed on Bayern ($14.20 to win; $8.00 to place), Big Al has won his last four horse races (including all three Triple Crown races), and five of his last six. Don't miss any of Big Al's Breeders' Cup Winners, as he will be in action both Friday and Saturday. Join Big Al for a week or month today, and win big!