Breeders' Cup Saturday Picks and Ponderings

The Breeders' Cup is a two-day event that in many ways serves as horse racing's final exam.

Given that many owners/trainers sometimes (but not always) use the Breeders' Cup as a final race, we get one last chance to see our stars before retirement. Typically, campaigns may end for the year in this spot. Horse of the Year voting (on a state, and national level) weights performance here heavily.  For those handicapping the Breeders' Cup, it feels like a final exam as a year's worth of notes and materials is pored over.

Due to time/space limitations, only a quick version of 1-2-3 picks and the longshot will be offered below.  Note that "best chance" selections will also be on Wireplayers as part of an informal competition between the site's contributors.

Race 4, BC Juvenile Turf: We won't give it here, but if you head over to Thorofan, you'll get the picks and a horse-by-horse breakdown.

Race 5, BC Filly & Mare Sprint: Not too clever, taking the obvious favorite over the defending champion. DUST N DIAMONDS has been doing well in local warm ups. The longshot goes for a barn that fires at big prices.

GROUPIE DOLL, MUSICAL ROMANCE, DUST N DIAMONDS LS: GREAT HOT

Race 6, BC Dirt Mile:

Looks like a ton of pace, taking  JOHN SCOTT who rallied over this strip in the Cal Cup Classic. This isn't a strong dirt mile, however. The People's Champion, SHACKEFLORD, would be a cinch if this were a one-turn race at Churchill or Arlington. I think he's too close to a hot pace but running his eyeballs out for a check. FED BIZ gets weight for his age, note that Neck N Neck (who he lost to in the Indiana Derby) won the Ack Ack at Churchill. Our blow-up the board LongShot is an oldie but a goodie who's back in form since going to back west.

JOHN SCOTT, SHACKELFORD, FED BIZ LS: RAIL TRIP

Race 7, BC Turf Sprint:

The unique course means I'm taking the locals. MIZDIRECTION has an excellent record, good figures, and no shame losing to recently retired Unzip Me. CALIFORNIA FLAG may be getting long in the tooth, but he won this before and he loves the course. UNBRIDLED'S NOTE won the local prep. Taking 20-1 morning line MIZDIRECTION is enough of a bomb, but we'll also use CHOSEN MIRACLE, who is 15-1 on the line for solid connections.

MIZDIRECTION, CALIFONIA FLAG, UNBRIDLED'S NOTE LS: CHOSEN MIRACLE

Race 8, BC Juvenile: Taking the two trained by Baffert over late arrival the and Champagne winner. This is typically a race that plays formfully, but then again, strange things can happen. Our longshot has the team that won the Kentucky Derby back together again.

POWER BROKER, TITLE CONTENDER SHANGHAI BOBBY LS: HE'S HAD ENOUGH

Race 9, BC TURF: Success in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe usually means a Breeders' Cup Clunker. Let's hope the inverse works here with filly SHARETA (who bested the Arc winner two back) and defending champ ST. NICHOLAS ABBEY. Connections of the defending champ claim firm turf is better for him. The American hopes ride on POINT OF ENTRY, but the water gets real deep here. Longshot OPTIMIZER has found new life on turf, and bested the eventual Hawthorne Derby winner last out.

SHARETA, ST. NICHOLAS ABBEY, POINT OF ENTRY LS: OPTIMIZER

Race 10, BC SPRINT:

Like the Juvenile, taking two trained by Bob Baffert. But using the "other" one on top. COIL dd nothing wrong in the local prep, and neither did the Mandella entrant. Our longshot's last race can be tossed. I may get acquainted with the "All" Button here.

CAPITAL ACCOUNT, COIL, JIMMY CREED LS: GANTRY

Race 11, BC MILE:

I'm tossing EXCELEBRATION. I don't think there's any honor to gain in getting your doors blown off by Frankel (who is good), and then shipping over three weeks later. The filly looks better off her races, and no shame in just missing to EXCELEBRATION with a yucky trip (that may have made the difference) or to Black Caviar. Think he nips controlling speed and local prep winner OBVIOUSLY at the tape.  WISE DAN proved his quality when taking down Cityscape at Woodbine, but perhaps the starch might be coming off. Our longshot is a local who was a credible second to Wise Dan, and he's done okay on tighter courses.

MOONLIGHT CLOUD, OBVIOUSLY, WISE DAN,  LS: WILLCOX INN

Race 12, BC CLASSIC:

I know it's not fashionable, but I question Game On Dude at a mile and a quarter against top shelf competition. Our pick was second on a speed favoring surface at nine furlongs, and sired by a BC Classic winner. That's NONIOS. I respect GAME ON DUDE enough to put him second, they'll be a multi-race wager doubleton. MUCHO MACHO MAN's efforts at Gulfstream may translate here on this surface. Our longshot is another local whose two dirt victories happen to be the Foster and the Gold Cup at big prices. One more time, mayhaps?

NONIOS, GAME ON DUDE, MUCHO MACHO MAN LS: POOL PLAY

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