Saturday 7th November 2020
The first race on the Saturday of the Breeders Cup Meeting at Keeneland comes at 5:02 and it’s the Grade 1 Filly & Mare Sprint over seven furlongs. I’m siding with Bob Baffert’s GAMINE here who’s the mount John Velazquez. She was only third in the Kentucky Oaks the last day when going off an odds on favourite, however, on her previous two outings she looked mightily impressive claiming two Grade 1’s by a combined distance of 26 lengths. She didn’t seem to stay in the Oaks and a drop back down to seven could well see her bust back into form.
Up next is the Turf Sprint at 5:39, another Grade 1 event which is this time ridden over five and a half furlongs. This is one of the most competitive races of the meeting of which a pretty solid case could be made for most of the field. I’ve taken a chance on one at a decent price of around 14/1 and that’s BIG RUNNUER for Victor Garcia and Juan Hernandez. He’s been a revelation this season winning all three of his outings culminating with a Grade 2 success the last day at Santa Anita. He’s got the plum draw in stall 1 here and he could well take some pegging back.
Coming up at 6:18 is the Grade 1 Dirt Mile and the Chad Brown trained Complexity sets a high standard here at the top of the betting and will likely prove tough to beat. I have taken him on though with the likeable KNICKS GO for Brad Cox and Joel Rosario. He’s burst back into life this year having won two lesser races by a combined total of over 17 lengths, and returning to a track where he sprung a 70/1 shock in a Grade 1 a few couple ago, he could well run another big race for a trainer who himself has burst onto the scene in the last few years.
The fourth race I’m looking at comes at 6:57 and is the Grade 1 Filly & Mare Turf contested over a distance of a mile and a furlong and a half. This is another extremely competitive affair but it’s an old American favourite of mine that I’m siding with on this occasion in the form of SISTERCHARLIE. Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by John Velazquez she’s not quite been at her best this term, finishing a slightly flat third on both outings. She is however, a well established performer at the top-level having won numerous Grade 1’s, including this race back in 2018. She’s around the 15/2 mark this time which could prove a big price if she returns to form.
It’s the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Sprint next over six furlongs and set to take place at 7:36. I like the Steve Asmussen trained YAUPON here who’s won all starts to date including two Graded races in his most recent outings, where he’s won by a combined total of 6 lengths. He looks a highly progressive sort and if coming on again here he could prove very tough to beat. His main danger looks to come in the form of C Z Rocket who’s become a winning machine.
The 8:15 is next which is the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Mile and a race that has a heavy European presence. Guineas winner Kameko heads affairs for Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy, and we also have the likes of Irish Guineas winner Siskin as well as Royal Ascot winner Circus Maximus. All of whom merit consideration. The one I’ve sided with here though is last year’s winner of the race in UNI for Chad Brown and Joel Rosario. She’s got a wide draw to deal with which is far from ideal, however, she bounced back to form last month in a Grade 1 which came at this track. I think if naturally progressing from that run she could prove a threat in this race once more.
It’s the Distaff next at 8:54 over a mile and a furlong, and one of the most anticipated clashes of the weekend. For me it’s all about MONOMOY GIRL here for Brad Cox and Florent Geroux, winner of this race back in 2018 she made her belated return to the track back in May and has won three on the spin since culminating with a Grade 1 success at Churchill back in September. I think she’s a top class animal and if turning up in form as she so often does, will take a lot of beating. Her clear main rival is Swiss Skydiver, another horse I’m a big fan of who in her own right is very smart.
The penultimate race of the meeting is the Breeders Cup Turf at 9:33. Contested over a mile and four furlongs this is a race that’s dominated at the top of the market by the Europeans and I think it can go to MAGICAL for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. She’s won multiple Group 1’s in her illustrious career and ran a mighty race in this race back in 2018 when finishing second to Enable. She’s got the likes of stablemate Mogul, Lord North and the progressive Tarnawa to see off here here, however, if turning up in top-form there’s very few who can live with her. One to keep an eye on for the Americans is Channel Maker, he’s come back into form recently and could well prove a lively outsider.
As ever, the concluding race of the meeting is the showpiece event in the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Classic over a mile and two furlongs which takes place at 10:18. This is a stellar renewal of the race this year with Bob Baffert holding a very strong hand with Improbable, Maxium Security and Authetic. All who have serious chances. I’m siding with a horse though who’s become one of my personal favourites and that’s TIZ THE LAW for Barclay Tagg and Manny Franco. Winner of the Belmont Stakes and the Travers this year before being touched off in the Kentucky Derby into second by Improbable, I’m chancing him to bounce back here and show us once again what a top animal he is. One to note is Tom’s D’Etat, he beat Improbable at Oaklawn back in April and ran a mighty race behind when missing the break the last day.