Breeders Cup 2021
Author: Jordan Yates (EvRacing_)
“A big welcome to my Breeders Cup Preview of 2021, this is one of my favourite meetings of the entire year and I can’t wait to get stuck into this year’s renewal. I’ve already done a specific preview for The Classic, however, I’ll also be sharing my opinions on the rest of the action on Friday and Saturday in the standard format, starting with the Friday here.
So, the first race I’ll be taking a look at from Del Mar comes at 9:50 in the evening UK time and that’s the Juvenile Turf Sprint that’s contested over five furlongs. The one I like here is Averly Jane for Wesley Ward and Tyler Gaffalione who’s a general 9/4 chance currently in the betting. She arrives here sporting a perfect record and was last seen taking a Listed contest at Keeneland when she beat a useful stablemate in Kaufymaker by the best part of three lengths. It was also her first start on turf that day having been switched from the dirt, and I think there’s still considerable improvement to come from her for a trainer that excels with her type. If you’re looking for one with a bit of each-way value I’d give a nod to the European contender Hierarchy at 16/1 for Oisin Murphy and Hugo Palmer, he’s only had the four starts to date himself and has progressed with each one, culminating when finishing a head second in a Group 2 at Newbury. If naturally progressing again I think he could well outrun what are pretty sizeable odds.
The next race comes at 10:30pm UK time and is the Juvenile Fillies Dirt race over a mile and half of a furlongs. I don’t have massively strong opinion on this race to be honest, Echo Zulu is currently the odds-on favourite having looked mightily impressive so far, winning all three outings including back to back Grade 1s in comfortable fashion. It’s probably a no-bet race for me, but if I was to have a play I’d go for Juju’s Map for Brad Cox and Florent Geroux who’s currently trading at around 10/3. She won a Grade 1 herself last time out in impressive style whilst still looking progressive, and is also a considerably bigger price than the jolly.
We move onto what is the 11:10 and that’s the Juvenile Fillies Turf which is a Grade 1 on the grass over a mile. This is a heart over head race for me as I’m siding once again with my old friend Hello You for David Loughnane who’s set to be ridden by John Velazquez. She’s currently trading at around the 9/1 mark and arrives here off the back of a busy campaign on the level throughout the summer, where she won twice including her most recent outing where she won the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket. Quite ironically, the two times I haven’t backed her this season are the two times she’s won, so hopefully that trend doesn’t continue here. However, I’ve followed her since I saw her win on debut at Wolverhampton back in the Spring so to see her go from winning at Dunstall Park to win at a Breeders Cup would be pretty special, she’s certainly got a chance too, she maybe one of the more exposed runners in the race but with that comes a lot of experience in Graded company which some of these don’t have.
The penultimate race on Friday at Del Mar is the Breeders Cup Juvenile itself and this particular affair takes place at 11:50pm UK time and takes place on the dirt. I really liked Jack Christopher for this, however, he’s now been scratched so it’s now another race where I don’t have a massively strong opinion. If I was going to choose a super-sub for Jack, I’d side with Commandperformance for Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz Jr who finished just over two lengths behind Jack Christopher the last day in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. I think there’s more to come from him and this extra half of a furlong should suit him.
Concluding the opening day of the meeting is the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf at 12:30 UK time, this is yet another Grade 1 contest and this one takes place over a mile. The Europeans are dominating the top of the betting here and I think one of them will take it, and that one comes in the form of Dubawi Legend for Hugo Palmer and James Doyle who’s currently trading at around the 13/2 mark. He’s a horse that made a huge impression on his debut when bolting up Doncaster, he wasn’t quite right on his second outing at York but then bounced back with a huge run behind Native Trail in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. Connections think very highly of this two-year-old, and whilst he’ll probably need to be pretty special to win from stall 14 I genuinely think there is a touch of star quality about him and we could well see that here.
The Breeders Cup action kicks of on Saturday at Del Mar at 7.05pm UK time with the Filly & Mare Sprint over seven furlongs. This is another racing that isn’t really a betting proposition for me, I think Gamine will win though for Bob Baffert and John Velazquez and win pretty comfortably as her short odds reflect. She’s a prolific winner with only one defeat on her record and bolted up in this race last year by over six lengths. If anyone near that level she will prove extremely tough to beat, her main rival looks to be Bella Sofia.
Next up is Breeders Cup Turf Sprint over five furlongs that is set to take place at 7:40pm UK time. I really like the Wesley Ward trained Golden Pal here who’s the mount of Irad Ortiz Jr and is currently trading at around the 5/2 mark in the betting. He was narrowly denied by The Lir Jet at Royal Ascot last year before bolting up in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at the Breeders Cup. This season he was disappointing when finishing seventh in the Nunthorpe at York but then bounced back with Grade 2 success at Saratoga when he was last seen. It was a really impressive display last time at Saratoga as he got headed turning for home but showed a devastating turn of foot to put his rivals to the sword and win comfortably by over two lengths. If getting the opportunity to use said turn of foot again here, he could prove too hot to handle for his opposition.
It’s the Dirt Mile up next at 8:19 (UK time) and this unsurprisingly takes place on the dirt, and over a mile. I think this will go to Life Is Good who’s the short priced favourite for Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz Jr. He was just denied Grade 1 success by the extremely talented Jackie’s Warrior on his penultimate outing, but bounced back with a dominant five and a half lengths success in a Grade 2 at Belmont last time. He’ll take some stopping here, and if he does get beat, it’s likely to be from either Ginobili or Silver State.
Taking centre-stage next at 8:59 (UK time) is the Filly & Mare Turf race over a mile and three furlongs. This Aidan O’Brien trained Love will be popular with European punters, and she currently sits at the top of the market at around 7/2. It’s actually an American horse I’m siding with here though and that’s War Like Goddess for William Mott and Julien Leparoux who’s currently trading at around 16/5. She comes into the race having won four on the spin including the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Stakes the last day at Saratoga where she won by over two lengths. I think the clear upward momentum that she’s on will prove tough to put a halt too.
We move onto the Breeders Cup Sprint which is set to take place at 9:38 (UK time) and this affair will be contested on the dirt and over six furlongs. It’s all about Jackie’s Warrior here for me for Steve Asmussen and Joel Rosario, it’s quite amazing to think he’s only a three-year-old who burst onto the scene last season, as it seems like he’s been around forever given all of the top-level contests he’s been a part of, of which most of them he’s won. He was last seen when bolting up in a Grade 2 last month by just shy of seven lengths following on from when he lowered the colours of Life Is Good in the Grade 1 Memorial Stakes. He’s my favourite American horse and one of my favourite in general, and I’ll be siding with him to get his revenge for his defeat at last year’s Breeders Cup.
It’s the Breeders Cup Mile next at 10:20 (UK time) and this is a race with a strong European presence, with one of my all-time favourites in Space Blues heading the market at 5/2. It brings me a great deal of pain to have to do this, however, I’ll be going against Space Blues on this occasion as I’m siding with one of the home challengers in the form of Mo Forza for Peter Miller and Flavien Prat. This five-year-old is a mile specialist, he’s had six starts over this distance and won all six of them, including two at this track as well as another course victory over a mile and a furlong. If any of the market principals don’t take to this unique track, he certainly will, and I think he’s got a massive chance here.
The Distaff is where we head too next, taking place at 11.00 (UK time) and on the dirt over a mile and a furlong. This year’s renewal of the race see’s the winning machine that is Letruska head affairs at around 6/4, and she’s the rightful favourite on her exploits this season. I’ve taken her on though with one at a bigger price in the form of Shedaresthedevil for Brad Cox and Florent Geroux. Currently trading at around a best price of 13/2, she actually beat Letruska back in March in a Grade 2 at Oaklawn and is a horse that’s very smart in her own right. She beat the likes of Swiss Skydiver and Gamine in the Kentucky Oaks and hasn’t really looked back since, winning a Grade 1 at this track back in August. I think she’s got more than enough ability to be considered a player here.
We’ve reached the penultimate race of this year’s meeting which comes at 11:40 (UK time) and is the Breeders Cup Turf over a mile and four furlongs. I’m going to keep this pretty short and sweet because I think this will go to Europe and Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa who’s the mount of Colin Keane. A Breeders Cup winner last year she returned to the track this season with a comprehensive victory in a Leopardstown Group 3 before finishing second in both the Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc. That is by far, the best form on offer in this race and if she runs to anywhere near that level I think she’s got to be considered as very tough to oppose.