Breeders’ Cup Remains at Santa Anita

Breeders CupLEXINGTON, Ky. (June 27, 2019) – After a meeting of and discussion with its Board of Directors today in Lexington, Ky., Breeders’ Cup Limited affirmed by unanimous decision its commitment to conduct the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. on November 1-2. This will mark the 10th time the event will be held at Santa Anita, the most of any host venue over the 36-year history of the Breeders’ Cup.

“Foremost among the core values of the Breeders’ Cup are the safety and integrity of the competition and we hold ourselves, our host sites and our competitors, to the highest standards of both. It is clear that meaningful and effective reforms and best practices have been implemented in recent months at Santa Anita through the collective efforts of The Stronach Group, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, and the California Horse Racing Board,” said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup. “We fully embrace those reforms and will devote our time and energy in the coming months to further advance those efforts. We look forward to showing the world the best in Thoroughbred racing at one of its finest venues.”

Getting to Know the BCBC Boys – Tournament Players

Nice profile / handicapping piece from a few years ago by Ren Hakim Carothers

We’ve long marketed our sport as that of kings. While this packaging does reflect the money that goes into breeding, training, and running these majestic athletes, heightening the stakes and romanticizing the idea of triumph, it can also convey exclusivity. It’s no wonder why horses with blue collar backstories competing at elite levels have captured the imagination of those outside our industry on more than one occasion. David, meet Goliath.

It’s time that mainstream audiences realized you need not be an owner of a horse, a trainer, or jockey to delight in the spoils of victory. Racing is not merely a spectator sport. It’s interactive. You simply need a ticket -a bet slip- to go along for the ride, and the fact that it’s not just the horses competing for seven figures this weekend puts an exclamation mark on that point.

BCBC Tournament Players

Again, the BCBC Bonus Boys are fascinating. Take Stephen Thompson, who is known as the “Undertaker” on the betting circuit, as an example. He is from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where he’s the owner and licensed director of Thompson Funeral Home, Inc, which was started by his great-grandfather in 1890. He fell in love with racing at the tender age of ten, going to the races with his family, and has won entry into the BCBC seven of the last eight years. Stephen says you get so pumped up in these tournaments, but he has to stay “flatlined” to stay focused, and that, should he win, the first check he’s writing is for $100,000 to benefit retired racehorses. “Without them, we have nothing!”

There are two entrants looking to pull off a BC/BCBC double. David Lanzman was hooked on racing after he and a couple of friends snuck under the fence at Hollywood Park as teenagers, having a security guard place what would be winning bets for them. He realized you could make life-changing scores playing the ponies when, with his $400 rent due and …

Gunnevera Has a Seat in the 2019 Pegasus World Cup

Gunnevara Fountain of YouthSalomon Del Valle’s Margoth purchased a spot in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), confirming multiple graded-stakes winner Gunnevera for North America’s richest race Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

Gunnevera, who finished third in last year’s Pegasus World Cup, most recently ran second in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 3.

The Pegasus World Cup will be accompanied by the inaugural running of $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) on the Jan. 26 program in the newly created $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. Owners can secure a spot in the starting gate for the Pegasus World Cup for a $500,000 fee and will be given preference in purchasing a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Turf for $500,000. A $1 million bonus is being offered if an owner should win both races.

“I’m paying all the money myself,” said Del Valle, a Venezuelan businessman who entered Gunnevera in a partnership in last year’s Pegasus. “I’m happy to be in the race.”

Gunnevera, who has $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream. The Antonio Sano-trained 4-year-old son of Dialed In has also won the 2016 Saratoga Special (G2) and the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) and has been Grade 1 stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers (G1) and the 2018 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga.

“I have a good chance. He just got beat by a length in the Breeders’ Cup,” Sano said. “Maybe, there will be more speed in the Pegasus. One more chance. It’s in my house.”

In addition to Gunnevera, Hronis Racing’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, and Calumet Farm’s Bravazo and True Timber are confirmed for the Pegasus World Cup. Tabor, Magnier and Smith’s Coolmore has also purchased a spot for a horse to be determined.

Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby (G1) winner, is also being pointed to the Pegasus World Cup and is scheduled to be entered in next Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream to prep for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus. Owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners, Todd Pletcher-trained Audible finished third in this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1).

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Patternrecognition, who defeated True Timber by three-quarters of a length in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct last time out, is also under consideration for the Pegasus.

The Stronach Group, currently negotiating with other groups, has only a few open spots remaining.

Breeders’ Cup 2018: News on Accelerate, Axelrod, McKinzie

Here are the latest news and notes from Churchill Downs on the Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders:

Accelerate – Millionaire Accelerate, the morning-line favorite for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, went out early to put in his 1 1/4m morning gallop Wednesday with Javier Meza in the saddle.

Churchill winner's circleThe exercise drew a “looked good” from trainer John Sadler, who marveled a bit at the brilliance of the lighting at 5:30. “You know you say you’re going out but not in the dark,” the trainer said. “It’s as bright as day out there.”

Sadler has scheduled more galloping for Accelerate up to Saturday’s Classic at the classic distance of 1 1/4m.

Axelrod – Trainer Mike McCarthy is not one to change what’s been working, so his Breeders’ Cup Classic prospect Axelrod made his usual 1 1/4m tour around the Churchill Downs main track Wednesday morning with his usual exercise mate, Nikki Diodoro, aboard.

“Everything is as it should be as we come up to the race,” McCarthy said. “He’s happy and healthy and that’s the way we like it.”

Catholic Boy – To say that trainer Jonathan Thomas was pleased with Catholic Boy’s morning of training at Churchill Downs Wednesday would be an understatement.

“He showed that contained energy like he’s just a stride away from exploding, like a keg of dynamite just waiting to go off,” Thomas said. “Our job is to hopefully time it for 5:45 Saturday afternoon.”

The 3yo son of More Than Ready, who breezed 5f in 1:01 Sunday, jogged Monday and walked the shedrow Tuesday, galloped 1 1/4m under Tracey Brown in preparation for a start in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“He seems to have an idea when to turn it on and turn it off. You breeze them and you look for a good reaction from the work, their eating, their energy. I thought he reacted well to it,” Thomas said. “He’s sharp. He’s very aware, kind of knowing its game time.”

Thomas said Catholic Boy’s morning of training was the best he’s had since arriving at Churchill Downs.

“Today really picked my head up,” Thomas said.

Nilsen's analysis

Get Rich Nilsen’s Analysis of all 14 races, along with 5 Spot Plays

Catholic Boy enters the 1 1/4m Classic off back-to-back 1 1/4m wins in the Belmont Derby on turf and the Travers over Saratoga’s main track.

“As trainers, we’re always skeptical; we’re always unsure; we’re always questioning and second-guessing; but the one thing that I can really feel confident about this horse is that a mile and a quarter is his distance,” Thomas said. “He doesn’t run like a horse that wants to go over a mile and a quarter, and he’s not a miler. He’s a good mile-and-an-eighth horse, but the mile and a quarter is when all of his best attributes get to be showcased. He’s really getting strong that last eighth of a mile, that’s when the stamina kicks in.”

Discreet Lover – The surprise winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 29 and his owner-trainer Uriah St. Lewis enjoyed their second day of training at Churchill Downs on Wednesday. Discreet Lover jogged twice around the track clockwise during the time slot reserved for Breeders’ Cup entrants.

“He came back, cooled out and that’s it, we’re here,” St. Lewis said.

Discreet Lover represents the age-old notion that quality horses can come from anywhere. St. Lewis purchased the 5yo son of Repent for $10,000 as a 2yo at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton sale in Timonium, Maryland and the horse has since banked $1,374,685 in 44 starts with his 7-7-7 record.

“We went to the sale looking to buy something for 15 to 25 thousand and we like to buy horses that are their dam’s first foal,” St. Lewis said. “He looked smart and one thing led to another and we got him. It was probably luck, too.”

St. Lewis, who with his wife Amanda own the nearly 30 horses he trains at Parx Racing, said he was especially impressed with the horse’s demeanor at the auction and surmises that his stature might have deterred buyers.

“He is not real big and robust; he is on the smaller side,” he said. “You can be big and robust and have no sense but he has a lot of sense, a lot of class.”

Discreet Lover continues to maintain a sensible attitude.

“He likes to nibble and bite a little bit but other than that, he is a pussy cat,” St. Lewis said.

Gunnevera Gallops

Gunnevera – The 4yo son of Dialed In galloped jogged a half-mile and galloped 1 1/2m under exercise rider Victor O’Farrel Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs.

“I feel very, very good about the horse and his condition. I told the rider to finish with an open gallop,” trainer Antonio Sano said. “He came back after the work, breathing normal.”

Margoth’s Kentucky-bred colt finished second in the Woodward at Saratoga last time out, closing strongly despite racing wide throughout the 1 1/8m stakes.

“The last race was a mile and an eighth. This race is a mile and a quarter. In his last race he ran 90 feet more than the other horses,” Sano said. “In this race, we have a good inside post position four. He’ll like this distance.”

Lone Sailor – G M B Racing’s Lone Sailor visited the starting gate and then galloped over the main track under Maurice Sanchez Wednesday morning.

On Saturday in the Classic, Lone Sailor will be reunited with jockey James Graham, who rode him to victory in the Oklahoma Derby in his most recent start.

“I like him,” said Graham, who will be seeking his first Breeders’ Cup victory. “The Oklahoma race really woke him up. Since then, his works have been steady and that is what you want to see. He does what he has to do. People think he hangs, but he doesn’t.”

Lone Sailor drew post position five for the Classic that drew a field of 14.

“Post position doesn’t matter,” Graham said. “It will be like the (Kentucky) Derby where we track to the inside and save ground.”

Mind Your Biscuits – Fan favorite Mind Your Biscuits continued to train fluidly Wednesday morning toward his date with the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The son of Posse schooled in the gate and then paddock schooled for trainer and co-owner Chad Summers before jogging 2m on the main track. The morning was without rain, which is scheduled to come late in the morning in the Louisville area; weather that could have a significant effect on all Breeders’ Cup events.

“The rain really isn’t going to bother us at all,” Summers said. “That being said, the paddock has kind of been our Achilles’ heel because he knows the difference between the morning and the afternoon. He knows when it’s ‘game day’ and he has this face about him like he’s on ‘kill mode’ before the race.

“We’ll have him saddled out in stall 16 away from everyone and with a pony to keep him calm,” he continued. “We’ll be the first one on the track, hopefully. It’s going to be a crammed paddock and you have six horses in the race who can be bad in the paddock, so it’s a concern. You’re not going to win the race in the paddock, but you can certainly lose it.”

Mind Your Biscuits is also owned by Shadai Farm, J Stables, Head of Plains Partners, Scott Summers, Daniel Summers and Michael Kisber.

McKinzie Ready

McKinzie/West Coast – The morning after arriving from California, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s Classic horses made their first visits to the track at Churchill Downs for routine gallops.

Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s longtime assistant, said that all of Baffert’s Breeders’ Cup runners handled their shipping well.

McKinzie, the 3yo co-owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman, galloped 1¼ miles under Humberto Gomez at 7:30 a.m. The 4yo West Coast went out at 9 a.m. to gallop 1¼ miles for Dana Barnes.

Watson, Pegram and Weitman, who owned two-time Sprint winner Midnight Lute and have been Baffert clients for many years, purchased McKinzie for $170,000 as a yearling. He was named for Brad McKinzie, a friend of Baffert’s from their days as students in the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program. Brad McKinzie, the general manager at Los Alamitos, died of cancer at the age of 62 on Aug. 6, 2017.

McKinzie, a son of Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Street Sense, emerged as a Triple Crown prospect this year, but came out of the San Felipe on March 10 with a hock injury. He returned from a six-month layoff to win the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 22 at Parx. While he was gone, Justify won the Triple Crown for Baffert.

Baffert was able to get McKinzie the Classic prep in the Pennsylvania Derby, which he won by 1 3/4 lengths. While a single start wasn’t an ideal scenario for his first test against older horses, Baffert expects a good performance.

“He’s working really well,” Baffert said. “Not having to run against Justify kept him fresh. He’s a young horse, a 3-year old, but I know how good he is. He’s fast and so I think he should run well.”

Meanwhile, West Coast, last year’s 3yo champion, who finished third in the 2017 Classic, also had a long break after running second to Thunder Snow in the Dubai World Cup on March 31 at Meydan. In his comeback race on Sept. 29, he was second to Classic morning-line favorite Accelerate in the Awesome Again.

Baffert will give a leg up to two Hall of Fame jockeys: Mike Smith on McKinzie and John Velazquez on West Coast. A victory on McKinzie would move Smith into a tie with Jerry Bailey and Chris McCarron for the most Classic victories at five.

Pavel – Victory in Churchill Downs’ Stephen Foster Handicap during the summer by Pavel continues to hone trainer Doug O’Neill’s outlook for the 4yo colt’s prospects in Saturday’s Classic.

“Winning the Stephen Foster here makes it obvious he likes the racetrack and that can’t help but give him a little edge,” said the trainer, who has five Breeders’ Cup victories, but none in the Classic. His most recent victory came with Nyquist in the 2015 Juvenile at Keeneland Race Course.

“The other thing that’s encouraging with him is that he’s such a good traveler,” O’Neill said. “He’s a great road horse.”

Nilsen's analysis

Get Rich Nilsen’s Analysis of all 14 races, along with 5 Spot Plays

Thunder Snow – Providing some wow-factor Wednesday morning was Godolphin’s Breeders’ Cup Classic runner Thunder Snow. One day after an in-the-bridle gallop, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained son of Helmet turned up the heat even more when a planned blowout down the lane turned into a 4f breeze timed in a swift 47 2/5. The move occurred just after 9 a.m. and Ian Burns was aboard for bin Suroor, who has yet to win the Classic from eight tries, but was second with Sakhee in 2001 and third with Swain in 1998.

“It was just a blowout and went very well,” bin Suroor said. “The time was nice. I hope things go good from here. He is ready.”

Thunder Snow, a winner of Group or Grade 1 races at distances ranging from 7f to 1¼ miles, will be reunited with regular rider Christophe Soumillon in the Classic. While Soumillon has not ridden a classic, he has twice started in the Kentucky Derby over the same course and distance. One of those was on Mubtaahij, who was eighth to subsequent Classic winner American Pharoah in 2015, and the other was a dramatic episode with Thunder Snow in 2017, when the bay colt propped and bucked leaving the gate, forcing the veteran rider to pull him up in the first furlong.

Soumillon, a native of Belgium who lives in France, has won some of the world’s top races, including the 2005 Turf at age 24, two Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes (2003, 2008) and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2006). In 2017, he set the European record for number of wins in a calendar year with 306.

“For myself, it would mean quite a lot to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic as a European jockey,” Soumillon said. “I think the last one I have seen who won was Frankie Dettori for John Gosden (with Raven’s Pass in 2008), but that was on an all-weather track. I’ve also seen Frankie get beaten with (Sakhee) and Mick Kinane on Giant’s Causeway, both get beaten by Tiznow on the dirt. For me it’s something amazing. Since I was 16 years old, I have been watching the Breeders’ Cup on TV in France all the time and was lucky enough to win one Breeders’ Cup. This would be even bigger than I can imagine.

“The biggest emotion I’ve felt outside Europe was for sure the Kentucky Derby and I rode it twice. Mubtaahij didn’t jump well or have the power to get into the race early. He ran a good race, but unfortunately not good enough to win,” Soumillon continued. “With Thunder Snow, it was absolutely crazy what happened, but the feeling before the race was really just magic. I don’t know what happened that day. I’m not sure it was because the ground was sloppy, because it was raining even in the mornings during track work. Horses can do some quite funny things in racing; not just that. He hasn’t done it again and I don’t know if he will every do it again. He is an animal and has his own feelings I cannot understand because he’s not talking, but we will do everything to make sure this will never happen again.

“It’s hard to explain. The horse before the race was brilliant. On the way to the stalls (of the starting gate), nothing bothered him. Suddenly, the drama started. We couldn’t believe it and it’s really disappointing what happened. Straight away, they took him to Ireland and he was second in the Irish (2000) Guineas on the turf (three weeks later) and after that won a Group 1 in France on the turf. The target for him (then) was the Dubai World Cup and he won and now the goal is the Breeders’ Cup Classic. With all the races and experience he has had afterwards, I have confidence that this will not happen with this horse, but you can never say never again. We are quite confident that everything will go great with him.”

The racing public seems to be divided when it comes to whether Thunder Snow is underrated or overrated going into the Classic. Soumillon, who considers Thunder Snow one of his favorite mounts ever, takes a more objective approach.

“Unfortunately, when you are not unbeaten, you can’t say the horse is the best ever,” he explained. “Even today, you can see a horse like Winx, where some say she is the best ever and some say she is not. That makes racing interesting because you never really know. Some horses are made for some distances or types of ground and everyone is welcome to have an opinion. My job is a jockey is to ride the horse each time, bring them in the best position possible and then ride them in the straight to give his best.”

Yoshida – WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, SF Racing and Head of Plains Partners’ Yoshida galloped Wednesday morning with trainer Bill Mott looking on.

“He just galloped today,” Mott said. “He’s doing well.”

Yoshida will be making his second dirt start and first over the Churchill Downs surface in the Classic. His dam, top-level winner Hilda’s Passion, was second in the 7f Humana Distaff over the track in 2011.

Source: Churchill Downs

Breeders’ Cup Analysis by Rich Nilsen

Crush the 2018 Cup!  All 14 Races Analyzed

15x NHC Qualifier Offers up Pace Scenarios, 5 Spot Plays w/ Expert Wagers, Top Selections and Analysis

Rich Nilsen, who has absolutely crushed some past big days, is back for both days of this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs, a track he knows inside and out.   Included in Nilsen’s report are top selections for all 5 juvenile stakes on Friday and all 9 stakes on Saturday (all 14 Breeders’ Cup races).

You receive Nilsen’s expert pace analysis, which is often the key to selecting the winner.   Nilsen has 5 Spot Plays on the two days.  He offers these best bets with his wagering strategies to attack these races.

Get every Breeders’ Cup race for BOTH days (Friday & Saturday) in one sheet!  

Download instantly to any type of device. Only $19.97


Highlights from Previous Breeders’ Cup Spot Play Winners!

$40.40 Spot Play Winner Work All Week with $1,064.70 Trifecta!

$29.40 Sprint Spot Play Winner Trinniberg with Cold $203.40 Exacta!

$15.80 Turf Sprint Spot Play Winner Mizdirection, keying $1,757.65 Pick-4 wager!

$13.00 F&M Turf Spot Play winner Dayathespa

$16.40 Turf Sprint Winner Bobby’s Kitten

$64.80 Exacta with Main Sequence over Flintshire in the Breeders’ Cup Turf

The list goes on and on!

Download today to any device (click to download)


Rich Nilsen caught the horse racing bug at a young age when his father took him to the racetracks in New York. He eventually attended the University of Louisville Equine Business Program with the goal of making a career in the horse racing industry.

Nilsen has worked the past 26 years in the equine industry, serving most of those years as the Marketing Director for and, the Official Wagering Site of the Kentucky Derby.

During his long tenure at the Churchill Downs-owned properties, Nilsen managed the successful Players’ Pool syndicate, which pooled funds from the account wagering members to go after large Pick-6 carryovers. During Nilsen’s leadership, the Players’ Pool produced a significant profit for the members over the course of seven years. One of the best hits was when the Players’ Pool took down half of the Pick-6 pool on Kentucky Derby Day 2007, with a gross return of over $500,000.  The Pool had several other hits over $250,000.

The $2.8 Million National Handicapping Championship (NHC) is the premier horse racing tournament in the nation. It is basically horse racing’s version of the World Series of Poker, with the main difference being that players cannot buy their way into the NHC. Players can only win their way in via tournaments held throughout the country. Nilsen is one of the top participants in the history of the event, having qualified 15 times. He was the first player, and one of only a handful, to finish in the top 10 at the NHC twice.

Nilsen is the founder and editor of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.  He only provides selections like this on a few select days of the day.


About My Analysis

In this comprehensive yet concise report, I provide selections for all 14 Breeders’ Cup races for both days, as well as pace scenario analysis which is absolutely vital for predicting the outcomes of these events.

Spot Plays are my best bets and key wagering horses for the big weekend. Picking your spots is key to profiting on the races, especially when it comes to the Breeders’ Cup. The opportunities are plentiful but you improve your chances by selecting key spot plays and focusing most of your bets on those plays.

Set aside a budget for these two days and be sure to have plenty of ammunition for the bigger of the two days, Saturday. Best of luck!

Nilsen’s Breeders’ Cup Analysis


2018 Results:

3 Top winners from 5 BC races on Friday, a 60% Win Rate

Spot Play City Of Light scored big in the Dirt Mile, keying the winning daily double into the next race.

Breeders’ Cup 2018 Head2Head Wagers

Doncaster horses racingLOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 31, 2018) Breeders’ Cup, which last week announced several new wagers to its betting menu for both Friday and Saturday of the November 2-3 World Championships at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., has released the Head2Head (H2H) wagering matchups.

Click here for the chosen H2H matchups:

All told, seven Head2Head (H2H) wagers, with three offered Friday and four Saturday, provide seasoned bettors and potential newcomers an opportunity to handicap intrarace matchups in the hopes of unearthing strong plays in a sports betting type of format. The $10 minimum wager, with just a 10% takeout, is designed to offer matchups with a theoretical 50/50 chance of winning, that should attract seasoned bettors, but could also in turn appeal to sports bettors, as they are essentially being given an even-money proposition, yet with no points spread involved.

The matchups, listed below, will have a predominantly USA vs. European feel and consist of both individual horses against each other, as well as entire groups from both countries.

Friday, Nov. 2 –
Race 6 – Juvenile Fillies Turf: USA (1) vs Europe (2)
Race 8 – Juvenile Turf: USA (1) vs. Europe (2)
Race 9 – Sentient Jet Juvenile: Complexity (1) vs. Game Winner (2)

Saturday, Nov. 3 –
Race 6 – Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf: USA (1) vs. Europe (2)
Race 8 – Mile: USA (1) vs. Europe (2)
Race 10 – Longines Turf: Enable (GB) (1) vs. the Field (2)
Race 11 – Classic: Mendelssohn (1) vs. Thunder Snow (2)

All seven matchups offer plenty of pros and cons for each side that should attract betting dollars from handicappers and fans alike, as Friday’s juvenile turf races figure wide open, with serious contenders from both the USA and Europe, while the Sentient Jet Juvenile itself has a great West Coast-East Coast battle between a pair of undefeated colts, Complexity and Game Winner. Saturday is much the same, as the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf and Mile are riddled with contenders from both sides of the pond, while the immortal European filly Enable will go it alone in the Turf, while tackling the entire field. The Classic will pit European-based Mendelssohn and Thunder Snow against each other, but US bettors and Kentuckians are familiar with both, as they each ran in the Kentucky Derby and in the US on multiple occasions.

Each Head2Head wager will consist of two betting interests, number 1 or 2. USA will be the 1 interest and Europe will be the 2 interest for all USA vs Europe wagers. Similarly, Complexity will be the 1 interest and Gamer Winner the 2 interest, Enable the 1 interest and the Field the 2 interest, and Mendelssohn the 1 interest and Thunder Snow the 2 interest. In Head2Head wagers the winner will be determined by the horse that finishes the finish line first and does not necessarily need to be the horse that wins the race.

The Head2Head matchups are an important spoke in a wheel that sees a plethora of new and exciting wagers that are sure to bolster an already tremendous wagering product the Championships offer. A newly added 50-cent late Pick5 on both Friday (deemed the “Future Stars Pick5) and Saturday, with a 15% takeout and a guaranteed pool of $1 million and $2 million, respectively, lead the way and figure to easily surpass their guarantees, while a Jackpot Super Hi-5 that could spurn a carryover pool in the millions is also expected to be well received. Couple those with special daily double wagering that links a Friday race to a Saturday race, with a $1 minimum and 22% takeout, and an already loaded wagering menu becomes that much more appealing—and potentially lucrative.

Breeders’ Cup 2018: Stars Perform Workouts at Churchill Downs

Godolphin’s Dubai World Cup (GI) winner Thunder Snow (IRE) completed his final step prior to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) with a seven-furlong move in 1:27 at 5:30 a.m. EDT Friday at Churchill Downs.

Thunder Snow worked through eighth-mile splits in :13.20, 26, :38.40, :50.40, 1:02.40 and 1:14.60. The 4-year-old colt completed his work with a one-mile gallop out in 1:41.20, according to Nichols.

Godolphin’s Traveling Manager Tommy Burns watched intently from Section 318 of the Churchill Downs grandstand with a smile on his face. Burns reported trainer Saeed bin Suroor likely will arrive at Churchill Downs early next week.

Mind Your Biscuits Works for Summers

Trainer Chad Summers’ top Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) contender Mind Your Biscuits completed what appeared to be his final major preparation for the $6 million test with an easy five-furlong move in 1:03.20 early Friday morning at Churchill Downs.

“It was a two-minute lick,” Summers said. “We’re really happy with how he’s doing and how he went this morning.”

Mind Your Biscuits, the winner of the Lukas Classic (GIII) on Sept. 29 at Churchill Downs and multiple Grade I-winning sprinter, has pre-entered in both the Classic and TwinSpires Sprint (GI).

“I actually originally pre-entered in the Classic and Dirt Mile,” Summers said. “However, once I heard X Y Jet was coming for the Sprint, I changed my pre-entry at 11:50 a.m. on Monday (deadline was noon).”

Tyler Gaffalione, a new addition to the Churchill Downs jockey colony, has the call on Mind Your Biscuits in the Breeders’ Cup.

Currently on the outside of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) field looking in is locally based trainer Dallas Stewart’s Ack Ack (GIII) winner Seeking the Soul who worked a half-mile in :47.60 Friday morning at Churchill Downs.

“It seems we have some luck sneaking into races when we are on the outside looking in,” said Stewart, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby in 2013-14 with Golden Soul and Commanding Curve. “One thing we know for certain is that this horses loves this track. If we can’t get into the Classic, then we can run in the Dirt Mile. I think he’ll do great in either spot.”

Currently, Seeking the Soul is ranked No. 17 on the Breeders’ Cup preference list for the Classic, that is limited to 14 starters.

The winner of the Grade I Clark Handicap last November worked Friday through opening splits of :11.60 and :23.20, before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.60, according to Churchill Downs Clocker John Nichols. The work was ranked the third fastest out of 26 at the distance over the “good” dirt surface.

Gunnevera Works. Expects to Make Classic

Margoth’s Gunnevera breezed six furlongs in 1:15.20 Friday morning at Gulfstream Park West in preparation for a planned start in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.

The Antonio Sano-trained 4-year-old worked by himself under exercise rider Raul Velasquez.

“It was a nice work. We gave him a nice easy work,” said Sano, whose stretch-running son of Dialed In had previously turned in three strong five-furlong breezes in company.

Gunnevera, who ranks second on the list of alternates for the Classic, is a probable to make the field Monday, when Bravazo and City of Light are expected to be entered in the $1 million Dirt Mile (G1), listed as the first-preference for both horses in the pre-entries for the 35th Breeders’ Cup.

“It was a surprise to me. Never in my life did I think he wouldn’t be selected [into the main field],” Sano said.

Gunnevera, who finished in a dead-heat for fifth with Arrogate in last year’s Classic at Del Mar, started his 2018 campaign with a third-place finish behind Gun Runner and West Coast in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream in January. Two months later, he finished eighth in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1), in which he sustained a nasty hoof injury that sent him to the sidelines for five months. Gunnevera has returned to action as good as ever, capturing an Aug. 10 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park by 6 ½ lengths before finishing second behind Yoshida in the $750,000 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga in his most recent start Sept. 1, closing from 11th with a six-wide rally.

“My horse is doing good. He has a chance to win. The mile and a quarter is good for him,” Sano said.

Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to ride Gunnevera for the first time in the Classic.

Gunnevera is scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs by van at 7 p.m. Friday.

Kathleen O’Connell-trained Well Defined, the easy winner of the $400,000 FSS In Reality last time out, and Stormy Embrace, the winner of the ‘Win and You’re In’ Princess Rooney (G2) on the June 30 Summit of Speed card, arrived at Churchill Downs Friday morning for scheduled starts in the $2 million Juvenile (G1) Nov. 2 and the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 3, respectively.

“They just arrived this morning. Everything seems to be good,” said O’Connell, who will join her Breeders’ Cup candidates at Churchill Sunday.

Stanley Gold-trained Cookie Dough, the winner of the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl last time out, was also scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs Friday for a scheduled start in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 2. Georgina Baxter-trained Pay Any Price, the first-alternate for the $1 million Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 3, was also slated to depart Gulfstream Park Friday.

David Fawkes-trained Louder Than Bombs, who captured the Armed Forces Stakes over the Gulfstream turf course last time out, breezed a half-mile in 47.02 seconds at Gulfstream Friday morning. The 2-year-old son of Violence, who posted the fastest of 31 recorded at the distance, is the second alternate for the $1 million Juvenile Turf (G1) Nov. 2.

Source: Churchill Downs

Breeders’ Cup 2018: 2yo Sippican Harbor Puts in Final Work

Final Work for Breeders’ Cup Put in Before Noreaster Hits

Lee Pokoik’s Sippican Harbor, a stylish winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway, put in her final Breeders’ Cup prep this morning covering seven furlongs in 1:28.65 seconds under exercise rider M.C. Brock at Belmont.

“She’s a willing work horse but I did work her in company with a turf horse that needed a work and she blew his doors off. It was a good combination. She broke off about five lengths behind him and took off at the sixteenth pole and hit the wire about five lengths in front. She does it so easy,” trainer Gary Contessa said.

Contessa is enjoying a tremendous Belmont fall meet with 18 wins, good for second in the standings. Sippican Harbor will mark the conditioner’s fourth Breeders’ Cup starter and he’s relishing the opportunity to compete with a legitimate contender.

“I go out there and buy ten 2-year-olds every year. I don’t have the bench some of my peers have, so it’s a phenomenal opportunity,” Contessa said. “I’ve been to the Breeders’ Cup three times, but this is my first time going with a legitimate opportunity to win the race. She’s a such a level-headed filly. I’m in a great place. They’re going to have to be better than her to beat her, because she’s not some one-dimensional speed horse or a drop dead closer – you can put her anywhere. She’s a 2-year-old with the mind of a 5-year-old.”

With Joel Rosario slated to ride Jaywalk in the Juvenile Fillies, Contessa has lined up Irad Ortiz, Jr. to pilot Sippican Harbor.

“I’ve been doing this long enough to know that every top rider has multiple choices in every Breeders’ Cup race,” Contessa said. “I’m not the only one it’s happened to, but to have Irad is an even swap. I’ve won a lot of races with Irad, so I’m thrilled. The alternative is not a bad thing.”

Former Claimer Gearing Up for Breeders’ Cup

Trainer Barclay Tagg has sent out eight previous Breeders’ Cup starters and will be looking for his first winner when he saddles Cassies Dreamer in the Juvenile Fillies and Verve’s Tale in the Distaff at Churchill Downs.

A 2-year-old daughter of Flatter, Cassies Dreamer was claimed for $50,000 out of her maiden score on August 3 at Saratoga. Tagg claimed the dark bay filly at the behest of owners Turf Stable Racing (Rusty Jones) and Hayward R. Pressman. Since the claim, Cassies Dreamer has kept steep company, finishing third in both the Grade 1 Spinaway and Grade 1 Frizette.

“I haven’t claimed a horse in 40 years. I was never really interested in claiming horses, I like to buy horses and develop them and go that route,” started Tagg. “So, I said, ‘let me take a look at her.’ She walked down the path from the barn over to Saratoga, and that’s like walking the gauntlet with all the kids and people over there. I thought if she walks through there and looks alright to me, I’ll go ahead and claim her. As soon as I set eyes on her, wow, what a gorgeous filly. Just a big, strong strapping filly. I had to take her. I put the claim in, we got her, and she won the race. And she really hasn’t done anything wrong since. Everything she does is in the right direction.”

Following a bit of trouble at the gate in the Spinaway, Cassies Dreamer came from last of 11 to get within 2 1/4 lengths of Juvenile Fillies-rival Sippican Harbor.

“It takes time trying to load a lot of babies into the gate and they have to fuss with them to get their head straight. I’m not blaming anyone at the gate, it’s just a tussle sometimes and she came out of it slow and it cost her. I figured it was all over and we’d try and develop her on from there. All of a sudden, she was coming and maybe could have won it with a bit of a better start,” said Tagg.

On Friday morning, Cassies Dreamer worked in company with Brucia La Terra, runner-up in the Frizette last time out, covering four furlongs in 48.44 seconds over the Belmont main track. Brucia La Terra will make her next start in the Grade 3 Tempted on Opening Day at Aqueduct.

“I’ve worked them together pretty much every work and I was very happy with how they went this morning,” Tagg said. “I feel good about her [going into the Breeders’ Cup]. You never know until you get them in against the heavy hitters, but she’s held her own so far. She’s a young filly but she’s trained well and done everything we’ve asked her to do. We’re really pleased with her progress.”

Pressman and Jones are new clients for Tagg and the veteran conditioner has enjoyed the partnership. At their suggestion, Manny Franco will take over from Junior Alvarado.

“The owners asked me if I’d ride Manny and I said yes. So far, saying yes to them has been working out,” Tagg said with a laugh.

Charles Fipke’s homebred Verve’s Tale will make her Breeders’ Cup debut in the Distaff. The 5-year-old Tale of Ekati mare has yet to win in five starts this campaign but will go into the Distaff off a rallying third in the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational.

“She’s a tough, old gal. She’s as honest as the day is long. She likes to come from off the pace. If you let her lay up close, she doesn’t have as good a finish. It’s a little hard with 14 horses to come from off the pace but the good riders and good horses can do it,” Tagg said.

Brian Hernandez, Jr. will take over from Manny Franco aboard Verve’s Tale at Churchill Downs and be tasked with finding a winning trip.

“She’s pretty honest. If you ease her back and just wait and wait and wait on her, she’ll finish strong for you,” Tagg said. “She won a stakes race [the Summer Colony] at Saratoga doing that, only by a nose, but she gets there. You never know what can happen in a big field.”

Verve’s Tale breezed five furlongs in 1:01.37 this morning on the Belmont main.

“I asked them to go off in 12 and change and finish up in a minute and they were pretty close to it. She galloped out strong,” Tagg said.

Source: NYRA

Lessons from the 2011 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs

By Lenny Moon (reprinted with permission)

The handicapping process does not end when the bets are made; it ends by reviewing the results of the races that were bet and analyzing the handicapping process to determine if anything was missed. After taking a day to recover, I looked back at the 2011 Breeders’ Cup results and came up with the top four things to take away from the last Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs.

#4 Some Breeders’ Cup Results are Impossible to Explain

Every horseplayer has watched or bet a race that was won by a horse that appeared to have no chance of winning. The horse may have appeared to be too slow, was running at the wrong distance or had not run well in months or years. The horse triggers large payouts and causes great frustration. After reviewing the past performances nothing points to the horse as a winner. The result is still implausible but that is perfectly acceptable. Horse races are run by living breathing animals and ridden and trained by humans. The horses are not machines and the jockeys and trainers are imperfect so it is inevitable that from time to time a race will produce an un-explainable result. This scenario occurred not once but twice on Breeders’ Cup Saturday.

The first impossible to come up with horse was Afleet Again in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon. Afleet Again was the least likely winner of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon after a subpar 2011 that saw him go winless in eight starts including two losses in allowance races. Afleet Again was also unproven at the distance and based on speed figures was the slowest horse in the race. Despite all of these negative factors Afleet Again won the Breeders’ Cup Marathon by a comfortable 2 ¼ lengths at odds of 41 /1.

The second improbable winner was Court Vision in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Court Vision was the least likely winner in the Breeders’ Cup Mile after a lackluster 2011 season.  Similar to Afleet Again Court Vision was winless in 2011 and based on speed figures was the slowest horse in the race. Court Vision was coming off a mediocre seventh place finish in the Woodbine Mile yet he managed to blow past three-time defending champion Goldikova and hold off Turallure (winner of the aforementioned Woodbine Mile) to post the biggest upset in the twenty seven year history of the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Even after the race was run it was impossible to make a case for Court Vision.

After reviewing the past performance of each horse and knowing they had won their respective races I still could not find a reason to bet either one of them but guess what? That was perfectly fine.


#3 – Look for the “Horse for the Course Angle” in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

Some horses prefer one track over all others or in extreme cases only run well at one particular track. These horses are often referred to as a “horse for the course.” This angle plays out everyday at tracks across the country.

This year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint was won by Regally Ready, a Churchill Downs “horse for the course,” who was two for two in turf sprints at Churchill Downs prior to the race. The “Horse for Course Angle” has become a potent handicapping factor for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprints as it has produced all four winners of the race [through 2011]. Chamberlain Bridge won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint after compiling a record of three wins and a second from four turf sprints at Churchill Downs. California Flag won the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course and had previously won two of four starts over the course. Desert Code, who I mentioned in my post about multi-ticket betting strategy, won the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on the same downhill turf course and had won three of five turf sprints at Santa Anita.

The Breeders’ Cup returns to Santa Anita in 2012 and once again the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint will be run on the unique downhill turf course. The downhill turf course is notorious for producing “horse for the course” winners so it will pay to give special consideration to horses that have won or performed well over the course in the past.


#2 – Favor the “Turn-back Angle” in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

Betting a horse “turning-back” in distance is one of the oldest angles in the book. To fit the angle a horse simply needs to be running in a race at a shorter distance than its previous race. The most common example is a horse going from a route to a sprint, such as from 1 1/16 miles to seven furlongs, but the angle also works for horses “turning-back” in distance from a route to a shorter route .

breeders cup 2010


Caleb’s Posse, Shackleford and Tres Borrachos completed the trifecta in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile this year. All three fit the “tum-back angle.” Caleb’s Posse and Shackleford were exiting the 1 1/16 miles Indiana Derby and Tres Borrachos prepped for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in the 1 1/8 miles Goodwood.

The “Turn-back Angle” has become quite possibly the most important handicapping factor for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile as it has produced the winner of all five runnings of the race [through 2011]. Dakota Phone won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile after running in the 1 1/8 miles Goodwood. Furthest Land won the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile after prepping in the 1 1/8 miles Kentucky Cup Classic. Albertus Maximus won the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile after running in the 1 1/8 miles Goodwood. Corinthian won the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile after competing in the 1 1/8 miles Woodward. One day a horse may win the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile after running in a sprint race but until the trend is reversed it pays to give preference to horses “turning-back” in distance.


#1 – Favorites Need Not Be Avoided

Favorites in horse racing are normally associated with unexciting payoffs, however when combined with a few upsets they can produce massive payouts. The six Breeders’ Cup races on Friday (2011) made up the Pick 6. Three of those races were won by the post time favorite (Secret Circle in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, My Miss Aurelia in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Royal Delta in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff), the other three were won by 6/1 Stephanie’s Kitten (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf), 20/1 Musical Romance (Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint) and 27/1 Perfect Shirl (Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf) resulting in a Pick 6 payout of $444, 571. The last four Breeders’ Cup races made up the Pick 4. Two favorites (My Miss Aurelia and Royal Delta) combined with the aforementioned 20/1 Musical Romance and 27/1 Perfect Shirl produced a Pick 4 payout of $23,428 . In both sequences favorites won half of the races which proved that it is not necessary to beat the favorite in every race to win a substantial amount of money.


Final Thoughts about Breeders’ Cup 2011

Although these points relate directly to the Breeders’ Cup each can be applied to everyday handicapping. The most important lesson however is that just like horses are not machines handicappers should not bet like machines. Automatic bets should not be placed on horses that meet the criteria outlined above; they should be one factor to consider in the handicapping process. Sound handicapping involves evaluating all of the available information and using that information to bet the horse that figures to win the race at hand.

Will Ellis Park horses be a Factor in 2018 Breeders’ Cup?

“There are still some question marks out there,” trainer Tom Amoss said of his filly’s impressive victories. “Who wants to go that far, who doesn’t. Maybe the overall talent of the field. The same could be said for the other major fillies in this race.

“The Ellis Park Debutante stamped what we already knew: That she was talented. She used her speed to her advantage and was able to draw off in the race. Then we saw it again at Churchill Downs. Those two races certainly stamp her as one of the favorites in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies — and rightfully so.”

Ellis Park looms large in Breeders’ Cup pre-entrants Evansville Courier & Press No Justify, but ‘deep races’ as horses revealed for 2018 Breeders’ Cup Courier Journal : Ellis Park looms large in Breeders’ Cup pre-entrants