Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/13/14
Horse Racing’s biggest day, or days, has finally arrived! The 2012 Breeders Cup World Championship at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California is finally here! 15 action packed races, spread out over about 28 ½ hours where millions of dollars and year end Eclipse Awards championships will be won or lost. The festivities begin on Friday, Nov 2nd at 4:06pm EST with the Juvenile Sprint and finish up on Saturday, Nov. 3rd at 8:30pm EST with the 2012 $5 million Breeders Cup Classic where Game On Dude will attempt to clinch racing biggest prize, Horse of the Year honors. Friday’s highlight will be Royal Delta trying to repeat in the 2012 Breeders Cup Ladies Classic. We have a lot to look at so I wont go on and on like I usually do about the history of the race, past winners, what the race(s) means etc. I will only say this; I have been working diligently to get this preview together and posted as quickly as possible. I started on Monday Oct 29th and will finish up on Wednesday, Oct 31st. As you probably already know, lots can happen between that time and when the gates open for each individual race. Jockey changes, scratches, equipment changes, weather (track) conditions, also eligibles and the like are all still possible, so I’ll ask your forgiveness up front should I write something here and it changes later on.   Friday, November 2nd     Race 4 – 4:06 PM EST. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint Purse $500,000. For Two-Year-Olds Six Furlongs   P# PP Horse A/S Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1 Hightail 2/C R Maragh 122 D W Lukas 8/1 2 2 Ceiling Kitty 2/F J R Velazquez 119 T Dascombe 12/1 3 3 Merit Man 2/C P A Valenzuela 122 R B Hess, Jr. 8/5 4 4 South Floyd 2/C R A Dominguez 122 D F O’Neill 6/1 5 5 Super Ninety Nine 2/C M Garcia 122 B Baffert 5/2 6 6 Hazardous 2/G E A Maldonado 122 C O’Callaghan 8/1 7 7 Sweet Shirley Mae 2/F J Rosario 119 W A Ward 4/1   Analysis: (this one looks like a two horse race from where I sit) 1) Merit Man- was a determined winner of his debut in early September, then followed that up with a 5+ length romp (while being 3 wide) in a $100,000 stakes race over this very track. He scored a 92 speed figure in that race which is superior (by several points) to any of these. Also, a closer look shows he ran six furlongs in 1:10.2 while his main rival in this race (Super Ninety Nine) ran the same distance in 1:11.1 just 24 hrs later. That, in turn, means Merit Man would have defeated Super Ninety Nine by four lengths. I hate to bet against Bob Baffert fleet two year olds but, on paper, this horse has a slight edge.   2) Super Ninety Nine- chestnut colt by Pulpit won his debut in fine fashion for Bob Baffert and his follow up works had me do a double take (Oct 21- 6F- 1:12.4 and Oct. 27- 5F- :59.2). Baffert must think a lot of him to take him from a maiden race straight to the BC Juvenile Sprint and, as I’ve said a thousand times before, Baffert isn’t wrong all that often…obvious contender and no shocker if he wins this   3) Sweet Shirley Mae- is one of two fillies curiously entered in this race but gets the call to hit the board off her last race. In that race (the grade:1 Spinaway at Saratoga), she was, at one point, last, some 15 lengths behind yet closed very well to be second, beaten less than three lengths for all the money ( to the talented So Many Ways). I must, however, point out that the Spinaway was at seven furlongs and shortening up (to six furlongs in this race) may put her at a tactical disadvantage. Honorable Mentions: Ceiling Kitty, the other filly in this race, is the “dark horse” as she comes over from Great Britain and switches surfaces (grass to dirt), but might be able to run a little as she shows three wins in seven lifetime starts.     Race 5 – 1:46 PM Breeders’ Cup Marathon Purse $500,000. For Three-Year-Olds and Upward One and Three Quarters Miles   P# PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1 Atigun 3/C L M E Smith 122 K G McPeek 9/2 2 2 Fame And Glory 6/H L J P Spencer 126 A P O’Brien 5/1 3 3 Balladry 4/C L J Graham 126 E G Harty 30/1 4 4 Grassy 6/H L G K Gomez 126 M F Jones 30/1 5 5 Jaycito 4/C L J Talamo 126 B Baffert 6/1 6 6 Calidoscopio 9/H L A T Gryder 126 G Frankel 8/1 7 7 Not Abroad 5/H L N Petro, Jr. 126 M P Petro 5/1 8 8 Romp 8/G L J Rosario 126 K Mulhall 30/1 9 9 Almudena 5/M L J Valdivia, Jr. 123 J V Suarez 30/1 10 10 Eldaafer 7/G L R Santana, Jr 126 D Alvarado 8/1 11 11 Commander 4/G L M Gutierrez 126 T Taylor 15/1 12 12 Worth Repeating 6/H L M A Pedroza 126 M Machowsky 5/1 13 13 Sense of Purpose 5/M L1 P J Smullen 123 D K Weld 15/1 14 14 Juniper Pass 5/G L L Dettori 126 T R Bell, II 30/1   Analysis:  (tough race to figure out, lots of inconsistencies) 1) Fame And Glory- I’m going against the cardinal rule of  “never bet a horse who is being asked to do something he or she has never done before” with this horse. Actually, I’m going against it twice with the same horse. First off, he is making his first start on the dirt surface (all 25 starts have been on the turf) and second, this is his first start in the US. (He’s been running strictly in Ireland and Great Britain). But as I looked thru his past performances several things stuck out at me. One, he is 14 for 25 lifetime, that is far and away the best record of anyone entered in this race. Two, he’s been running against much better opposition in his native land. Three, distance doesn’t seem to be a problem as this distance is the shortest he’s run in quite some time and four, he has banked over $2.3 million which, again, is far superior to anyone else in this race. To me, he wins this easy provided he takes to the traditional dirt surface.   2) Commander- enters this race riding a six race winning streak and, with the exception of his last race, has aired it out, on the engine, in all six of them. I realize that those races were against inferior competition but still, this horse merits some respect in a race filled with horses that are inconsistent. Don’t be afraid of the odds (15-1 morning line) because as I stated in an article last week, the average odds of the winner of this race are 17.25-1. He should be on the early lead and if someone doesn’t run with him early?? He’ll be long gone. I don’t care what the odds say, he’s a big threat here.   3) Worth Repeating- will probably be the post time favorite based off his last race (he annihilated a field of seven in a Fairplex $100,000 stakes race). He comes into this in what appears to be his peak form….I’m just not enamored with that 4 for 25 lifetime record, that’s all.   Honorable Mentions: Eldaafer won this race in 2010 and he comes into this race (from a speed figures point of view) off his best race in quite a while. This now seven year old by the great A.P. Indy has a punchers chance. Not Abroad has now run four good races in a row including his last where he easily won a $150,000 Laurel stakes race (by four lengths). He, too, has a good chance vs. these but please note, he’s been defeated by Eldaafer the last two times he’s faced him Calidoscopio is two for three in Argentina this year and I’ve heard whispers this nine year old can still bring it.     Race 6 – 2:28 PM   Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Purse $1,000,000. For Fillies, Two-Year-Olds One Mile. (Turf) P# PP Horse A/S Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1 Kitten’s Point 2/F R Bejarano 122 H G Motion 12/1 2 2 Summer of Fun 2/F R A Dominguez 122 G Weaver 30/1 3 3 Sky Lantern 2/F R Hughes 122 R M Hannon 3/1 4 4 Flotilla 2/F C P Lemaire 122 M Delzangles 8/1 5 5 Spring Venture 2/F P Husbands 122 M E Casse 5/1 6 6 Watsdachances 2/F J Castellano 122 C C Brown 4/1 7 7 Oscar Party 2/F K J Desormeaux 122 W M Catalano 20/1 8 8 Tara From the Cape 2/F J R Velazquez 122 T A Pletcher 12/1 9 9 Nancy O 2/F D Moran 122 C M Costigan 30/1 10 10 Waterway Run 2/F L Dettori 122 R Beckett 10/1 11 11 Moonwalk 2/F C J Lanerie 122 D L Romans 20/1 12 12 The Gold Cheongsam 2/F W T Buick 122 J Noseda 20/1 13 13 Flashy Ways 2/F J Talamo 122 R Baltas 10/1 14 14 Sustained 2/F J Rosario 122 D L Romans 12/1 15 15 Infanta Branca 2/F R L Moore 122 A P O’Brien 15/1 16 16 Moulin de Mougin 2/F C S Nakatani 122 R E Mandella 15/1   Analysis: (another tough, closely matched field and please note:  #15 Infanta Branca and #16 Moulin de Mougin are AEs) 1) Sky Lantern- easily won the Group: I Moyglare Stakes in Ireland (her best race to date) in her last and is now three for five lifetime on the grass. She should secure a stalking position early before making her move on the far turn and/or down the stretch. Her assistant trainer, Richard Hannon Jr., is brimming with confidence: “Sky Lantern ran all the way to the line in the Moyglare,” Hannon Jr. said, “and we have no worries about the trip in America, while the turf track at Santa Anita invariably rides fast which will suit our filly ideally”. “Her form in Europe is rock-solid, and she probably represents our best chance yet of winning a Breeders Cup race”. …Agreed Mr. Hannon, this appears to be a nice filly.   2) Watsdatchances- used very strong closing runs to win three for four in her brief career. In her last race, she won the Grade: 3 Miss Grillo Stakes in NY where she had to overcome a slow pace in front of her, yet still won “going away” She handles any surface (yielding, soft or good) and I expect more of the same from her on Friday afternoon as she should be coming late in this race.   3) Flashy Ways- has been exactly that…flashy….as she won her debut (on the synthetics) by 5+ lengths, then came back and won a $100,000 stakes over this very course by 2+ lengths while getting the mile (this distance) in 1:34.2. Lots to like here…and is another who poses a big threat. Honorable Mentions: (and there are several) Waterway Run is also three for four (overseas) and showed versatility in all her races. (She has won from on and from off the pace). If she can get the distance (she’s never been this far) she might be dangerous and could easily better this rating.  Spring Venture, hate to put an unbeaten (3 for 3), late running filly this far down but she’s never raced outside (questionable) Canadian opposition. Yet another who could outrun this rating. Sustained was a good closing second (to Watsdachances) in the (nightmare trip) Miss Grillo Stakes (she was 3 wide most of the way around and bumped hard twice down the stretch). She might have a chance with a cleaner trip. Kitten Point is a “from out of nowhere” closer who went 5 wide and 8 wide on the turn for home in her first two career starts while winning one and getting beat a nose in the other….might be a “live” longshot. Speaking of longshots, you might want to take a look at Nancy O, who had a dirt experiment blow up in her face in her last but her prior races (on the turf) were not all that bad…..30-1 morning line?… I don’t know about that, I can see 12 or 15-1…but 30-1??….     Race 7 – 3:08 PM     Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Purse $2,000,000. For Fillies, Two-Year-Olds One And One Sixteenth Miles   P# PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1 Beholder 2/F   G K Gomez 122 R E Mandella 5/2 2 2 Executiveprivilege 2/F   R Bejarano 122 B Baffert 2/1 3 3 Spring in the Air 2/F   P Husbands 122 M E Casse 15/1 4 4 Renee’s Queen 2/F   C S Nakatani 122 E J Guillot 30/1 5 5 Dreaming of Julia 2/F   J R Velazquez 122 T A Pletcher 5/2 6 6 Almost an Angel 2/F   J Rosario 122 W A Ward 30/1 7 7 Broken Spell 2/F   R Maragh 122 D W Lukas 20/1 8 8 Kauai Katie 2/F   R Napravnik 122 T A Pletcher 3/1   Analysis: Perhaps the best or second best, most competitive race on both cards. You got three fillies that are 11 for 11 in their careers combined. 1) Executiveprivilege- is already a multiple grade I stakes winner, including one of the grade: I’s over this very track. Unbeaten, stretch running, First Samurai filly showed a new dimension to her game when she wired the field in her last start and drew off by 6+ lengths down the stretch. Remember earlier when I said trainer Bob Baffert is rarely wrong when he speaks about his horses’ talent level. Well, he’s called Executive Privilege, “pretty special,”  “gifted,” a “female version of (2010 3-year-old champion) Lookin’ At Lucky” and compared her to his champion Silverbulletday…That, readers, is some pretty heavy comparisons She can handle the distance, any track surface and any pace scenario as well. Lastly, I’ve watched several reruns of her races and her stride is poetry in motion. I mean it just seems she glides over the track instead of running over it. Big work Oct 21 (6F-1:12 flat). My only concern is the somewhat low speed figures.   2) Dreaming of Julia- another unbeaten (3 for 3) filly. She demonstrated her enormous talent while winning her first two starts by a combined (almost) 27 lengths. In her third start, she was forced to set a fast pace early (in the grade: I Frizette) and even though clearly a tired horse in the stretch, she showed great heart and determination by holding off My Happy Face (who had broken her maiden by 21 lengths one start before) by a head. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you speed and determination is a great combination to have in a racehorse. My only concern with her is there is other speed signed up in this race (including uncoupled stable mate Kauai Katie) and they might force her to go too fast, too early.   3) Kauai Katie- is still another unbeaten filly (also 3-3) and so far, they haven’t been close to beating her. She won those 3 starts by a combined (almost) 23 lengths. Actually, when I watched the replays of those races it doesn’t even look like she is being asked for her very best…..that’s a scary thought readers. Solid works and good speed figures but the part that bothers me with her is that trainer Todd Pletcher said (about 2 weeks ago) that KK “will probably be better off in sprint races, so that’s where we are going to keep her”. What changed your mind Todd? Was it the way she was working out? Or are you just taking a shot to see how far she will go?….either way, she certainly looks like a threat in this race.   Honorable Mentions: Beholder has wicked speed and the rail (which is always a dangerous combination). Speed figures are on the rise with that last one being off the charts (54, 75, 88 and 108). Also, she finished right behind the top choice the last time they met and could easily better this rating. Spring in the Air should no way be 15-1 morning line. She is a grade I stakes winner who possesses a pretty serious late run. With all the early speed in this race, there could be a complete and utter pace meltdown. If that be the case, she could come flying down the stretch…live longshot possibility here for sure.   Is Executiveprivlege really like Silverbulletday and Lookin’ at Lucky? Race 8 – 3:48 PM     Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf Purse $2,000,000. For Fillies and Mares Three-Year-Olds and Upward One And One Fourth Miles. (Turf)   P# PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1 Star Billing 4/F L V Espinoza 124 J A Shirreffs 30/1 2 2 Zagora 5/M L J Castellano 124 C C Brown 8/1 3 3 Stormy Lucy 3/F L M A Pedroza 120 F Lucarelli 30/1 4 4 The Fugue 3/F L1 W T Buick 120 J H Gosden 7/2 5 5 Nereid 4/F L J R Leparoux 124 J A Shirreffs 15/1 6 6 Lady of Shamrock 3/F L M E Smith 120 J W Sadler 12/1 7 7 Up 3/F L R L Moore 120 A P O’Brien 12/1 8 8 Nahrain 4/F L L Dettori 124 R Varian 6/1 9 9 Marketing Mix 4/F L G K Gomez 124 T F Proctor 9/2 10 10 Ridasiyna 3/F   C P Lemaire 120 M Delzangles 4/1 11 11 I’m A Dreamer 5/M L R Hughes 124 D Simcock 8/1 12 12 In Lingerie 3/F L J R Velazquez 120 T A Pletcher 12/1   Analysis: (this one has a lot of flavor, three year old fillies, four and five year old mares and several Europeans)   1) Ridasiyna- French filly comes here sporting a 4 for 5 record including wins vs. group 1 and group 3 competitions at Chantilly and Longchamp. In fact, in that last race at Longchamp she scored a 121 (speed) rating. If she repeats that race on Friday, she wins this.   2) The Fugue- is a winner of 3 of 7 career starts vs. group 1, 2 and 3 competition in England while hitting the board in 3 other races, which means she only been off the board once in 7 tries vs. top notch opponents. She is listed as the 7/2 morning line favorite for good reason.   3) Nahrain- ran down one of Americas better older female turf runners (Zagora) in the stretch of the Flower Bowl in her last and did that after some painfully slow early fractions. She scored a triple digit speed figure in the process and on top of all that, she ran her lungs out and barely got beat in this race last year.     Honorable Mentions: Marketing Mix is also among the elite American female turf runners and is an absolute win machine (8 for 15 in her career). This daughter of Medaglia d’Oro is a head shy of coming into this race on a four race winning streak. Closes and could easily outrun an honorable mention rating. Zagora, shows one up then one down in her last 6 races. It also appears to me she is clearly a better horse on a firm turf course which I believe she will get come Friday afternoon. If she runs her “A” race? She will be right there at the end. Lady of Shamrock comes in this a winner of 6 of her last 8 and is a nose shy of riding a 5 race winning streak. This daughter of Scat Daddy is (by speed figure ratings) in peak form….the question is even at peak form, is she good enough? You know, she just might be and 12-1 morning line is quite tempting to me.   Lady of Shamrock is an intriguing longshot in the Filly and Mare Turf  Race 9 – 4:30 PM     Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic Purse $2,000,000. For Fillies and Mares, Three-Year-Olds and Upward One And One Eighth Miles.   P# PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1 Grace Hall 3/F L J Castellano 121 A W Dutrow 10/1 2 2 My Miss Aurelia 3/F L C S Nakatani 121 S M Asmussen 4/1 3 3 Class Included 4/F L R A Baze 124 J Penney 30/1 4 4 Questing 3/F L I Ortiz, Jr. 121 K P McLaughlin 4/1 5 5 Awesome Feather 4/F L J Sanchez 124 C C Brown 3/1 6 6 Royal Delta 4/F L M E Smith 124 W I Mott 9/5 7 7 Include Me Out 4/F L J Talamo 124 R W Ellis 15/1 8 8 Love and Pride 4/F L J R Velazquez 124 T A Pletcher 8/1   Analysis: (like the Juvenile Filly race, this race will have me on the edge of my seat. There is so much talent in this field its frightening…three champions in one race!)   1) Awesome Feather- this filly continues to amaze me. In 2010, she goes unbeaten (9 for 9) culminating with a win in the 2010  BC Juvenile to take home the Eclipse Award as champion two year old filly of that year and deservedly so. Fast forward to January of this year where she was a blow out winner in her four year old debut at Gulfstream….but here’s where its gets interesting. She injures a tendon in her leg shortly after that win. In fact from what I understand she came close to bowing that tendon. (And remember the old horse racing saying “the only good thing about a bow is when it’s in Robin Hood’s hand”). Personally, I thought she was done and figured they’d retire her. Nope, she wouldn’t have that. After 8 months off, they bring her back to the races (Once again, I thought “this is a mistake”) and what does she do? She absolutely annihilates four other fillies in, albeit a minor stakes race, at Belmont Park and when I say annihilate??  I mean annihilate… In that Belmont comeback race, she ripped thru a half mile in :44.4 (and had a two length lead), six furlongs in a remarkable 1:08.3 (while opening up a 7 length lead) and finished the mile test in an eye popping 1:33.2 to win by 11 ½ lengths. The scary part is, she only seems to be getting better. Dating back to last October her last four speed figures are 81, 99, 100 and an amazing 108. Let’s not forget she is as versatile as the day is long, she can come from behind or she can win while on the lead. Go ahead and look thru her past performances like I did and you’ll see, with the exception of her second career start, no one has come close to beating her. If she wins on Friday, do you start mentioning her in the same breath as Zenyatta? I think you might have to.   2) Royal Delta- the 9/5 morning line favorite and rightfully so. This royally (no pun intended) bred filly (By Empire Maker- Delta Princess) is a multiple grade :1 stakes winner and the defending BC Ladies Classic champion not to mention champio three year old filly last year. Her final prep race for this was nothing short of spectacular as she won the prestigious Beldame Stakes by almost 10 lengths and shows (almost) four straight triple digit speed figures….that’s very impressive  If you draw a line thru that Dubai debacle (I said repeatedly before she went that that was a mistake) she shows a record of 13 starts, 8 wins, 3 second and a third ….that’s 12 of 13 on the board and a bankroll of over $2.6 million Obviously, she is  more than capable of repeating her win from last year, but I’ll leave you with this…based on her races on July 21 and on August 26?… She is beatable.   3) My Miss Aurelia- is another amazing filly. She is 6 for 6 in her career and, again, with the exception of 1 or 2 races in her career, they haven’t really been close to beating her either. Can’t say she isn’t battle tested. I mean, she won two Grade: I’s last year including the BC Juvenile and the Frizette. It appears she’s taken to the Santa Anita surface like a duck to water as she’s had three works over the track one more impressive than the next. Lastly, it’s that last race (Sept 22 Cotillion at ParxPark in Philly) that really stands out at me. In that race, she was chasing a loose on the lead Questing, who was able to get away with very slow fractions, yet still was able to run her down late for the win. This $550,000 yearling by Smart Strike seems juuuust a little light in the speed figure department, but must be respected regardless.   Honorable Mentions: Questing had a hell of a summer while racking up wins in the Grade: I Coaching Club American Oaks and in the Grade: 1 Alabama before being run down by the third choice in her last. This daughter of the gorgeous Hard Spun will (should) be the early leader but I just can’t see her holding off the enormous amount of talent that will be chasing her especially if she gets in a battle for the early lead with the #8 (Love and Pride). Grace Hall is 5 for 8 in her career over fast tracks and when she is right, she can run. Class Included shows an astounding 16 starts, 10 wins and 6 seconds in her career. Albeit that was against much lesser foes and she’s never cracked 90 in the speed figure department, that’s still an impressive record to own. Awesome Feather….Awesome Filly

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