The 10th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park rolls into action with Future Stars Friday beneath the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains with folks around the globe tuned in to see the next big thing in racing.
The second run of the five-pack of stakes to lead off the weekend restricted to the juveniles starts just after lunchtime on the West Coast but almost at the end of the workday for most on the East. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint leads off and a field of Americans takes on a deep cast of Europeans in the 5-furlong opener. It’s a mix of dirt and turf from there, with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile leading the way.
The handicapping trio from This Is Horse Racing – Joe Clancy, Sean Clancy and Tom Law – return for another run, trying to pick some winners and pad the bankroll for Saturday’s main event. They’re joined by The Saratoga Special’s handicappers John Shapazian and Rob Whitlock.
The five races will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on cable from 4-8 p.m. ET.
Here are the picks for Breeders’ Cup Friday:
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2). Post time 4:12 p.m. ET
Wesley Ward against the world. That might be a bit of a stretch but Ward does send out a strong trio in Grade 3 Futurity winner Four Wheel Drive, Indian Summer and Bolton Landing winner Kimari and Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint winner Cambria. He’s got another on the also-eligible list – Tyro winner Karak – but she’s unlikely to draw in. Seven Europeans made the body of the field, including the highly touted A’Ali for Simon Crisford with Frankie Dettori named.
Joe: Kimari, Four Wheel Drive, Alligator Alley.
Sean: A’Ali, Kimari, Alligator Alley.
Tom: Kimari, A’Ali, King Neptune.
John: Band Practice, Kimari, Four Wheel Drive.
Rob: Band Practice, A ‘Ali, Chimney Rock.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Post time 4:52 p.m. ET
Aidan O’Brien looks to hold strong hand in 1-mile stakes with Arizona and Fort Myers. The former probably gives Europeans big chance to land one on Day 1 off a second in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes last time out at Newmarket. What about the Americans? Peace Achieved, Vitaloty and Gear Jockey were 1-2-3 in the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland, while Decorated Invader comes in off sharp score in Grade 1 Summer Stakes.
Joe: Decorated Invader, Arizona, Structor.
Sean: Decorated Invader, Structor, Gear Jockey.
Tom: Vitalogy, Decorated Invader, Arizona.
John: Structor, Decorated Invader, Arizona.
Rob: Structor, Decorated Invader, Andesite.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Post time 5:32 p.m. ET
The first main-track event of the weekend and typically one of the most true to form races at the Breeders’ Cup, race brings together the best of the East and the best of the West. Bast leads the home team off victory over the track in the Grade 1 Chandelier, although she’s co-second choice on the line behind debut maiden winner Donna Veloce for Simon Callaghan. British Idiom ran her record to 2-for-2 winning the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades last time for Brad Cox.
Joe: Bast, Perfect Alibi, Wicked Whisper.
Sean: British Idiom, Comical, Bast.
Tom: Wicked Whisper, British Idiom, Bast.
John: Wicked Whisper, Donna Veloce, British Idiom.
Rob: Lazy Daisy, British Idiom, Wicked Whisper.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). Post time 6:12 p.m. ET
Still searching for a longshot? Same here and this could be the spot to uncover one. The Europeans look good with Albigna, Daahyeh and Tango leading the charge, but they’re vulnerable against a solid home team led by Selflessly, Crystalle and Sweet Melania.
Joe: Albigna, Sharing, Abscond.
Sean: Albigna, Daahyeh, Sharing.
Tom: Selflessly, Crystalle, Albinga.
John: Albigna, Shadn, Abscond.
Rob: Daayeh, Albigna, Living In The Past.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Post time 7:03 p.m.
Dennis’ Moment versus Eight Rings, or so the theme goes when the buzz horse Maxfield scratched Tuesday. Dennis’ Moment blasted maidens at Ellis Park and added a more workmanlike victory in the Grade 3 Iroquois. Eight Rings rebounded from a incident in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity – when he dropped Drayden Van Dyke early – with victory in the Grade 1 American Pharoah under John Velazquez. The same rider returns for Bob Baffert in small field of eight.
Joe: Eight Rings, Dennis' Moment, Anneau d'Or.
Sean: Eight Rings, Dennis’ Moment, Anneau d’Or.
Tom: Eight Rings, Scabbard, Dennis’ Moment.
John: Dennis' Moment, Scabbard, Eight Rings.
Rob: Shoplifted, Dennis’ Moment, Scabbard.