The Breeders’ Cup World Championships returns to Southern California and to Del Mar for its 38th edition this weekend and everything starts with Future Stars Friday.
The five-stakes Future Stars card for 2-year-olds features a trio of turf stakes and two dirt stakes that were part of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup from way back in 1984 at Hollywood Park. The five stakes serve as the perfect prelude to the main Championship Saturday featuring nine events topped by the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf and $6 million Breeders’ Cup Saturday.
The $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint opens the slate at 5:50 p.m. ET with a full field and the curtain closes Friday with the Juvenile Turf at 8:30 p.m. NBC Sports will show the races live from 5-9 p.m. ET.
The handicappers will be watching intently to see how their picks fare. We brought back our five mainstays from The Power Grid that runs in The Saratoga Special – including perennial leader John Shapazian and the upstart longshot specialist Jessica Paquette, along with Tom Law, Charles Bedard and Rob Whitlock. They’re joined by the heads of ST Publishing – Joe Clancy and Sean Clancy – and our intrepid New England correspondent Paul Halloran.
Here are the picks for Friday, Nov. 5. Good luck.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2). $1 million. 2-year-olds, 5 furlongs, turf. Post time 5:50 p.m. ET.
Wesley Ward unleashes a strong trio of the unbeaten filly Averly Jane, Deauville stakes winner Twilight Gleaming and multiple stakes-placed Kaufymaker in full field of 12. Averly Jane comes in with three straight stakes wins over males – the Kentucky Juvenile and Skidmore on dirt and the Indian Summer on turf. The Europeans brought a large group for this, including Armor and Hierarchy, and could kick off a big day.
John: Averly Jane, Twilight Gleaming, One Timer.
Jessica: Armor, Go Bears Go, Twilight Gleaming.
Rob: Armor, Averly Jane, Kaufymaker.
Charles: One Timer, Time To Party, Averly Jane.
Joe: Derrynane, Twilight Gleaming, Averly Jane.
Paul: Armor, Averly Jane, Twilight Jet.
Tom: Averly Jane, One Timer, Derrynane.
Sean: Twilight Gleaming, Averly Jane, Hierarchy.
NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juveniles Fillies (G1). $2 million. 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles. Post time: 6:30 p.m.
Short field with only five to take on the unbeaten Gun Runner filly Echo Zulo. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Echo Zulu ran lights-out in her three starts Opening Day and in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga and in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park. She makes her first start around two turns against Grade 1 Alcibiades winner Juju’s Map and Grade 3 Pocahontas winner Hidden Connection. Longshot Desert Dawn flies the flag for California off a third in the Grade 2 Chandelier at Santa Anita.
John: Echo Zulu, Hidden Connection, Juju’s Map.
Jessica: Sequist, Hidden Connection, Echo Zulu.
Rob: Hidden Connection, Echo Zulu, Juju’s Map.
Charles: Juju’s Map, Echo Zulu, Tarabi.
Joe: Echo Zulu, Juju's Map, Tarabi.
Paul: Hidden Connection, Echo Zulu, Sequist.
Tom: Echo Zulu, Juju’s Map, Hidden Connection.
Sean: Echo Zulu, Juju's Map, Hidden Connection.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). $1 million. 2-year-old fillies, 1 mile, turf. Post time: 7:10 p.m.
Back to the grass and a full field of 2-year-old fillies led by Bobby Flay’s homebred Grade 1 Natalma runner-up Pizza Bianca, the 5-1 favorite in the field of 14. Trained by Christophe Clement, the daughter of Fastnet Rock gets Jose Ortiz with Joel Rosario riding Koala Princess for Arnaud Delacour. Chad Brown owns five wins in the race, dating back to the inaugural with Maram in 2008. He sends out Consumer Spending, who won’t be close to her 8-1 price on the morning line off back-to-back victories at Saratoga Race Course and Laurel Park, and Haughty.
John: Pizza Bianca, Consumer Spending, Bubble Rock.
Jessica: Haughty, Bubble Rock, Hello You.
Rob: Hello You, Koala Princess, Haughty
Charles: Mise En Scene, Malavath, Koala Princess.
Joe: Sail By, Koala Princess, Hello You.
Paul: Consumer Spending, Mise En Scene, Hello You.
Tom: Consumer Spending, California Angel, Mise En Scene.
Sean: Koala Princess, Cachet, Hello You.
TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1). $2 million. 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles. Post time 7:50 p.m.
East Coast versus West Coast in former finale to the day, somehow relegated to the next-to-last spot on the lineup. Jack Christopher is a big scratch, which will move up some picks by the squad. American Pharoah winner Corniche is one of three for Bob Baffert, along with Barossa and Pinehurst while Todd Pletcher sends out Double Thunder and Champagne runner-up Commandperformance. Good race.
John: Corniche, Jack Christopher, Jasper Great.
Jessica: Jasper Great, Jack Christopher, Commandperformance.
Rob: Commandperformance, Jack Christopher, Barossa.
Charles: Corniche, Double Thunder, Barossa.
Joe: Corniche, Commandperformance, Pinehurst.
Paul: Jack Christopher, Jasper Great, Tough To Tame.
Tom: Jack Christopher, Corniche, Pinehurst.
Sean: Jack Christopher, Corniche, Jasper Great.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). $1 million. 2-year-olds, 1 mile, turf. Post time: 8:30 p.m.
Take a long look at the European contingent – as you should in all the grass races – led by Charlie Appleby’s duo of Godolphin’s Modern Games and Albahr. The former comes off a win in the Group 3 Tattersalls Somerville Stakes at Newmarket while the latter exits a victory in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine. They’ll be tough against the American contingent led by Grade 2 Bourbon winner Tiz The Bomb, Grade 2 Pilgrim runner-up Portfolio Company and Nownownow winner Dakota Gold, along with fellow European Dubawi Legend from the outside post.
John: Dakota Gold, Modern Games, Albahr.
Jessica: Tiz The Bomb, Portfolio Company, Slipstream.
Rob: Dakota Gold, Glounthaune, Portfolio Company.
Charles: Portfolio Company, Dakota Gold, Tiz The Bomb.
Joe: Albahr, Modern Games, Tiz The Bomb.
Paul: Modern Games, Albahr, Dubawi Legend.
Tom: Albahr, Coinage, Dakota Gold.
Sean: Slipstream, Modern Games, Albahr.