The Breeders’ Cup Special & Picks – Championship Saturday

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The 39th Breeders’ Cup World Championships kicked off in style on a summer-like day Friday and continues in earnest Saturday with the main event at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington.

Championship Saturday features nine Breeders’ Cup races, headlined by the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. Flightline headlines the headliner, looking to make it 6-for-6 in what will be his toughest test to date. He’s handled everything with style to this point, but 10 furlongs and opposition from Life Is Good, Epicenter, Taiba and Hot Rod Charlie are unlike anything he’s seen.

Horse of the Year and several divisional championships are on the line, as they were during the Future Stars Friday card dominated by the Europeans. Americans were thankful for dirt racing, with Wonder Wheel and Forte coming away with victories and sure-fire Eclipse Awards.

It’s a huge day at Keeneland, and everything starts early. Here’s your Breeders’ Cup Special for Saturday, Nov. 5. Be safe and good luck.

Worth Repeating
“I heard it. I heard it.”
Todd Pletcher, when reminded by The Special’s Tom Law after winning the Friday’s Juvenile with Forte that showing up at the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters’ Annual Awards Dinner was good karma

“No comment, no comment. Every time you interview us we finish second.”
Trainer Phil Serpe to The Special’s Tom Law after Leave No Trace ran big to finish second in the Juvenile Fillies. We’re checking that quote for accuracy

“How about those Europeans? I’m glad we’re on the dirt tomorrow.”
Steve Laymon, part of Front Row Partners and co-owner of Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint favorite Goodnight Olive

“I don’t know if you know this but I’m a big deal in Singapore.”
NBC’s Kenny Rice, who will be working the overseas broadcast of the Breeders’ Cup. We’re not sure if it’s tape delay, live or what

By the Numbers
1: Cheltenham Festival baseball cap spotted on the first floor of the grandstand before Friday’s finale.

Names of the Day
Laurel River, fifth race. The Juddmonte homebred is out of Calm Water. Have you ever swam (swum?) in the Laurel River Lake? Try it. 

Cody’s Wish, fifth race. The best name, the best story of the Breeders’ Cup. Oh heck, the best story of the year. The best story ever!

Annapolis, eighth race. The Bass Stable homebred is by War Front. 

Society, ninth race. The Peter Blum homebred is out of Etiquette. 

Flightline, 11th race. Every once in a while – a great while – a horse is named for his talent. Take flight, big boy, take flight. 

As for Saturday’s races …
Here are the picks for Saturday. But first …

Friday? It went like this…

Tom picked two winners, Wonder Wheel (Stable Tour!) and Forte.

Sean picked just one winner on top, Meditate, but provided four boxed exactas, including a whopping $302.88 with Wonder Wheel and Leave No Trace in the Juvenile Fillies. 

Charles picked one winner, Wonder Wheel.

Paul tabbed one winner, salvaging the day in a photo finish with Victoria Road in the Juvenile Turf. 

Jessica started off hot with Mischief Magic and Wonder Wheel for two wins on the day.

John picked Meditate (spelled Mediate, so he only gets half a point for the win) and Forte. 

Rob nailed Wonder Wheel for one win on the day.

Joe, who’s read more Stable Tours than anybody, nabbed Wonder Wheel and had the boxed exactas of Pleasant Passage and Meditate and Silver Knott and Victoria Road. He had a $340.26 boxed trifecta (and was a nose from having it cold) in the Juvenile Turf as Victoria Road and Silver Knott finished 1-2 apart with 39-1 Nagirroc third.

Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). $1 million, 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 7 furlongs. Post time 11:50 a.m. ET. The champ is back. Ce Ce didn’t fire at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Ballerina but we can’t hold it against last year’s winner. She loves the 7-furlong trip and comes off a good bounce-back effort in the Chillingworth at Santa Anita. Goodnight Olive will be favored, off her win in the Ballerina for Chad Brown, while Obligatory, Wicked Halo, Frank’s Rockette and Lady Rocket all merit respect.

Tom: Ce Ce, Obligatory, Wicked Halo.
Jessica: Obligatory, Ce Ce, Chain Of Love.
John: Goodnight Olive, Ce Ce, Frank’s Rockette.
Paul: Echo Zulu, Goodnight Olive, Obligatory.
Sean: Frank’s Rockette, Goodnight Olive, Chain of Love.
Joe: Obligatory, Goodnight Olive, Ce Ce.
Charles Bedard: Frank’s Rockette, Goodnight Olive, Obligatory.
Rob Whitlock: Edgeway, Goodnight Olive, Hot Peppers.

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). $1 million, 3-year-olds and up, 5 1/2 furlongs, turf. Post time 12:29 p.m. Golden Pal looks for his third Breeders’ Cup win, and on his home track to boot. He’s almost a consensus among our handicappers, with only a couple outliers. Don’t discount the Europeans – especially after their showing Friday – and take a look at Highfield Princess and Creative Force lead that charge. Casa Creed shortens back up – he’s run in plenty of turf sprints – off back-to-back tries at 1 mile.

Tom: Golden Pal, Casa Creed, Caravel.
Jessica: Golden Pal, Caravel, Highfield Princess.
John: Golden Pal, Casa Creed, Highfield Princess.
Paul: Golden Pal, Highfield Princess, Creative Force.
Sean: Golden Pal, Campanelle, Casa Creed.
Joe: Golden Pal, Casa Creed, Highfield Princess.
Charles: Arrest Me Red, Golden Pal, Artemus Citylimits.
Rob: Flotus, Golden Pal, Naval Crown.

Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). $1 million, 3-year-olds and up, 1 mile. Post time 1:10 p.m. Perhaps some of these could have run in the finale against Flightline, considering they’ve gone the classic distance, but they opt for here instead. The 1-mile event comes down to those shortening up to those stretching out. Cyberknife is the best of the former, with a couple Grade 1 victories this year; while Grade 1 winners Cody’s Wish and Gunite lead the latter charge.

Tom: Simplification, Cyberknife, Cody’s Wish.
Jessica: Cody’s Wish, Gunite, Cyberknife.
John: Gunite, Cody’s Wish, Laurel River.
Paul: Cyberknife, Simplification, Cody’s Wish.
Sean: Cody’s Wish, Laurel River, Gunite.
Joe: Cody’s Wish, Laurel River, Gunite.
Charles: Cyberknife, Law Professor, Pipeline.
Rob: Pipeline, Cody’s Wish, Three Technique.

Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1). $2 million, 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 1 3/16 miles. Post time 1:50 p.m. Another strong European contingent led by multiple Group 1-winning sophomore Nashwa against multiple Grade 1-winning 4-year-old In Italian. Plenty of others to like, too, including Above The Curve, Moira, Tuesday, Virginia Joy, Rougir and Toy.

Tom: Moira, In Italian, Nashwa.
Jessica: Above The Curve, In Italian, Lady Speightspeare.
John: Nashwa, Above The Curve, In Italian.
Paul: Nashwa, In Italian, Moira.
Sean: Nashwa, Tuesday, Above the Curve.
Joe: In Italian, Nashwa, Above The Curve.
Charles: Nashwa, In Italian, Above The Curve.
Rob: Tuesday, Toy, Above The Curve.

Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). $2 million, 3-year-olds and up, 6 furlongs. Post time 2:30 p.m. Surely one of our brave handicappers will pick against the great Jackie’s Warrior, right? Not so fast. A clean sweep, with all eight on board Steve Asmussen’s Saratoga star.

Tom: Jackie’s Warrior, Aloha West, Elite Power.
Jessica: Jackie’s Warrior, Aloha West, Elite Power.
John: Jackie’s Warrior, Kimari, Elite Power.
Paul: Jackie’s Warrior, Kimari, American Theorem.
Sean: Jackie’s Warrior, Elite Power, Aloha West.
Joe: Jackie’s Warrior, Aloha West, Elite Power.
Charles: Jackie’s Warrior, Elite Power, Flash Of Mischief.
Rob: Jackie’s Warrior, Kimari, Aloha West.

FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF (G1). $2 million, 3-year-olds and up, 1 mile, turf. Post time 3:10 p.m. Not trying to sound like a broken record, but what about the performance of the Europeans Friday? Hard to discount any of them here. Who are they? Pogo, Dreamloper, Modern Games, Malavath, Order Of Australia and Kinross. Modern Games deserves the favorite’s role as the winner of last year’s controversial Juvenile Turf

Tom: Modern Games, Smooth Like Strait, Annapolis.
Jessica: Modern Games, Annapolis, Shirl’s Speight.
John: Kinross, Modern Games, Malavath.
Paul: Modern Games, Regal Glory, Kinross.
Sean: Modern Games, Kinross, Smooth Like Strait.
Joe: Modern Games, Annapolis, Ivar.
Charles: Modern Games, Smooth Like Strait, Dreamloper.
Rob: Modern Games, Kinross, Malavath.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). $2 million, 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 1 1/8 miles. Post time 3:55 p.m. How about this showdown? One that feels like it’s been coming all year – Malathaat versus Nest. They’re both trained by Todd Pletcher, train together and now they show up in the biggest filly and mare stakes of the season. They’ve also been hugely successfully here in Lexington, with Malathaat winning last year’s Grade 1 Ashland and this year’s Grade 3 Doubledogdare and Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster, and Nest taking the Ashland this spring. Pletcher insists it’s not a match race, and he’s right. Don’t overlook the fresh Clairiere, Society, Search Results and Secret Oath. Always a good one.

Tom: Malathaat, Nest, Clairiere.
Jessica: Malathaat, Nest, Society.
John: Nest, Malathaat, Clairiere.
Paul: Nest, Malathaat, Society.
Sean: Nest, Malathaat, Search Results.
Joe: Malathaat, Clairiere, Nest.
Charles: Search Results, Nest, Malathaat.
Rob: Malathaat, Nest, Society.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). $4 million, 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/2 miles, turf. Post time 4:40 p.m. Play against the Europeans at your own risk. Rebel’s Romance and Nations Pride pack a powerful 1-2 punch for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby, while Aidan O’Brien counters with Broome and Stone Age. Throw in $15.8 million-earner Mishriff for trainer John Gosden and this one has all the feel of a overseas sweep.

Tom: Nations Pride, War Like Goddess, Mishriff.
Jessica: Highland Chief, Nation’s Pride, Red Knight.
John: Rebel’s Romance, War Like Goddess, Nations Pride.
Paul: Nations Pride, Rebel’s Romance, War Like Goddess
Sean: Mishriff, War Like Goddess, Nations Pride.
Joe: War Like Goddess, Rebel’s Romance, Mishriff.
Charles: Rebel’s Romance, Nations Pride, Master Piece.
Rob: War Like Goddess, Rebel’s Romance, Master Piece.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). $6 million, 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/4 miles. Post time 5:40 p.m. All eyes on Flightline. Rightfully so as the 3-5 favorite brings a 5-for-5 record, including dominating victories in the Grade 1 Metropolitan and Grade 1 Pacific Classic, to North America’s signature race. He’s drawn raves all week, from onlookers and horsemen alike and looks to put his name among  the greats. Pegasus World Cup and Whitney winner Life Is Good won’t make it a layup, nor will top 3-year-olds Epicenter, Taiba and Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike. Happy Saver, battling a foot issue, Olympiad and Hot Rod Charlie always run their race. Sit back and enjoy.

Tom: Life Is Good, Epicenter, Flightline.
Jessica: Hot Rod Charlie, Flightline, Epicenter.
John: Epicenter, Taiba, Hot Rod Charlie.
Paul: Epicenter, Flightline, Hot Rod Charlie.
Sean: Flightline, Olympiad, Epicenter.
Joe: Flightline, Oympiad, Epicenter.
Charles: Flightline, Olympiad, Epicenter.
Rob: Taiba, Flightline, Olympiad.

Bankroll Challenge
Looking for cash? We know, Friday was tough. How tough? How about this report on our handicappers?

Charles and Jessica blanked. Good thing it’s mythical money.

John tabbed a $76 return on a $25 win bet on Meditate (Mediate) and a $150.50 on a $25 win bet on Forte for a $126.50 profit. And, yes, that’s why he’s still king.

Tom picked up $27.40 in an across-the-board bet on Private Creed. He added to that billfold with a cool $151.44 with an exacta with Wonder Wheel and Leave No Trace. He added $16 when Silver Knott finished second. That’s a $94.84 profit. That’s why he’s Little King.

Rob put $20 win/place on Pleasant Passage to produce $62.40. 

Don’t check our math. 

We gave the team $200 in mythical wagers each for Championship Saturday. Here’s the Bankroll Challenge.

Jessica Paquette:
Race 3: $25 Win 7
$1 Trifecta box 4-6-7
$.50 Pick 5 4,6,7/8/5,7/1,4,11/9
Race 6:
$25 Win 4
Race 8:
$1 Trifecta box 2-4-9-11
Race 10:
$1 Superfecta box 2-6-10-11-13
Race 11:
$20 WP 5

John Shapazian:
Race 3:
$50 Win 8
Race 5:
$50 Win 5
Race 6:
$50 Win 3
Race 11:
$50 Win 6

Charles Bedard:
Race 5:
$3 Pick 3 3,4,9/3,4,11/6,9,11
Race 9:
$4 Pick 5 3 1,6,7/5,7,8/4,6,7
Race 10:
$3 Daily Double 7/4-6-7

Rob Whitlock:
Race 3:
$10 Win 2
$5 Exacta box 2-7
Race 4:
$10 Win 2
Race 5:
$10 Win 3
Race 6:
$2 Exacta box 5-7-4
$3 Exacta 5/7-4
Race 8:
$20 WP 1
$10 Exacta 4-1
Race 9:
$5 Trifecta 1-6-8
$10 Trifecta 1/6-8/6-8
Race 10:
$15 Win 2 
$2 Exacta 2-8
Race 11:
$50 Win 1

Tom Law:
Race 2:
$20 Win 4
Race 4:
$10 Exacta box 8-11
Race 5:
$5 WPS 2
Race 6:
$5 WPS 12
Race 8:
$20 WP 4
$1 Exacta box 3-4-5-6-8
Race 9:
$20 Win 1
Race 11:
$20 Win 2

• • •
You can relive at least some of the Breeders’ Cup stars next year with the 2023
edition of the Thoroughbred Racing Calendar. Pre-orders now being accepted

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