The wait is over. The Breeders’ Cup is here.
At least the start of the Breeders’ Cup, with a stacked Future Stars Friday card at Keeneland Race Course amidst glorious fall weather that feels more like early summer in the Bluegrass.
Five Breeders’ Cup races are on tap and we’ve again enlisted the services of our handicapping team from The Saratoga Special, plus intrepid reporters and editors Paul Halloran, Sean Clancy and Joe Clancy.
The Special crew went a couple extra steps and will participate in a bankroll challenge, with $100 in mythical bets for Friday before another $200 to use Saturday.
Here’s your Breeders’ Cup Special, Future Stars Friday edition. Enjoy and good luck.
By the Numbers
4: Horses that will head to the test barn after each Breeders’ Cup World Championships race this weekend.
6: Record Breeders’ Cup appearances for champion Channel Maker if he runs in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf.
30: Days of medical records requested by regulators overseeing this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup.
62.75: Combined margin of victory, in lengths, of Flightline’s five victories.
“All systems are go.”
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey on Juvenile Fillies Turf runner Pleasant Passage
“To say it’s amazing is probably an understatement.”
Breeders’ Cup Ltd.’s Dora Delgado on Keeneland’s video system that is capable of following 200 or more individual horses during training hours
“Most trainers are poor handicappers, and I’m one of them, but when you train as long as I have you have to say, ‘OK, my horse is as good as I think I can make her and I wouldn’t change anything Saturday.’ ”
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who sends out Secret Oath in a stacked edition of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff Saturday
“Having the best horse in training, what is there to be more proud of? The opportunity is there. And is it easy? Absolutely not. Should it be easy? Absolutely not. I mean that that’s what’s so special about this.”
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who saddles Travers winner Epicenter in Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic
“He is worth every bit of hype. He’s just a once in a lifetime type of horse.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill on Classic favorite Flightline. He’ll try and upset the unbeaten start with Hot Rod Charlie
“I know how good (Flightline and Life Is Good) are, but I’m not going to rule it out. You see things happen in horse racing all the time. Those are two great horses, but the thing you don’t want to forget is that our horses is very, very good. He’s really a good horse.”
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who sends out Olympiad in the Classic
Sure, our handicappers are pretty sharp when it comes to picking winners, but what about making cash at the windows? Let’s see how they fare with $100 to use for some mythical wagers on Friday’s Future Stars card.
Race 7: $5 Pick 3 5-7-14/1-4-5/3
Race 8: $5 Pick 3 1-4-5/3/2-6-8
Race 9: $10 Win 3
Race 6: $1 Pick 5 5,12/5,7/5,9,11/3/1,9
Race 8: $50 Win 11
$8 Exacta box 5-11
$1 Trifecta box 5-9-11
$2 Pick 3: 11/3/1-9
Race 7: $25 Win 10
Race 8: $25 Win 10
Race 9: $25 Win 4
Race 10: $25 Win 4
Race 6: $10 WPS 3
Race 7: $1 Exacta box 2-5-10-11-13
Race 8: $10 WPS 6
Race 10: $10 WP 4
Race 6: $2 Exacta box 1-5-11
$3 Exacta 11/1-5
Race 7: $2 Trifecta box 5-7-8
Race 8: $20 WP 5
Race 9: $10 Trifecta 3-5-4
Race 10: $10 Win 6
$5 Exacta 6/3-12
Names of the Day
Last Call, eighth race. The 2-year-old colt is out of Over Served.
Manhattan Jungle, eighth race. The Irish-bred is by Bungle Inthejungle out of Skylight.
Lost Ark, ninth race. Harrel Ventures’ 2-year-old colt is out of Marion Ravenwood.
Andthewinneris, 10th race. Susan Moulton’s homebred is by Oscar Performance.
As for the races …
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1). $1 million. 2-year-olds, 5 ½ furlongs, turf. Post time 3:00 ET.
The monster weekend begins with the newest race in the 39-year history of the Breeders’ Cup. Is there a Golden Pal in the group? Maybe, maybe not. Wesley Ward hopes so as he shoots for his fourth straight win in the race with Bolton Landing winner Love Reigns. She meets a strong group from Europe led by The Platinum Queen and Mischief Magic, along with top U.S. threats Private Creed, Oxymore and Speed Boat Beach and unbeaten Iowa-bred star Tyler’s Tribe.
Tom Law: Private Creed, Love Reigns, Mischief Magic.
Sean Clancy: Dramatised, Love Reigns, The Platinum Queen.
Charles Bedard: Speed Boat Beach, The Platinum Queen, Love Reigns.
Paul Halloran: Love Reigns, Persian Force, Mischief Magic.
Jessica Paquette: Mischief Magic, Love Reigns, The Platinum Queen.
John Shapazian: Love Reigns, Mischief Magic, Speed Boat Beach.
Rob Whitlock: Speed Boat Beach, Mischief Magic, Lady Hollywood.
Joe: Love Reigns, Mischief Magic, The Platinum Queen.
NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). $2 million, 2-year-olds, fillies, 1 1/16 miles. Post time 3:40.
Always a good one and almost always an East Coast versus West Coast vibe. Chocolate Gelato, You’re My Girl and Leave No Trace represent the former while And Tell Me Nolies goes for the latter. Toss in Wonder Wheel, Chop Chop and Raging Sea, the first three past the post in the Alcibiades over the track last month, and you have all the fixings for the expected.
Tom: Wonder Wheel, You’re My Girl, Leave No Trace.
Sean: Leave No Trace, Wonder Wheel, Chop Chop.
Charles: Wonder Wheel, Chop Chop, Raging Sea.
Paul: Chop Chop, Wonder Wheel, Raging Sea.
Jessica: Wonder Wheel, Grand Love, Chop Chop.
John: Chocolate Gelato, Atomically, Chop Chop.
Rob: Chop Chop, Wonder Wheel, Atomically.
Joe: Wonder Wheel, Chocolate Gelato, Leave No Trace.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). $1 million, 2-year-olds, fillies, 1 mile, turf. Post time 4:20.
Back to the grass and potentially a 1-2 finish for father-son O’Brien runners with Aidan sending out Meditate and Joseph saddling Basil Martini. Plenty of other ways to look with the likes of Pleasant Passage, Free Look and Be Your Best – who all enjoying their coming out parties at Saratoga – along with Last Call, Delight and Xigera in the mix.
Tom: Xigera, Pleasant Passage, Free Look.
Sean: Meditate, Pleasant Passage, Delight.
Charles: Free Look, Pleasant Passage, Comanche Country.
Paul: Free Look, Delight, G Laurie.
Jessica: G Laurie, Pleasant Passage, Delight.
John: Mediate, Delight, Be Your Best.
Rob: Pleasant Passage, Free Look, Meditate.
Joe: Pleasant Passage, Meditate, Midnight Mile.
FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1). $2 million, 2-year-olds, colts and geldings, 1 1/16 miles. Post time 5:00.
All eyes on Cave Rock from embattled trainer Bob Baffert’s barn in Southern California. He’s won each of his three starts by open lengths, including a sharp score in the Grade 1 American Pharoah last time to establish heavy favorite’s role here. Forte backed up his Grade 1 Hopeful score with a gritty victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at the track and trip, and looms as the biggest challenger. Keep an eye on Blazing Sevens, too, especially if he’s anywhere close to 6-1. The Champagne winner might never be that price again.
Tom: Forte, Blazing Sevens, Cave Rock.
Sean: Cave Rock, Forte, Blazing Sevens.
Charles: Cave Rock, Forte, Blazing Sevens.
Paul: Cave Rock, Blazing Sevens, National Treasure.
Jessica: Cave Rock, Verifying, Forte.
John: Forte, Cave Rock, Blazing Sevens.
Rob: Cave Rock, Forte, Blazing Sevens.
Joe: Cave Rock, Forte, Blazing Sevens.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). $1 million, 2-year-olds, colts and geldings, 1 mile, turf. Post time 5:40.
Tough to not see European runners shut out here with Silver Knott and Victoria Road casting a long shadow. A very dry fall leaves the turf pretty firm, which could be a factor. Bourbon Stakes winner Andthewinneris, Pilgrim 1-2 Major Dude and I’m Very Busy and Zuma Beach winner Packs a Wahlop lead the U.S. charge.
Tom: Silver Knott, Victoria Road, Andthewinneris.
Sean: Silver Knott, Victoria Road, Andthewinneris.
Charles: Packs A Wahlop, Andthewinneris, I’m Very Busy.
Paul: Victoria Road, Packs A Wahlop, Silver Knott.
Jessica: Nagirroc, Victoria Road, I’m Very Busy.
John: Silver Knott, I’m Very Busy, Andthewinneris.
Rob: Andthewinneris, Naggiroc, Silver Knott
Joe: Silver Knott, Victoria Road, Nagirroc.
• • •
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.