This racing fan has been enjoyed every single Breeder’s Cup since its inception. We’ve seen some of the very best match ups that our sport has to offer and this clash of the titans is as contentious as any of them. They have assembled all the top older Handicap horses and the best up and coming three year olds in the world. The public will be all over the marquee names. We have been watching the workouts and Gun Runner who traditionally ships well has really taken a shine to this course. He has great early foot but can sit and stalk. Geroux rarely makes a mistake and looks to be sitting on the winner. The choice.
Arrogate – If this race was being contested six months ago, we would have a seemingly unstoppable 2/5 shot to contend with. We are however in early November and Arrogates mythical status has worn off. He comes to this off back to back defeats over this very surface. He was inexplicably bad in The San Diego at the the 1/20 choice of the betting public. He bounced back with a narrow defeat in the Pacific Cap. As the top money Winning thoroughbred of all time with $17 Million on his card, many handicappers scrambling for answers. The popular opinion is that he is not comfortable over this surface. He has been away ten weeks and Baffert has kept him busy in the mornings with super sharp drills over his Santa Anita home base. Regardless of the outcome, this will be his last race and he will be starting his new career as a stallion early next year. Mike Smith had the call on this guy and another top Baffert trainee but he lands on the champ. He loves this trip, is loaded with tactical speed and draws the rail. He is clearly a contender and will get pounded at the windows. We see him as vulnerable and wouldn’t want to accept a short price. Tri factor who may very well romp, but we won’t be aboard.
War Decree – Races out The famed Ballydoyle yard. Trainer Aidan O’Brien recently broke the all time record for Group One wins in a season with 26. He brought a large contingent of runners to the BC with seventeen in the pre entries and several look to be in with a shot. He could easily run up the score this weekend, but we can’t see him taking the Classic. War Decree is a promising three year old who switched over to synthetic in his latest and ran the race of of his life going this trip. He romped while dispatching of ten rivals in a group three event. He adds lasix, has top human connections in his corner and he will offer his supporters long odds at the windows. He could slip into the exotics and juice the payoffs. Underneath only.
Win the Space – Looks seriously outclassed in against this type. He is just a three time winner and his latest win came in a NWX2 last May. He has been fed a steady diet of graded stakes ever since and does pick up small cheques in short fields when speed collapses. He will be need a miracle to have a impact this day. Strong pass.
War Story – Looch Racing has deep pockets and they like to be part of the action on marquee days such as the Breeder’s Cup. They often field multi horse entries that use cheap speed to create a favourable pace scenario for their preferred runner. War Story will have to go it alone this time around and he looks to be up against it. He tried Gun Runner in his last two starts and was clobbered thirteen lengths on each occasion. He meets that monster once again along with several other sharpies. He does pick up Jose Ortiz, but we can’t see him beating many this time around. An easy pitch in this handicappers estimation.
Gun Runner – Is clearly the now horse who has blossomed into something really special over the summer months. He got away on Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup and looked like a winner after controlling the pace early but got picked off late by the above mentioned superstar. Since then, he has been unstoppable and Arrogate has gone in the opposite direction. He comes to this in search of his fourth grade one tally in a row. He has absolutely destroyed his competition leading up this and has been based in California for the last month. His works are sharp, he looks to be in good order. He has push button speed, he can lead or stalk, but he will be forwardly placed. Anyone who beats him will have to run the race of their lives. He gets the call from this corner.
Mubtaahij (IRE) – Is one of four Bob Baffert trainees in the line up. He represents Saudi Royalty and started out with a lot of promise. He didn’t visit the winners circle for two years but did Race at the highest levels and often shared. He was given six months off after a winter campaign in Dubai and blasted a good group in The Awesome Again in his return race. He meets a tougher group this day but might be tighter with a race under his belt. He has been working in topics Baffert fashion with a series of really strong drills and looks primed. The Awesome Again marked his first start for this hall of fame conditioner. He may have a race in him that is good enough to beat all of these. If he takes a step forward, he could be a handful. Nice price option under sharp young rider Van Dyke.
Churchill has and he is looks like the stronger of the two. He is a three year old son of Galileo who has four group ones on his resume and is often mentioned as one of the best of his generation of in Europe. He has been tackling the top older runners of late and has been right there in the classics. He will have to switch surfaces and compete over dirt for the first time. His trainer has taken out eleven Breeders Cup races but has never won this event. He adds lasix and O’Brien calls on barn insider Ryan Moore to do the riding. He has to deal with the best dirt horses around and will have to overcome the surface switch himself. Great horse, but this might be the wrong spot. We’ll take a soft stand against.
West Coast – Is the fresh faced three year old who burst onto the scene in similar fashion as his older stablemate Arrogate. He learned his early lessons against humble opposition but has really come around in last few with a romp in The Travers over a classy group that might have been a little battle worn after the triple crown series. He followed that up with a cruise control history over an outclassed bunch in the PA Derby. He is sharp and brings quality speed to the party. Mike Smith had first call on him and he stuck ( predictably ) with Arrogate. Castellano picks up the live looking mount. He did break his maiden against older, but has never faced his elders in stakes company. He has a bright future but we can’t see him beating them all in here. Pace presence who might find the going a little too much at this stage of his career. Underneath.
Gunnevera – Is a deep closer who should get a favorable pace set up with several speed players signed on. He really outran his odds in the Travers when he got crunched at the break and had to deal with traffic and a wide trip and still managed a steady grind into second while the winner had everything go his way. This $16K purchase has already banked over $1.5 million and really did earn a shot in the big show. He will offer a healthy return in the 40-1 range and we’ve seen crazier price plays. He could slip into the exotics and spark a large payoff. Interesting outsider.
Pavel – Is a J Paul Reddam runner and this top owner likes to participate in the showcase events. This three year old is late to the party and will have to play catch up, considering that he just broke his maiden this past July. He showed some class in his second start against Grade one types at Saratoga. He smoked a decent field in a Grade three at Parx and nearly ran down some classy old veterans in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He is clearly talented and has already been asked to do a ton at such an early stage of his career. Who knows what the future holds for this guy. If everything went his way, we could see him grabbing a small slice at long bomb odds.
Collected – Every year trainer Baffert has so many talented runners in each division that he has to find ways to campaign them away from one another. He took the backroads down the derby trail with Collected last season and never made the big show and he was stopped on after a stinker in the Preakness Stakes. The time away seems to have agreed with him as he has come back as a new and improved four year old. He has won all four starts this year and each one of them has come against increasingly tougher competition. He ran the race of his career in the Pacific Classic when he got loose in the front end and gave his stablemate Arrogate the slip. He clearly likes this track and has been working lights out in preparation for the Classic. He draws poorly and Garcia will have to use him early to make a play for position. He had a pretty easy time of it last out when he was allowed to dole out the speed with little pressure. The set up might work against him. He has a ton of class in his pedigree, but it doesn’t really lend itself to a mile and a quarter. He will take some action and we might be inclined to take a soft pass on this son of City Zip.