Our resident tipster has picked out five horses to back on the Saturday of this year's Breeders' Cup meeting.
I’ve already covered Friday’s four races so I’m going to plough on here with Saturday’s main event and rather than go through each of the nine races individually (yawn), I’m going to cut to the chase and give you my idea of the five best bets of the meeting – all at tasty odds!
READY FOR RYE – Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (4.45pm) @ 10/1 bet365
Wesley Ward can boast a strong hand with Diamond Jubilee winner Undrafted, the mount of Frankie Dettori, looking the best of his trio. The five-year-old been put in as 7/2 favourite over here and, while he’s undeniably the most talented sprinter in the field, that’s plenty short enough given he has to be played late and will need some luck in-running – he was third in this 12 months ago having been well behind early and then not enjoying a clear run. Let’s take him on with the Thomas Albertrani-trained Ready For Rye who has been on the go since January, but looked better than ever when coasting home in a Listed contest at Belmont last month on ground that was described as “muddy.” That took his record in turf sprints to 2-2 and I like the fact he has twice won over 7f as that extra stamina will come into play in a race where they will go lightning fast early. I like his odds even more.
WILD DUDE – Breeders’ Cup Sprint (6.50pm) @ 14/1 bet365
With no European interest in this dirt race, many punters will be sitting it out or using part of their free bet promo, but double-figure odds on the selection in what is a wide open contest are hard to resist. The most likely winners – at least according to the betting – are Private Zone and Runhappy, but the former has come up short in the last two renewals and the latter has a tendency to miss the break. With just three winning favourites in 13 renewals, there is even more incentive to find one at a price and the selection fits that bill. One thing is certain, this race is going to be run flat out and what the Americans would describe as a ‘pace meltdown’ is a distinct possibility, which would set it up for a closer. There are several candidates, including Runhappy, but the selection is the one legitimate Grade 1 closer in the field as he showed when winning at Santa Anita earlier this month. I’m struggling to see how he finishes out of the money.
EXAGGERATOR – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (8.10pm) @ 10/1 Boylesports
The betting would suggest this is wide open and it’s fair to say none of the 16 runners have yet to display the wow factor, but we might just see something special from Exaggerator. The key race looks to be Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity run here four weeks ago, in which the selection finished second to the re-opposing Brody’s Cause. The latter is 5/1 favourite with UK bookmakers, whereas the selection is available at twice those odds and that is just crazy. He only has a length to find and he may have not have been at his best last time, having missed some training time after his victory in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in August, His trainer Keith Desormeaux, who sent out Texas Red to pull of a 13/1 upset in this race 12 months ago, seems perfectly happy with his preparation coming into the race that really matters, saying: “I think the horse is legit in all ways – pedigree, past performances, and the way he’s training.” He’s a 6/1 shot in the States, which might still underestimate his chance, so snap up the double-figure odds while they last.
MAKE BELIEVE – Breeders’ Cup Mile (7.30pm) @ 7/2 bet365
French-based horses have won the Mile on no less than ten occasions and it must be odds-on another victory on Saturday with Gallic raiders filling three of the first four places in the betting. The best of these may well turn out to be Make Believe, one of two Andre Fabre-trained runners, as he looks to have the perfect mix of stamina and speed, and he certainly won’t mind the recent rain as she has plenty of form on soft. I also like the fact he arrives here relatively fresh having just four runs this season and just one start since June, the Group 1 Prix de la Foret, which he won from the high-class Limato. He likes to be up with the pace, which is no bad thing around here, and is well drawn in stall three, so there’s plenty to like. He might be bigger on the American PMU but if you’d prefer to know what you’re getting, the 7/2 on offer is perfectly fair.
HONOR CODE – Breeders’ Cup Classic @ 7/1 Coral
The marquee match-up between Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and former Distaff winner Beholder is off after the latter was scratched due to a bad scope. That’s a real shame for racing in general and for selfish reasons too as I was all set to make the mare my bet of the entire meeting at odds of around 5/1. Obviously, American Pharoah’s task has been made considerably easier and he’s generally an odds-on chance. But I’m still inclined to take him on for the reason he was close to retirement after his shock defeat in the Travers Stakes two months ago. It would therefore be some feat if Bob Baffert were to get his star back to the peak of his powers and Honor Code has a legitimate chance of upsetting the odds. A winner of six of his ten starts – including the Grade 1 Whitney last time when beating Liam’s Map (favourite for the Dirt Mile) – he can be excused an odds-on defeat in his prep at Belmont as the track was “sloppy” and he hated the kickback. He’s been ‘training lights out’ since by all accounts and his trademark flying finish should at least carry him into the money, making him an each-way bet to nothing.