Breeders’ Cup 2019 Picks, Best Bets and Longshot to Back
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For horse racing betting, Breeders’ Cup weekend offers a demanding handicapping challenge, tempting payoff possibilities, and until the last of the 14 races is run, a shot at redemption.
The 2019 edition of the Breeders’ Cup, Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California, is likely to produce its fair share of longshot winners and reliable favorites. Here are some trends, observations and selections to tap into this weekend for thoroughbred racing’s premiere international event.
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2019 Breeders' Cup Best Bet
Old Persian (4-1 morning line) in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (Race 11, Saturday) checks all the right trend boxes and should provide more than fair value.
In a race in which 17 of the past 21 winners were based overseas, the classy English-based colt has more than $4.3 million in career earnings, yet will be playing second-fiddle to American star Bricks And Mortar (9-5), who hasn’t lost a race since 2017. Old Persian has consistently faced better competition in Europe and has five wins at the 1-1/2 mile Turf distance.
Bricks and Mortar is unproven at the distance, and though the Chad Brown-trainee may be good enough to keep his winning streak alive, it’s worth taking a shot against him at a short price. If Old Persian fails to fire, well, there’s always the wide-open Breeders’ Cup Classic in the next and final race.
Deciphering The Breeders' Cup Classic
This year’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Race 12, Saturday) is void of any superstars, or for that matter, any real stars. But that also makes it a good betting race with several solid contenders. Recent Classic races have been true to form — the betting favorite or second choice has won each of the past four years.
East Coast-based Vino Rosso (4-1) is not the most consistent or reliable, but is coming off a solid effort in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in which he edged Code of Honor (4-1), only to be placed second after a questionable disqualification.
Those two could be battling for the win again here, but give an edge to Vino Rosso, who shipped across the country and won at Santa Anita earlier this year. California-based McKinzie (3-1) has trainer Bob Baffert and the home track advantage, but is 0-for-2 at the 1-1/4 mile distance and offers limited value.
Breeders’ Cup Favorite Most Likely To Win
Midnight Bisou (6-5) is 7-for-7 in 2019 and will be a short price in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Race 10, Saturday). Her speed figures are the class of the field and she’s 3-for-4 lifetime at Santa Anita.
Favorites traditionally fare well in the Distaff (43 percent), winning five of the last 10. Midnight Bisou’s most formidable opponent would have been Elate, but her connections opted to run in the Classic instead.
Breeders’ Cup Favorite Most Likely To Lose
Covfefe (2-1) in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Race 4, Saturday) is coming off two monster wins. She will likely go off at less than her morning-line odds, but is worth taking a stand against.
The previous four favorites in this race have finished out of the money and Covfefe is a 3-year-old filly taking on older horses, a poor percentage play in this race. In addition, she drew the dreaded No. 1 post for this 7-furlong sprint.
Higher-priced alternatives include Spiced Perfection (4-1), who blew the start but rallied late to win her prep race at Keeneland, and Come Dancing (5-2), a hard-hitting mare coming off two dominant wins in New York.
Best Breeders’ Cup Longshot
Let’s swing for the fences with European invader Fort Myers (12-1) in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Race 6, Friday). Why pick a horse in a turf race whose two lifetime victories are on synthetic tracks and none on turf?
Here’s the case: Euros have won seven of the last eight editions of this race; Fort Myers is conditioned by top trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has won the Juvenile Turf four times; and Fort Myers’ five turf races were all respectable. The No. 13 post isn’t going to help, but should help ensure generous double-digit odds.
Most Inscrutable Breeders’ Cup Betting Race
The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Race 5, Saturday) is a headache-inducing 12-horse field in which a legitimate winning case can be made for at least nine entrants. Reliable trends are nowhere to be found. The last eight winners of this race used a different prep race. All of the previous runnings of this race at Santa Anita were at 6 1/2 furlongs — this one is run at 5 furlongs, a completely different race.
Stormy Liberal, the Turf Sprint winner the last two years, is back, but has lost his last six races. The 9-2 morning-line favorite, Eddie Haskell appears just as untrustworthy as his TV namesake. Not sure who rockets to the lead, but in the event of a pace meltdown, maybe 7-year-old veteran OM can mow them down at 15-1.
Breeders’ Cup 2019 Exacta Box
Sistercharlie (8-5), winner of six consecutive races, is the Tom Brady of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (Race 7, Saturday), and will be at the top of most exacta tickets. The 5-year-old mare is a winning machine, with each of her last six victories against Grade I competition. She’s a must-use.
If Sistercharlie is Brady, than Euro invader Villa Marina (8-1) is the race’s Gardner Minshew — a young developing sort who last time out surprisingly won the prestigious Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp in France at 19-1 odds. We all know who the more successful quarterback is by a wide margin, but this is horse racing, so box them in your exacta.
Breeders’ Cup Best Of The Rest
Of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races, the Sprint is loaded with the most-talented field. Morning-line favorite Mitole (9-5) is hard to look past if he can sit behind a likely sizzling pace, but Catalina Cruiser (4-1) is 7-for-8 lifetime, racing on his home track and the better value. … Looking for an overlay? Vasilika (8-1) in the Filly and Mare Turf is 11-for-12 at Santa Anita and unbeaten at the 1-1/4 mile distance. … Saturday’s guaranteed pools include $1 million on the Ultra Pick 6 (Races 7-12); $2 million on the Late Pick 5 (Races 8-12) and $2 million on the Late Pick 4 (Races 9-12). If you get a big piece of any of those, head east to the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, which starts Tuesday.