Breeders Cup 2017 - Del Mar 3rd & 4th November 2017

Home this year of the Breeders Cup Del Mar Thoroughbred Club racetrack is at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the seaside city of Del Mar, California - where the turf meets the surf Southern California style – as the marketing guys put it.

With two winners in the shape of Forever Unbridled in the Distaff and Gun Runner in the Breeders Cup Classic , a second and a couple of third places and a N/R it’s a case of what might have been for Triple at Del Mar. I finish the 2017 Breeders Cup -3.75 to level stakes.

Ante-Post

Breeders Cup Turf Sprint Lady Aurelia 5-4

Breeders Cup Sprint  Drefong 7-4

Triple G has gone all Yankee Doodle Dandy for 48 hours as it’s all about the Breeders Cup at The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club this weekend. We have thirteen Grade One heats to get our teeth into over the two evenings/early mornings so due to the time difference between Del Mar and us here in good old Blightly I am going nocturnal for the weekend.

First, just for fun, a little geography and a short history lesson dear reader. Del Mar is a beach city in San Diego, California over on the west coast of America. Del Mar is Spanish for "by the sea," which is exactly where the track is on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

Del Mar racecourse is famous for a match race between Seabiscuit and Ligaroti which Seabiscuit won by a nose back in 1938; Charles Howard owned Seabiscuit and his son Lindsey Howard owned Ligaroti in partnership with the celebrated crooner and Hollywood celebrity Bing Crosby. This race was 2½ months before the legendary "Match of the Century" at Pimlico against War Admiral which of course as we all know Seabiscuit also won.

So now you know, a couple of little titbits you can amaze your friends with over Breeders Cup weekend. And so on to the races, all prices are from British Bookies and BPG, and hopefully there is a winner or thirteen!  

Friday:

We get underway at 9.25 our time with the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. It could be first blood to the Europeans in the shape of September as she will get the going I think she wants, it being firm, and she showed a glimmer of the form we saw when she looked so impressive at Royal Ascot on fast going in the G.1 Fillies Mile last time when just not quite getting up which is encouraging. Her trainer agrees saying on Thursday “She is by Deep Impact and I think they handle quicker ground.” I am not convinced this will be the most successful weekend for the ‘lads’ from Ballydoyle but I fancy their filly to kick things off nicely for them here at 5-1.  

Second of the night on Friday is the Breeders' Cup Las Vegas Dirt Mile. The Bob Baffert trained Mor Spirit took the field apart in the G.1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park back in June winning by six lengths and it could have been ten. Apparently he is as lazy as they come at home and Hall of Fame trainer Baffert said after his last workout on the 29th October "He's tough to train—tough to train, tough to do everything. He's just a tough horse. He's a lazy worker and he never wins a work.” He is though plenty quick enough on the track and a similar performance to what he put in at Belmont would almost certainly prove good enough. I have the 9-4.  

With US Navy Flag going in the dirt race Saturday, crazy idea I think, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf looks fairly open now. Masar for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin went well in the G.1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere losing out in the last 100 yards to finish third in the soft. The chestnut colt won the G.3 Solario Stakes on good prior to that and hopefully September will have franked the form of his third on good-firm in the Listed Chesham stakes by having won the first this evening. The trainer said earlier this week “…the key is getting him on to a sound surface, as it will be. In the Lagardere, the ground was too soft……… I'm hoping he will be up there in contention and then get the luck he needs in the straight." At 11-2 he is the pick. Gordon Elliott sends Beckford but he is hard to fancy after his last run at HQ whilst Mendelssohn and James Garfield are both feared.  

At 11.35 here in the UK they will line-up out in the States for the Breeders' Cup Longines Distaff over 1m1f on the dirt track. It’s a tight race and three-year-old Elate must be considered as well as Stellar Wind the jolly having finished fourth in this last year. Third last year behind the now retired Beholder and Songbird was Forever Unbridled. This season she beat the now retired Songbird last time out at Saratoga as a prep run for this which is no mean feat – though the Fox Hill Farms mare may have had the injury that led to her retiring. The daughter of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Unbridled’s Song and Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever arrives in top form and with last years 1-2 retired I am on the Dallas Stewart trained mare at 7-2. The trainer is happy enough saying on Wednesday after a gallop “She’s undefeated this year, I’m very happy with her. She’s in great shape and couldn’t be doing any better. She appears to be a little stronger and bigger and I feel like she’s very healthy.” 

Saturday: 

The 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies gets the main races underway on the Dirt Saturday evening at 7.00pm our time. Heavenly Love arrives two from two, won G.1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland last time, and looks a real prospect. Separationofpowers is two from three and won a G.1 at Belmont as her prep for this whilst Moonshine Memories is three from three, two of which have been G.1’s and is strongly fancied by many. I was impressed by the way Heavenly Love went away from the field at Keeneland to win by 5½ lengths with it would appear plenty left in the locker and at 11-2 I am on the Mark Casse trained filly. Talking on Tuesday the trainer said “Heavenly Love drew the one. It’s not ideal but it’s better than the outside. Twice I drew the outside in the Juvenile Fillies Turf coming in with the favorite and it killed us both times.” 

The Breeders Cup Turf Sprint over five furlongs should see some fireworks and I expect them to be coming from Lady Aurelia. The going will suit the Wesley Ward speedster perfectly and I took the 5-4 with Paddy Power in October. Marsha, who just got up on the line to nick the G.1 Nunthorpe off our heroine – much to the embarrassment of a certain Mr Dettori – has made the trip across the pond from the Gosden yard but on home soil with the ground to suit there is only one winner for me and that is the Lady. Watch out for Disco Partner who broke the world-record for running six furlongs on the turf in the Grade 3 Jaipur invitational Stakes at Belmont Park back in June.  

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint sees the unbeaten Unique Bella line-up as a warm favourite and rightly so. The three-year-old from the Bob Baffert yard has simply being beating them up back at Santa Anita winning two G.3’s and two G.2’s. She looks well capable of taking the step-up in class and does get a tiny weight-for-age allowance. 13-8 is the best you’ll get and I would suggest you grab it. Skye Diamonds is the one I fear most.  

Second last year to Queens Trust, who is back again fro the Stoute team to defen her title, American hope Lady Eli heads the market for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. I though can be on only one filly in the shape of Rhododendron who has been aimed at this by the Ballydoyle team. I am a huge fan of the three-year-old and she showed how good she is when winning the G.1 Prix de l’Opera last time on unsuitable softer going. This 1m1f on fast ground looks ideal and I have snaffled 7-2 about her in this. Wuheida is of course feared and has a big each-way shout having gone well in several big races this season including the Prix de l'Opera when ¾ lengths behind the selection.  

I backed Drefong in the Breeders Cup Twinspires Sprint over the six furlongs last year and the Bob Baffert trained colt duly obliged on the Dirt track. Four-years-old now I see no reason from what I have seen to say the colt won’t follow up and I took the 7-4 that was about back in October and have been crossing my fingers this colt as well as Lady Aurelia arrived in Del Mar safe and sound which they both have. At is best he wins, simple as that.  

The Breeders' Cup Mile on the Turf is a case of one last time for Ribchester, the Godolphin colt being retired to stud after this trip. Richard Fahey's stable star was surprisingly beaten in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot but following a breeze on the trainer's Malton gallops on 26th October it was decided to give the four-year-old one more outing. Fahey told godolphin.com at the time "He has kept his coat, he looks a picture, and clearly, he wants to go, he has done everything but tell me himself that he should be on the plane to California. I'm very happy with him. He's in great order." Much is and has been made of the draw out in the States and the trainer said on Thursday "The Breeders' Cup chap in Europe tells me 10 is not a bad draw. He's given me the stats to back it up, so I'm going to go with him. "The beauty is we're getting him back on some decent ground.” World Approval won the G.1 Woodbine Mile Stakes, beating Lancaster Bomber in the process, and is subsequently the jolly for this off the back of that run. The facts are though the Godolphin colt Ribchester is officially 7lb better than the Ballydoyle three-year-old and a different proposition altogether plus he will get the quicker ground he loves here, a victorious ending to his racing career awaits and I am on at 7-2

We are on the dirt for the Breeders' Cup Sentient Jet Juvenile over 1m½f just before 11.00. The Mick Ruis trained Bolt D’Oro has done little wrong thus far being three from three. He looked to be the equine version of Usain Bolt when he absolutely trotted up in the G.1 FrontRunner Stakes as a prep run for this wining by 7¾ lengths unchallenged at Santa Anita. Watch the video and you will understand why he is jolly for this and I took the 6-5 a few days ago. I am shocked US navy Flag lines-up in this rather than the Juvenile Turf. 

The 1m4f Breeders' Cup Longines Turf due off at 11.37 here n the UK has Highland Reel and Ulysses heading the market. Highland Reel will get the going he so craves and did of course beat Ulysses in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Ascot on good-firm. That said Ulysses has been improving all season and certainly doesn’t mid hearing his hooves rattle. Owners of Ulysses the Niarchos Family were eager to prioritise this race over the Champions Stakes, with Stoute opting to secure Dettori's services in the saddle again. The trainer said in the build-up "The Niarchos Family are fervent Breeders' Cup supporters and made it clear that the Turf was what mattered. There was nearly a change of plan, but it was scrubbed and he's here. I felt in the Juddmonte Jim gave him a lovely ride, getting a nice lead, and now we have Frankie, who rode him in the Turf last year, back on board, which was my decision. Frankie has ridden him in a Breeders' Cup Turf already and I think that is a definite advantage." It looks to be between the two for me and I am on Ulysses at a nice looking 5-2 with some cash having come fro Highland Reel in the week. There is a strong European challenge as you would expect with Decorated Knight, Seventh Heaven and Cliffs Of Moher all lining-up plus Talismanic coming from France. Sit back and enjoy, this one should be extra special.  

We will be into Sunday here in the UK by the time they line-up for the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic over 1m2f at about 00.35. Arrogate will retire to stud after this and many a punter will be hoping for the fairytale ending. The four-year-old is a four-time winner at the top level for trainer Bob Baffert, counting last year's Breeders' Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup in March among those triumphs; it has to be said though he hasn’t been at his best since that Dubai victory. Stable mate Collected was the horse Arrogate couldn’t run down at Del Mar last time and he has to be feared. The one for me though is Gun Runner. The pick was second to Arrogate out in Dubai but whereas it hasn’t gone so well for Arrogate the Steve Asmussen trained chestnut colt has won all three of his races since, all G.1’s, in facile fashion; the last of those being the Wood Ward Stakes at Saratoga that he won easing down by 10¼ lengths. Assistant trainer Scott Blasi simply said earlier this week “Everything’s good. He’s been perfect.” The slightly shorter ‘stretch’ as they call out in the USA at Del Mar is an advantage with the selection likely to be on the pace with the likes of West Coast and Collected and Triple G has gone with the chestnut at 2-1 to bring the curtain down on a great nights racing.

Y’all have a nice day now ya hear and most of all be lucky