Breeders Cup 2020 – Keeneland Friday 6th & Saturday 7th November 2020
Home of the Breeders Cup 2020 will be Keeneland racetrack on Friday 6th & Saturday 7th November 2020
Breeders Cup 2020 Ante-Post Portfolio
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: Princess Noor
Breeders Cup Juvenile: Jackies Warrior Evs
Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf: Campanelle 9-2 NRNB
Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint: Golden Pal
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf: Gretzky The Great 10-1 NRNB
Breeders Cup Distaff: Monomoy Girl 7-4
Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint: Gamine 13-8 NRNB
Breeders Cup Classic: Tiz The Law 100-30 NRNB
Bit of a rollercoaster ride again but it all came good in the end and I finish the evening +1.45 to level stakes.
It is the 37th Breeders Cup across the pond at Keeneland this weekend. 14 races over two evenings 13 of them being Grade One’s. It’s all Star-Spangled Banner and Yankee Doodle Dandy for 48 hours at Triple G Towers. As an added bonus I promise you no bollocks about Trump vs Biden on here!
Luckily this year with it being held at Keeneland racecourse in the 'Horse Capital of the World' Lexington, Kentucky down in the Bluegrass State the races are at far more sociable times for us Brits; not that we can socialise of course!! It’s going to take over my Friday and Saturday but no staying up into the early hours of Sunday this year.
Anyone who has been visiting the site will know I have quite a large ante-post portfolio already and this page will be regularly updated from Thursday evening through the weekend with all the bets for the fourteen heats that make up The Breeders Cup 2020 from Keeneland.
Future Stars Friday
Grade Two Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint
We get underway at 7.30pm our time in the UK with the only Grade Two for the meeting. The ante-post market was all about the Wesley Ward runners and Golden Pal is the one that lines-up. I have backed the jolly, took 13-8 in the build-up, and I remain confident about his chances. Having returned to the States after his Ascot outing where he was beaten on the line by Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet in the G.2 Norfolk Stakes, he bolted up in a Stakes race at Saratoga when last seen. He was scratched from a recent Listed race at Keeneland, but Ward could not be happier with his charge saying on Thursday "That (stall 14) is the hole I would have picked if I was given the choice. He’s outside and he shouldn’t have any issues, whereas if he was drawn on the inside or in the middle and broke a step slow, he could encounter traffic. I will be disappointed if he doesn’t win. We’re excited for all the runners, but this guy has shown so much talent and ability from early on, we’ve got big hopes.” Hollie Doyle continues her rise to the top by making her Breeders Cup debut riding the Mighty Gurkha for Archie Watson; they have a chance of a place but there is no room for mistake early coming out of stall one.
Grade One Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
I am on the raider from the great white north in this one Gretzky The Great at 10-1. I think this might be one of the most open affairs of the weekend and it is hoped Mark Casse trained colt can track the early speed breaking from stall 11 before swooping late. It is a bit of a punt I will be honest but I liked his willing attitude and if it turns into a bit of a scrap in the final furlong or so he will at the very least go down swinging. Battleground has to be feared for Ballydoyle but I am simply not convinced about his form. Visually he looked decent winning the G.2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, but on form you can question what he has beaten as nothing has come out of that race and done anything of note.
Grade One Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies
The first of the best placed for the weekend was this one and I really fancy this filly quite strong, Princess Noor at 2-1. As I said at the time of placing the best last month jockey Victor Espinoza clearly likes her saying after she won the G.2 Chandelier Stakes “She reminds me of other great horses I used to ride like American Pharoah. I’ve been riding amazing horses, but as a filly, she’s the best one I’ve ever ridden.” A big chunk of the $1.35 million she cost as a two-year-old in training can be paid back by her winning this. Simply Ravishing is the rival that will perhaps ask her the biggest question but I think Princess will have all the answers.
Grade One Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf
I am on another of the Wesley Ward runners here G.2 Queen Mary Stakes and G.1 Prix Morny winner Campanelle at 9-2 ante-post. As I touched upon on here at the time of placing the bet if she is to get a mile, a potential Classic campaign next year has been mooted, a relatively easy turning flat as a mill pond eight furlongs here is as good a place as any to try it for the first time rather than the straight, undulating Rowley Mile with a stamina testing uphill final furlong. I think she will be fine and Ward said on Thursday of his charge “Campanelle is doing great and has been prepared for this since three days after the Morny. It’s her home course, so all we’ve got to do is lead her over from stall to stall. She’s been training great – she’s got some new shoes on, and we’re ready to roll. I’m happy with the mile. We’ve tried to emulate the same schedule as we followed with Hootenanny, who was narrowly beaten in the Morny a few years ago and then won over the mile at the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita with Frankie. We’ve got Frankie, we’ve got the mile – and this time we’re on our home track, so we don’t even have to ship to California.” and you can only be heartened by comments like that. Plus, you know that spotlight loving Italian Frankie Dettori aint here just for a jolly and I think this filly is his best chance of a winner all weekend! Aunt Pearl is the obvious danger stepping up in class having won a Grade Two last time.
Grade One Breeders Cup TVG Juvenile
The lucky last on Future Stars Friday looks to my eyes to be at the mercy of one from the yard of Steve Asmussen. Jackies Warrior will arrive 4-for-4 lifetime unbeaten and untested as they like to say in the States (I have been reading too many of their websites!). he won the G.1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont over a mile last time by 5½ lengths with very little encouragement from winning jockey Joel Rosario and really caught my eye. I took the Evens ante-post and confidently predict he’ll bang out of stall 7 and not see another rival over the 1m½f trip.
Breeders Cup Saturday
Grade One Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
They call it a sprint but it’s actually over 7f in the Filly & Mare Sprint which gets the main card underway at 5.02. Gamine looks to have a cracking chance to get back to winning ways having not quite got home over the 1m1f last time in the G.1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs which was run in a record time; she finished third. She’s gets the couple of pounds from her older rivals and in her case an inside stall, she breaks from two, is no bad thing as she loves to lead. I have the 13-8 and fully expect her to lead this field from the off all the way to the wire. Bob Baffert said after her workout on Wednesday “She couldn’t be doing any better. She looks great. I think seven-eighths is a great distance for her and the one turn, because of her speed. At two turns she’s not as effective because you have to slow her down going into those turns."
Grade One Breeders Cup Turf Sprint
Imprimis and Leinster were sixth and seventh last year and are back again and both appear in form. Chestnut mare Got Stormy has been brought back in distance recently, second on the Breeders Cup Mile last year, and the five-year-old chestnut mare appears all the better for the drop in trip. She had a nice prep winning over track and trip recently where she took off late to get up in the shadow of the post. Stall 12 may actually suit her drop-in style and she should be able to get a nice position behind the leaders before picking them off down the stretch. I am on at 5-1.
Grade One Breeders Cup Dirt Mile
They start almost on the bend for this one, you can blow your chances in the first few seconds if you get the start wrong. I read somewhere in the build-up from one of the stat experts of Keeneland if you’re more than a few lengths back early on ‘you might as well rip up the paper and move on to the next race.’ Sharp Samurai is consistent as the day is long but hasn’t actually won since 2018 and is better known for his efforts on Turf. Perhaps a shade unlucky in running last time he chased home Maximum Security the race before that on his one try on the Dirt in his career at Del Mar and there’s no shame in coming second to that horse on his preferred surface. Trainer Mark Glatt explained the decision to run in this on the Breeders Cup website on Wednesday “Because he's never raced outside California we weren't sure if he'd like the softer turf,” Glatt said. “Even though your weather has been good it would still be quite a bit softer than our turf out there. I talked to (retired Hall of Fame jockey) Gary Stevens about it quite a bit. “ He will need to be on his toes out of stall two but Irad Ortiz Jr in the saddle is no mug, had an exceptional weekend at the 2019 Breeders' Cup with four winners, and trainer Mark Glatt has clearly thought long and hard about the race. If he gets a decent position just off a lead early, he will surely be there or thereabouts at the finish. I have the 9-1.
Grade One Breeders Cup Filly & Mares Turf
A tricky heat with a number in with chances, and a strong raiding party from Europe. Terebellum is one of the raiders I have talked of, and backed, already this season. She got a bit bogged down on the ground in the Sun Chariot Stakes last time and can be forgiven what on paper was a below par effort. Her second in the Queen Anne at the Royal meeting is arguably the best form on show and a repeat of that type of performance would surely win this. I am taking a chance she brings that form to the table and have taken the 9-1. Peaceful is considered as is Cayenne Pepper and for the home team Rushing Fall has a chance.
Grade One Breeders Cup Sprint
This won't take long over the six furlongs. Diamond Oops has a chance but drawn wide will have to do it the hard way and may end up being a hard lucky story. Yaupon has progressed with each outing to date and is shortlisted but this is the toughest assignment he has faced yet. C Z Rocket arrives in fine form and has caught my eye going through the race replays. Very capable of blasting out of stall two and getting a nice early position he has every chance of winning if he does. Luis Saez gets the leg-up again which is seen as a positive and trainer Peter Miller won this in 2017 and 2018 with Roy H so the yard knows what is required and they could be taking the trophy home again. I have 9-2.
Grade One Breeders Cup Mile
You have to start with the two Classic winners over from Europe. Kameko will be jolly but I am still unconvinced by the colt; the form of his 2,000 Guineas win is hardly rock solid, in fact take out Piantubo and it's crap! He might get it all right today like he did that afternoon but I can't have him. Siskin is another one that has something to prove now having looked good when winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Last years winner Uni is the big hope for the home team. I think Circus Maximus is a huge price at 12-1 and has to be backed each-way with the likes of Paddy Power paying four-places. Stall one could be seen as a blessing or a curse. I hope Ryan Moore blasts him out and gets a nice prominent position from the off - got caught too far back last year when fourth with others getting first run on him. He gets further and loves a battle so you would like to see him turn the taps on a fair way out and make it a real test of stamina and balls. If he can he'll be hard to pass.
Grade One Breeders Cup Distaff
One of the ante-post punts goes here in the shape of Monomoy Girl. As I mentioned in the build-up it would be a comeback of Lazarus-esque proportions and I am on at 7-4 about her doing it. It's one of those stories the Yanks will lap-up and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see a big budget blockbuster movie about her after she has won!! Swiss Skydiver coming for this does make it slightly harder but I honestly think the winner at Churchill Downs back in 2018 is the class act in the heat and the Brad Cox trained chestnut mare will get the job done. Talking earlier this week her trainer said “Everything we’ve done has been with the Breeders’ Cup in mind,” said Cox. “I really think she’s as good now as she was going into the 2018 Distaff. She’s on top of her game now, doing just fantastic.” It’s odds-on to get emotional on what will likely be her final start.
Grade One Breeders Cup Turf
Unusually one of the trickier heats to make a selection in for me this year; I normally have a strong fancy but this renewal is a tough one. Magical will naturally be popular and she has every chance on her best form but she has had a tough season, doesn't she always, and I think it might just have taken it's toll and she wasn't quite herself in the Champion Stakes. Mogul has to be considered but I still think he is one for next season and a tight track here might not play to his strengths plus stall ten aint done him any favours. Tarnawa is the one for me. Dermot Weld has his chestnut filly in fine form this year, three wins from three runs this season, and it was arguably a career best performance to win the G.1 Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp last month by a head from Alpine Star. She came from a fair way back and wide that day on heavy ground she didn't really want so you had to be impressed. Weld is on record as saying "It would be lovely to win a Breeders’ Cup race. I’ve had very few horses with the serious chance that I believe she has of winning" and you have to take note when the old boy says things like that. She appears to be getting better with every run this season and from a decent enough draw and back on a decent racing surface a big run is predicted. Christophe Soumillon can't ride having tested positive for poxy Covid so Colin Keane is in the saddle. I have the somewhat random 15-4 with Paddy power this morning.
Grade One Breeders Cup Classic
I have gone over this race again and again and truth be told I kept coming back to the same horse - Tiz The Law. I mentioned him in a small piece for the Kentucky Derby though I didn’t back him that day at odds-on. He was second at Churchill Downs and has been off since having been stiff afterwards; if you watch the race back, he just doesn’t seem quite right and not fully extending himself ‘down the stretch’ as they say in America. Stall two might be considered a poor draw here by some but he has great gate speed and is fully expected to grab himself a prominent position early, something that will be crucial in this race. Second in the Kentucky Derby is hardly a disaster but it was a disappointment but if you can forgive that slightly below-par effort and look back at his win the G.1 Travers at Saratoga, which was quite frankly very impressive as he came home in splendid isolation, the 100-30 I took Thursday looks a big price to me. He of course gets the three-year-old allowance as well which doesn’t hurt. It is a very good field with Improbable, Maximum Security and Authentic are all feared but Tiz the season to be jolly and Tiz The Law can pay for Christmas, get on!!!!!!
The Build-Up - Breeders Cup 2020
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be run in the 'Horse Capital of the World' Lexington, Kentucky down in the Bluegrass State. It is the second running of the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland racecourse. The statement "Horse Capital of the World" may seem a bold one but I am told there are more than 238,000 horses in Kentucky which equates to roughly one horse for every eighteen people there being an approximate human population of 4.5 million. If you're a farmer there is no shortage of manure!
Kentucky is one of only four of the fifty states of the United States to use the term Commonwealth in their official State name. According to Wikipedia: the four states – Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia - are all in the Eastern United States, and prior to the formation of the United States in 1776, were British colonial possessions. As such, they share a strong influence of English common law in some of their laws and institutions. There's a fact to bore your friends with over the Breeders Cup weekend!
A couple of interesting facts/stats to note from the thousands of words I have read already in the build-up to the meeting. A number of the American experts refer to 'Autumn ground', basically the turf track with some cut in it, and they all seem to think we can expect it for the turf races. Sticking to the turf the stats suggest that at Keeneland, over all distances, horses that have some finishing speed have an advantage and the ability to bounce out of the stalls is not as important here as at many American tracks.
It is reported out in the States that in the last seven days the track has seen over 50mm of rain and I noted John Gosden mentioned in an interview that he has been told ‘the turf track is good to firm to loose’.
The Breeders Cup Classic is of course the main event and I am on one early here now and as much as I go over the race I keep coming back to the same horse. Tiz The Law is the one for me in the Classic at 100-30 ante-post. It’s does look a cracking renewal but I can forgive the colt his disappointing run in the Kentucky Derby (2nd) as he was stiff after and didn’t look at his best in the race. Reportedly he has put in some stunning work and I expect him to get back to winning ways in Saturday evening.
There was one of the Friday night Future Stars races I had not bet in yet, I have now! Run over a mile the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf presented by Coolmore America is perhaps the trickiest heat of the evening and I did wait until the draw had been made to bet. Battleground heads the market but I think he can be taken on. He has won two of his three starts and at one time headed the Classics markets for next season but the form of his two wins haven’t really worked out. He could of course be very good, visually he looked decent winning the G.2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, but on form you can question what he has beaten as nothing has come out of that race and done anything of note. I like the look of a raider but one from somewhat nearer home, just a stone's throw over the border in Canada in fact with Woodbine Racecourse being nearer Buffalo N.Y. than it is Ottawa! The horse in question is the Gretzky The Great. The Mark Casse trained colt won the G.1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine in September with what appeared a bit left in the tank. He clearly relished the trip and though, on paper, the draw might have been kinder from stall 11 he can track any early pace before swooping late. In a wide-open race at 10-1 NRNB I am on Gretzky from the great white north to nick this one.
I have also added Gamine to the ante-post portfolio for the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at 13-8 NRNB as the drop back in trip to seven furlongs will surely play to her strengths and from stall two I fully expect her to be out and gone and not see another horse in this one.
I have backed Golden Pal for the Grade Two Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at 13-8 NRNB. Campanelle looks set to go for the Juvenile Fillies Turf (I am on her already) which leaves this race looking to be all about the other main Wesley Ward runner. As soon as confirmed that Campanelle goes for the other race the price on Golden pal will surely shrink some more so I am on. Second in the Norfolk Stakes at Ascot when headed on the line by The Lir Jet he won at Saratoga in August in the style of a good horse and looks to have likely have too much speed for this line-up with a surprisingly weak European raiding party.
Unbeaten Queen Mary and Prix Morny heroine Campanelle has been backed for the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf as a number of the bookies go non-runner-no-bet. There seems little point taking on stablemate Golden Pal, who is jolly, in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and this is surely the race to go for with the speedy daughter of Kodiac. They have talked of a potential Classic campaign for her next season and if she is to have a go at the Mile this relatively easy flat eight furlongs is a nice place to start where her pace will come in to play, and hopefully she'll lengthen as she did in the G.1 Morny to leave them all trailing. Trainer Wesley Ward said last month "She's back with me and she'll have her first bit of work on Saturday on the grass at Keeneland. We took her out of the Cheveley Park. She's right where the Breeders' Cup is being run and she can go straight from her stall to the paddock. She's doing great and travelled back well. We're training straight into the race." I have the standout 9-2 with Paddy Power NRNB.
The Breeders Cup Juvenile over the 1/16 mile trip - 1m½f to you and me - looks to my eyes to be at the mercy of one from the yard of Steve Asmussen. Jackies Warrior will arrive 4-for-4 lifetime unbeaten and untested as they like to say in the States (I have been reading too many of their websites!). Of those four wins the couple have been Grade One victories including the G.1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont over a mile last time winning by 5½ lengths with very little encouragement from winning jockey Joel Rosario. I have seen some point out he’s never raced over two turns and he’s never run at Keeneland, I would argue his speed is his most potent weapon and he can bang out of the stalls and lead them all a merry dance from the front – see the Champagne Stakes and the G.1
Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga before that. Trainer Steve Asmussen looks to have another good’un on his hands here and quite frankly we do not know how much more this colt has in the tank. My biggest concern is if it pours of rain as that is an unknown but the long-range forecast suggests it'll be mostly sunny all the way to the big weekend . I have taken Evens which is very short but I think he’ll go off odds-on.
22nd October:You may or may not remember that Monomoy Girl won the Breeders Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs back in 2018. She missed the whole of her four-year-old campaign having had a mild case of colic and after that pulling a gluteal muscle. Well she is back! Having been off the track for 560 days she is now three from three on the comeback trail her last win in September being the Grade One La Troienne Stakes. Talking to the American racing site Bloodhorse recently Sol Kumin of Madaket Stables, which owns the mare in a partnership with Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables said "She's doing awesome. There's a chance we might run her before the Breeders' Cup, but she has run very well fresh this year and we obviously want her to fire her 'A' race in the Distaff, so we're leaning toward training her up to the race." It would be a comeback of Lazarus-esque proportions and I am on at 7-4 about her doing it. It's one of those stories the Yanks will lap-up and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see a big budget blockbuster movie about her after she has won!! It looks to me she just has Swiss Skydiver to beat from the possible opposition, and that filly may yet go for the Classic which if she does the price on the selection will disappear, so I am on as think she can get the job done for the fairy-tale ending.
The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies aint the most prestigious race of the weekend but is one in which us punters should be getting involved early. Princess Noor looks a solid favourite to me and at the 2-1 Paddy Power and Betfair are offering two-and-a-half weeks out she is my first punt of the Breeders Cup weekend. Trained by Bob Baffert she has looked a really nice filly in her two wins at Del Mar including the 7f Grade One Del Mar Debutante and cemented her place at the head of this market making it three from three winning the 1m 1/2f Grade Two Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita in September. She cost Saudi businessman and professional Polo player Amr Zedan a tasty $1.35 million as a two-year-old in training and jockey Victor Espinoza clearly likes her saying after she won the Chandelier Stakes “She reminds me of other great horses I used to ride like American Pharoah. I’ve been riding amazing horses, but as a filly, she’s the best one I’ve ever ridden.”