ARCADIA, Ca. -- Hello from the Great Race Place (a/k/a Santa Anita Park) in sunny California for day two of the Breeders' Cup (BC) world championships. Sorry Buffalonians, but its 75 degrees here just outside of Los Angeles and nary a cloud in the sky.
Yesterday's five championship races were highlighted by two wins by California-based horses, Goldencents in the Dirt Mile and Beholder in the Distaff. The track played very fast and speed held all day. In fact, the souped-up track was as much as a story as the races themselves. My advice to you is to understand the track's speed bias and use it in your favor. Expect to see more of the same today.
The track is fast and the turf is firm for today's nine championship races. Scratches in the BC races so far are Caracortado in the Turf Sprint (Race 7), Cleburne in the Juvenile (Race 8) and Ron the Greek in the Classic (Race 12) as reported on Thursday. Caracortado had to withdraw from the race due to a problem with his right front foot. Gary Stevens was scheduled to ride.
My Classic advance is in this morning's paper where Palace Malice is my pick that will send the Horse of the Year race into disarray. His sire, Curlin was the last 3-year-old to win the Classic. John Velazquez has the ride aboard Palace Malice.
If you're interested, the Breeder's Cup Classic cocktail has the following ingredients: 1.5oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka, 0.5oz St. Germaine, 1.5oz fresh grapefruit juice, top with club soda and serve on the rocks. Good luck with that.
2:45 p.m. (ET): The first Breeders' Cup race is the BC Juvenile fillies and a couple of New York shippers who ran in the Frizette, 1-Artemis Agrotera (3-1) and 9-Sweet Reason (5/2) the top two finishers in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont are the top two choices. If you're looking for a better price, I fancy the Baffert-trained 4-Secret Compass (6-1), who has been training well. It will be trainer Leah Gyramati's first Breeder's Cup race, I visited Sweet Reason at Saratoga this summer and can tell you she's a feisty filly. Back after the race.
3:20 p.m.: Whoa, a DQ in the BC Juvenile Fillies, 10-She's A Tiger was taken down by the stewards after an inquiry and 32-1 shot 5-Ria Antonia ($66.60) will take the top spot. It looked as though Gary Stevens was going to start right where he left off yesterday winning the final race on BC Friday. 2-Rosalind finished third after a late close and 9-Sweet Reason after making a nice move at the eighth pole completed the superfecta.
I was down in the winner's circle trying to make it back to the auxiliary press box when the inquiry sign started flashing and She's A Tiger who went out in blazing fast fractions was placed second after bumping the eventual winner by a majority decision by the stewards due to drifting out. A disqualification is very rare occurrence in
3:28 p.m.: The BC Filly and Mare Turf is up next and I'm looking on keying in on two horses here 1-Dank (5/2) and 4-Alterite (10-1). If you're looking for a medium-priced horse, the French horse 2-Romantica (6-1) by Galileo is interesting at that price.
3:52 p.m.: Hey now. There's a post time exacta and trifecta for you. I went pretty deep in the third spot and had both 4-Alterite and 8-Emollient in the show spot, so we're looking at a nice trifecta. 1-Dank overtook Emollient at the top of the stretch and 2-Romantica split horses to finish second. Nice angle playing the Euros on turf. Back with prices in a minute.
3:58 p.m.: The $1 trifecta paid $103 and the $1 exacta returned $11.60. Let's keep it going.
In my annual rankings of racing press box food, I'm going with 1-Pimlico (Preakness) as the winner, this year's crab cakes absolutely killed it. Woodbine (Queen's Plate) finishes second in the place spot and the show goes to Santa Anita (Breeders' Cup). Rounding out the superfecta is Belmont (Belmont Stakes) and Churchill (Kentucky Derby) the Super Hi-Five. Honorable mention: Pedro's hot dogs at the Spa.
4:17 p.m.: The $1million Filly & Mare Sprint is up next at 7-furlongs. I'm going with 4-Dance Card (6-1) as my play of the day with Joel Rosario up for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. I'm going to wheel a $1 exacta with 3,6,8,9, 11 and 12. Normally I'd try to beat 11-Groupie Doll, last year's winner, but she's a tough horse and you can't count her out. I left off 12-Sweet Lulu on my Travers Pick-4 and it cost me big. Won't make that mistake again, even though she is on the far outside.
4:30 p.m.: UGH! Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield. Dance Card ($4.80 to show) just couldn't get there and Groupie Doll ($8) repeats as the F&M Sprint champion. He had just too much to make up in the stretch and finished behind 9-Judy the Beauty (paid $9.20 to place and $5.40 to show)
The $1 million Turf Sprint down the hill at Santa Anita is up next and last year's winner for Jim Rome, 12-Mizdirection will be the likely heavy favorite. I favor 4-Reneesgotzip (5-1) and first time turfer and King's Bishop winner 9-Capo Bastone (8-1). If you can believe it, Todd Pletcher still hasn't won a race yet, his doppelganger twitter account has been awfully quiet today. I'll box those three and long shot 2-Rock Me Baby (30-1) to try and make some hay here. Heading down to the paddock to scope out Jim Rome.
5:20 p.m.: 12-Mizdirection ($7.40) repeats in the Turf Sprint for owner Jim Rome, where a wild celebration is going on in the winner's circle. Second place resulted in a dead heat between 4-Reneesgotzip and 7-Tightend Touchdown (the Gronk approves), so we still get a piece of the exacta pool with our box play. The exacta with Reneesgotzip returned $9.70, so we lost a few bucks there, but not completely.
The road to the Kentucky Derby starts next with the BC Juvenile. Rider change on 13-Havana to Gary Stevens from Johnny V, who is off all of his mounts with an injury sustained in the Juvenile Fillies and is at the hospital undergoing testing. He fell off of Secret Compass, who broke down and had to be euthanized after the 4th.
I like Havana a lot, but that 13 post is the same one that doomed Lookin at Lucky in the 2010 edition of this race here at Santa Anita, where he was caught 8-wide on the clubhouse turn.
5:25 p.m.: I've stayed away from the multi-race wagers today and have been playing exactas and trifectas most of the afternoon and we'll stay that way again. This race is wide open so I'll make a rare 5-horse exacta box with 3-Mexikoma, 6-Tap it Rich, 10-We Miss Artie, 11-Medal Count, and 13-Havana. For Race 9 we'll construct a late Pick-4 play into the Classic.
5:43 p.m.: HRTV is reporting that RafaelBejarano will get the mount on Palace Malice to replace the injured Velazquez in the Classic.
5:50 p.m.: U2 approves of the BC Juvenile, as 4-New Year's Day ($23) at 10-1 upsets the field of 13 colts. Martin Garcia was up on New Year's Day. 13-Havana, with Stevens in the irons, made a strong move at the top of the stretch to overtake Lukas' 14-Strong Mandate, who finished third. The 4-13 combo returned $53 for a $1 exacta.
Next up on the radar is the $3 million BC Turf, a mile and a half race that starts out of the chute. It's a classy field that includes the talented 4-year-old filly 7-The Fugue (GB). The Euros have been strong so far on the turf. We'll include 9-Indy Point in our Pick-4 play and hope that 4-Little Mike doesn't repeat and that 8-Point of Entry doesn't fire.
5:55 p.m.: Here's our $0.50 Pick-4 play: 7,9,WT,1,6,7,8,9,11,WT,8,WT,1,6,8,9,10. We're leaning heavily on last year's Horse of the Year 8-Wise Dan in the Mile. Off to the paddock to see the turf horses, very excited to see The Fugue.
6:45 p.m.: We're back after writing a quick post on Finger Lakes trainer Jeremiah Englehardt's big win in the Juvenile Fillies race with Ria Antonia.
Thought The Fugue made a nice run, but she was tracked down in the deep stretch by 11-Magician, where we made the fatal mistake of leaving her off our ticket. I guess it wasn't meant to be. We'll just drop down our bet to a Pick-3 and try and recover a few dollars.
The Daily Racing Form's David Grening is reporting that jockey John Velazquez is having surgery to remove his spleen according to his agent, Angel Cordero.
6:58 p.m.: Looks like Jose Lezcano, a very good turf rider, will have the mount on 8-Wise Dan. I've put another Pick-3 ticket together with my top two horses in the Sprint and spreading a little wider in the Classic (7,9 WT 5, 8, 10 WT 1,2,6,8,9,10).
7:03 p.m.: While waiting for the Sprint to go, I took a peak at Juvenile winner New Year's Day's pedigree to see if he can get the Derby distance of a mile and a quarter. He's sired by Street Cry out of Justwhistledixie (Dixie Union) so it's promising.
7:10 p.m.: It's the second of the day for Martin Garcia who makes a big run with 9-Secret Circle ($7), the 5-2 favorite. The two wins were his first in a Breeders' Cup. 12-Laugh Track and Mike Smith finished second and 3-Gentlemen's Bet finished third. Off to the paddock to check out the $2 million BC Turf horses, including 2012 Horse of the Year, 8-Wise Dan. We have two live Pick-3 tickets, so let's keep it going.
7:38 p.m.: Just back from the paddock. The Euro 5-Olympic Glory was awful feisty and looks ready to roll. Both 8-Wise Dan and 10-Za Approval also were looking good. Passed through the BC Sprint press conference and you have to feel for Bob Baffert who lost Secret Compass via breakdown earlier in the day, but his two BC wins today with New Year's Day (Juvenile) and Secret Circle (Sprint) have to ease that pain slightly. He'll look to make it three on the day with Game On Dude in the Classic.
7:50 p.m.: The champ repeats! 8-Wise Dan ($3.60) ran by 10-Za Approval ($8.40 to show) in deep stretch with his patented late run to win the BC Mile! We're live to 2-Paynter for a JFK 50-cent piece and five horses for a buck (1,6,8,9,10). 2-Silentio rounded out the trifecta with a huge late run at the top two. The Classic is up next.
We have a very tight Post Time deadline, so we're going to sign off on the live blog. I hoped you enjoyed following along with me all day. It was a terrific day with the biggest race in the land up next. The $5 million Classic. Here's hoping we get a nice story of Rafael Bejarano with the sub job for Johnny V on Palace Malice. Look for a Post Time write-up on the Classic in the morning.
Signing off from the Great Race Place!
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.