Well, there were a few last minute scares, as the rains that have engulfed Kentucky in recent days threatened to scupper my research. But, luckily, most of the horses I was looking at either deal with 'sloppy' conditions or race close to the pace and are unproven.
These are factors to take into account in what could be a very tricky two nights action. In fact, my mind harks back to one of my darkest punting episodes, the 2007 Breeders Cup from Monmouth Park. A tight bullring of an oval and filthy mud soup flying everywhere. Lucky I had plenty of losing betting slips to wipe myself down with. Ahem.
Anyway, enough of the downbeat forecasts, and on with the show.
Yesterday's eleven dirt races at Churchill Downs produced some very interesting results. Fully NINE of the eleven winners were in the first three in the race at the first turn. And 24 of the 33 runners to make the frame led or were within a couple of lengths of the lead at the first turn.
What does this mean? It's going to be mighty hard for closer types and nigh on impossible for deep closers (those who stay on from far back).
Here are my initial thoughts on the track, some of which you'll need to consider in the context of the rain that has fallen and the comments above.
With that in mind, below are my thoughts on Saturday's race card.
Incidentally, the answer to the 10c superfecta question I posed last night is that Victor Chandler offer those minimum stakes bets, and they will be taking custom from me tonight as a consequence. If you don't have a VC account and want to have a crack at the bumper payouts that the super' generally provides, here's a banner that will take you there.
Breeders Cup Marathon - 5.20pm GMT
- Stamina (1 3/8 miles + winner)
- Stamina in breeding
- Won on dirt
- Sharp prep
- NOT a front runner
- Key preps: Greenwood Cup, Cougar II, TP Fall Challenge
Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf - 6.02pm
- Euro Euro Euro
- Respect Belmont shippers
- US 80+ or top Beyer / Euro 100+ RPR
Breeders Cup Sprint - 6.37pm
- Favour SoCals'
- Road Warriors
- Form at 7f helpful
- Big trifecta prospect
- Look to closers for the exacta, tri and super (but not win)
- Top 3 LTO
- Graded stakes winner
- MUST have a seasonal 6f win
- Long layoffs should have bullet stamina work (5f+)
- Beyer par 105+, Beyer top LTO of interest
- Vosburgh and Ancient Title key preps
- 3 and 4yoâ€™s have won 19 from 27
Breeders Cup Turf Sprint - 7.21pm
- 5f winners at CD should be favoured
- Look to road warriors too
- A middle to outside post MAY be favourable
- Avoid front runners
- Ungraded stakes winner that season
- "A race for gamblers not investors"..!! (Beware the bad trip)
Breeders Cup Dirt Mile - 8.01pm
- Turn back from 9f
- 4 or 5 years old
- 35-42 days off
- Plenty of runs this season (6-10 is the range of winners)
- Tried, and generally failed, in G1 company
- Distance form not too important
Breeders Cup Turf - 8.45pm
- Churchill BC Turf faves are 0 from 7!
- Euros 5 from 7 here, usually with a rag
- Front runners go ok here, so don't dismiss
- Look closely at likelihood of strong early pace (maybe unlikely due to the short field again)
- Sharp LTO (or Arc 'also ran')
- 3-6 starts this season
- 4 and 5 yo's (or Euro 3yo's)
- No 6yo+ has won, from 33 tries.
- Grade 1 win for US, decent Graded form for Euro
- Distance form imperative
- Best Beyer / RPR LTO can be a positive
- Arc best Euro prep, Turf Classic/Man O'War best US preps
Aside: Looking through St Nickâ€™s form I stumbled on this, which made me smile. It was a great day at the Curragh...
Breeders Cup Juvenile - 9.25pm
- Likely winner comes from Kee Futurity, Champagne, or Norfolk
- But... look for good performances elsewhere too!
- Top 3 in the betting at 59% win strike (fav 37%)
- Hard for front runners to win, favour stalk/rally types
- 2-4 races is the average prep
- Stakes winners, but look to big priced non-Stakes too
- 17 of last 18 winners ran 1-2-3 lto
- Churchill BC winners were within 2 lengths and 1-2-3 lto
- Beyer improve from sprint to route
- Bred for beyond a mile
- Insider posts quite well favoured (1-7)
Breeders Cup Mile - 10.07pm
- US winners tend to pay WELL (look to longer US shots)
- 3 to 7 runs this year
- Sharp LTO
- G1 win for Euros / any Stakes (even ungraded) for US
- Distance form important
- Beware runners who posted a Beyer top LTO
- US runners 2nd or 3rd start off a layoff
- Look for horses returning to the race (whether they won or not)
- Key US preps are Oak Tree BC, and Keeneland BC
- Stalls 10-12 fare well, 13/14 never won
Breeders Cup Classic - 11.00pm
- 3yo's 9 from 27 (33%) but pay short when they win generally
- Top 3 in betting won 5 from 7 at Churchill
- Closers have the best record in the Classic, especially those with mid-race pace (like So You Think?)
- Sharp race LTO
- Grade 1 important, distance win not so important
- For possible longshots, still demand a G2 or G3 win
- If horse has been off 40+ days, demand a bullet workout and ideally a stamina (6f+) run too
- Don't back a shortie off a LTO Beyer top (require decent odds if you're betting in that context)
- Interesting play is triple-digit Beyer LTO but not a best (9 from 17, 53%)
- No SoCal LTO runner has won the Classic at Churchill Downs
- Post Position 2-8 looks ideal
Do also note that Gerard Butler has another runner, besides Pachattack in the Ladies Classic. The other one is called Maristar and it runs in the 11.40pm, Chilukki Stakes.
I recall Butler having a runner on the undercard in 2006 at Churchill and it winning!
Have a great weekend wherever and whatever you're backing, and the very best of luck.