Well I tried twice, dear reader, to upload my day one video diary, but alas the internet connection here is not robust enough. I'll add it when I can, but for now you'll just have to make do with some words and a picture.
The words: was losing stacks due to my fancies all running close but getting beaten by my other contender horses. Then Informed Decision, my nap of the day, went and did the bizzo and bailed me out. All those contender nags got me three Pick 3's (mini jackpots - pick three consecutive winners) in a row, which put me a little in front on the day:
Bully for me and, hopefully, bully for a few of you who may have read my gubbins and inferred your way to the winners' circle.
But enough, that's so yesterday. Let's look forward to today's events:
BC Juvenile Turf
A race in which the Euros clearly have chances. Last year, Donativum prevailed, and we're mob handed this time, with Viscount Nelson, Pounced, Awewsome Act, and Buzzword. Of those, maybe Viscount Nelson will replicate his run in the Champagne Stakes of last time - that would be good enough.
But the two I like are Interactif and former Irish horse, King Ledley.
Interactif has a very similar profile to 2007 winner, Nownownow. He's got strong speed figures, has won TWO of the three key US preps, has a waited with running style, and is something of a road warrior, having won at three different tracks (rare for a US juvenile).
King Ledley has lots of experience, will improve for the first time Lasix, is a closer, and beat a Ballydoyle horse out of the place last time.
Next Best: Viscount Nelson
Each Way: King Ledley
BC Turf Sprint
This looks very open, and could be a real bunfight early on. The one I keep coming back to is the ex-Brit, Lord Shanakill. He's been moved to Richard Mandella for a US career now, and will have Lasix for the first time. Oozing class, this fella's won the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat this season, as well as a creditable placed performance in the St James Palace Stakes. He got a 'bullet' workout record in the Racing Form here (means he worked the fastest of the day for the distance he worked at), and he'll handle the extremely quirky Oak Tree 6 1/2 f course.
California Flag is likely to go off favourite, but he's not for me. I prefer Noble Court, Gotta Have Her, and last year's victor Desert Code. There's a few others who could also mix it, notably Get Funky, Royal Ascot runner up Cannonball, and Brit shipper Strike The Deal.
Winner: Lord Shanakill
Next Best: Gotta Have Her
Each Way: Get Funky
A weak renewal but one with stand out credentials. Trap one, Zensational, will lead them all a merry dance and bid to hang on. He's got speed to burn, and the only conceivable danger looks to be Fatal Bullet. I won't be playing at the prices, but I think the favourite will win.
Next Best: Fatal Bullet
Each Way: Cost of Freedom
The Juvey is another race where the Euros have had some success, and they're well represented today. Beethoven, shock Dewhurst winner; Alfred Nobel; Vale of York; and, Radiohead all take their chance.
I'm a big fan of Radiohead and, whilst he has to prove his stamina here, his daddy (Johannesburg) won this very race when stepping up in distance to answer the same stamina questions. His late running style will suit, if he's got anything left, and his trainer won this with Wilko.
Noble's Promise might give him most to do. Mostly raced in the mid-West, he's got synthetic track experience, travels well, and has amassed some impressive speed figures.
Dangers aplenty, including Beethoven (who won't roll over easily...!), Pulsion - the best each way play, D-Funnybone, and Aikente.
Next Best: Noble's Promise
Each Way: Pulsion
I was a huge Goldikova fan last year, and she duly obliged. The race revolves around her again this year, and - something I may regret - I'm going to oppose her this time.
Firstly, I think the race is better this year. Secondly, she was disappointing at Longchamp last time (albeit with excuses). Thirdly, she's had a shorter than ideal layoff. And fourthly, she's got a terrible stall in eleven. For all that, she might still win!
I'll take her on with Zacinto. He's lightly raced and been improving all season (classic Sir Michael Stoute pattern). He seems to have the measure of Delegator now and, though that one will again be hard to beat, I think Zac is on the up and up.
This is another race with some depth to it, and I can envisage any number challenging for minor honours. Those most likely to pick up the pieces are Court Vision, Whatsthescript, Karelian, Gladiatorus (if on a going day), and Justenuffhumor.
Next Best: Whatsthescript
Each Way: Court Vision
BC Dirt Mile
Mastercraftsman will be a warm order here, and on form it's not hard to see why. O'Brien doesn't like the Lasix though and, spurning that improvement opportunity, the 'craftsman might just wilt in the stretch. At the price, I'm taking him on as well. (All these favourites can't and won't win, so the value play is to oppose most / all of them, knowing we'll get some right).
Bullsbay is the big local hope, but - despite rock solid speed figures - he might be just shy of the top as well.
Neko Bay is one who could go well at a big price but is unlikely to be good enough to win. And I'd want to lay Pyro, who has big red x's in lots of boxes. Ditto Midshipman.
The rest look like no hopers, so after all that, I'm probably going to favour Bullsbay at the price. Not a confident choice.
Next Best: Mastercraftsman
Each Way: Neko Bay
Not the Euro benefit many perceive it to be. That said, we've had the better of it in recent years, with 7.5 of the last ten winners (High Chapparal dead heated on his second attempt).
And we've a strong hand here too. Last year's winner Conduit bids for a repeat; his stablemate Spanish Moon must go close; and we can chuck in Dar Re Mi and Red Rocks for good measure.
Of the Yanks, Presious Passion is the only one I'd expect to trouble the travellers.
But the lightly raced Spanish Moon is a confident nap choice on what I consider to be a very tricky card. He's won three of his last four, including the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint Cloud and the Prix Foy, has his ideal distance, will go on the fast ground, and has my man Kieren Fallon in the plate. Burnt fingers if he doesn't win...
Winner: Spanish Moon (nap)
Next Best: Conduit
Each Way: Presious Passion (unlikely to be each way price though)
Breeders Cup Classic
The race they all come for. Until last year, it was a bit of a 'mare for us Euros, with many hits of the board but only Arcangues' unfancied (and mostly unbet by us) win in the early years to crow about.
But Raven's Pass put all that to bed, and Henrythenavigator's runner up position added further credence to the contention that the Euros have a fine chance on the new synthetic Pro-Ride surface.
No surprise then to see Twice Over and Rip van Winkle give it a whirl. Interestingly, both of their trainers had winners yesterday and will be seeking doubles (at least).
Against them is the fearsome female, Zenyatta, who brings a 100% 13 race unbeaten streak to the start line. Those wins have all been against her own sex, and there are those who whisper she might be past her best now (there are many more who shout about her brilliance). She's likely to be heavily overbet by the emotional evangelists and, for that reason alone, I'll be leaving her to them. (I also don't believe she will win).
Mine That Bird is a great story horse, having rounded the field so memorably to win the Kentucky Derby. He'd be a worthy winner in my book (though the Yanks would be upset that this 'backyard donkey' mugged TWO of their best prizes - imagine the embarassment, a GELDING wins the BREEDERS Cup!). But I don't think he'll do it.
Colonel John was very well fancied last year, and will have a decent chance this time if over the injury problems he suffered earlier in the season. His very close second last time suggests he is.
Summer Bird is the one I'd be laying if I was at home. He an East Coaster who's only won on dirt, so has no synthetic experience. At 4/1 or thereabouts, that's honestly a joke price, whether he wins or not.
But the one I've a sneaking fancy for is Sir Henry's Twice Over. He's improved all season, and there was no fluke about the way he notched the hat-trick in Newmarket's Champion Stakes. At likely odds of 14/1 or thereabouts, he's a fair sporting tickle, though not a big wager vehicle.
Rip van Winkle won the QE II Stakes, as did Raven's Pass last year en route to victory here and, should Zacinto win earlier in the afternoon / evening, that would be a good pointer to this chap's chances.
Could we really have another 1-2?!
Winner: Twice Over
Next Best: Rip van Winkle
Each Way: Colonel John