Friday, November 4, 2016

3 Big Ideas for Saturday's Breeders Cup on a $100 Budget

On the heels of a 158% return on Friday's $50 investment, I have three horses in Saturday's Breeders Cup that bettors might ignore but who could produce a handsome profit at minimal cost and perhaps land me in the National Handicapping Championship (NHC) in January.

Tamarkuz did exactly as expected on Friday and paid $129 on our $10 win wager in the dirt mile.  I unfortunately turned down advice to use Gun Runner in the exacta (paid 50-to-1) but look ahead.

In my preview on Thursday, I noted a $150 bankroll and maybe more in the event of a decent Friday score, but for the sake of readers held to a C-note, I'm reverting back to $100 worth of wagers on Saturday, centering on three key horses, listed in sequential order.

Ambitious Brew (10-to-1) is my top choice in Race 7, the Turf Sprint. 

On another track this might not be the case, but Santa Anita's downhill turf course has generally favored horses with experience over the 6-and-a-half furlong route that starts atop a hill, turns right, crosses over a small dirt strip turning for home, and produces blazing fractions.  It's perhaps the most interesting race in all of North America.

Brew drew post 10 in a 14-horse field that'll fly home in about 1:11 or less but is extremely deep and puzzling.  Candidly, I toss European horses from the race for lack of experience on this type of track, and think the U.S.-based runners have a distinct edge, and especially those with past tries on the surface.  Plus, the snobbier set among Breeders Cup handicappers may summarily dismiss a U.S. horse, so we'll get at least 10-to-1 odds.

Outer draws are generally favorable, and here jockey Mike Smith gets a great spot inside three contenders who either prefer to run late or are cutting back in distance.  If Smith can get him into 4th or 5th at the end of the downhill and let Pure Sensation (1), Obviously (2) and Mongolian Saturday (3) knock each other silly the first half mile, then look out.

I think Brew's got home field advantage, with 5 wins in 10 tries on the downhill.

Mondialiste (15-to-1) has a serious shot in Race 9, the Longines BC Turf. 

Ask anyone I know and they'll tell you I think marathon turf races are cheap claiming horses dressed as champions (since the paces tend to be dawdling), but here people need to keep an eye on Flintshire, one of the best racers on four legs.

I had the pleasure of seeing him in person at Saratoga this summer, and he's definitely one for the ages, having won about $9 million on the track by age 6.

He's the 5-to-2 favorite and basically got a paid second-place workout in his prior race, where he loped along and got beat by a really game horse (#5, Ectot, 8-to-1) on a really yielding turf track.

Nonetheless, I think he's vulnerable here and may get softened up a bit by Ectot and local horse Ashleyluvssugar (15-to-1) in the early stages, setting up for a horse that I backed heavily in the 2015 Breeders Cup Mile but finished second after getting set so far back early by his jockey.

In my opinion, Mondialiste may be the best turf horse in the field tomorrow, and will certainly appreciate added distance after mostly running at just a mile.

Look for him to sit mid-to-rear of the pack for a bit, save ground, and look for an opening in the stretch before rolling home at a square price, probably around his morning-line odds.

Gomo (20-to-1) is perhaps even more extreme, yet I love her chances in Race 10, the Filly and Mare Sprint, at seven-eights of a mile.

There's no clear goddess in this 13-horse field, as far as I'm concerned, and so I went looking for an outsider who at least once showed a really big race, has a bit of local (Santa Anita) experience, and is likely to get dismissed by the bettors.

A 31-to-1 overlay on the odds board at (I was 1 of only 23 backers, out of around 900 players, as of 10 p.m. ET on Friday) suggests very few think she has a shot, but a few angles tell me otherwise.

Gomo is a Grade 1 winner.  Granted, that came last fall as a 2-year-old on a wet track in the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, and she has had only two races since, but she showed clear talent and put in a tremendous effort even without being prompted in the Unzip Me Stakes on October 1 at Santa Anita.  For my money, the effort in the video here shows she was sharp off a 6-month layoff and probably could have beaten the field if prompted, but was using that race for a Breeders prep.

And maybe this is something only a long-shot player like me could enjoy, but local trainer Doug O'Neill might have found a vulnerable enough field to steal this one, and I believe Gomo's jockey Mario Gutierrez's best of 3 opportunities to score on Saturday's Breeders Cup card.

IF somehow I'm correct on Gomo, I might have an outside shot at sneaking up toward a Top 2 finish and NHC berth in the finale to Public Handicapper's season-long contest. A win by another of my top three choices certainly would advance that prospect.

Otherwise, for the non-tournament players out there, using any one of or all three of these selections could produce a decent profit on the Breeders Cup.

Here's my Top 3 selections for Saturday's 9 Breeders Cup races:

BC Juvenile Fillies
1. Union Strike
2. American Gal
3. Sweet Loretta
BC F&M Turf
1. Al's Gal
2. Lady Eli
3. Sea Calisi
BC Sprint
1. A. P. Indian
2. Masochistic
3. Drefong
BC Turf Sprint
1. Ambitious Brew
2. Obviously
3. Mongolian Saturday
BC Juvenile
1. Klimt
2. Lookin At Lee
3. Classic Empire
BC Turf
1. Mondialiste
2. Flintshire
3. Found
BC F&M Sprint
1. Gomo
2. Tara's Tango
3. Finest City
BC Mile
1. Dutch Connection
2. Alice Springs
3. What a View
BC Classic
1. California Chrome
2. Melatonin
3. Hoppertunity

Here's what you get for $100 of bankroll.  These plays spread quite a bit, and all will key around my top 3 horses.  Save for some Pick 3 tickets, I generally avoid races where I lack strong conviction, where fields were short (BC Sprint, BC Juvenile and BC Mile), or, in the case of the BC Classic, I think a horse (California Chrome) will annihilate the field.

Race 5 -- $1 Pick 3: 1, 5, 8 with 5 with 10 = $3 wager
Race 6 -- $5 Daily Double: 5 with 10 = $5 wager
Race 7 -- $5 Win #10
Race 7 -- $4 Exacta: 10 with 2, 3 = $8 wager
Race 7 -- $1 Exacta: 2,3 with 10 = $2 wager
Race 9 -- $5 Win #6
Race 9 -- $4 Exacta: 6 with 4, 10 = $8 wager
Race 9 -- $1 Exacta: 4, 10 with 6 = $2 wager
Race 9 -- $2 Trifecta Box: 4, 6, 10 = $12 wager
Race 9 -- $5 Daily Double 6 with 4 = $5 wager
Race 9 -- $2 Daily Double: 6 with 3, 11, 12 = $6 wager
Race 9 -- $2 Daily Double: 4, 10 with 4 = $4 wager
Race 9 -- $1 Pick 3: 4, 6 with 3, 4 with 1, 2, 7 = $12 wager
Race 10 -- $5 Win #4
Race 10 -- $2 Exacta: 4 with 3, 11, 12 = $6 wager
Race 10 -- $1 Exacta: 3, 11, 12 with 4 = $3 wager
Race 10 -- $0.50 Trifecta Key Box: 4 with 3, 11, 12 = $9 wager

Bonus Breeders Cup Classic Pick ($12) -- $1 Trifecta: 4 with 6, 8, 9 with 1, 2, 6, 8, 9

Good luck and enjoy the's by far, the best racing day of the year!

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