By Jude “Pontiff of the Pick Four” Feld
Race 4 – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint
MERIT MAN has a slight pace advantage over his chief rival SUPER NINETY NINE so we will give him the edge in the Breeders’ Cup opener. HIGHTAIL will be flying late and could pick up the pieces if a speed duel develops.
Race 5 – The Breeders’ Cup Marathon (G2)
GRASSY has never raced on the dirt, but his sire, El Prado, gets dirt runners as well as grass horses. He has been prepared in thoughtful manner for this race by trainer Marty Jones and might be sitting on an optimum performance at a huge price. ELDAAFER can certainly get the trip and enters this event in top form. He should be reliable for a good effort. CALIDOSCOPIO is in from Argentina. He has been training well without a saddle in “gaucho style” for the marathon and is no stranger to dirt and distance. FAME AND GLORY is another who has never tried the dirt. He can get the distance and has some class so the surface will be the biggest equalizer.
Race 6 – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)
TARA FROM THE CAPE has better than average early speed in a race that is totally lacking in pace. She has been training super at Santa Anita for this event too. It is not a stretch to think the Todd Pletcher trainee could get out on an easy lead and take this field wire-to-wire. SKY LANTERN brings top European form to the Breeders’ Cup as she is already a Group 1 winner in her native Ireland. SPRING VENTURE is undefeated and seems to relish the turf. She has an excellent pressing style for this race and boasts top connections. KITTEN’S POINT hails from the stable of top turf trainer H. Graham Motion. Her two-race career has been excellent. She continues to train well and certainly has a better than average chance in this spot. WATERWAY RUN attracts jockey Frankie Dettori and that makes her an automatic contender.
Race 7 – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1)
SPRING IN THE AIR is, “the closer to fear,” as the late, great handicapper Ernie Mason would say. With lots of speed entered, this race sets up nicely for her. She tries dirt for the first time but if her big turn of foot translates surfaces, she could mow them down late. BROKEN SPELL has a nice closing kick and just ran second to the top choice. Her trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, has won more Breeders’ Cup races than any other trainer. EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE has proven her mettle time and time again. Her Chandelier (G1) victory may have been her best to date. This is her home track and that aids her cause. DREAMING OF JULIA has been working well and certainly has the class to be effective in this race.
Race 8 – The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1)
THE FUGUE is trained by John H. M. Gosden, who started his career in Southern California before returning to his native Great Britain. He is no stranger to Breeders’ Cup success at Santa Anita and is one of the top trainers in the world. There is no doubt that he has the daughter of Dansili ready to roll here and she has the quality to pull off a mild upset. RIDASIYNA won the Prix de l’Opera (G1), one of Europe’s most prestigious races. She owns an excellent late kick and should run a corker with a decent trip. MARKETING MIX is America’s hope and certainly is a formidable contender. She has trained brilliantly since her Rodeo Drive (G1) victory and would not be a shocker. I’M A DREAMER is a top-class mare who gets a very favorable jockey switch to Richard Hughes this afternoon. She could take it all with her best effort.
Race 9 – The Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1)
MY MISS AURELIA is the best filly of her crop. The daughter of Smart Strike just doesn’t know how to lose. She has trained well at Santa Anita but gets an acid test today against the best fillies and mares in North America. The Steve Asmussen trainee could prove her superiority by the end of the day. ROYAL DELTA is the queen of this division. Her effort in last year’s Ladies’ Classic (G1) was ultra-impressive. She enters this year’s race off a nine length score in the Beldame (G1) indicating she still has what it takes to get the job done. INCLUDE ME OUT has been training like a bomb for trainer Ron Ellis. She has the home field advantage in this race and it would not be a complete surprise to see her in the winners’ circle. QUESTING is capable of a freakish performance. If she is on her game, few can run with her. She is a must use on all exotic tickets. LOVE AND PRIDE won Santa Anita’s prep for this race and has trained very well here since. She is hard to leave off the ticket.
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