Tipping expert Brian Healy looks ahead to day one of the Breeders' Cup meeting and has an unmissable Yankee bet.
The Breeders’ Cup extravaganza kicks off on Friday at Santa Anita racecourse where over the course of two days, no less than thirteen Group One contests will take place on the dirt and turf tracks at the United States venue.
Friday’s card, although with ten scheduled races, is very much the undercard with only four of the thirteen races taking place on day one. Santa Anita is very much a racetrack that is kind to European raiders, and in past Breeders’ Cup meetings, runners from closer to home have fared well.
While the bulk of the action for the Breeders’ Cup meeting takes place on Saturday, what better way than to attempt to line our pockets with a Yankee bet encompassing four of Friday’s races at Santa Anita.
Race Two – 7.00pm GMT - Las Vegas Marathon Stakes (Grade 2) (Dirt)
The Breeders’ Cup Marathon has been ditched from the main event, and now resides in the undercard via its new auspice, the Las Vegas Marathon Stakes.
Front runners often fare well at Santa Anita, and BIG KICK
) could be worth following now he’s on dirt, having run well on the turf track here in recent starts, including when seventh in the Grade Two John Henry Turf.
A winner of a Grade Two earlier in the season in the San Juan Capistrano here, he was expected to do better in the American Saint Leger at Arlington, but ran no sort of a race there in ground that was too soft for him.
The trip in the John Henry was too short for the Tiznow gelding, and back up in trip, the Michael Machowsky-trained horse can fare better.
Race Four – 8.10pm GMT - Twilight Derby (Grade 2) (Turf)
) has placed in four of his six recent starts, going back-to back in his last two which included a Grade Three last time at Belmont Park.
The Graham Motion-trained gelding looks sure to give a good account here.
Having caught the eye with a solid fifth in the Preakness Stakes despite encountering traffic problems, he wouldn’t have beaten California Chrome, but would have got into the money with a clearer run; his run later at Monmouth Park was too bad to be true and he was virtually pulled-up as he trailed in last, but he bounced back in style at Saratoga next time when runner-up to Tourist in the Sir Cat Stakes.
That was followed by back-to-back wins at Saratoga, and in that Grade Three race at Belmont, and should take plenty of beating here over his optimum trip.
Race Seven – 10.05pm GMT - Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1)
), who won this race twelve months ago, returns to defend his title and looks head-and-shoulders above these rivals for this latest renewal.
Ideally drawn from stall one, Leandro Mora’s charge should bounce from the gate and grab the rail, and from there he could prove tough to peg back if allowed to stride on into the lead.
Twelve months ago, he did exactly that, but had a wide draw to overcome, so out of a plum position he can be expected to repeat the dose.
The Into Mischief colt also has a strong line on the race second-favourite Fed Biz, whom he beat two starts ago at Del Mar in a Grade Two there, and his narrow defeat in the Grade One Sprint over this course was a fantastic effort down in trip.
2013 winner Goldencents looks tough to oppose in the Dirt Mile. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Race Eight – 10.50pm GMT - Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1)
) could give the Europeans another win in this race, with Euro raiders having won the last two renewals.
A winner of the Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes at Royal Ascot, Richard Hannon’s filly performed with credit when finishing fifth in the Moyglare behind Cursory Glance, and then returned to winning ways when outbattling Lacing in the Tattersalls Millions at Newmarket last time.
However, it is perhaps the Moyglare race which stands out, as she was beaten behind the very smart pair Lucida and Found, who have both won since; the former winning the Group Two Rockfel Stakes, and the latter taking the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp.
This is by no means an easy assignment, and Richard Hannon’s stable is quiet domestically, but the Danehill Dancer filly can give the Hannon team a shot-in-the-arm, and land a third straight success in the race for European challengers.
Osaila can maintain European raiders' good recent record in the Juvenile Fillies' Turf. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)
BREEDERS CUP MEETING DAY ONE YANKEE