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  • Friday Diversions: Breeders Cup Picks

       October 29, 2004

    My beloved (and undefeated) Badgers have a bye this week, so instead of picking college football games, today I'm turning my attention to my other favorite sport: horse racing. Horse racing's championship day, the Breeders Cup is tomorrow at Lone Star Park in Texas. Eight races, worth from $1 million to $4 million each, will decide the champions in each division. My picks are below, but first a note of caution: I'm either very hot or very cold, so if my first couple of picks are way off, I won't have a single winner all day. Also, I'm not just picking winners, I'd like to pick winners with a price, if at all possible.

    Distaff: I think this is a race between Storm Flag Flying from the east and Island Fashion from the west. Island Fashion likes to stalk the pace while Storm Flag Flying comes from way out of it. I don't think there's enough pace in the race for SFF, and Island Fashion's figures from earlier in the year are second to none. I think, after her summer layoff, she's ready to run back to those numbers and so my pick is Island Fashion.

    The result: Ashado, who I completely overlooked runs a good race to win. Storm Flag Flying probably should have won, but she didn't get running room until too late. Still, she closed well to be second. Island Fashion got a terrible ride that cost her all chance. Since when is it a good idea to hang a horse 5 wide on BOTH turns? Idiot.

    Juvenile Fillies: This is a tough race as a bunch of fillies are competitive. Sweet Catomine has been visually impressive, but her numbers aren't significantly better. I liked Balletto since her second place in the Ruffian to Sense of Style. Plus, she'll be a better price than Sweet Catomine. That does it. My pick is Balletto.

    The result: I had the exacta, but reversed it in these picks. Balletto still looks like she doesn't quite know what she's doing yet. Sweet Catomine, on the other hand, was spectacular. She's huge and fast. She ran this race much faster than the colts ran later in the program. Wow. I was very impressed with her.

    Mile: This is the race I'm most excited about. I really, really like Artie Schiller. I think he has that explosive burst of speed that is the hallmark of a successful miler. I think he wins this at around 8-1. The pick: Artie Schiller.

    The result: Singletary, who I didn't even consider won. Artie Schiller didn't run a lick. This was a big surprise to me.

    Sprint: Normally the sprint is one of my stronger races. Speightstown will probably be the favorite, but he usually runs best on the lead, and in this field, I don't think he can get it. His first quarter mile splits just aren't fast enough. Kela will need racing luck to needle his way through the field. He has the best figures, but I think I'm going for Champali. He consistently runs triple digit speed figures and I think his stalking style is ideally situated for this race. He can sit just off the speed and won't have to wory about traffic when he makes his run. The pick: Champali.

    The result: Speightstown didn't get the lead, but it turns out he didn't need it. He got the trip I thought Champali would, sitting just off the pace and taking the lead near the top of the lane. He won quite easily.

    Filly & Mare Turf: I like Wonder Again and she wins when you don't expect her too (and you get a nice payout). But, I saw Ouija Board's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and her third place against colts was spectacular. I think she's the class of this field and could win quite easily. The pick: Ouija Board.

    The result: Finally, a winner. Of course, I can't brag much because Ouija Board was odds on. She was much the class of the field. Wonder Again also ran a nice race and just missed second by a head.

    Juvenile: My head says that Sun King, a sun of 1999 Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Charismatic is the horse of the future. But my heart belongs to the beautiful son of 2000 Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus Roman Ruler. Roman Ruler's first three races were amazing, but his last race was kind of lackluster, even though he won easily. I'm going to take a risk and say that he bounces back from that and wins here in a very fast time and makes himself a hot Kentucky Derby prospect for next year. The pick: Roman Ruler.

    The result: Roman Ruler was a huge disappointment. He didn't get the best of rides and was trapped behind a wall of horses, but still, I thought he would be good enough to overcome it. In a shocking upset, Wilko beats all the big names and wins going away.

    Turf: Kitten's Joy is the best American turf horse since the great Manila. I think if he wins this race he deserves to be both champion 3-year old and horse of the year rather than the retired Smarty Jones. I also think that he'll win this race easily as the shortest priced favorite of the day. The pick: Kitten's Joy.

    The result: Well, Better Talk Now "won" the race, but the stewards should have disqualified him for bumping both Magistretti and Kitten's Joy in the stretch. Kitten's Joy got screwed. He ran a spectacular race and was clearly the best. He's a force to be reckoned with.

    Classic: I think that last year's winner Pleasantly Perfect is the horse to beat in the $4 million Classic. However, I just can't see him winning two years in a row. So, who can beat him? I think Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone is just too slow. The likely favorite Ghostzapper isn't a true 1 1/4 horse and that some of the others just aren't good enough. That leaves me with Dynever. I've thought this horse was destined for great things for well over a year now. I think tomorrow he finally proves me right. The pick: Dynever.

    The result: Wow! I was sooo wrong. I thought Ghostzapper was nothing but a glorified sprinter. He ran fast early and fast late in this race, so the closers had no chance. This horse is a true superstar.

    So, those are my official picks. Watch the Breeders Cup and then come back here and mock me for how little I know. Or, come back and thank me for the great tips!

    Posted by at October 29, 2004 06:55 AM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: at October 29, 2004 04:57 PM


    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Joe R. the Unabrewer at October 30, 2004 12:05 PM

    Alright, I'm watching the first race. If you hit it, I'm off to the OTB place down the street.




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