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  • Breeders' Cup Picks - Saturday Stakes

       October 24, 2008

    While many of my fellow Wisconsinites will be suffering the Illinois/Wisconsin homecoming game, I'll be cheering on the fastest horses in the world in the 25th Breeders' Cup. W00t! Here are my picks for the nine Saturday races.

    In the U.S., 1 1/2 races often tend to turn into paceless events that a front runner can easily dominate (for example, see this year's Belmont Stakes). I think that'll happen to an extent here so I'll look for a horse with some natural speed, Zappa, to win.

    Turf Sprint
    This might be the most fun race to watch. Santa Anita has a hillside turf course that they use for turf sprints. Horses start, rush downhill and then make a fairly sharp turn into the stretch. It's very European. Anyway, turf sprints aren't run that often in the U.S., so I'm going with a quasi-European horse, Diabolical. He raced in America last year and had the kind of speed figures that would make him more than competitive in the Dirt Sprint. He wasn't as successful in Europe this season, but I'm hoping that Santa Anita's hard turf course will suit him more than the soft grass of Europe.

    Dirt Mile
    I like a pure miler in this race, so Well Armed is the obvious choice. However, it's the Breeders' Cup and there have to be some upsets on the card, so instead I'm going to go with Slew's Tiznow, a lightly-raced and improving 3-year old, who just might be getting good enough to take this.

    Turf Mile
    I was all set to pick Shakis because he has the late running style I look for in this race. He came from way back last time to just barely get beat by Thorn Song. But then it dawned on me that hey, he still got beat despite his closing rush. So, a return to sanity brings to Goldikova, a French filly trained by former jockey Freddie Head (he rode Miesque to fame). The French might not know how to win wars anymore, but they do know how to win Breeders Cup races. Goldikova is the real deal too, the only horse she lost to this year was the brilliant Zarkava, the undefeated Arc winner. Goldikova really looms over this field and if she at all takes to the course, she should win.

    I'm not at all excited about any of these two-year olds. The Europeans have some big wins, but all at sprint distances. The Americans are simply uninspiring. My hope is that one of the more lightly raced colts will improve and get us dreaming about the Kentucky Derby. I think Midshipman is most likely to do that.

    Juvenile Turf
    I'm going to go with another Bittel Road is this race based completely on his running style. Here are the comments on his last race: "Closed fast late". He won that race over the Keeneland turf and has actually not lost yet. Hopefully he won't start a new trend on Saturday.

    Ah, the Sprint. It always looks the Sprint is going to have the kind of contentious pace that knocks out all of the front runners. However, this year I think that Fabulous Strike is the speed of the speed. I think he'll outrun the front runners and, even though he got beat by a head in his last race, I think that prep will serve him well and he'll hold on here.

    Like in the Juvenile, I'm not really inspired by any of the horses in this race. I like Red Rocks, but he hasn't raced since July. That's a long layoff before a mile and a half race. So, I'm going to go with Dancing Forever as he's performed well over firm turf courses in the past and he's likely to be at a good price.

    I would like to see the beautiful Japanese horse, Casino Drive, win, but honestly, I can't get past Curlin here. I think he's the best horse in the world and he should prove it here.

    Posted by at October 24, 2008 01:23 PM

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    #  October 26th, 2008 11:19 AM      kris

    Zappa -8th
    Diabolical - 2nd, by a neck
    Slew's Tiznow - 10th
    Goldikova - 1st, paying $5.60
    Midshipman - 1st, paying $9.20
    Bittel Road - 8th
    Fabulous Strike - 5th
    Dancing Forever - 3rd
    Curlin - 4th

    So, if you bet an imaginary $2 on my pick in each of the 14 races, you would have lost $5, which isn't terrible. At least I got 4 races right.  



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