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  • 2010 Breeders Cup - Routes

       October 25, 2010

    (see all of our 2010 Breeders Cup articles)

    The Breeders Cup includes the Dirt Mile, Marathon (1 3/4 miles), Ladies Classic (1 1/8 miles) and the Classic, at the (appropriately) classic distance of 1 1/4 miles. The Dirt Mile and Marathon are relatively new additions to championship day and as a result, I really don't have much to say about them.

    As for the two Classics, by this point in the year, we know these horses and we should know how they'll perform at the distance and on the surface. Once in awhile, we get some foreign invaders, but that doesn't look like too much of a factor this year other than with Japan's Espoir City.

    So basically, you handicap these races the same way you would any other. There are no glaring trends to guide you, but you shouldn't really need one. For example, in this year's Classic, you know that Haynesfield and Quality Road will be on or near the lead. You know Blame with come from behind. You know Zenyatta will make her move 6 wide on the turn. And, you know that Lookin' At Lucky will somehow run into his usual bad luck. So really, all you have to do is pick the best horse. Of course, that's easier said than done. If you mutual prices in past Classics you'll probably feeling a little greedy. The average win payout for the Ladies Classic is $20.68, while the Classic's is $29.67. But again, that's not because these races are unfathomable, it's because there are a number of logical outcomes: Zenyatta could win again, Blame or Lookin' At Lucky could outclose her, Quality Road could wire the field. None of these results would be shockers, but all of them will pay out a fair price.

    I read some analysis that showed that on Breeders Cup day, horses that won their last prep and horses that finished 2nd and 3rd each had about the same winning percentage in Cup races. The difference was that the horses that finished 2nd or 3rd in their final preps paid out much more. For most horses in the field, this is the day they've been pointing to. A loss in September is meaningless if it helps propel them to victory today. Keep that in mind and enjoy the bigger reward.

    That's pretty much it for general Breeders Cup previews. Pre-entries come out today and later this week the Daily Racing Form will have the BC Advance Edition available (I refer to this day as "Krismas"). Then next week entries and posts are drawn and we gear up for the best Friday & Saturday ever!

    I'll be back later next week with my official picks.

    Posted by kris at October 25, 2010 12:23 PM

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    #  October 25th, 2010 12:32 PM      kris
    I caught the last 1/2 or so of The Black Stallion yesterday and I was thinking about how today's racing writers and fans would treat the Black, considering how they treat Zenyatta.

    First, you have to figure that his Beyer in the match race was pretty low. Sun Raider & Cyclone's jockeys were probably riding a pretty tactical race so the early pace was probably slow like it was, for example, in the Affirmed/Alydar Belmont.

    So, no matter how fast The Black ran to catch them, the final time wouldn't have been that impressive, hence a low Beyer. Plus, even though The Black was hurt and Alec spent the first two furlongs trying to pull him up, it's not that impressive that he caught them since a) they were going slow and b) The Black was going even slower and therefore able to conserve more energy. If the Beyers say he's a slow horse, who can disagree?

    Second, in the movie The Black won at Santa Anita in California. Since he never ran in the East, can he really be considered a great champion?

    Finally, The Black only beat Sun Raider and Cyclone once. One race can't make a champion. He'd have to beat them several times on several different surfaces in a variety of circumstances to truly be considered for Horse of the Year. And really, if he didn't win HotY, Henry & Alec would really have no one to blame but themselves for giving such an easy campaign. I mean, really, hanging out on a desert island is nothing compared to a race at Saratoga.  
    #  October 25th, 2010 2:53 PM      kris
    #  October 26th, 2010 9:04 AM      KVBigSis
    Oh, thanks for posting that clip! I haven't watched the movie in a few years. It kills me that the CREDITS for The Black Stallion are 1,000 times better than anything in "Secretariat."  
    #  October 26th, 2010 9:09 AM      kris
    Well, I was hoping that was what could make you cry this week :)

    Yeah, the credits are ridiculously good. The other interesting thing is that I think the Black Stallion shows how important it is to cast a good horse in the title role. The horse(s) playing Secretariat were pale shadows of the real thing, while Cass Ole was just spectacular as The Black.  
    #  October 26th, 2010 9:43 AM      KVBigSis
    Well, I DID get a little teary-eyed, embarrassingly enough. There's a moment after the race is won, and everyone is celebrating, where the music changes to a minor key, that gets to me every time. I think it's one of the most skillful uses of music in movie history. Because Alec flashes back to the island, and we're reminded that, yes, Alec and The Black are safe and adored and famous now, but they've lost something too - especially The Black. I love that the movie acknowledges this. It's one of the things that make this a great movie. Not just a great horse movie, but a great movie.  
    #  October 26th, 2010 9:46 AM      kris
    Yeah - watching the movie again I sort of agreed with Tony that Alec should have just let The Black be wild and not raced him.

    The books always point out that The Black made a choice and chose his love of Alec over freedom, so it's good that the movie remembers that. I think I like the series so much because it respects the horses and they are real characters as much as any of the humans are.  



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