EXPERTS’ BREEDERS’ CUP PICKS

Bricks and Mortar
Bricks and Mortar won the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf. Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup/CSM.

We wanted to know who our experts liked in today’s biggest Breeders’ Cup races – so we asked ’em!

Here are their Breeders’ Cup picks!

BREEDERS’ CUP MILE

TED BLACKJOHN PIASSEKDERBY BILL WATSONGARY QUILLLINDA DOUGHERTYNICK HAHN
1 – Circus Maximus (IRE)1 – Circus Maximus (IRE)12 – Uni (GB)14 – Raging Bull (FR)10 – Halladay (KY)10 – Halladay (KY)
12 – Uni (GB)11 – Ivar (BRZ)10 – Halladay (KY)6 – Safe Voyage (IRE)5 – Digital Age (IRE)13 – Factor This (KY)
13 – Factor This (KY)2 – Kameko1 – Circus Maximus (IRE)13 – Factor This (KY)14 – Raging Bull (FR)2 – Kameko
5 – Digital Age (IRE)13 – Factor This (KY)11 – Ivar (BRZ)2 – Kameko8 – March to the Arch (FL)12 – Uni (GB)

Our ‘cappers see the Mile as a wide-open affair. Four different horses earned first-place votes, and in total, eight different horses were picked in the top two spots.

Here’s our group’s consensus:

  1. #10 Halladay (12-1): Pletcher trainee hasn’t raced since mid-August at the Spa but exits off a win in the G1 Fourstar Dave… Speedy sort figures to be on the engine, or close at hand, from the first jumps…
  2. #1 Circus Maximus (12-1): Aidan O’Brien trainee was fourth in this spot last year as a sophomore… Must recapture early-season form that saw him win G1 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and be a close second in G1 Sussex; recent form less promising…
  3. #12 Uni (5-1): 6yo mare is defending champ in this spot… Has followed a similar path as last year, and while the body of her work is not as strong, she does arrive off a win in the G1 First Lady… Must turn tables on Halladay, who thrashed her two back…
  4. #14 Raging Bull (8-1): Regular pilot Rosario picks Uni over this 5yo, but Jose Ortiz not a bad consolation prize… Closing sort will need a pace to run at, and will have to turn tables on Halladay, Ivar and Casa Creed, all of whom have finished of him recently…

BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF

TED BLACKJOHN PIASSEKDERBY BILL WATSONGARY QUILLLINDA DOUGHERTYNICK HAHN
5 – Swiss Skydiver (KY)5 – Swiss Skydiver (KY)8 – Valiance (KY)10 – Monomoy Girl (KY)10 – Monomoy Girl (KY)10 – Monomoy Girl (KY)
10 – Monomoy Girl (KY)10 – Monomoy Girl (KY)10 – Monomoy Girl (KY)9 – Ollie’s Candy (KY)5 – Swiss Skydiver (KY)2 – Harvest Moon (KY)
2 – Harvest Moon (KY)4 – Horologist (NJ)4 – Horologist (NJ)7 – Point of Honor (KY)2 – Harvest Moon (KY)5 – Swiss Skydiver (KY)
9 – Ollie’s Candy (KY)8 – Valiance (KY)5 – Swiss Skydiver (KY)5 – Swiss Skydiver (KY)4 – Horologist (NJ)8 – Valiance (KY)

If the Mile looks to be a wide-open affair, the Distaff is largely a two-horse race, according to our ‘cappers. Longtime division leader Monomoy Girl, the favorite, and Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver look to have the jump on their rivals, among them the New Jersey-bred Horologist.

The consensus:

  1. #10 Monomoy Girl (8-5): What’s left to say about this daughter of Tapizar? The Brad Cox trainee has won 12 of 14 in her career and never been worse than second… She won this race in ’18 but missed all of ’19; she’s come back with her running shoes on, winning all three of her ’20 starts and enters off an impressive score in the G1 La Troienne…
  2. #5 Swiss Skydiver (2-1): The Kenny McPeek trainee won a Preakness for the ages in October, outdueling Authentic,. She’s danced all the dances, but it’s worth noting that she’s lost both her tries at this nine-furlong trip while winning both her tries (with her career-best Beyer figs) going farther…
  3. #8 Valiance (12-1): Somebody’s gotta be third, and our ‘cappers give the nod to this four-year-old Tapit filly, who won the G1 Spinster last out over the strip…
  4. #2 Harvest Moon (12-1): West Coast sophomore finished third on debut, has won four straight since, including a pair of graded races…. She’s got plenty of upside but will see the deepest waters she’s yet faced…

BREEDERS’ CUP TURF

TED BLACKJOHN PIASSEKDERBY BILL wATSONGARY QUILLLINDA DOUGHERTYNICK HAHN
6 – Lord North (IRE)2 – Magical (IRE)3 – Tarnawa (IRE)3 – Tarnawa (IRE)3 – Tarnawa (IRE)2 – Magical (IRE)
2 – Magical (IRE)3 – Tarnawa (IRE)2 – Magical (IRE)2 – Magical (IRE)10 – Mogul (GB)7 – United (KY)
7 – United (KY)9 – Channel Maker (ON)7 – United (KY)10 – Mogul (GB)5 – Donjah (GER)3 – Tarnawa (IRE)
1 – Arklow (KY)6 – Lord North (IRE)1 – Arklow (KY)9 – Channel Maker (ON)2 – Magical (IRE)10 – Mogul (GB)

Our ‘cappers are pretty confident that the Turf runs through a pair of Irish invaders, one trained by Aidan O’Brien and one by Dermot Weld. Beyond that? Take a swing.

The consensus:

  1. #3 Tarnawa (6-1): Four-year-old filly trained by Dermot Weld shows the value of patience: she just keeps improving and enters this contest off back-to-back G1 wins versus distaffers in France… She’s never faced the boys before but loves this trip and couldn’t possibly enter in better form…
  2. #2 Magical (5-2): 5yo Galileo mare was second in this event two years back, did not post last year when she tried her luck (without much luck) in the L’Arc de Triomphe… Has raced exclusively in G1 company this year, four of five against boys, and owns three wins and two other placings…
  3. 6 Lord North (8-1): Will Dettori get to do his patented flying dismount? He’ll need this guy to run a big one… He won a G1 earlier this year but has finished behind Magical in last two…
  4. #7 United (8-1): Richard Mandella trainee has mostly beaten up on West Coast turfers this year and enters off a front-running score in the G2 John Henry at Santa Anita… Just missed versus Bricks and Mortar in this race a year ago…

BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC

TED BLACKJOHN PIASSEKDERBY BILL WATSONGARY QUILLLINDA DOUGHERTYNICK HAHN
2 – Tiz the Law (NY)8 – Improbable (KY)2 – Tiz the Law (NY)4 – Tom’s d’Etat (KY)4 – Tom’s d’Etat (KY)2 – Tiz the Law (NY)
8 – Improbable (KY)9 – Authentic (KY)8 – Improbable (KY)8 – Improbable (KY)10 – Maximum Security (KY)10 – Maximum Security (KY)
9 – Authentic (KY)2 – Tiz the Law (NY)6 – Higher Power (KY)7 – Global Campaign (KY)2 – Tiz the Law (NY)3 – By My Standards (KY)]
3 – By My Standards (KY)]4 – Tom’s d’Etat (KY)10 – Maximum Security (KY)1 – Tacitus (KY)8 – Improbable (KY)8 – Improbable (KY)
  • The autumn of King Leatherbury
    Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury, fifth on the all-time wins list, is down to one owner and four horses — but no complaints.

The big one probably comes down to three runners, our ‘cappers say, and they don’t think you can fight the law. Tiz the Law should be — like Nixon — tan, rested, and ready after bypassing the Preakness to point to this contest. He’s only lost twice, and both of those defeats came at Churchill Downs.

If not? Watch out for the battalion of Bob Baffert trainees. The consensus:

  1. #2 Tiz the Law (3-1): Sophomore Constitution colt was the heaviest Kentucky Derby favorite in decades but couldn’t get past Authentic, who then was unable to get past the filly Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness… Plenty of talent and plenty of success at the 10-furlong trip… He’s also got plenty of rest, and there’s plenty of reason to think he fires a big shot today….
  2. #8 Improbable (5-2): Has won three consecutive Grade 1 events by open lengths, thrashing Maximum Security, By My Standards, Tom’s D’Etat, and Higher Power in the process — they’re all here today… Tactical enough to work out a good trip, either pressing the pace or sitting back and letting the speedsters duke it out early…
  3. #4 Tom’s d’Etat (6-1): This guy beat Improbable in the Oaklawn Mile and crushed By My Standards in the G2 Stephen Foster but stumbled leaving the gate in the G1 Whitney and couldn’t overcome the sluggish early pace in front of him… Has fired fresh before and owns a decisive win over the strip… May offer value if bettors hold his troubled third last out against him…
  4. #10 Maximum Securiiy (7-2): A well-beaten third behind Improbable last out when close to a sharp early pace, and the suspicion is that he’s an inch not as good as he was under trainer Jason Servis, who’s under indictment… Figures to be involved early…

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