by Tom Carley
This week’s BABYTALK will finally focus in depth on making selections. This is the week of the Breeder’s Cup Thoroughbred Championships and there are four races for babies (i.e. 2 year olds). I think as a prelude to our Horse Racing 101 class, I would handicap each of these races for you.
This week’s Featured Four will obviously focus on the four Breeder’s Cup 2 year old races. You can review this information and then follow the races Friday & Saturday to see how the specific traits I look for when I handicap play a role in how the race is run.
6th Race Friday Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf 1 mile
This race is for 2 year olds that will be contested at 1 mile. European horses typically have an advantage over American horses on turf due to the greater number of turf races held in Europe. However, it should be noted that European horses like a softer grass surface due to the rainy climate found in most of Europe. However, the California turf course at Santa Anita sees little rain so this produces a harder turf course. Therefore, many of the better European horses stay at home and this advantage is negated. Horses rarely win this race in a “gate to wire” fashion as the horses on grass are typically bunched closer together throughout the race and then have one sprint to the finish.
An analysis by each horse follows:
1. WET SAIL This is a English horse that makes his first start in the United States. On first glance, this horse has never run father than 3/4 of a mile. However, his father was a very established distance horse and his offspring have an average winning distance of almost a mile. His mother’s foals average winning distance is over 1 mile. My concern for this one is that he does not appear to have a quick enough foot to win a sprint home as is seen in a turf race.
2. DADDY D T This horse is a local horse that has run at Santa Anita, but has not run on the grass course at Santa Anita. Of the horse’s 3 starts this one has run on grass just once. The horse did win this race. The jockey has won 4 races in 64 races at the present meet. This horse likes to run from well off the pace and should get a decent pace today to run at. It will take a lot for this horse to win this race.
3.LUCK OF THE KITTEN This horse is out of sire named Kitten’s Joy whose offspring run very well on grass. This horse has made all four of his races on grass and has won 2 and finished second twice. What I also like about this horse is that he raced at Kentucky Downs (a European style grass track) two races back and then came back and won a minor stakes race at today’s distance on today’s track. He is a speed horse that likes to run on the lead. Because so many horses in this race have that style, it will be very difficult for this one to win.
4. COMMEMORATIVE This horse is from England. He has run twice at the 1 mile distance and won both races. If you read the comments, he has won from both on the front end and from coming from 7th place. This should help him today. He also is a February foal which means he has extra months of development in comparison to many of his rivals. A contender.
5. HOOTENANNY This horse like to run on the front end. He has won in both the USA & England. I like this horse, but I do think his morning line odds of 3 to 1 are a little short. I worry that on the front end, he will have a lot of rivals make him work very hard to get the win. He has never ran today’s distance of 1 mile.
6. CONQUEST TYPHOON This Canadian horse has won a Grade II race on grass in Canada. The horse came back and tried a longer distance on poly track and finished second losing in the last 50 yards. A contender, but this horse’s best chance will be to lay slightly off of the lead.
7. WAR ENVOY This horse has run all over Europe (France, Great Britain & Ireland). He is trained by one of the world’s leading turf trainers. The knock on this horse is that he has won only 1 time in 7 career races. He has run on a harder surface, but has never run past 7/8 of a mile. He does get Lasix for the first time today. This one could be in the mix.
8. OFFERING PLAN This horse is from New York and has run twice on grass. He won his first race against state breds and had a rough trip in his next race finishing 3rd. I think this horse would need to make great improvement to contend today.
9. AKTABANTAY This horse appears to like softer ground than he will find in California. I think this horse will struggle with the surface and will not get the traction he needs to win.
10. STARTUP NATION This horse looked very impressive in his first 2 starts, winning both. However, in the Pilgrim the horse closed, but made up little on the winner. I fear he will again leave him with too much work to do.
11. IMPERIA This one has a win and a narrow loss. Even more impressive is the rough trips this horse had to overcome. The horse is bred to get the distance and gets Lasix for the second time. The trainer has a 23% win rate with Lasix second time. One you must consider.
12. INTERNATIONAL STAR This horse has run well in his last two races, both graded stakes. It should be noted this horse is 3 rd race off a layoff. This is a popular angle with handicappers. This horse has been improving with each start. I think this horse could have a big effort today.
13. LAWN RANGER Another horse that likes to run on the front end. After spotting the field 6 lengths in his first race and closing to run a close 2nd, he won his next two races from near the front. The last was a Grade III race. However, other horses have faster speed figures.
14. DANNY BOY This horse ran a close second to the #13 in the last race. This horse likes to close from back in the pack and this will benefit this horse better today.
Analysis: I think as many as 5 horses will try to get the lead. However, I think this horse will be won by a horse that will come from off the pace. Horses that fit this are #6, #10, #11 & #14. I also think the #7 horse will be close to the lead at the end of the race.
I would bet the 6 horse to win and the 14 horse to show.
8th Race Friday Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf 1 Mile
This is the counter part to the race I just analyzed for the boys. It is the same distance, but entries are limited to girls. I will look for similar things in this race that I did in the turf race for the boys.
1. PARTISAN POLITICS A New York horse who has won once in three turf starts. The horse had a great effort in her second race. The jockey is a great turf rider. This one likes to come from the back of the pack and that style might fit in here.
2. OSAILA This European horse has never raced a mile. She has won 3 races in 6 starts and gets reunited with Franki Detori today. This horse has run two times against the boys. This is one to consider.
3. SUNSET GLOW This horse has taken an interesting path to get here. She ran twice in the USA, then went to England, then twice back in the USA. 3 wins and 2 seconds in 5 starts. This horse can run from the front or charge from mid pack. One that will be on my ticket.
4. LADY ELI Another from the strong Chad Brown barn. This one rates in the middle of the pack and then tries to outkick the other horses as they approach the wire.
5. ISABELLA SINGS This horse likes to race from the front of the pack. A tough way to race against these.
6. SIVOLIERE A French horse who makes her first start stateside in the barn of Chad Brown. This horse has not race for 2 months and only shows fair works at Belmont.
7 RAINHA DA BATERIA This horse rebounded from a poor second effort to circle the field and win a graded stakes race at Keeneland. Hard to feel this one has enough speed to keep up with these.
8. NICKY’S BROWN MISS This horse has slowly been increasing the distance she has raced. Throw out the last race as she hit the gate at the start and it effected her race. Has only won once in 6 starts and today will not make 2.
9. LADY ZURU Hall of Famer Wayne Lukas ran tried graded company two back and finished a distant 6th. She then got class relief and won a maiden race. Appears overmatched.
10. QUALITY ROCKS One that likes to run from the front end. There are some things that I like about this one and you will get high odds.
11. SHE’S COMPLETE This horse began her career in Ireland with a second and fourth place finish. Then came to the USA and inexplicably ran on poly before winning and running second in her last 2 starts on the grass.
12. CONQUEST HARLANATE This horse has a record of wining after spotting the field some ground. That style should help here. I like this one a lot.
13. TAMMY THE TORPEDO Could be the strongest of the Chad Brown entries. Had a great work at Belmont this week.
14. PRIZE EXHIBIT Most experienced entrant with 8 races. However, only 2 wins.
Analysis: The pace will be fast, just like the male turf race. I think a horse that can come off the pace has a real advantage.
Win bet on Conquest Harlanate
The entire process of analyzing horses is only summarized above. Between now and next May when they run the Kentucky Derby, I will teach you many tools people use to pick a winner including speed figures, class ratings, and the importance of pace.
There are two 2 year old races on Saturday. These are run on dirt and are run at 1 1/16 miles. Please keep in mind that Lasix is not allowed in the 2 year old dirt races. This should give an advantage to those horses that have raced without the drug.
4th Race Saturday Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies
This race will feature a very heavy favorite in #2 Angela Renee. She won very impressively in her last race at the distance over the course. The connections shipped her to California for a prep race over the track. It is difficult for me to believe in this field that one horse is such a clear cut favorite. I looked at the #1 horse and believe that she did not like the mud in her last race. I also feel that the #4 Conquest Eclipse has improved since a slight vacation and move out west. Look at the 8, who broke her maiden in her 3 rd career race, but did it by 19 lengths.
My pick in here will be the 10. This horse broke her maiden by 14 lengths in July, then finished a hard luck 3rd behind favorite Angela Renee. After a 60 day break, she ran a strong 2nd in the Frizette stakes. I like the change in jockey and the fact the barn had 2 7 furlong works followed by consecutive 6 furlong works.
8th Race Saturday Breeder’s Cup Juvenile
This race today was changed with the announcement that American Pharoh will be scratched. There are two other clear cut favorites in Daredevil & Carpe Diem. Both of these Both of these come in with strong Graded stakes victories in their preps. Both of these horses like to run near the lead. I think that there will be 4 horses that want the lead and that will make it difficult for a horse to win on the front end.
A couple of horses I like to upset are:
#13 Upstart This New York horse was a step slow in the Champaign won by Daredevil. What jumps off the page at me is that the barn has 21 mile works for this horse. This is “old school” training and is how stamina is built. This horse will rate today and that stamina could be enough to get him over the wire.
#14 War Envoy This horse is cross entered in the turf. He has won only 1 of 7, however if the connections opt for dirt instead of turf he is one to be reckoned with. If he scratches look at stable mate #4 The Great War. This horse put it all together in his last race. The horse has not raced on dirt.
Good luck. Next week’s column will wrap up Breeder’s Cup coverage and focus on what the horses did right that won and did wrong that lost. This day is also the first clues to solving the 2015 Kentucky Derby puzzle.