Breeders' Cup 2021: Top Picks, Analysis for Friday Races

Breeders' Cup 2021: Top Picks, Analysis for Friday Races
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The wait is over, sports betting enthusiasts, the Breeders' Cup begins today.

Last year, the event was bittersweet because it was held at Keeneland without any fans out of an abundance of caution because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time around, old Del Mar in sunny SoCal will be packed with exuberant racing enthusiasts.

There will be a five-race undercard today before the first Breeders’ Cup race. The approximate post time for the initial BC race is 2:50 p.m. Pacific Time. Race 4 is the first Breeders’ Cup race on Saturday, and the estimated post time is 12:05 p.m. PT.

You can place your wagers legally at the FanDuel Sportsbook sites, and in fact, FanDuel and TVG are the official Wagering Partners of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Breeders’ Cup Races on Friday, Odds

Updated Nov. 5.

The first day is devoted to the juvenile races, and in the horse racing world, a juvenile is a two-year-old horse. Since they are so young, they are still developing, so you have to consider this when you are handicapping the races.

Since the Breeders’ Cup is such a high-profile event, it attracts unsophisticated bettors that are drawn into the spectacle. This plays into the hands of savvy handicappers who can see underlying angles.

When we handicap these races, we look for potential overlays, and that is the key to success when you are betting the Breeders’ Cup (or any other race for that matter). At the same time, we are not afraid to support a favorite under the right circumstances.

Race 6

  • Post Time: 2:50 p.m. PT
  • The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Grade II)
  • Our Pick: No. 8 Averly Jane (5-2)

A total of 12 horses have drawn into the Juvenile Turf Sprint, and half of them are coming over from Europe. This is a five-furlong race, and they are competing for a $1 million purse.

In the kick-off event, we like Wesley Ward trainee Averly Jane. This filly ran a Keeneland track record 1:02 3/5 for 5 furlongs on Oct. 1, when she won the Speakeasy geared down by 3 lengths.

It is a filly running against the boys, so she will get a three-pound weight break with Tyler Gafflione in the saddle. She is the morning line favorite at 5-2, but there is reasonable value there in this spot.

When a two-year-old filly breaks a course record in her first race on turf, you have to take notice, and they have her to beat on Friday.

Post positions

1. Twilight Jet (IRE)Leigh Roche15-1
2. KaufymakerJose Ortiz12-1
3. Go Bears Go (IRE)John Velazquez15-1
4. Vertiginous (IRE)Javier Castellano20-1
5. Hierarchy (IRE)Oisin Murphy12-1
6. Twilight Gleaming (IRE)Irad Ortiz, Jr.4-1
7. Armor (GB)Ryan Moore6-1
8. Averly JaneTyler Gaffalione5-2
9. One TimerE.T. Baird4-1
10. Time to PartyFlavien Prat15-1
11. DerrynaneJoel Rosario12-1
12. Run Curtis RunLuis Saez20-1
13. Thunder Love (GB)John Velazquez30-1
14. SumterJoel Rosario30-1

Race 7

  • Post Time: 3:30 p.m. PT
  • The NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade I)
  • Our Pick: No. 2 Hidden Connection (5-2)

Six horses are entered in this race because everyone is afraid of Echo Zulu, and who can blame them? This daughter of Gun Runner has easily won each of her three races with Beyer Speed Figures of 92, 90 and 90. No other horse in the race has registered a Beyer in the 90s.

She is 4-5 in the morning line, and it will probably get lower. Echo Zulu is the most likely winner, but we think that there is more value in a horse betting wager on Hidden Connection.

This filly is coming off a 9 1/4 length score in the Grade III Pocahontas at Churchill Downs, and she broke her maiden by over 7 lengths. Echo Zulu is a formidable foe, but if Hidden Connection can improve on the 87 Beyer she earned in her last race, she’s got a legit shot.

Post positions

1. Desert DawnRicardo Gonzalez20-1
2. Hidden ConnectionReylu Gutierrez5-2
3. SequistJunior Alvarado15-1
4. TarabiJavier Castellano12-1
5. Juju's MapFlorent Geroux5-2
6. Echo ZuluJoel Rosario4-5

Race 8

  • Post Time: 4:10 p.m. PT
  • The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade I)
  • Our Pick: No. 9 Koala Princess (8-1)

There is a big 14-horse field in this spot (though there could be scratches), so horses that are drawn outside are going to be up against it. We like Koala Princess at odds of 8-1 because of the early speed that she flashed while breaking her maiden in the first of her two starts.

They say that “pace makes the race,” and there’s not a whole lot of early speed in this one. Koala Princess closed from off the pace in her Ainsworth Stakes victory at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 25, but she won her first race in wire-to-wire fashion in a 10-horse field.

She has never run longer than 6 1/2 furlongs, but she is by More Than Ready, who has been the 5th best turf sire in North America in 2021. After winning the one-mile Thunder Road Stakes in February, her half-brother Hit the Road won the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes in March of this year.

There is no reason to believe Koala Princess will not be able to get the mile distance here, and we love the juicy morning line odds.

Post positions

1. Pizza BiancaJose Ortiz5-1
2. Cairo MemoriesKent Desormeaux12-1
3. Cachet (IRE)Luis Saez12-1
4. TurnerlooseFlorent Geroux12-1
5. Bubble RockIrad Ortiz, Jr.8-1
6. Hello You (IRE)John Velazquez10-1
7. Consumer SpendingFlavien Prat8-1
8. Sail ByJunior Alvarado20-1
9. Koala PrincessJoel Rosario6-1
10. Helens Well (IRE)Umberto Rispoli30-1
11. HaughtyTyler Gaffalione10-1
12. Malavath (IRE)Ryan Moore8-1
13. Mise En Scene (GB)Oisin Murphy6-1
14. California AngelRafael Bejarano8-1

Race 9

  • Post Time: 4:50 p.m. PT
  • The TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade 1)
  • Our Pick: No. 12 Corniche (5-2)

Speedway Stables put up a cool $1.5 million to buy Corniche at the September 2020 Keeneland sale. His other connections are two Hall of Famers: trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith.

He posted a 98 Beyer in his first start, which was a 4 1/4 length maiden score at Delmar on Sept. 4, and he crushed the field in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita about a month later.

Corniche will break from the far outside in a 12-horse field, but he has enough speed to clear them before he loses too much ground. His main competitor is Jack Christopher, the morning line favorite at 9-5, and he drew the inside post.

This Chad Brown charge earned a 102 Beyer for his winning performance in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 21, and he is 2-2, just like Corniche.

In this type of situation, we like to look for the best value. These horses are all eligible to improve, and there are racing luck factors that no one can predict. If we can get 5-2 on a seven-figure purchase trained by Baffert, we’ll call it a bargain and hope for the best.

Post positions

1. Jack ChristopherJose Ortiz9-5
2. Jasper GreatYuichi Fukunaga15-1
3. Oviatt ClassKent Desormeaux20-1
4. PappacapJoe Bravo15-1
5. Double ThunderFlavien Prat20-1
6. American SanctuaryFlorent Geroux30-1
7. Giant GameJoseph Talamo30-1
8. BarossaJuan Hernandez10-1
9. PinehurstJohn Velazquez8-1
10. CommandperformanceIrad Ortiz, Jr.5-1
11. Tough to TameSophie Doyle30-1
12. CornicheMike Smith5-2

Race 10

  • Post Time: 5:30 p.m. PT
  • The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade I)
  • Our Pick: No. 1 Modern Games (5-1)

We are going to go with Irish-bred Modern Games in the Juvenile Turf. He is trained by red-hot European conditioner Charlie Appleby, who has trained multiple winners of Grade I races in North America this year. Top European jock William Buick takes the mount.

In his last race, the Somerville Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse in Great Britain, Modern Games posted a 102 Timeform Rating. This would convert to a 91 Beyer, and that’s better than any of the American horses.

Dubawi Legend is another horse out of Ireland that would be the top pick, but he has drawn the 14th post. It’s difficult to overcome that disadvantage, so we have to give the nod to Modern Games.

Stay Tuned for Breeders’ Cup Saturday Big Money Picks!

These are our conservative win selections for Day 1, but we also like to take some calculated risks that could deliver beaucoup bucks.

Tomorrow, we will share our big money bets for Saturday, and we feel good about some horizontal wagers that may yield four or five-figure returns.

Post positions

1. Modern Games (IRE)William Buick5-1
2. Albahr (GB)Lanfranco Dettori6-1
3. Dakota GoldLuis Saez8-1
4. Tiz the BombBrian Hernandez, Jr.8-1
5. SlipstreamJoel Rosario12-1
6. MackinnonJuan Hernandez8-1
7. Great Max (IRE)John Velazquez20-1
8. Glounthaune (IRE)Ryan Moore12-1
9. Stolen BaseUmberto Rispoli20-1
10. Portfolio CompanyFlavien Prat6-1
11. Grafton StreetTyler Gaffalione15-1
12. CredibilityMike Smith30-1
13. CoinageFlorent Geroux15-1
14. Dubawi Legend (IRE)James Doyle4-1
15. Ready to PurrformIrad Ortiz, Jr.20-1
16. Detroit CityJose Lezcano30-1