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

Breeders' Cup 2021: Top Picks, Analysis for Saturday Races
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The Breeders’ Cup main events run on today at Del Mar. All the big names in horse racing will be there and today, we look at the races with an eye on a huge payday, and there is a lot of money to be won.

Updated Nov. 6

Race 4 is the first Breeders’ Cup event on the 12-race card. It is scheduled to start at 12:05 p.m. PT, and it kicks off the early Pick 4. There will be a total of nine BC races run today, and the finale is the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic that is scheduled to go off at about 5:40 p.m. PT.

We’re here to help you figure out what to bet, but you also have to know where to bet, and FanDuel Racing is the official Breeders’ Cup wagering partner. FanDuel owns the TVG horse racing network as well, and you can bet the Breeders’ Cup legally through FanDuel in 24 states.

If you are new, you can take advantage of the sign-up bonus to boost your bankroll just in time for racing’s biggest weekend.

Horizontal wagering is the best way to make a significant score at the racetrack. For the uninitiated, you pick the winner in a string of consecutive races. There are Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6 horizontal bets.

That can seem like an impossible task, but you can select more than one horse to win each race. Of course, the ticket gets more expensive as you keep adding horses. The goal is to have sufficient coverage at a relatively affordable price.

We are going to start with our recommended early Pick 4 ticket, which will span from race 4 through race 7.

  • $0.50 Pick 4 Selections
  • 5,6/1,2,6/1,3,5/4,6,7,8,12
  • $45

Race 4: The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (Grade I)

The first race in the sequence is the Filly and Mare Sprint, and they will go seven furlongs on the dirt. Sometimes the makeup of the field will tell you how to approach it from a horse race betting perspective, and this is a prime example.

There is a small six-horse field, and the incredible Gamine is the 3-5 morning-line favorite. This four-year-old has won nine of her 10 lifetime races, including five Grade I stakes.

Bella Sofia is the second choice at 5-2, and she has four wins and one second-place finish in five starts. Gamine has run a 110 Beyer Speed Figure twice, and Bella Sofia’s best is a 102. No other entrant has broken three figures, so this appears to be a two-horse race at best.

There is no real money to be made in the vertical pools (win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and superfecta) if race is run true to form. This is why a Pick 4 makes the most sense for this sequence.

Some people will single Gamine on their Pick 4 tickets, but we will include Bella Sofia, numbers 5 and 6, respectively.

Post positions

1. Proud EmmaFlavien Prat20-1
2. Estilo TalentosoJose Ortiz12-1
3. EdgewayJoel Rosario12-1
4. Ce CeVictor Espinoza4-1
5. GamineJohn Velazquez3-5
6. Bella SofiaLuis Saez5-2

Race 5: The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1)

This five-furlong dash is a race with a completely different profile. There is a robust 12 horse field, and there is no real clear-cut favorite from our perspective. One of the wildcards is that there are three very fast European shippers, and we don’t know as much about them.

Timeform Ratings are the speed figures that are used across the drink, and they can be converted to approximate Beyer Speed Figures. Glass Slippers, Emaraaty Ana and A Case of You have all registered converted Timeform numbers that are higher than the top Beyers in the field.

Wesley Ward charge Golden Pal is the 7-2 morning line favorite, and he has won two graded stakes races and four of seven overall. However, he finished seventh, 3 1/2 lengths behind Emaraaty Ana in the Group I Wooton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes on Aug. 21 of this year.

We think the three European horses are the class of the race, so we will put the numbers 1, 2 and 6 on our Pick 4 ticket.

Post positions

1. Glass Slippers (GB)Tom Eaves6-1
2. Emaraaty Ana (GB)Andrea Atzeni5-1
3. Golden PalIrad Ortiz Jr.7-2
4. Lieutenant DanGeovanni Franco6-1
5. Arrest Me RedJohn Velazquez12-1
6. A Case of You (IRE)R Whelan8-1
7. Charmaine's MiaFlavien Prat30-1
8. CaravelJose Ortiz20-1
9. KimariJoel Rosario6-1
10. Gear JockeyJose Lezcano5-1
11. Fast BoatTyler Gaffalione12-1
12. Extravagant KidRyan Moore12-1

Race 6: Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1)

The Dirt Mile goes through Life Is Good, who will be saddled by 11-time Breeders’ Cup winner Todd Pletcher. This speedy colt has been on the lead at every call in all of his five races, with the exception of his runner-up finish in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes back in August.

Ginobli is trained by Southern California conditioner Richard Baltas, and he has stated that this Munnings colt is training extremely well. He will be on the ticket at 4-1, and we will also add Silver State, a Steve Asmussen trainee that will be rolling late.

Post positions

1. Silver StateRicardo Santana, Jr.7-2
2. PingxiangYuga Kawada12-1
3. GinobiliDrayden Van Dyke4-1
4. Jasper PrinceYuichi Fukunaga30-1
5. Life Is GoodIrad Ortiz Jr.4-5
6. RestrainedvengenceEdwin Maldonado20-1
7. Snapper SinclairJoel Rosario12-1
8. Eight RingsJuan Hernandez10-1

Race 7: The Makers Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (Grade 1)

This is the money leg of the early Pick 4, and we will have a good bit of coverage because there are several serious contenders. Loves Only You is a Japanese-bred five-year-old mare that has won over $5.4 million, so we will use her.

War Like Goddess is an English Channel filly purchased for $30,000, and she has won six of her seven races, banking $713,000 in the process. She is the tepid morning line favorite at 7-2, and she will be on our ticket as well.

Rougir was bred in France, and she is coming off a rousing score in the Group I Prix de l’Opera Longines at Longchamp. She will be included, and Audarya is another French shipper that is a must-use. Four-year-old Irish filly Love will round out our early Pick 4 ticket.

  • $0.20 Pick 6 (Races 7 through 12)
  • 4,6,7,8,12/2/3,6,11/3,6 /3,7,11,13/3,4,5,8
  • $96

The Pick 6 is tough to hit, but the payouts can be very significant. Traditionally, the minimum betting increment has been $2, and this can generate huge returns. At the same time, you have to dig deep into your pocket to pay for a ticket with a reasonable amount of coverage.

Since this bet is quite expensive, many people will steer clear of the $2 Pick 6, so some tracks started offering a $0.20 Pick 6. Del Mar has opted for this approach, and we will take a shot at it because a lot of money will be on the table.

Race 7 is the last leg of the early BC Pick 4, and it is also the first leg of the Pick 6, so we will use the same five horses on our Pick 6 ticket. This one is going to be a bit more expensive, but the potential return justifies the investment.

Post positions

1. Going to VegasUmberto Rispoli12-1
2. Pocket Square (GB)Irad Ortiz Jr.15-1
3. Acanella (GB)Colin Keane12-1
4. Rougir (FR)Maxime Guyon6-1
5. Queen Supreme (IRE)James Doyle20-1
6. Love (IRE)Ryan Moore4-1
7. War Like GoddessJulien Leparoux7-2
8. Loves Only You (JPN)Yuga Kawada4-1
9. My Sister Nat (FR)Jose Ortiz15-1
10. Ocean Road (IRE)Oisin Murphy20-1
11. DogtagFlavien Prat30-1
12. Audarya (FR)William Buick5-1

Race 8: The Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade I)

Jackie’s Warrior is the horse to beat in the Sprint, and he is 6-5 in the morning line. His top two Beyers are the highest in the field, and they were earned in his last two starts, so he is at the peak of his form cycle.

This is called a double Beyer advantage, and it yields a 70-80% win percentage in general, but it is more significant in a race of this magnitude.

His time for this distance in his last race was almost a full second faster than the time posted by second choice, Dr. Schivel, in his most recent effort.

We are going to take a shot and single Jackie’s Warrior in this leg because you have to look for at least one single in a Pick 6 to keep the price of the ticket manageable.

Post positions

1. Following SeaJohn Velazquez6-1
2. Jackie's WarriorJoel Rosario6-5
3. C Z RocketFlorent Geroux12-1
4. Matera SkyYuga Kawada20-1
5. Aloha WestJose Ortiz8-1
6. Firenze FireTyler Gaffalione10-1
7. LexitonianJose Lezcano20-1
8. Special ReserveIrad Ortiz, Jr.6-1
9. Dr. SchivelFlavien Prat4-1

Race 9: FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile (Grade I)

European rider William Buick will pilot Irish-bred Space Blues for red-hot British trainer Charlie Appleby. The five-year-old posted a career-best 124 Timeform Rating in his last outing, a win in the Group I Qatar Prix de la Foret in Paris.

He is the morning line favorite at 3-1, and he will be included on our ticket, but he has never gone longer than 7 furlongs. Mo Forza is a Peter Miller trainee that is on a four-race Grade II winning streak with master strategist Flavien Prat in the irons, and he will be added as well.

Blowout and Smooth Like Strait will probably be dueling on the lead, and this bodes well for our top two choices, and we think Got Stormy (11-1 M/L) may get the perfect stalking trip, so he’s on the ticket.

Post positions

1. Master Of The SeasJames Doyle12-1
2. Smooth Like StraitUmberto Rispoli10-1
3. Space BluesWilliam Buick3-1
4. Raging BullIrad Ortiz Jr.15-1
5. Vin De GardeYuichi Fukunaga20-1
6. Mo ForzaFlavien Prat5-1
7. In LoveAlex Achard8-1
8. Hit the RoadJohn Velazquez15-1
9. Mother EarthRayn Moore8-1
10. BlowoutJoel Rosario8-1
11. Got StormyTyler Gaffalione10-1
12. Pearls GaloreWilliam Lee12-1
13. Casa CreedJunior Alvarado15-1
14. IvarJoseph Talamo12-1

Race 10: The Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Grade I)

Letruska’s record jumps off the page. She has won four Grade I races and a Grade II in her last five starts, and she earned a triple-digit Beyer in all of them. She is on the shortlist for Horse of the Year, and deservedly so.

She could be a single, but Malathaat is a potential disruptor. This $1.05 million September 2019 Keeneland purchase is a three-year-old running against older horses, but that isn’t much of a factor this late in the season.

Malathaat hasn’t raced since her victory in the Grade I Alabama in August, so she will be well-rested, and she may take a step forward as her sophomore campaign ends. She has trained well for Pletcher, so we will put her on our Pick 6 ticket.

Post positions

1. Private MissionFlavien Prat8-1
2. Royal FlagJoel Rosario8-1
3. MalathaatJohn Velazquez4-1
4. Blue Stripe (ARG)Lanfranco Dettori30-1
5. ClairiereRicardo Santana, Jr.12-1
6. LetruskaIrad Ortiz Jr.8-5
7. HorologistJunior Alvarado30-1
8. ShedaresthedevilFlorent Geroux4-1
9. As Time Goes ByLuis Saez15-1
10. Marche Lorraine (JPN)Oisin Murphy30-1
11. Dunbar RoadJose Ortiz15-1

Race 11: The Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade I)

Irish-bred Tarnawa is trained by top conditioner Dermot Weld, and she was won over $4.4 million over her 17-race career. She won this race last year, and Tarnawa is the 9-5 morning line favorite this time around.

We will also use Domestic Spending, which will be stretching out to this distance for the first time. Walton Street is another Charlie Appleby trainee that is coming off a smashing Group I score at Woodbine in Toronto, and this seven-year-old gelding has a shot as well.

Gufo won the Grade I Sword Dancer at this distance on Aug. 28 with a 104 Beyer, so he will complete our picks for the penultimate leg.

Post positions

1. Rockemperor (IRE)Javier Castellano15-1
2. UnitedJohn Velazquez20-1
3. Domestic Spending (GB)Flavien Prat4-1
4. AstronautVictor Espinoza20-1
5. Tribhuvan (FR)Jose Ortiz20-1
6. AcclimateRicardo Gonzalez20-1
7. Walton Street (GB)James Doyle8-1
8. Broome (IRE)Lanfranco Dettori20-1
9. Sisfahan (FR)Cristian Demuro12-1
10. Yibir (GB)William Buick12-1
11. GufoJoel Rosario8-1
12. Teona (IRE)David Egan6-1
13. Tarnawa (IRE)Colin Keane9-5
14. Japan (GB)Ryan Moore20-1

Race 12: The Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I)

Knicks Go is the top choice on the morning line at odds of 5-2, and this five-year-old son of Paynter has earned over $5.5 million. Essential Quality won the Belmont Stakes along with the Travers in his last start, so he has a big chance in here as the second choice at 3-1.

Hot Rod Charlie has been beaten by Essential Quality on two occasions, but he ran a career-best 111 Beyer in his September 25 Pennsylvania Derby win, so he is at the top of his game.

Medina Spirit, the controversial winner of the Kentucky Derby, will break outside the other speed in this race from the 8 hole. He has been underestimated before, and we are not going to leave him off the ticket.

Post positions

1. TripoliIrad Ortiz, Jr.15-1
2. Express TrainVictor Espinoza20-1
3. Hot Rod Charlie FlavienPrat4-1
4. Essential Quality LuisSaez3-1
5. Knicks GoJoel Rosario5-2
6. Art CollectorMike Smith8-1
7. Stilleto BoyKent Desormeaux30-1
8. Medina SpiritJohn Velazquez4-1
9. Max PlayerRicardo Santana, Jr.8-1