2013 Breeders Cup Turf – 1 1/2 Miles Turf (Race 9, Post Time: 3:22 Pacific Time)
1. Vagabond Shoes (IRE) (15-1) – He has really turned the corner since May of this year. In 3 graded stakes, he has not finished worse than 2nd and won the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap. He has never raced as far as this 1 1/2 mile journey and I think he needs to step it up big time to be considered a legitimate threat.
2. Teaks North (30-1) – He has run some big races in the past that has led to 2 Grade 1 Wins. He has raced at this distance 3 times and has failed to hit the board in any of those instances. There is no doubt he will be forwardly placed in this event, but he will need to dig deep to hang on. Pass on him here.
3. Twilight Eclipse (20-1) – He has run in 4 straight Grade 1 races with mixed results. He finished 2nd twice and also finished 5th twice. He does have a good record at 1 1/2 miles; from 4 starts he has 2 wins and a second place. While I do not think he will win, he can provide big value in the 3rd and 4th spot of the exotics.
4. Little Mike (6-1) – He won this race last year at 17-1. He started the year in Dubai where he failed to make an impact in two Group 1 races. He returned to the U.S. where he ran two subpar races in the Grade 1 United Nations (4th by 3 1/4 as the favorite) and Grade 1 Arlington Million (6th by 4 lengths). He returned to form last out in the Grade 1 Turf Classic Invitational where he won by a nose over Big Blue Kitten. Based on the last race he appears to be back in form. You cannot leave this guy out of the top spot.
5. Skyring (30-1) – If this race was at Pimlico, I would definitely consider him. However, this race is a Santa Anita and he does not do well against the top horses in this class. Look for him early, but don’t hold your breath for him at the wire with the leaders.
6. Tale of a Champion (30-1) – He ran in the Turf Sprint last year where he finished 8th. He ran a huge race in the Grade 2 Charlie Whitingham Handicap where he won by a length at 10-1. His latest race in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Cup was poor to say the least. He was beaten 9 1/2 lengths, finishing 10th of 12. He has not raced this far in his career and it is tough to see him upsetting this field.
7. The Fugue (GB) (3-1) – She is the lone filly in this field and that will not be a problem for her. She has won multiple Group 1 races in Europe and raced in the 2012 Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf. She finished 3rd that day by 1 1/4. She comes into this race with a 2 race win streak (both Group 1 races) and is the European standout for this field. Do not leave her out.
8. Point of Entry (4-1) – What a great story this would be if he won. He suffered a leg fracture in one of his hind legs in June and has not raced since. He has trained well leading up to the race, but as always, fitness is a concern off the layoff. He raced in this event last year where he finished 2nd by a half-length to Little Mike. He is the best American horse in the event and if he’s ready, he will have a big say. I am going to play against him here because of the layoff.
9. Indy Point (ARG) (9-2) – He started his career in Argentina and won 2 Group 1 stakes on both Dirt and Turf. His first start in the U.S. was very good as he won the Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar. He then tried the Grade 1 Arlington Million but failed badly finishing last of 13. Last out he ran in and won the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Cup at 1 1/4 miles. I am going to take a stand against him after the performance he had against top Turf competition in the Million.
10. Big Blue Kitten (6-1) – He has had a really good 2013 with 4 wins from 7 starts, never missing the board, and producing over $900,000 in earnings. He just missed out on a third straight Grade 1 race last out when he finished 2nd by a nose to Little Mike in the Turf Classic Invitational. He will be closing in the stretch and he should have the pace to run at. I really like his chances.
11. Magician (IRE) (8-1) – He has not raced since a last place finish in the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes at Ascot in June. Prior to that race, he won a Group 1 in Ireland going a mile and also won a Group 3 in Great Britain going 1 5/16 Miles. While he has never raced this far, his pedigree says that will not be an issue. Based on his comments line, it appears he will be forwardly placed. I don’t doubt his talent, I just think others are more likely here.
12. Real Solution (8-1) – Started his career in Italy where he won 3 of his 5 starts. He has run very well in his 4 U.S. starts which includes three straight Grade 1 Races. He won the Arlington Million after a disqualification to The Apache and then followed that up with a 3rd place in the Turf Classic Invitational behind Little Mike and Big Blue Kitten. I think he is most likley to finish underneath in the exotics.
I will play the 4-7-10 on top over the 4-8-10-11-12 in the straight race exotics. To me, the winner will come from the 4, 7, or 10 and those are the ones that I will use in multi-race exotics.