Tag Archives: Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series

Wedding Toast Takes Ogden Phipps Stakes

Wedding Toast Takes Ogden Phipps Stakes

Wedding Toast cemented her place in the starting gate for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff if she is pointed to that race with her victory in the Ogden Phipps Stakes on Saturday. It was a gate-to-wire performance in a race that lacked a lot of pace.

Wedding Toast broke a step slow, but was able to rush up to the lead without too much effort. Princess Violet was second by a length in tandem with Shayjolie from the outside. In fourth on the rail was House Rules with Untapable in a good spot fifth just three lengths off the lead. Early on Rosalind was the trailer, but only four lengths behind the leader.

Wedding Toast did not face much pace pressure as she set fractions of 23.64 for the opening quarter and 46.62 for the opening half mile. The horses started to creep closer on the far turn with Untapable making a sweeping three wide move, but there was plenty of stamina left for Wedding Toast. She was able to run off and win by 5 lengths in the end.

Untapable held on for second by a short head over House Rules while Rosalind was fourth, but never seriously a threat to the top trio. Princess Violet was fifth and Shayjolie finished last of six. The entire chart can be found here via Equibase.

Wedding Toast is a five year old mare by Street Sense out of the Coronado’s Quest mare Golden Sheba. She ran the one mile and one sixteenth over a fast dirt track in 1:40.21. She paid $6.30 to win and $2.80 to place.

There is another Breeders’ Cup Challenge race on Saturday with the Metropolitan Handicap also at Belmont.

2015 Ogden Phipps Stakes Preview

2015 Ogden Phipps Stakes Preview

The Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In series. The winner of the Ogden Phipps will have a guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

A compact field of six horses will run in this race headlined by Untapable. The field of six will be going one mile and one sixteenth over the main track at Belmont, which will be around one turn. The purse for this race is $1,000,000.

Post time for the Ogden Phipps is scheduled for 1:52 PM Eastern Time and is carded as the fifth of 13 races on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Free past performances can be found here.

Analysis

1. Rosalind (12-1 Morning Line) – She has run six straight races on turf coming into the one mile dirt event. He last dirt race was the 2014 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks won by Untapable where Rosalind finished fourth by 11 lengths that day. Her overall record on dirt is 0 for 4 with three third place finishes. This is a very precarious spot for her and she will be up against it given her dirt record.

2. Wedding Toast (4-1 ML) – She exits the Grade 2 Ruffian Stakes here at Belmont where she won by 4 lengths over fellow entrants Princess Violet and House Rules. She is a versatile horse that can either stalk right off the lead or press a slow pace, which makes her dangerous. In addition, she loves Belmont with four starts, three wins, and a second. She is a viable alternative if you are looking to beat the extremely heavy favorite.

3. House Rules (12-1 ML) – As mentioned above, she ran third in the Grade 2 Ruffian Stakes but she did win the Grade 3 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct on April 11. Her form is quite interesting in the last 10 races as she has usually alternated wins in every other start (exception was a two-race winning streak in January and February of this year). Her Belmont record is uninspiring (4 starts with only a third place finish) and she just seems a cut below the best in here.

4. Untapable (2-5 ML) – She was a very dominant three year old filly in 2014 winning races with ease against her own sex. She finished 5th in the Grade 1 Haskell against boys, but she came back to end the season with victories in the Grade 1 Cotillion and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Her 2015 campaign started with a second place finish by half a length in the Grade 2 Azeri and then she rebounded to win the Grade 1 Apple Blossom by 2 1/2 lengths in her second start. She is unraced since April 10, but she is squarely the one to beat.

5. Princess Violet (8-1 ML) – She was second last out in the Grade 2 Ruffian Stakes, but previously won the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland by half a length two starts back. She has been in good form since her 7th place finish in the Grade 2 Prioress at Saratoga in 2014. She has run first or second in six straight races and in five races here at Belmont she has won three races and finished second the other two. She is an interesting longshot here in a small field.

6. Shayjolie (20-1 ML) – The longest shot in the race comes out the Grade 2 Ruffian like several others in this race. She was fourth that day after sitting a perfect stalking trip. Given the competition here, she figures to be up against once more.

Selections

This race appears to not have a lot of value in it, but we will take a slight upset on top. #2 Wedding Toast appears to be the horse that will control the race, as there is hardly any speed in this race. #4 Untapable should be a few lengths behind her and will definitely be the one to fend off. For a bit of a price play underneath, we will go with #5 Princess Violet who may be able to round out the exacta if one of the top two choices fails to fire.

Top selection – #2 Wedding Toast

2nd selection – #4 Untapable

3rd selection – #5 Princess Violet

Check back on Saturday for a recap of the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps.

2015 Metropolitan Handicap Preview

2015 Metropolitan Handicap Preview

The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series gets underway in the United States on Saturday, June 6 with the Metropolitan Handicap, or as it is better known, the Met Mile.

The Met Mile will be run at one mile around one turn at Belmont Park. A field of 10 horses have been entered in this $1,250,000 race. The Grade 1 event is carded as the 9th race on the Belmont Stakes undercard with an approximate post time of 4:49 PM Eastern Time.

The winner of the Met Mile will have a guaranteed spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile that is to be held at Keeneland on October 30 and 31 later this year. Free past performances for the Met Mile can be found here.

Analysis

1. Private Zone (4-1 ML) – He has been very good since late 2014. After fourth place finish in his turf debut, he won the Grade 1 Vosburgh here at Belmont, was third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and won the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct by 5 lengths. In 2015, he just missed winning the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap and then easily won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes on Derby Day. From this spot at the rail, he will be gunning for the lead and saying catch me if you can. He is two for two at Belmont.

2. Bay of Plenty (20-1 ML) – After breaking his maiden in March 2014 by 7 1/4 lengths, he won a first level allowance race here at Belmont in May 2014 by 9 1/4 lengths. He came back in October to clear the second level allowance with a 2 3/4 lengths win. He ran second in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap before a six month break between races. He came back to win a third level allowance race and he has plenty of speed to burn. However, there is plenty of other speed for him to contend with here. It is worth noting that he is 3 for 3 at Belmont.

3. Noble Moon (30-1 ML) – He has seen plenty of graded stakes action since his two year campaign in 2013. He has struggled in nearly all of those graded stakes races including several large defeats behind some horses entered in here. He will have pace to run at in this spot, but here appears to be up against it here.

4. Tonalist (5-2 ML) – It was 364 days ago that Tonalist was winning the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes en route to denying California Chrome the Triple Crown. Since then he has two victories in five subsequent races including the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and his latest race in the Grade 3 Westchester. It is clear that he likes the Belmont surface with a perfect 4 for 4 record. He should have plenty of pace to run at and is a deserving favorite.

5. Tamarkuz (15-1 ML) – He has been racing in Dubai since 2014. His last four races have all resulted in victories including two Group 3 races and one Group 2 race. He will probably be racing midpack in this race and should be in a good spot. It is tough to get a read on him with his international form and is probably a cut below the best.

6. Wicked Strong (6-1 ML) – He was part of the 2014 Triple Crown chase with a duo of fourth place finishes in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. He ran well at Saratoga before he clipped heels in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup to end his 2014 campaign. His two starts in 2015 have left a lot to be desired with a fourth place finish in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap and Grade 3 Excelsior at Aqueduct. He will be able to come off the pace, but the question is whether he is good enough.

7. Bayern (7-2 ML) – After an incredible three year old year season capped off with a win the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2014, he ran a dud to start 2015. He broke poorly in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes and was no factor during the running of the race. He has worked well since then and had only 1 gate work in the immediate aftermath of the terrible seasonal debut. If he breaks well, he will have plenty of company on the lead.

8. Pants On Fire (15-1 ML) – He ran third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in 2014 before finishing third in the ungraded Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream. In 2015, he won his seasonal debut in the ungraded Sir Shackleton before finishing third behind Private Zone in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes. He too will be coming from behind and the ceiling appears to be an underneath finish in the trifecta or superfecta, but he will have good value.

9. Honor Code (6-1 ML) – He has run only one bad race in his career, but that just happened to be his latest race. On the Kentucky Oaks undercard, he ran fifth in the Grade 2 Alysheba and did not seem to fire with a moderate pace at best. He will be coming from out of the clouds here and he should have enough speed to set it up for him. His best value would be at no less than 5-1 given the large amount of ground he needs to cover.

10. Kobe’s Back (20-1 ML) – He came back from a 7 month break to finish second in the Grade 2 San Carlos in March before shipping East and running in the Grade 3 Commonwealth at Keeneland. In that race, he was able to come from off the pace to win by three quarters of a length. He has not run since then and is another that will be coming from way out of it. He seems to be an underneath horse at best.

Selections

This race is full of speed and closers so it should be easy to decipher, right? Well, not quite. #4 Tonalist is the morning line favorite and loves Belmont in addition to having the right running style. Beyond him, however, it is not clear. #8 Pants On Fire is an intriguing long shot to pick up the pieces and #9 Honor Code could bounce back from his poor effort last time out to possibly win or at least hit the exacta. #1 Private Zone has shown the ability to hang on for the win after setting a hot pace and could hang around to hit the board if he is passed. The wildcard in all this is #7 Bayern. If he breaks well it could be tough to beat him, but if he fails to break again he will probably not make an impact.

Top selection – #4 Tonalist

2nd selection – #9 Honor Code

3rd selection – #8 Pants On Fire

4th selection – #1 Private Zone

Check back on Saturday evening to see a recap of the Grade 1 Met Mile.