by Steve Byk
November 1, 2017
BAFFERT BRINGS 'ARRO' TO GUN FIGHT
Steve Byk At the Races SiriusXM
ANALYSIS: In a Breeders’ Cup crescendo that has been building all year, defending champion ARROGATE and relentlessly improving GUN RUNNER are set for an epic confrontation at Del Mar. Seemingly invincible after the first third of the year, ARROGATE’s summer tailspin demonstrated that his remarkable World Cup effort drained his tank. Supporters of the ’16 Horse of the Year know that Bob Baffert rebounded from a similar mishap with American Pharaoh in 2015 and should be heartened by the increasing vitality ARROGATE has displayed preparing for the Classic. GUN RUNNER meanwhile reached a new level of proficiency since the second in Dubai behind ARROGATE, with a trio of dominant Grade 1 wins at nine furlongs in the Clark (110 Beyer), Whitney (112) and Woodward (115). Any other winner besides the top pair will be a surprise.
MAIN CONTENDERS: After ARROGATE and GUN RUNNER, glossed over Pacific Classic winner COLLECTED, likely 3-Year-Old Champion, WEST COAST. Off nearly a year, COLLECTED has reached new heights and owns the notable win over the surface at the trip. WEST COAST on a five-race skein featuring ascending figs, is ‘this year’s sophomore model’ for Baffert and offers breakthrough upside.
VALUE PLAYS: Prices that offer intrigue for the lower rungs of exotics are the late runners like Travers runner-up GUNNEVERA and hard-trying multiple Grade 1-placed WIN THE SPACE. PAVEL figures to be another overlooked longshot worthy of inclusion.
WAGERING STRATEGY ($100)