October 26, 2018
'CRUISER NEEDS ANOTHER GEAR?
by Frank Carulli, Xpressbet
ANALYSIS: Favorites are 11: 2-0-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The average win mutuel, not counting Goldencents’ repeat victory in 2014 and Liam’s Map’s win at 1-to-2 odds the following year, is $29. Dakota Phone ($77.40) and Caleb’s Posse ($15.60) conquered the one-turn mile the two years the Cup was held at Churchill Downs, while both favorites finished out of the money. It makes for an interesting backdrop, considering an undefeated four-year-old could command odds-on attention when the horses reach the gate Saturday.
MAIN CONTENDERS: Expected favorite CATALINA CRUISER is unbeaten in four starts, spanning six furlongs to a mile and one-sixteenth, but his trainer, John Sadler, is winless with 41 Breeders’ Cup starts. ‘CRUISER romped as the lone speed in the Grade 2 San Diego, but probably won’t have that luxury in his second route attempt. He pulled away impressively from last year’s Dirt Mile champion, Battle of Midway, in the “Win and You’re In” Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar in his final tune-up. CITY OF LIGHT was a multiple Grade 1 winner as a three-year-old, the only horse to defeat Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite Accelerate this year, and posted five consecutive, triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. He reportedly had foot problems preceding the Grade 1 Forego and flattened out late off a three-month layoff.
VALUE PLAYS: FIRENZE FIRE is a proven miler, winning the Grade 1 Champagne last fall and the Grade 3 Dwyer by 9-lengths. His trainer, Jason Servis, is enjoying a blockbuster year, clicking with 30-percent winners on starters. BRAVAZO came the closest to spoiling Justify’s Triple Crown run when he rallied for second in the Preakness. He also finished in the Top 3 in the Travers and Haskell this summer.
WAGERING STRATEGY ($100):