by Jon White
November 3, 2021
$1 MILLION JUVENILE TURF SPRINT (FRIDAY // RACE 6 - 5:50PM ET)
1. AVERLY JANE (5-2 on my official BC morning line) // Undefeated filly with 4 wins by combined 22 1/4 lengths
2. ONE TIMER (4-1) // Undefeated gelding with 3 wins by combined 17 lengths
3. TWILIGHT JET (15-1) // Drew rail (morning line made before post-position draw)
Nice-price danger: TIME TO PARTY (15-1) // Interesting at a nice price, especially with Prat aboard
$2 MILLION JUVENILE FILLIES (FRIDAY // RACE 7 - 6:30PM ET)
1. HIDDEN CONNECTION (5-2) // Her Thoro-Graph figs are similar to Echo Zulu’s
2. ECHO ZULU (4-5) // Big favorite is trying two turns for the first time
3. JUJU’S MAP (5-2) // Sparkling 4 1/4-length victory in G1 Alcibiades
Nice-price danger: TARABI (12-1) // Finished second at 19-1 to Echo Zulu in Spinaway
$2 MILLION JUVENILE FILLIES TURF (FRIDAY // RACE 8 - 7:10PM ET)
1. PIZZA BIANCA (5-1) // Not the best of trips in G1 loss at Woodbine
2. CALIFORNIA ANGEL (8-1) // Closed with a rush to win G2 Bessamine
3. MALAVATH (8-1) // Runner-up vs. males in G2 race in France
Nice-price danger: HAUGHTY (10-1) // Conditioned by red-hot Chad Brown
$2 MILLION JUVENILE (FRIDAY // RACE 9 - 7:50PM ET)
1. COMMANDPEFORMANCE (5-1) // Another maiden wins this BC race at Del Mar?
2. JACK CHRISTOPHER (9-5) // Champagne victory produced a 102 Beyer
3. CORNICHE (5-2) // $1.5 million buy is 2 for 2 and a G1 winner
Nice-price danger: OVIATT CLASS (20-1) // Sneaky good third in G1 American Pharoah
$1 MILLION JUVENILE TURF (FRIDAY // RACE 10 - 8:30PM ET)
1. DUBAWI LEGEND (4-1) // Runner-up in G1 in England (post here concern)
2. MODERN GAME (5-1) // Merits much respect off G3 triumph in England
3. ALBAHR (6-1) // Stylish come-from-behind score at Woodbine
Nice-price danger: DAKOTA GOLD (8-1) // Excellent Thoro-Graph fig at Monmouth
$1 MILLION FILLY & MARE SPRINT (SATURDAY // RACE 4 - 3:05PM ET)
1. GAMINE (3-5) // She’s 7 for 7 when going 7 furlongs or shorter
2. BELLA SOPHIA (5-2) // Sharp 3-year-old has best shot to upset favorite
3. CE CE (4-1) // Had to settle for third behind Gamine at the Spa
Nice-price danger: NONE
Note: Gamine is my choice as the “most probable winner” at this year’s Breeders’ Cup. My most probable Breeders’ Cup winner has won in 13 of the 17 last years.
I also gave some consideration to making either Life Is Good in the Dirt Mile or Jackie’s Warrior in the Sprint my “most probable winner.” But I ultimately decided Gamine is the right way to go.
I know there are those who think Gamine could be vulnerable this Saturday. Some believe that she is not as good this year as she was last year. But even if that’s true, I would not go so far as to say that the 2021 Gamine is significantly slower than the 2020 Gamine. Keep in mind no one has been able to beat Gamine in 2021. Her closest call so far this year, such as it was, came when she won the Grade I Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 1 by “only” 1 1/2 lengths. Two of her four victories this year have been by margins of five and 10 lengths.
This year’s Filly & Mare Sprint field was reduced to five with the defection of Estilo Tarentoso. Daily Racing Form’s David Grening reported Tuesday that Estilo Talentoso would not run Saturday “due to an issue with her right fore, according to trainer Juan Arriagada.”
As for Gamine’s remaining four opponents Saturday, she already has defeated two of them.
Ce Ce is a multiple Grade I winner. Gamine outran Ce Ce by three lengths in the Grade I Ballerina Stakes this year at Saratoga.
Edgeway is a very nice filly. She’s won this year’s Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and Grade III Rancho Bernardo Stakes at Del Mar. But in between the Carousel and Rancho Bernardo, Edgeway finished 11 1/4 lengths behind Gamine in the Grade II Great Lady M. Stakes at Los Alamitos.
Sure, Bella Sofia is a talented 3-year-old filly who looks capable of possibly giving Gamine a serious run for her money. Bella Sophia looked terrific when winning the Grade I Test Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths at Saratoga. She then cruised to a 3 1/2-length win against her elders in the Grade II Gallant Bloom Stakes at Belmont on Sept. 26.
But while I think Bella Sofia should be taken very seriously Saturday, I still find it hard to envision her defeating Gamine.
By making Gamine my “most probable winner,” I can’t help but have one little concern due to how poorly favorites fared at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup held at Del Mar. Not a single favorite won any of the seven Breeders’ Cup dirt races in 2017. Only two favorites won the 14 Breeders’ Cup events in 2017. Those two winners were Mendelssohn at 9-2 in the Juvenile Turf and World Approval 5-2 in the Mile.
One of the shortest-priced favorites that lost at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup came in the Filly & Mare Sprint. Unique Bella finished seventh at odds of 11-10.
But while the overall record of favorites and Unique Bella’s performance in the Filly & Mare Sprint left much to be desired, I expect Gamine to take care of business as the heavy chalk in this year’s Filly & Mare Sprint.
Below is a list of my most probable Breeders’ Cup winner for each year going back to 2004:
2020 Golden Pal in the Juvenile Turf Sprint (won)
2019 Midnight Bisou (finished second)
2018 Newspaperofrecord in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (won)
2017 Bolt d’Oro in the Juvenile (finished third)
2016 Dortmund in the Dirt Mile (finished fourth)
2015 Songbird in the Juvenile Fillies (won)
2014 Goldencents in the Dirt Mile (won)
2013 Wise Dan in the Mile (won)
2012 Groupie Doll in the Filly & Mare Sprint (won)
2011 Goldikova in the Mile (won)
2010 Goldikova in the Mile (won)
2009 Zenyatta in the Classic (won)
2008 Zenyatta in the Ladies’ Classic (won)
2007 Midnight Lute in the Sprint (won)
2006 Ouija Board in the Filly & Mare Turf (won)
2005 Ouija Board in the Filly & Mare Turf (finished second)
2004 Ouija Board in the Filly & Mare Turf (won)
$1 MILLION TURF SPRINT (SATURDAY // RACE 5 - 3:40PM ET)
1. GOLDEN PAL (7-2) // Early zip + desirable post = second BC win?
2. GEAR JOCKEY (5-1) // Gaudy 105 Beyer at Kentucky Downs
3. KIMARI (6-1) // Fresh filly should not be taken lightly
Nice-price danger: FAST BOAT (12-1) // Surges late to get into superfecta?
$1 MILLION DIRT MILE (SATURDAY // RACE 6 - 4:19PM ET)
1. LIFE IS GOOD (4-5) // His Kelso was pretty much a paid workout
2. GINOBILI (4-1) // Big figs w/ blinkers in Del Mar summer wins
3. SILVER STATE (7-2) // Met Mile winner could prove tough customer
Nice-price danger: EIGHT RINGS (10-1) // Perked up with 4-length SA win for Baffert
$2 MILLION FILLY & MARE TURF (SATURDAY // RACE 7 - 4:59PM ET)
1. LOVES ONLY YOU (4-1) // Descendant of 1989 Classic winner Sunday Silence
2. LOVE (4-1) // Major player here after having to miss the Arc
3. WAR LIKE PRINCESS (7-2) // Seeking to extend her winning streak to 5
Nice-price danger: POCKET SQUARE (15-1) // Juddmonte filly seems to be blossoming
$2 MILLION SPRINT (SATURDAY // RACE 8 - 5:38PM ET)
1. JACKIE’S WARRIOR (6-5) // Terrific 3yo sprinter looks formidable
2. DR. SCHIVEL (4-1) // Won G2 SA sprint despite no right rein
3. SPECIAL RESERVE (6-1) // A $40,000 claim is now a BC contender
Nice-price danger: FIRENZE FIRE (10-1) // Infamous savager might finish 1-2-3-4
$2 MILLION MILE (SATURDAY // RACE 9 - 6:20PM ET)
1. SPACE BLUES (3-1) // Rocketed home to G1 win at ParisLongchamp
2. MO FORZA (5-1) // This dude just loves to win races
3. MASTER OF THE SEAS (12-1) // A 1-2-3-4 finish possible on firm ground?
Nice-price danger: HIT THE ROAD (15-1) // Troubled trip in City of Hope Mile
$2 MILLION DISTAFF (SATURDAY // RACE 10 - 7:00PM ET)
1. LETRUSKA (8-5) // Win machine choice despite messed-up workout
2. SHEDARESTHEDEVIL (4-1) // Edged top pick in two-turn Azeri on March 13
3. PRIVATE MISSION (8-1) // Watch out for this up-and-coming 3yo filly
Nice-price danger: AS TIME GOES BY (15-1) // Last more like it for regally-bred miss
$4 MILLION TURF (SATURDAY // RACE 11 - 7:40PM ET)
1. TARNAWA (9-5) // Won this race in 2020 for fab horseman
2. DOMESTIC SPENDING (4-1) // Excuse narrow AP defeat due to slow pace
3. WALTON STREET (8-1) // Loved the way he won for fun at Woodbine
Nice-price danger: SISFAHAN (12-1) // German ran second vs. future Arc winner
$6 MILLION CLASSIC (SATURDAY // RACE 12 - 8:40PM ET)
1. KNICKS GO (5-2) // He’s 7 for 7 in two-turn races for Cox
2. ESSENTIAL QUALITY (3-1) // Classy 3yo is 8 for 9; dandy Oct. 31 drill
3. HOT ROD CHARLIE (4-1) // Snazzy 111 Beyer in Penn Derby triumph
Nice-price danger: TRIPOLI (15-1) // Pac Classic victor makes noise with Irad?