Breeders’ Cup Classic
#5 Gun Runner (9/5) / #11 Collected (6/1)
I’ve been an Arrogate guy since Day 1, having picked him in Xpressbet’s Travers, Breeders’ Cup and Pegasus World Cup Wager Guides. And he’d be my pick this time around too…if the Breeders’ Cup were held anywhere but Del Mar. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t get around this oval like he gets over other tracks and, at 2/1 odds, I can’t bet him here.
So with that in mind, I’ll be betting Gun Runner in the Classic. This isn’t the same version of Gun Runner that Arrogate beat in the Travers and Dubai World Cup. This version of him is grown up and much better, having reeled off blowout wins in the Stephen Foster, Whitney and Woodward. He brings a huge tactical edge to the races – he can lead or stalk – and Florent Geroux knows exactly which buttons to push with this horse. I don’t think 1 ¼-miles will be a deal breaker and his draw in the middle of the field is ideal.
I’ll also use Collected in my bets as I can see a scenario where he gets loose on the lead. The other main speed horse – West Coast – is his stablemate and I don’t think Bob Baffert wants two of his stars out there knocking heads up front. The tight turns and short stretch at Del Mar should play to frontrunners, and Collected has already run a massive race at this distance and at this track, so he’s going to be tough to pass.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
#3 Lady Aurelia (5/2) / #4 Stormy Liberal (12/1)
Going 5 furlongs around the tight Del Mar turns, it’s tough to envision the winner of this race not coming from the first flight of horses. There simply won’t be enough time to make up much ground on these classy runners. That’s why I’ve made Lady Aurelia my top pick in here. She’s as classy as they come, having won races in Kentucky, Great Britain (twice) and France, and she’s a true sprinter, so she’ll relish the tight turns. Catch her if you can.
I’ll also play around with Stormy Liberal in my bets. He comes into the race off a lengthy layoff, but Peter Miller is a strong trainer and this is a horse that has made a heck of a career sprinting on the turf in California. Joel Rosario is going to have him near the lead early and I think he’ll hold on for a share. After all, he’s finished in the Exacta in two of his three sprint races at Del Mar.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
#10 Maya Malibu (20/1) / #7 Moonshine Memories (7/2)
It won’t be easy betting against Moonshine Memories in the Juvenile Fillies, but here’s my case for a big longshot, Maya Malibu. I think she was too close to the pace last out in the Frizette, and she was also down on the inside that day, which probably wasn’t the best part of the track. This time around, I’d really like to see Javier Castellano ride with a little more patience and let her make a big run around the turn. She’s bred to run this far, being by Malibu Moon and out of Island Sand, who won the ‘Del Cap’ and finished second in the Kentucky Oaks. If I can get her into the Exacta and Trifecta, it’s going to pay handsomely, regardless if the big favorite, Moonshine Memories, finishes in the money too.
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
#8 Accelerate (7/2) / #9 Battle of Midway (10/1)
I don’t like Accelerate in this spot … I love him here. This horse is 3-for-4 at Del Mar and should sit a perfect stalking trip from just in behind Sharp Azteca and Mor Spirit, both of whom drew to his inside. And when they start to slow down, I think Accelerate is going to blow right past them. He cuts back in distance from the Pacific Classic and loves going a two-turn mile. He’s 7/2 on the morning line and if I get that price, I’m going to the window with both fists.
Beneath him, I’m going to use a horse with a similar running style, Battle of Midway. This horse was classy enough to run third in the Kentucky Derby and secondd in the Santa Anita Derby, but those races might have been just a little long for him. He won going a mile at Del Mar in August and should get an ideal trip from just behind the speed.