The Breeders Cup returns to Santa Anita this year where the Pro-Ride experiment has been aborted and the track surface re-laid in traditional sand/clay mixture (dirt).  Santa Anita is a tight circuit by international standards and one that very much favours speed and adaptability especially the one mile dirt races.  Handy, fluent type will always have an advantage.

The dirt track is expected to be fast; the turf firm.  All times quoted is Jamaica Time (CDT)


Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1; 1 mile; Turf; 1.50 pm)

There’s a very short run to the tight first turn in this race so it will pay to be drawn low.  The likely favourite Dundonnell beat subsequent Royal Lodge winner Steeler by 3/4l (7f; York) before allowing first run to Toronado in the 7f Champagne Stakes at Doncaster and ending up 1/2l 2nd.  He has potential but is a big strong type who will forever be more comfortable around the vast flat expanse of York or Donny; not so comfortable here.  At likely cramped odds, he should be opposed with one of Noble Tune (impressive turn of foot to win 7 runner Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont on last) or GERVINHO who quickened smartly off the home turn in his course and distance win in a non-graded Stakes.  He’s stepping up in grade but is expected to show the necessary improvement to collar them up the lane.  Noble Tune’s best run came on good to soft and around the stiffer Belmont circuit.  Fantastic Moon, hampered behind Steeler in the Royal Lodge but 2 for 2 before that race, could prove the biggest danger.



Breeders’ Cup Fillies and Mares Sprint (Grade 1; 7f; Dirt; 2.35 pm)

Dust and Diamonds should make a bold bid from the front while defending champion Musical Romance shouldn’t be far away but GROUPIE DOLL (BANKER BET) only needs to translate her mid-west brilliance (has won 4 in a row on synthetics and dirt but best Beyer came on the dirt) to Santa Anita where she’s been working brilliantly (bullet work October 21 breezing 5f in 59.3) to give jockey Rajiv Maragh his 2nd Breeders Cup winner.



Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1; 1 mile; Dirt; 3.14 pm)

Shackleford will be all the rage especially as his style of running suits the course but he’s proven more effective at further on a more galloping track so it could pay to oppose him with Emcee, who is stepping up to a mile for the first time off a visually impressive win in the 7f Grade 1 Forego Stakes (Belmont) drawing clear final furlong, or FED BIZ, an unexposed 3yo whose flop on last can be excused (wet track) and who is 2 for 2 at Santa Anita.  If his last race is ignored, the latter is something to bet on if he continues on his previously upward swing.



Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1; 6.5f; Turf; 3.57 pm)

Old faithful California Flag, who won this in 2009 when it was run at this track, will be blazing a trail as usual and could prove difficult to catch around this peculiarly sharp, downhill course once he overcomes a 6 ½ months lay-off.  Bridgetown has questions to answer especially on this peculiar course and Great Attack is coming off a 6 months break so the 2 to concentrate on must be Unbridled’s Note for whom the race will set up perfectly and who won over course and distance in the Grade 3 Eddie D on September 29 and RENEESGOTZIP a speedy sort who makes her turf debut but is 3 for 3 on Synthetics.

There’s a nagging concern about Unbridled’s Note at short odds as he’s drawn worst of all and is yet to prove himself at the highest level so the value must lie in expecting RENEESGOTZIP to reproduce her synthetics form on turf.



Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade 1; 8.5f; Dirt; 4.36 pm)

Power Broker will be all the rage after breaking his duck on his dirt debut over course and distance (romped the Grade 1 Frontrunner Stakes) after failing to win in 3 previous attempts on turf and polytrack (2 maidens and an allowance).  It could be that he needed the switch to dirt but he won when the track was still showing a distinct speed bias which has settled down now that the kickback is less severe.  He’s too short a price with these uncertainties.  Plus he’s drawn wide.

This race involves several lightly raced types including best drawn Title Contender who also broke his maiden on dirt debut (2nd lifetime run) on last over a mile at Santa Anita and Dynamic Sky who seems nailed on to improve for his dirt debut.  But the one to be on is SHANGHAI BOBBY a son of Harlan’s Holiday who is on a 3 win roll on the east coast and who only needs to translate that form to the west to succeed.



Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade 1; 1 ½ miles; Turf; 5.18 pm)

Defending Champ St Nicholas Abbey won a sub-standard renewal last year and his 2012 form is very iffy so it should be a straight fight between the top US hope Point Of Entry who has won 5 straight (the last three being Grade 1s) and SHARETA who was 2nd in last year’s Arc on good to firm and a winner in this year’s Yorkshire Oaks the only time she got her preferred ground.  Point Of Entry,by Dynaformer out of a Seeking The Gold mare, has blossomed this year stepped up to 12f but it’s left to be seen how he’ll cope with this tight west coast circuit after winning twice at Belmont whilst, in SHARETA, a daughter of Epsom Derby winner Sinndar out of a Barathea mare, he will have the first true Grade 1 test of his life from a filly of the quality of Pebbles who famously won this race under Pat Eddery in 1985.



Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade 1; 6f; Dirt; 5.58 pm)

The race’s best piece of form comes from The Lumber Guy who upstaged his more fancied stable companion in the Vosburgh to win after 4 ½ months off and produce a phenomenal Beyer Speed Figure of 110.  However, the track was wet that day and his previous best Beyer on fast ground was a 96 recorded when winning the Grade 2 Jerome over 7f at Aqueduct in April.

Bob Baffert’s Coil fits perfectly here and is just the sort of lightly raced type who comes to this meet fit and fresh and produces a career best effort.  He’s won 2 of his 3 2012 races including a course and distance win on last in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint (Key Race) with a career best dirt Beyer Figure of 102.  In that race he came from off the pace; went 4 wide straight and closed nicely; holding on gamely after hitting the front inside the final furlong.  Defending Champion Amazombie who got up last stride at Churchill Downs last year was 1 1/4l 4th in that race (gave Coil 5lbs) coming off a 2 months layoff.  Making his dirt debut and finishing a creditable 3/4l 3rd was Jimmy Creed (rec. 1 lb from Coil) after having to be angled inside final furlong.  Amazombie is best off at the revised weights but is thoroughly exposed whilst Coil is coming hands down and will prove very hard to beat but JIMMY CREED looks sure to improve for this 2nd dirt start and ran Fed Biz to a neck over 7f at Del Mar before his most encouraging dirt debut.  If he gets a clear run on Saturday, he will prove to be the value bet of the day.



Breeders’ Cup Mile (Grade 1; 1 mile; Turf; 6.40 pm)

This looks like a two horse race between the US multiple Grade 1 winner Wise Dan and European Challenger EXCELEBRATION.  Wise Dan has been impressive winning 3 in a row since returned to turf but his style of running means he’s a candidate for traffic trouble from his low number draw whilst, after his debut, EXCELEBRATION has only ever been beaten by racing legend Frankel.  



Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1; 1 ¼ miles; Dirt; 6.30 pm)

Twelve are to go to post but only Ron the Greek, Mucho Macho Man and GAME ON DUDE have realistic chances.  There has been much chatter about the selection’s vulnerability at the trip (only 2 wins from 7 starts) but he’s a Santa Anita specialist (5 for 5 at the track) and is perfectly suited by the tight circuit with its emphasis on speed.  With all the grumbling, the facts are that Ron The Greek, the biggest danger, is 2 for 4 at the trip while Mucho Macho Man is 0 for 2.  GAME ON DUDE should make all and hang on from a fast finishing Ron The Greek.



  • Day’s Best 3:

GROUPIE DOLL (Fillies and Mares Sprint)                                                                                                                                             JIMMY CREED (Sprint)                                                                                                                                                                EXCELEBRATION (Mile)


  • LAY OF THE DAY:        POWER BROKER (Juvenile)




Good Luck!



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