• Horse racing in the fall: A look toward the Breeders' Cup futures

    POSTED Sep 8, 2011
    I love the Kentucky Derby. As far as a true season goes in horse racing, nothing beats the Derby prep season that culminates in a championship that is the Triple Crown.

    And while many lament that Thoroughbred racing lacks a true season outside of the above events, Breeders' Cup prep season certainly comes closest. Plus, I like the weather in Kentucky from September-November better than I do in March-May.

    This Breeders' Cup prep season promises to be a doozy both on the track and in the press as the connections of both Blind Luck and Havre de Grace map out a path that will certainly decide champion older female and possibly Horse of the Year.

    As a fan of the sport, I'd love to see them win prep races on opposite coasts and then race in the Classic to decide Horse of the Year. I see that scenario as bringing maximum exposure to the event, but I certainly couldn't fault trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's gamesmanship if he wants to ship Blind Luck to face Havre de Grace in the Beldame.

    IF either Blind Luck or Havre de Grace run in the Breeders' Cup Classic then I would have no issue making either one of them my single "A" in pick N wagers. If they both run I'd probably use them in equal strength and relegate any other contenders to "C" status.

    That's a long way away, of course, but I do think both are faster than any horse out there under the Classic's conditions. The question this far out is not whether either could do what Zenyatta couldn't but whether either of them will try.

    Havre de Grace's connections said after her victory against males in the Woodward that they would pre-enter their Saint Liam filly in both the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic and the Classic on the following day. Hollendorfer, meanwhile, has been steadfast that the Classic has never been under consideration for Blind Luck.

    While I believe the sentiment now, I have a hard time believing the filly's connections will secede Eclipse Award consideration to Havre de Grace by not facing her in the Breeders' Cup should the Woodward winner again face males. If the two super fillies head to the Ladies' Classic, though, then the Classic becomes more wide open.

    Wynn Las Vegas Race & Sports Book has 72 individual horses listed on its Breeders' Cup Classic future book released September 6, and of that list there is a baker's dozen that I find compelling at the odds.

    If I lived in Las Vegas I would be looking to make about an even money wager that one of the 13 horses I've identified will win the race. I've already wagered $100 on Blind Luck to win the Classic at 50-to-1 odds, so the spreadsheet below reflects that price and NOT the 30-to-1 she is currently trading at.

    The investment is an even $1,000 with the idea that if any of my horses wins, I'll get back ~$2,000 with some "bonuses" for horses I really like such as Flat Out at 15-to-1, Giant Oak at 30-to-1, and To Honor And Serve at 75-to-1. Havre de Grace at 9-to-1 isn't GREAT considering the uncertainty surrounding her participation, but having the leverage of being able to play other horses makes it easier to lean on her here.

    I considered Twirling Candy at 8-to-1 and Stay Thirsty at 12-to-1 not necessarily because I think those are great prices but because I'd be shocked if either is a Classic non starter. Twirling Candy, I guess, could end up in the Dirt Mile or Mile, but he's just been too competitive all year not to take a shot with no real superstars besides the fillies. Stay Thirsty I just decided I'll re-evaluate as the race gets closer.

    Joe Nevills started a good dialogue about these prices on Twitter. Join in the conversation there or leave a comment below.

    The chart below lists all 72 individual betting interests for the Classic on the Wynn future book
    sorted first by the horses I would bet and then alphabetically by the horses I wouldn't.
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