You know it's a slow weekend at the races when your review leads off with the Breeders' Cup Marathon division, but so it goes in the final days leading up to the Saratoga and Del Mar meetings.
Redeemed is a suitable topic to kick off this week's TCI, however, because he also kicks off my list of Top Four most likely Breeders' Cup winners. This is not a list of who I think is the best horses in training, who will win Horse of the Year, or any of that. This is a list of who I think are the most likely winners of their respective Breeders' Cup races. Another way to look at it is, who are the most deserving favorites in Breeders' Cup races?
The most likely winner of a Breeders' Cup race is Reedemed in the Breeders' Cup Marathon. His Greenwood Cup victory marked his third consecutive triumph, and all three have come with BRIS speed ratings of at least 102. The Marathon has not been kind to favorites in its short history, but Redeemed looks like a true star in a division that usually lacks them.
#2 on the list is Groupie Doll, a two-time Grade 1 winner already this year who defeated defending Filly and Mare Sprint winner and eventual Princess Rooney winner Musical Romance already this year. Any repeat of her performances at either Keeneland and Churchill makes her a winner in November, and nothing we saw in the A Gleam would challenge her either.
#3 Executive Privilege has the looks of a two-year-old Baffert superstar on par with a Silverbulletday or Indian Blessing. I.e., the Racing Hall of Fame trainer knows how to keep these juveniles firing their best shots, and sweeping the Debutante, Oak Leaf, and Breeders' Cup certainly seems possible.
I'll take a little creative license with my #4 slot and call it for either Camelot or St. Nicholas Abbey in the Breeders' Cup Turf. St. Nicholas Abbey already won this race last year and has come back strong this year, but his Ballydoyle stablemate would probably be 1-to-2 in the Turf and #1 on this list if he decides to come over. So with the uncertainty I'll rank the Aidan O'Brien-trained duo fourth.
I'll expand the list as the year goes on, and we have a better sense of which horses are pointing where. One thing this list does not reward is contentious divisions since an evenly matched group makes it more difficult to definitively select a winner. The Classic contenders, for instance, are better than any horses on this list with the exception of O'Brien's duo, but to say that Game On Dude (who I ranked #1 on my America's Best Racing poll) is a more likely winner of the Classic than Redeemed is in the Marathon seems folly to me.