2013 Breeders Cup Betting Advice: Longshots
by Trevor Whenham - 10/29/2013
If there is one thing we have learned over the years in the Breeders’ Cup it’s that the favorites don’t always win. Time and time again we have seen longshots come from seemingly nowhere to deliver big prices to those who backed them. It makes sense that a card like this is so good for longshots — even the worst horse in any field is better than most horses at most tracks on a normal day. As I’ve looked over the card this year, here are seven runners with double-digit morning line odds that stand out:
Paynter, Classic (Post Position 2, 12/1): I bet on this wildly-talented horse in the 2012 Belmont, and he came up just a neck short of pulling off the win. It seemed like he was about to dominate his division through the summer and fall when he impressively won the Haskell at the end of July. Soon after, though, he had to focus more on fighting for his life as a series of injuries that would have been fatal for most horses afflicted him. He didn’t return to the races again until this June. Through four races this summer and fall he has been looking to find his form, and there has been clear improvement. He’s working well, he’s bred very well for this race, and he will be a forgotten horse since Bob Baffert stablemate Game On Dude is likely to be favored. The price should be right for this guy.
Za Approval, Mile (PP 10, 15/1): There is nothing flashy at all about this horse or how he runs. He’s just plain consistent. In his last five graded stakes since the end of March he has won three and finished twice second. The two second-place finishes were respectable runs behind well-respected contenders in this race: Wise Dan and Obviously. He may not be good enough to win here, but he is a good bet to be in the mix at a fat price.
Mexikoma, Juvenile (PP 3, 12/1): On paper this horse isn’t much. He has only run twice, and he has never done it outside of maiden races. The background story on this horse is what makes him intriguing. That second maiden race was at Delaware Park, and he won it by almost 15 lengths. Needless to say, it was eye-opening. That sparked a bidding war as stables looked to pick up a potential Triple Crown contender next spring. The winning bidder was Team Valor, the owners of Derby winner Animal Kingdom. They changed trainers, moved him to Pennsylvania to train, and pointed him to this spot without another prep. These guys don’t mess around, so if they are making this move they are looking to get a quick return on their investment. This horse could be ready, and his race is wide-open.
Havelock, Turf Sprint (PP 10, 10/1): This horse went to Britain for two races this summer, and it was a disaster. He bounced back well, though, to win at Keeneland last time out. He’s very talented and comfortable with travel, so he should be ready here. What I really like about him, though, is his running style. He’s a deep closer with an explosive kick. We’re likely to see some very fast early fractions in this race because there is so much early speed in the field. That could set up well for a horse like Havelock to pick up the pieces down the stretch and capitalize on the pace scenario.
Shamshon, Juvenile Turf (PP 12, 12/1): This one is all about the connections. Owner and Qatar Royal family member Sheik Joaan Al Thani recently won both the Arc de Triomphe and the Queen Elizabeth II — two of Europe’s most prestigious races. In other words, the stable is red-hot. This colt has two nice stakes wins, and he deserves more respect than he is getting at this price.
Broadway Empire, Dirt Mile (PP 6, 12/1): This is a sentimental one for me because I never get to write about horses that come from my home circuit. This three-year-old gelding failed to impress in stakes competition at Hollywood Park this spring, but then he put forth two dominating efforts just up the road from me at Northlands Park in Edmonton. You could credit the big step down in class for the huge gain in performance, but to test his capabilities they next sent him to the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. He again made winning look easy. His connections are unknown to international racing fans, but trainer and jockey have both been very successful on their circuit. The horse has excellent breeding as well. He’s definitely a longshot, but he’s better than this price, so there is some real value here.
Sky Painter, Juvenile Fillies Turf (PP 13, 15/1): This filly has only run twice, and that has scared away bettors. I’m a fan, though. She looked very good in her maiden debut, and then she came back earlier in October to finish second by barely a nose to the impressive Testa Rossi. She took a massive step forward in maturity between the two starts, and she is clearly still developing. Her breeding and connections are excellent, so she could be ready for a huge effort.
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