2013 Breeders' Cup Turf Predictions and Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/29/2013
It’s a big field for the grueling mile and a half challenge of the Breeders’ Cup Turf this year. It’s not the star-studded field that it has been some years, and the International contingent has a lot to do with that, but it is still a deep and exciting handicapping challenge. Of the 12 horses in the field there are seven that stand out as interesting, and the following are my 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf predictions with morning line odds:
The Fugue (Post position 7, 3/1): This four-year-old European filly was also entered in the Filly and Mare Turf, and she would likely have been favored in both races. Her connections made the right choice here, though, because she is certainly up to the challenge. She was favored in the Filly and Mare Turf last year, but she got in trouble and wound up third. Now she has another year of experience, and another quarter mile to run — both assets for her. The British-based runner has two big wins in Group 1 races her last two times out, and she has run the two best races of her career. Now she’ll carry less weight than the rest of the field — perhaps an unfair advantage. She’s the one to beat.
Big Blue Kitten (PP 10, 6/1): Points against this horse for having such a horrible name. This is one of those crazy stories that turn up in racing. As a three year old he was running in cheap $35,000 claiming races. Two years later he won consecutive Grade 1 races this summer. That’s like a guy from a beer softball league moving up to star for the Yankees. He lost last time out but had real traffic issues. This is a wide-open field, and this horse is right near the top of the list of contenders. He’s only getting better.
Little Mike (PP 4, 6/1): The defending champ in this race is back for another try. He won at 17/1 last year, though, so he’s not necessarily dominant. He started this year with two races in Dubai — an odd decision that turned out really poorly. That was followed by some time off and two lousy performances back here. He finally found his winning form again last time out — the first time this year at the one and a half mile Turf distance. Looking at the past performances, what stands out is that the typically front-running horse has been asked to rate — sit off the pace and let others do the early work — twice in his last six races. Those are his only two wins — including the Breeders’ Cup Turf last year. That should make the instructions to the jockey easy. Speaking of jockeys, what I really don’t like is that he has had five different riders in his last six races. Either the trainer or owner can’t make a decision, or jockeys aren’t seeing enough to feel loyal to the horse. Either way, it’s a warning flag. The good news, though, is that Mike Smith rode him to his first win since last year’s Turf last time out and is on him again here.
Point of Entry (PP 8, 4/1): He was second as the favorite last year in this race, but he has dealt with injuries since and has only run twice since — both wins. He has been out of action since early June, and he has to rely on just works to get ready for this one. He has talent galore, and I backed him enthusiastically last year. No horse has ever won this race off a 60-day layoff, though, and now he has to shake off layers of rust against a talented field in racing form. Value could be tough to find — especially if the finals odds stay near the morning line.
Real Solution (PP 12, 8/1): Chad Brown took over training this horse this year after he had started his career in Italy. He has run four times for Brown and has yet to find the winner’s circle (he is listed as the winner in the Arlington Million, but he benefitted from a disqualification). He’d need to improve dramatically, and it seems like the distance is longer than he would ideally like. He has the same owner and trainer as Big Blue Kitten, so you have to wonder if he is entered at least in part here to ensure a legitimate early pace for the closing star of the stable.
Indy Point (PP 9, 9/2): This horse has only been racing in the States since July after a successful career in Argentina. He has been a real puzzler. After a strong debut at Del Mar, he was favored in the prestigious Arlington Million. He didn’t even try to run and wound up 13th, seemingly about four miles behind the lead. Ugly outing. Next time out, though, he solidly beat a nice field here at Santa Anita. Talented, but doesn’t have established consistency. Trainer Richard Mandella has won this race twice before at Santa Anita, though, so he knows what he’s doing.
Magician (PP 11, 8/1): You always have to respect a Euro invader in this race. This one is a head-scratcher, though. He hasn’t run since June and was lousy then. He had a huge win in the Irish 2000 Guineas in May, but he has never run this far, and the layoff is a major concern — though his top form could be good enough. Hard to totally discount, but certainly not a horse to single on exotic tickets.
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