2019 Breeders' Cup Turf Predictions and Expert Betting Picks
The Breeders' Cup Turf is always a big race on the Breeders' Cup card. It's the second to last race to be run, and it has the second largest purse of the weekend. And it's always an interesting race - a battle between the best turf runners in North America and the runners that come from Europe. The Euro invaders typically aren't the best they have, but turf racing is so much bigger and, frankly, better over there, that they don't have to send their top horses over to be competitive.
This year the Turf has 12 horses. As seems to be the general trend this year, though, we really have three top contenders that are tough to separate, three more runners that could be in the mix, and a field beyond that that will likely only be a factor if things go off the rails. Here's a look at how the highlights of the field shape up, with track morning line odds:
Bricks and Mortar (9/5): If there is a North American favorite in a significant North American turf race, you can be all but certain these days that Chad Brown trains it. He is truly dominant on this surface. But this horse is a bit of a puzzle. He was pretty ordinary as a three-year-old in 2017. Then he missed more than a year of racing before returning to the track last December. He won his return and has won all five of his starts this year - four of them in Grade 1 races. The talent is obvious and impressive, and if he wins here, he will be right in the race for Horse of the Year. The talent and the connections make him stand out. But he has never raced east of Chicago, so the trip west is a bit of a question. And he has never tested the mile and a half distance of this race, and this is a pretty tough spot to find out if you have the stamina to handle this big challenge. I have all sorts of respect for horse, rider and trainer. But I'd need a better price than this, and I am not at all confident I'll get it. He'll factor into my multi-race bets for sure, but if he wins the race, he'll likely cost me in my single race bets.
Anthony Van Dyck (3/1): If you are handicapping this race without any real effort, you could do a whole lot worse than just picking the Aidan O'Brien horse. Europe's top trainer, O'Brien has won this race six times since 2002. Two of those winners were three-year-olds like this colt is. The horse won the Epsom Derby in June to prove he is a legitimate racehorse. But he hasn't been nearly as impressive in his three starts since. He is a son of Galileo, who has already sired three winners of this race, so that is a big benefit. And he is proven at this distance. Again, though, I'm not convinced that this price reflects his chances well enough.
Old Persian (4/1): This four-year-old won the Dubai Sheema Classic on the Dubai World Cup undercard in March in impressive fashion. Then he ran underwhelming races in Britain and Germany next two times out. This race clearly became his target, because he next went to Woodbine in Toronto to test himself against North American company. And he passed with flying colors, winning the Grade 1 Northern Dancer very professionally. He lacks consistency, but at his best he's a factor here. Like the rest of the contenders, though, there are questions. Man, this is a tough race to handicap this year.
Channel Maker (10/1): This horse is a son of former Turf winner English Channel, so he has some credibility. I feel like he owes me because I backed him in this race last year, and I don't think he made it to the finish line until a couple days after the winner did. He didn't fire at all. This year he won the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont in May but hasn't been as sharp since. He has his best race in four outings since the win last time out in the Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont when he led into the stretch, fought tough, and finished second to Arklow. I like the horse, but not enough to see him messing with the top three here.
Related: Breeders' Cup Sprint Predictions
Arklow (12/1): This is another veteran of this race, having finished fourth last year at 53/1. He lost his rider in his next race and then finished second three times and third once before the win in the Turf Classic Invitational last time out. He's consistent but hasn't been facing competition quite like he will here. He'll factor into my exotics, but not on top.
Mount Everest (15/1): This is both the other Aidan O'Brien three-year-old and the other son of Galileo. He hasn't raced at nearly the same level as his stablemate, and his only win this year came at only a mile and a quarter and on a heavy track that he surely won't see here. He could be useful in exotics at the price, but I'm not particularly in love with him. If O'Brien wasn't already shipping a colt over for this race, I don't believe he would have bothered sending this one.
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