by Greg Melikov - 10/18/2005
The following is some important Breeders' Cup handicapping information:
Breeders' Cup Handicapping -- $1 Million Sprint for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs: Every BC Sprint winner scored at six furlongs and posted at least one stakes victory. Eleven of 21 scored after a loss, but no winner succeeded coming into the race after an unplaced finish since Desert Stormer in '90. No running style dominates. There have been four wire-to-wire victories, another four horses led at every call, nine turned for home in front and six closed from back of the pack.
Most European-based runners make their dirt debut in this race and aren't prepared for the cavalry charge. Only Sheikh Albadou, bred in Great Britain, won in '91. In the first 47 races during the fall Belmont meeting, early speed did best from the mid-path to the outside while wire-to-wire winners were 47 percent.
Breeders' Cup Handicapping -- $2 Million Distaff, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds and up: There've been few surprises because favorites dominated as 17 of 21 winners went off at less than 3-1. That probably accounts for some of the smallest fields in any BC event. Remember that no European-based filly or mare has visited the winner's circle, but five 3-year-olds triumphed.
In three contests at Belmont, the winner came out of post 4 ('90), post 1 ('95) and post 5 ('01). Thirty percent of 10 winners at the distance in the spring led all the way, preferring the middle of the track or outside.
Breeders' Cup Handicapping -- $1 Million Juvenile for fillies, 1 1/16 miles: It's an all American race - no invader has won. Look for pedigree screaming stamina. Eleven favorites scored, but seven horses returned double-digit payoffs.
From a historical standpoint, the winner likely will break from the outside, especially at Belmont: post 9 did in '90 and '01, post 8 in '95. Only three were victorious from the 1-to-3 holes in 21 races. During Belmont's spring meeting, 32 percent of the first 28 winners at the distance went wire-to-wire. The best running style was early speed inside. In the first 14 races during the fall meeting, early speed in the mid-path to the outside did best while pacesetters won 29 percent.
Breeders' Cup Handicapping -- $1.5 Million Juvenile for 2-year-old colts and geldings, 1 1/16 miles: Endurance, like in the Juvenile Fillies, plays a major factor. Sixteen winners were among the top three choices while only two scored at more than 10-1. Most champions owned a stakes victory.
Tactical speed is important. Only three winners went wire to wire. At Belmont, post 3 won in '90 and '01 while post 8 triumphed in '95.
Breeders' Cup Handicapping -- $1.5 Million Mile, 3-year-olds and up: Eighteen different horses have captured this turf race, including nine bred in Europe. The field is usually quite large. While crowded contests usually lead to bad trips, chalk finished on top one-third of the time.
Only Lure in '92 was in front at every call; he repeated in '93, but stalked pace-setting Ski Paradise until taking over near the half-mile pole. In six of seven BC turf routes staged at Belmont, the extreme inside and outside posts did best: post 2 each year, post 12 in '95 and post 11 in '01. Post 5 scored in '01.
Of the first 53 Belmont grass contests in the spring, 21 percent won on the front end, mostly traveling in the mid-path. Early speed and horses pressing the pace did best. For the first 29 races in turf routes this fall, horses pressing the pace did well in the mid-path while wire-to-wire winners were 17 percent.
Breeders' Cup Handicapping -- $1 Million Filly & Mare Turf, 1¼ miles, 3-year-olds and up: Three of six favorites triumphed, but there's no distinct pattern in the youngest of all events. All winners were less than six lengths behind at first call. It's best to rely on form and class.
Breeders' Cup Handicapping -- $2 Million Turf, 1 ½ miles, 3-year-olds and up: Eleven European-bred horses have won. Those making their last start overseas scored eight times, including the last five in a row, which is the same number of winning post-time favorites.
Ten winners either broke from the inside three posts or from the eighth slot and outward. Like in the Filly & Mare Turf, rely on class and form. Breeders' Cup Handicapping -- $4 Million Classic, 1 ¼ miles, 3-year-olds and up: Post-time favorites triumphed six times, including last year's winner. Eleven that showed up in the winner's circle returned more than $10.
Late runners do well as the average lengths behind after at the half-mile pole is five. Tactical speed is most important and winners raced the distance at least once.
Surprisingly, only two horses scored from the rail, including Ghostzapper, that last year he became the second wire-to-wire winner since '91. That year Black Tie Affair also scored off the longest layoff - 49 days.
Outside is the place to be. Only four horses won from posts 1-3 while seven did from posts 10 through 14. That includes post 10 at Belmont in '95 and '01 and post 14 in '90.