Breeders' Cup analysis: Game On Dude will finally win the big one
All the divisional championships and the Horse of the Year title are on the line this afternoon in the nine Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita. Here are today’s picks:
SWEET REASON The Grade I Spinaway Stakes winner ran a remarkable race to finish second in the Grade I Frizette after swerving at the start and racing four-wide around the final turn. ARTEMIS AGROTERA 2-for-2 New York-bred filly won the Frizette. She may just be better than top one. SHE’S A TIGER She has three wins and two close seconds in five starts. Her second by a head in a Grade I stakes at Santa Anita in last makes her dangerous today. UNTAPABLE Steve Asmussen filly went 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs, winning a Grade II stakes in last. Saver:
FILLY & MARE TURF
DANK Her explosive victory in the Grade I Beverly D at Arlington Park in last was her second straight win and third in four starts. She may have a slight edge in this incredibly talented field. MARKETING MIX She just missed at 6-5 in a Grade I stakes at Santa Anita in last. She was a close second in this stakes last year. TIZ FLIRTATIOUS She has four wins and a second by a head in her last five starts, and has four wins and a second in five turf tries at Santa Anita. ROMANTICA Outstanding trainer Andre Fabre ships in this French filly who was first and seventh in a pair of Group 1 stakes in her last two races. Saver: Laughing.
FILLY & MARE SPRINT
BOOK REVIEW Bob Baffert filly has been working lights-out off a fast-finishing second by a head in the Grade I Ballerina at Saratoga. GROUPIE DOLL After capturing this stakes last year by 4 1⁄2 lengths at 3-5, she was nosed against males in the Grade I Cigar Mile. This year, she has a win and two thirds in three starts, all at 1-2 or lower. She may be vulnerable. DANCE TO BRISTOL Her distant second to undefeated Cluster of Stars in the Grade II Gallant Bloom left her with a record of 10 wins and eight seconds in 19 career starts. She edged top one in the Ballerina, and may be a bit overlooked today. SUMMER APPLAUSE She’s won three of her last six starts. Saver: Teddy’s Promise.
MIZ DIRECTION She gamely won this stakes by a half-length last year. Her outstanding works off a tiring fifth in a longer Grade I grass stakes indicate she may repeat. UNBRIDLED’S NOTE He was second to top one in this race last year and needed last when he was a close third off a long layoff. CHIPS ALL IN He beat Unbridled’s Note winning a Grade III stakes in last. RENEESGOTZIP Another filly taking on males, she finished third in this stakes last year in her only turf start. Saver: Jeranimo.
HAVANA Gray Pletcher colt gamely held off Honor Code to win the Grade I Champagne. That made this speedster 2-for-2, and he looks solid in a less than imposing field. BOND HOLDER After going winless in four starts on synthetic, he won a Grade I stakes at Santa Anita in his dirt debut. TAP IT RICH Baffert gray colt won his maiden debut emphatically. Could be this good. Saver: Dance With Fate.
POINT OF ENTRY Yes, he’s coming back off an injury and a layoff, but his only loss in his last eight starts was a fast-closing second by a half-length in this stakes last year. He has four wins and that second in five starts at this mile-and-a-half distance. THE FUGUE This European filly won Group 1 stakes in her last two starts, one of them against males. She’ll be a handful. BIG BLUE KITTEN Chad Brown horse has four wins and two seconds in his last six starts. He figures right there. LITTLE MIKE He won last year’s Turf at 17-1, and he won a Grade I stakes at Belmont in his last start at 7-1. Saver: Real Solution.
PRIVATE ZONE He was extremely game coming on again to win the Grade I Vosburgh by a neck at Belmont. He had an unbelievably fast work at Santa Anita since. SECRET CIRCLE He won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, and boasts six wins and two seconds in eight career starts. JUSTIN PHILLIP He was narrowly beaten by top one in the Vosburgh. He’s talented, but he has only won three of his last 14 races. SUM OF THE PARTS This speedster was fourth in last year’s Sprint. Saver: Bahamian Squall.
WISE DAN Reigning Horse of the Year had his nine-race win streak snapped by Silver Max when the Grade I Shadwell at Keeneland was switched from turf to synthetic. On grass, Wise Dan is 10-for-11, including a resounding win in this stakes last year to clinch Horse of the Year honors. OLYMPIC GLORY With blinkers added in last, he won a Group 1 stakes in England by 3 1⁄4 lengths in a field of 12. ZA APPROVAL He followed a second to Wise Dan in the Grade I Woodbine Mile with a handy Grade III stakes win at Belmont. OBVIOUSLY He was fourth in last, but had nine wins, four seconds and two thirds in his previous 15 starts. Saver: Silver Max.
GAME ON DUDE He’s won six straight following his disappointing seventh in last year’s Classic at 6-5. However, he was bumped sideways at the start in that race and got away seventh, instead of his customary first or second. His last race, an 81⁄4-length victory in the Grade I Pacific Classic, was the best of his career, and he’s worked phenomenally well since. MUCHO MACHO MAN He was second by a half-length to Fort Larned in this stakes last year, and he had a breakout victory in last, a 4 1⁄4-length score in a Grade I stakes at Santa Anita. WILL TAKE CHARGE After finishing eighth, seventh and 10th in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, respectively, trainer D. Wayne Lukas took his blinkers off. Will Take Charge responded with a much-improved second to Palace Malice in the Grade II Jim Dandy, then beat him in the Travers and won the Pennsylvania Derby. PALACE MALICE He followed a poor-starting, close fourth in the Travers with a distant second to Ron the Greek in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup. He’s only won two of his last nine starts. Saver: Fort Larned.
BEST BET: Game on Dude, Classic
BEST LONG SHOT: Book Review, Filly & Mare Sprint