“Future Stars Friday” is behind us and now we turn our attention to Saturday 9 Breeders’ Cup races at Keeneland, where your faithful handicapper is on-site enjoying the races from the media center and the stands. Hopefully I’ve picked up some helpful tidbits being so close to the action.
Keeneland Race 3 (11:50 a.m. ET/8:50 a.m. PT)
BC Filly and Mare Sprint
Win selection is #13 Echo Zulu (6-1 morning line) for winningest all-time trainer Steve Asmussen. I fell in love with this gal the day she broke her maiden in debut. Good horses overcome bad posts. She’s a very fast filly … Place choice is #11 Wicked Halo (10-1). Also for Assmusen, she’s won four in a row, including most recent at Keeneland … Show horse is #7 Obligatory (8-1). Nobody prepares them for big races better than Bill Mott … Longshot: Lots of morning trackside chatter about sole Japanese import #6 Chain of Love (20-1).
Keeneland Race 4 (12:29 p.m. ET/9:29 a.m. PT)
BC Turf Sprint
In order to win this race, they’ll need to beat #8 Golden Pal (2-1). Short on price, tall on talent. He’s my Win pick for sprint specialist Wesley Ward. Irad Ortiz Jr. returns to ride … Closer #11 Casa Creed (6-1) is Place selection. Turning back from pair of mile contests, he’ll be flying in stretch … #6 Highfield Princess (7-2) ships in for low-profile connections, but I’m betting she finishes in the money. Longshot: Irish-bred #1 Creative Force (10-1) gets inside trip.
Keeneland Race 5 (1:10 p.m. ET/10:10 a.m. PT)
BC Dirt Mile
Speedy #6 Laurel River (9-2) for rare Baffert-Irad combo looks like Winner. Improving colt has fired several bullet works … Classy #9 Cyberknife (9-2) gave top sophomores a run for their money. My Place pick fits here … Gotta love sentimental choice #7 Cody’s Wish (5-2) to Show … Longshot: #5 Gunite (7-2) capable of scoring an upset at higher than morning line odds in super-competitive race.
Keeneland Race 6 (1:50 p.m. ET/10:50 a.m. PT)
BC Filly and Mare Turf
Very fast Chad Brown trainee #11 In Italian (7-2) is my Win selection. Joel Rosario has yet to be defeated aboard improving British-bred gal … Choice to Place is always competitive Irish invader Tuesday (8-1). Tip from reliable overseas tout … Show horse is #4 Above the Curve (9-2). The more she runs the faster she gets … Longshot: #9 Rougir (12-1). Prat back in saddle for Brown barn. Could surprise.
Keeneland Race 7 (2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT)
Keeneland prior BC title-holder Jackie’s Warrior (4-5) just too good for me. When you can’t beat ‘em. pick ‘em to Win … If any other could triumph, it’s steadily improving #6 Elite Power (6-1) for Mott and Irad, my Place play … Ward and Jose Ortiz with #2 Kimari (4-1) looking for in-the-money finish off two recent victories … Longshot: #5 Aloha West (12-1) is a threat to repeat for Catman.
Keeneland Race 8 (3:10 p.m. ET/12:10 p.m. PT)
I, like several other media types, like invader #4 Modern Games (7-2) to Win extremely competitive event. Repeat of Woodbine race this summer would defeat this crew … Another import, #13 Kinross (9-2), is coming in with four-race win streak. Gelding is my Place play … Show goes to outermost starter #14 Domestic Spending (8-1). It’s never a good idea to overlook speedy Brown runner … Longshot: Brazilian-bred #6 Ivar (15-1). Javier Castellano picks up mount for Paulo Lobo. Respect upstart connections.
Keeneland Race 9 (3:55 p.m. ET/12:55 p.m. PT)
Many handicappers expecting showdown between Todd Pletcher’s best – #1 Malathaat (3-1) and #6 Nest (9-5) – so I’ll go out on a limb by backing #4 Clairiere (4-1) to Win. She has kick to run two speedsters down in deep stretch … I’ll take Malathaat to Place, Nest to Show. Longshot: #3 Secret Oath (15-1) for the great Coach, D. Wayne Lukas.
Keeneland Race 10 (4:40 p.m. ET/1:40 p.m. PT)
Top Euro jockey Frankie Dettori had choice of riding either #7 Nations Pride (7-2) or #11 Mishriff (6-1). By post time, I think public will agree with Frankie and make #11 the favorite. I agree. Mishriff is my Win pick, #7 to Place … Longshot: #10 Red Knight (20-1) from Dave Tuley’s picks.
Keeneland Race 11 (5:40 p.m. ET/2:40 p.m. PT)
It’s not a matter of who will win, but by how many lengths. #4 Flightline (3-5) will Win … The key to making money here is uncovering who will finish second, third and fourth – and playing them underneath in exotic wagers … My other picks: #7 Olympiad (10-1) to Place; #6 Epicenter (5-1) to Show, and Longshot #1 Taiba (8-1) to round out superfecta.