Tuley's Takes on 2019 Breeders' Cup

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

October 31, 2019 03:34 PM

LAS VEGAS – All year long when focusing more of our attention on sports betting, we talk about looking for value and making educated wagers.

Well, that’s never illustrated better than on Breeders’ Cup Weekend when the best horses in the world get together for two days of championship racing, this year being held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2, at Santa Anita.

Even with top-quality horses filling every field, the public still tends to overbet the favorites and let great horses go off at prices they never have the rest of the year, so I’ve had a lot of success over the years hitting live longshots. And unlike your regular run-of-the-mill cards held all year long, you don’t have to worry that you’re betting on horses with no chance or ones that might be prepping for a bigger race (so, you’re also getting more fair value than normal if betting the favorites). These are the bigger races everyone’s aiming for, so you’re getting fair odds on great horses whose connections have been getting them ready to perform their best in this showcase.

Having said all that, I understand my way of betting longshots isn’t for everyone, so in addition to giving my top value pick in each race, I’ll also list my top 3 (which will usually include the horses I like from among the top betting favorites) plus another “Longshot” pick. In addition to hoping to provide you with live horses, I also have an ulterior motive as I’m narrowing down my picks for use in vertical wagers (exactas, trifectas, superfectas in that given race) or horizontal wagers (multi-race bets like doubles, pick 3s, pick 4s, pick 6s). So, this betting guide, is meant to give some input into what horses you’re including (or throwing out) in building your own tickets. Personally, I’m going to mostly bet my top picks to win (also to place if they go off at least 10-1) and box my 1-2-3-Longshot picks in exacta and trifecta boxes. As for my Longshot pick, I’ll be more likely to also bet those to win (especially if they go off higher than the morning-line odds stated here or if my top pick scratches, rather than my lower-priced No. 2 or No. 3 picks), and also as a horse to increase those exotic payoffs. There’s been several years where I didn’t have a single winner on top but was able to “connect-the-dots” and save my day(s) by hitting an exotic or two.

So, let’s get started with Friday’s five-race BC card, which are races 5 through 9 at Santa Anita:


BC Juvenile Turf Sprint (Santa Anita #5)

Estimated post time: 4:12 p.m. ET/1:12 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#12 Cambria (12-1): This is what we call a “hidden entry.” It used to be that horses with the same trainer (and especially the same owner) would be a coupled entry (1 and 1a, for example) for betting purposes, but now it’s less common and they run uncoupled. Cambria is trained by Wesley Ward, who also trains the 3-1 favorite in this race, #9 Four Wheel Drive, and the 7-2 second-choice #7 Kimari. Most people are going to be betting on his “best” horses, but believe me when I say that even the best trainers don’t always know which of their horses are going to run best on a given day. And we get much better odds on the so-called “second-stringer” (and, in this case, “third-stringer).” But Cambria is no bench-warmer as she’s won her first three career starts and has a huge upside. This race has a ton of early speed that could compromise the chances of the front-runners and Cambria has shown the ability to sit off the pace and make a late run to the finish line and the winner’s circle.

#10 A’Ali (6-1)

#7 Kimari (7-2)

Longshot: #1 Chimney Rock (10-1)


BC Juvenile Turf (Santa Anita #6)

Estimated post time: 4:52 p.m. ET/1:52 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#6 Graceful Kitten (15-1): Most people look to bet the Europeans in this race (they’ve won 9 of the 12 runnings and 7 of the last 8), but this invader from Florida is far enough for me. He’s 3-for-3 and since most of the colts to his insider are late-runners who will drop back early, he should have a clean trip to the rail and have a great chance to control the pace and go wire-to-wire at a juicy price.

#13 Fort Myers (12-1)

#12 Arizona (5-2)

Longshot: #5 Vitalogy (10-1)


BC Juvenile Fillies (Santa Anita #7)

Estimated post time: 5:32 p.m. ET/2:32 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#1 Comical (8-1): I understand why most people will be all over the Bob Baffert-trained favorite, Bast, but I’m going with Comical to turn the tables on Bast as Comical only lost to him by a neck in the Grade 1 Chandelier. I mean, they ran virtually the same time to win the mile-and-a-sixteenth prep and yet we’re getting more than double the payoff for taking the “loser.”

#6 Bast (7-2)

#4 British Idiom (7-2)

Longshot: #2 Two Sixty (15-1)


BC Juvenile Fillies Turf (Santa Anita #8)

Estimated post time: 6:12 p.m. ET/3:12 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#2 Croughavouke (20-1): This Irish lass qualifies as a foreigner, but she’s acclimated to this country with two runner-up finishes. A lot of bettors might dismiss her off those losses, but I think they put here right in the mix of things at a great price. Besides, she has the advantage of the only entrant with a race over this track. She does has a case of seconditis, so a good idea to bet Win & Place. Now, for my limerick that I started on Ron Flatter’s pop-up podcast: “There once was a filly from Limerick, who had a great closing kick (to be completed after race)...”

#13 Selflessly (8-1)

#5 Daahyeh (5-1)

Longshot: #4 Abscond (15-1)


BC Juvenile (Santa Anita #9)

Estimated post time: 7:03 p.m. ET/4:03 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#2 Wrecking Crew (20-1): This is considered a main stepping-stone for next May’s Kentucky Derby, but it doesn’t always work out this way and I see it as just another race to handicap without looking for a “Derby horse.” Wrecking Crew has been sprinting up to now, which will have a lot of people dismissing his chances, but he’s been running into fast early fractions and running late so I have no doubt trainer Peter Miller will have him ready for the stretch-out to a mile-and-a-sixteenth. He also has seconditis, but again I’ll be betting to Win & Place at this price.

#3 Shoplifted (20-1)

#4 Storm the Court (20-1)

Longshot: #7 Anneau d’Or (15-1)



BC Filly & Mare Sprint (Santa Anita #4)

Estimated post time: 2:55 p.m. ET/11:55 a.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#12 Dawn the Destroyer (12-1): The Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes has been the best prep for this BC race the past decade (5 winners used it as their last race) and Dawn the Destroyer lost by a head to Spiced Perfection. Again, we’re getting 12-1 for a horse that just lost to a horse that’s among the “top contenders” at 4-1. Gimme those odds any time.

#9 Spiced Perfection (4-1)

#6 Bellafina (6-1)

Longshot: #5 Lady Ninja (10-1)


BC Turf Sprint (Santa Anita #5)

Estimated post time: 3:33 p.m. ET/12:33 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#6 Stormy Liberal (8-1): There have been many back-to-back BC race winners over the years, including Stormy Liberal, who is the two-time defending champion of this race. I love betting these defending champs because they obviously have what it takes to win at this level, but probably more importantly is the fact the connections (owners, trainers) have shown they can do it, plus I believe it becomes the stable’s primary goal to repeat. And that’s why I’m not concerned that Stormy Liberal is winless this year because I’m confident the connections have been aiming for this day all along to get Stormy Liberal to peak at the right time. Again, those losses probably what are giving us such a fair price.

#2 Belvoir Bay (12-1)

#3 Imprimis (8-1)

Longshot: #5 Stubbins (12-1)


BC Dirt Mile (Santa Anita #6)

Estimated post time: 4:10 p.m. ET/1:10 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#4 Mr. Money (6-1): A lot of people will dismiss this colt who’s been running at smaller tracks like Indiana Grand, Mountaineer and Parx, but he fits here despite having his four-race win streak snapped in the Pennsylvania Derby at a mile-and-an-eighth. He should be aided by shortening up to a mile.

#5 Omaha Beach (8-5)

#2 Improbable (3-1)

Longshot: #8 Blue Chipper (20-1)


BC Filly & Mare Turf (Santa Anita #7)

Estimated post time: 4:54 p.m. ET/1:54 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#6 Thais (30-1): Here’s another hidden entry, this time with Chad Brown sending out the 8-5 favorite #2 Sistercharlie. Now, most people will notice that they also have the same owner and that Thais has been sent out as the “rabbit” in Sistercharlie’s last five wins. And I don’t doubt that’s probably the strategy again. However, at 30-1, it’s worth the shot that this is the time that everyone lets the pacesetter cruise along and then they’re not able to catch up. I’ve seen it happen a lot of times.

#2 Sistercharlie (8-5)

#9 Villa Marina (8-1)

Longshot: #12 Fanny Logan (15-1)


BC Sprint (Santa Anita #7)

Estimated post time: 5:36 p.m. ET/2:36 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#3 Firenze Fire (12-1): With the scratch of my original top pick, Landeskog, I feel I have a freeroll here (there’s an old saying: “They never scratch a winner,” so I’m grateful they scratched him). I’m taking this consistent stalking horse that should be sitting just off the pace and ready to make one run down the stretch (and in that position, he should get the jump on the other closers).

#9 Imperial Hint (4-1)

#4 Mitole (9-5)

Longshot: #2 Hog Creek Hustle (20-1)


BC Mile (Santa Anita #9)

Estimated post time: 6:20 p.m. ET/3:20 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#5 True Valour (20-1): This is another foreigner who’s already been running stateside, including two straight wins over this turf course. Granted, he’s been facing lesser competition than he’ll be chasing Saturday, but if he runs his race, he should be right there at the end to blow up the tote board at 20-1.

#13 Hey Gaman (12-1)

#9 Circus Maximus (3-1)

Longshot: #1 Suedois (20-1)


BC Distaff (Santa Anita #10)

Estimated post time: 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#10 Mo See Cal (30-1): Here’s a really big longshot that will likely go off much higher than her morning-line odds as she’s never run in a graded stakes and her last two races were optional claimers. However, I love that she’s won twice over this track (including her last race) and has the early speed to steal this on the lead. There’s plenty of other speed in this race, so hopefully she’s got what it takes to put them away and hold off the closers.

#11 Blue Prize (6-1)

#4 Midnight Bisou (6-5)

Longshot: #8 La Force (30-1)


BC Turf (Santa Anita #11)

Estimated post time: 8:44 p.m. ET/5:44 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#10 Old Persian (4-1): This is the shortest price of all my top picks, but that’s how much I think Old Persian fits this race at a fair price. He’s 5-for-8 at this distance of a mile-and-a-half (note: the favorite, Bricks and Mortar has never raced this far and though a lot of people are saying they’re sure he can get the distance, he’s gotta prove it to me first) and has shown he can win on any turf course as he’s won all over the world (Ascot, York, Dubai) against great competition and then crossed the pond and won the Grade 1 Northern Dancer at Woodbine in Canada. California is next.

#9 Bricks and Mortar (9-5)

#5 Anthony Van Dyke (3-1)

Longshot: #7 Alounak (20-1)


BC Classic (Santa Anita #12)

Estimated post time: 5:44 p.m. ET/2:44 p.m. PT

My value pick on top and other horses to include:

#4 War of Will (20-1): You’ll probably remember War of Will as just the Preakness winner or as the horse that Maximum Security cut off to get famously disqualified in the Kentucky Derby. At the time, a lot of people said Maximum Security was going to win anyway, but I wasn’t so sure after watching War of Will’s late kick to win the Preakness. He’s come up short in his three subsequent races, but at 20-1 I’m willing to take a chance that he can return to form and run down the pacesetters in the Classic. Trainer Mark Casse adds blinkers, which can sometimes help a horse focus on the task at hand.

#6 Elate (6-1)

#5 Yoshida (8-1)

Longshot: #2 Seeking the Soul (20-1)



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