Hi all… welcome to the dedicated page for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup!!
Race previews below for all 14 championship races, along with a selection for each race. Plenty of time and effort has gone in to watching back replays and doing the research, not to mention the actual writing of the previews, so fingers crossed they help to find us a few winners over the two day spectacular that is the Breeders’ Cup!!.
Thanks for taking the time to visit the page – any and all retweets via twitter are very much appreciated.
Friday November 1
Juvenile Turf Sprint
Kimari finished just a head behind Raffle Prize in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and the form of that race is working out extremely well as 9 of the 24 runners have won since (7 of which were at Listed level or above). Kimari won her next two, overcoming a slow start and finding herself a couple of lengths adrift of the field turning for home before powering home to break the Stakes record when winning the Grade 3 Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland last month. Trainer Wesley Ward also saddles Four Wheel Drive who was a convincing winner in the Futurity Stakes when last seen, and it could be an intriguing battle between the two, however preference is for Kimari given his overall performances over the course of the season and his sensational last-to-first victory in October.
The best of the rest, and most likely European challenger looks to be A’Ali who has won three Group 2 races this summer, including the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, and wasn’t disgraced when fifth in the Group 1 Prix Morny in August, only fading close to home.
Kimari 3/1 (sky, BV, PP)
Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore have teamed up to win this race 4 times since 2011 so it is no surprise to see Arizona head the market. Both career wins came over six furlongs and this will be his first run over a mile, but he was staying on strongly when just two lengths behind Pinatubo over seven furlongs in the Dewhurst Stakes last time out so there is a good chance he will see out this longer trip.
Decorated Invader and Piece Achieved both has solid place claims based on recent victories however for an each way play I would be happy to go with Vitalogy who finished 2nd behind Piece Achieved and 3rd behind Decorated Invader in his last two races but has been flying at the finish on both occasions and wouldn’t need to find much improvement to reverse the form.
Vitalogy 10/1 e/w (B365, sky)
Wicked Whisper was an extremely impressive winner on debut and proved that was no fluke when winning the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes next time out, taking the lead in the first furlong and showing what looked to be an effortlessly high cruising speed, having all rivals hard at work on the turn for home before staying on strongly under a hands and heels ride to win by around three lengths.
Donna Veloce couldn’t have been any more impressive when winning by around ten lengths here at Santa Anita in September, however steps up markedly in trip and takes on tougher opposition so it will be interesting to see if she gets her own way today.
Bast beat Comical and Lazy Daisy with relative ease in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes but despite being sent off at odds of 1/6 had to work very hard to get the better of Comical over today’s trip in the Chandelier Stakes last time out and for me looks a little short in the market given that last run.
Wicked Whisper 5/1 (WHill)
Juvenile Fillies Turf
The USA bred horses have tended to excel in this race, posting 10 wins from 12, but the Europeans look to have a strong hand this year with both Albigna and Daahyeh strong in the early markets. Albigna actually finished behind Daahyeh in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh but subsequently stepped up to a mile with a commanding victory in the Prix Marcel Boussac and for me that experience over the trip puts her ahead of Roger Varian’s runner who is yet to go further than 7 furlongs.
Chad Brown has won four of the last five renewals of this race, with three of the four having won the Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes prior to emerging victorious in this race, so Selflessly must be considering in with a good chance of extending her trainer’s excellent record given her solid performance when winning the Miss Grillo at Belmont Park in September. That said, Crystalle put in an eye-catching run when a fast finishing second in the Miss Grillo, and having earlier beaten Sweet Melania in the PG Johnson Stakes she looks to be a big price in comparison to the market leaders. Her style of running suggests she will sit out the back for the first part of the race with a view to a strong finish as they hit the straight and this means that she will need the gaps to appear for a clear run, but if that gap appears she has a great chance of a top three finish and could even sneak the victory.
Crystalle 12/1 e/w (sky, Boyles)
Eight Rings was an extremely impressive winner of the American Pharoah Stakes when last seen, reminding me a little of the way Songbird had the class to travel so strongly and have rivals in trouble coming round the final bend with the way he ran. With the likes of Nyquist and Game Winner having won this race (then known as the FrontRunner Stakes) before winning the Juvenile, trainer Bob Baffert will be hoping that Eight Rings has had the perfect prep to give him his fifth victory in the Juvenile.
Dennis’ Moment was also impressive when winning the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes last time out, while Maxfield made things look very easy when winning the Grade 1 Clairborne Breeders Futurity Stakes at Keeneland, taking his career wins to two from two.
I have watched each of their races back numerous times and I have come to the conclusion that this race will be won by either Eight Rings or Maxfield, with Dennis’ Moment coming home in third. Eight Rings has the benefit of a prior win over course and distance and if he can run a race similar to last time out he will likely be leading as he comes round the final bend, however this could also set things up nicely for Maxfield to close in the straight and then it will come down to a battle of who wants it most…. *update Maxfield now NR*
Eight Rings 6/4 (PP, BV, Coral)
Saturday November 2
Filly & Mare Sprint
Spiced Perfection almost lost her rider after stumbling at the start of the Thoroughbred Club Of America Stakes, finding herself at the back of the field right from the off. Under a patient ride she made smooth progress to sit in fourth turning for home, before powering through what looked to be a tiny gap to gain the lead on the straight and repel the fast finishing Dawn the Destroyer. Proven over the trip and with eight victories from her eighteen career runs, she unlikely to be too far away at the finish.
Covfefe arrives here having won back-to-back Grade 1 races, one when showing her battling qualities to repel Serengeti Express and most recently a ten-length demolition of rivals in the Dogwood Stakes, taking her career record to five wins from seven. She is another who is likely to be involved at the business end of the race.
That said, preference is for Come Dancing who has had an excellent season with four victories from five runs, with the loss coming to Midnight Bisou in the Ogden Phipps – where she still ran an excellent race in second. There is something about her run-style that I like and I feel the way the race is likely to develop will suit so she is the selection to beat the short-priced fave.
Come Dancing 5/2 (Boyles, Laddys)
A tricky race as most of the runners have already raced against each other a couple of times, with places changing and differing winners on each occasion.
Totally Boss beat Stormy Liberal, Imprimis and Leinster when winning the Grade 3 Runhappy Turf Sprint, while Stubbins finished behind Eddie Haskell and Legends Of War in races earlier in the season however got the better of Leinster and Imprimis in the Grade 2 Woodford Stakes when last seen.
Eddie Haskell has had to settle for second in his last two races but finished ahead of Stormy Liberal (3rd) on both occasions and has an overall excellent strike rate over the five furlong trip, winning four from six on turf in 2019.
Stormy Liberal has won this race for the last two years but things haven’t gone quite right for him this season, generally running well but not managing to notch a victory in six runs.
As you can see, it has almost been a case of ‘take it in turns’ and as such not a race for me to consider getting too involved in – I cannot see a stand out performer and as such will just be having a small play on Stormy Liberal (probably more hope than expectation) that he can notch his hat-trick in this race.
Stormy Liberal 10/1 e/w (PP, BV, Coral)
Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile
Omaha Beach found the trip plenty short enough when getting up to beat Shancelot on the line in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes last month, taking his winning run to four in a row which includes two victories at Santa Anita. The return to this longer trip will play to his strengths and he looks a worthy favourite.
The South Korean trained Blue Chipper, a winner of seven from eight career runs, looks capable of rewarding each way backers.
Omaha Beach 5/4 (B365, BV, PP) & Blue Chipper 40/1 e/w (Laddys, Coral)
Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf
Chad Brown has won this race 4 times in the last 7 years, winning last season’s renewal with Sistercharlie who returns to defend her crown. Unbeaten in three this season, including when breaking the course record and at the same time becoming the first to ever horse to win back-to-back Beverly D Stakes, she has looked better than ever and will likely prove tough to beat.
Fanny Logan has been impressive in lower grades than this but will need to step forwards again to feature, with the draw also doing her no favours, so for anyone looking for an each way selection look no further than Vasilika who has won fourteen from eighteen since the beginning of 2018, only failing to make the top three in one.
Sistercharlie 11/10 (sky, Coral)
Imperial Hint broke the track record and gave a Mitole a sound beating when retaining the Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga in July, and now has his third attempt at winning this race following a 2nd in 2017 and 3rd in 2018.
Mitole put the aforementioned defeat behind him with a convincing victory in the Forego Stakes last time out, forging clear to beat Firenze Fire by over three lengths. I am not 100% convinced that 6 furlongs is his optimum trip but he does look a class act and I hoping that will see him through.
Shancelot won the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes by around ten lengths but the front runner has been caught on the line in his last two runs and looks vulnerable for win purposes with both Mitole and Imperial Hint looking very strong finishing their respective races off.
Mitole 5/2 (B365, sky, PP, BV)
Trainer Mark Casse has won 2 of the last 4 renewals and relies on Got Stormy who made history when smashing the track record and becoming the first filly to beat the boys in the Fourstardave at Saratoga earlier in the year, beating the re-opposing Uni in the process. Her prep for this race saw her finish second in the Woodbine Mile in September, breezing to the front coming round the bend before surprisingly getting out-battled by a 50/1 shot El Tormenta on the run-in. On balance I am happy to forgive this effort as I think she hit the front too soon and just idled – I don’t expect that to happen again.
The last fourteen renewals of this race have failed to produce a UK winner but Aidan O’Brien looks to have a decent chance of breaking that trend with Circus Maximus who is a dual Group 1 winner over a mile, beating the ill-fated Juvenile Turf winner Line Of Duty when last seen in the Prix Du Moulin in September. Other European runners who could play minor roles include Lord Glitters, Hey Gaman and Space Traveller.
Got Stormy 9/2 (B365, sky, BV)
Trainer William Mott has five prior victories in this race but his early entry Elate, who placed 4th in this race in 2017, takes her chance in the Classic instead*.
The Personal Ensign Stakes was a battle between Elate* and Midnight Bisou, with the latter getting up on the line to extend her unbeaten run in 2019 to seven races. A solid third in this race last season (just ahead of Blue Prize) she has taken her form to the next level this season and although this will be a tough race its no surprise to see her head the market.
Blue Prize wasn’t beaten far when fourth in this race last season but warmed up for this race by beating Elate* when retaining the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes last time out and is unlikely to be too far away at the finish.
Midnight Bisou 5/4 (Whill, sky, PP)
Returning in December 2018 following over a year off the track, Bricks And Mortar has won six from six which has taken his overall record to ten wins from his twelve career starts. The most recent of these coming in the Arlington Million when last seen in August, beating the Aidan O’Brien trained Magic Wand with relative ease, travelling smoothly and producing a strong run once the gaps opened at the entrance to the straight.
Anthony Van Dyck was a decent third (behind stablemates Magical and Magic Wand) in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September, in what will be seen as a perfect preparation run for the 2019 Derby winner. He isn’t dismissed lightly but doesn’t have the same level of consistency as Bricks And Mortar and as such is passed over for win purposes.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien also saddles Mount Everest who wasn’t beaten far in a Group 3 over this trip at Leopardstown in September and won at Listed level on his latest start so does arrive in good form, but I feel will need a career-best performance if he is to gain victory and in truth a place looks the best he can muster.
Bricks And Mortar 15/8 (sky, WHill)
There is no doubt that McKinzie is a high class individual and given trainer Bob Baffert’s record in the Classic it is no surprise to see his runner head the market, yet as was seen when second in both the Awesome Again Stakes and the Runhappy Metropolitan he isn’t invincible. Add to this the fact that he has failed to win twice before over this trip and I feel he could prove vulnerable up against top-class performers who have proven stamina over ten furlongs.
Yoshida finished fourth in this race last season but despite a number of decent runs in 2019 he hasn’t managed to get his nose in front and looks likely to find one or two too good again this time around. Trainer William Mott also runs Elate who is a hugely consistent performer but has missed out on a couple of Grade 1 victories in recent months and would have to produce a career-best to win the Classic.
Vino Rosso finished behind McKinzie and Yoshida when third in the Whitney in August, before beating Code Of Honor in the Jockey Club Gold Cup – although his victory was short-lived after being disqualified for bumping his rival in the final furlong. Both were well clear of other rivals but to me the interference seemed minimal and I think that if ran under UK rules the result would have stood. Proven over the trip, I think the Todd Pletcher runner has an excellent chance of victory.
Code Of Honor arrives having won two of his last three, although was awarded victory in the third following a nudge from Vino Rosso which saw the winner disqualified. A solid performer who is also a prior winner over the trip, he looks the most likely to challenge.
Vino Rosso 9/2 (B365, sky, BV)