Breeders' Cup

2018 Breeders’ Cup Predictions #3: Juvenile Changes in Week 3

Fog of War winning the G1 Summer (Credit: Michael Burns Photo)

It’s time for our third set of 2018 Breeders’ Cup Predictions to be revealed. Each week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup, our latest picks for all 14 races will be posted. Both juvenile divisions were shaken up following several races at Woodbine and Churchill Downs last weekend. This week, our Breeders’ Cup Classic pick is set to return in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, which could mean major movement in that division. Here is what our latest set of predictions look like, and also, check out the latest 2019 Grand National Contenders:

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Classic

Pick: McKinzie

We will see what happens this weekend in the Pennsylvania Derby with McKinzie. Again, remember that we are still several weeks away from the actual event, and this pick will change with if Mckinzie flops at Parx. I fully admit that could happen, and if he does, then that’s okay. However, I have confidence in this pick at the moment. Before Justify, this was the horse that trainer Bob Baffert believed could win the Kentucky Derby and talked about very highly. To me, the biggest key to this race is Accelerate and trainer John Sadler’s very poor record outside of California. Look at this year with Accelerate as a perfect example. The horse has looked absolutely unbeatable in California, but when he shipped to Oaklawn Park, he lost to City of Light in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap. That is enough of a question mark for me to explore other options in this race.

Longines Turf

Pick: Robert Bruce

This is a division where European shippers will have a big say in things. As of now, Robert Bruce looks like our best turf horse, but his stablemate Almanaar looks solid, too. However, Almanaar has no works since his runner-up Arlington Million finish, while Robert Bruce has had two solid works since winning that race. He will be tough in this spot.

Longines Distaff

Pick: Abel Tasman

With no Unique Bella, Abel Tasman will be a heavy favorite to win. She disposed of Elate for a third time at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes, which gave her back-to-back Grade 1 scores. She did have a total non-effort at Churchill Downs earlier in the year, but she seems to have put that behind her in a big way.

Mile

Pick: Bound for Nowhere

This horse is undefeated in the United States after recently winning once again in the $750K Tourist Mile Stakes at Kentucky Downs. There will be plenty of time to analyze this division, and we also know that European shippers will have a say in things. For now, we’ll stick with Bound for Nowhere until someone else steps up.

TwinSpires Sprint

Pick: Imperial Hint

This horse is an absolute monster when he is at his best. However, this may be the deepest division of 2018, so he will have his work cut out for him. Last year, he was second in this race to Roy H, but he might turn the tables on that rival this year.

Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf

Pick: Sistercharlie

She is without a doubt the best female turf horse in this country. It will just be a matter of which Europeans ship in to take her on in this spot. They’ll have to bring someone strong because Sistercharlie is really sharp right now.

Dirt Mile

Pick: Catalina Cruiser

There is very little doubt in my mind that this is the best horse in training and should be pointing for the Classic instead of this race. I mentioned in the Classic prediction that trainer John Sadler’s record away from California is poor, but when it comes to this horse, I don’t care. He is a freakish talent that will be ultra-tough to beat no matter where he runs.

Turf Sprint

Pick: World of Trouble

This horse has found his niche on the turf with two victories in a row since switching surfaces. His first try on the surface was a strong win at Saratoga in the $100,000 Quick Call Stakes, and then he looked like a superstar when dominating his rivals in the $100,000 Allied Forces Stakes at Belmont Park. This division is lacking a star, but he could change that.

Filly & Mare Sprint

Pick: Marley’s Freedom

Since moving to the Bob Baffert barn, this horse has turned into a monster. Her latest win at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes showed just how tough she’ll be in this race. She beat several of the top female sprinters in the country in that spot.

Future Stars Friday, November 2, 2018

Sentient Jet Juvenile

Pick: Game Winner

The news of Instagrand missing the Breeders’ Cup has thrown us for a loop. As of now, Game Winner will be the pick, with Grade 1s like the American Pharoah, the Champagne, and the Breeders’ Futurity now becoming very important. This has become a wide-open field with no Instagrand.

Juvenile Turf

Pick: Fog of War

Admittedly, he was not quite as impressive as I thought he’d be in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes, but he was still good enough to win while running greenly in the stretch. He will need to show some improvement mentally between now and the Breeders’ Cup, but it is clear that he has a world of talent.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies

Pick: Serengeti Empress

The Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes was an eye-popping performance. When all was said and done, Serengeti Empress had won by nearly 20 lengths, turning the race into a laugher. This win helped check three very important boxes: a win around two turns, a win at Churchill Downs where the Breeders’ Cup will be held, and an open-length victory without being asked for her best.

Juvenile Fillies Turf

Pick: Newspaperofrecord

For my money, this filly was the most impressive turf 2-year-old at the Saratoga meeting. She broke her maiden in runaway fashion and should be targeting a stakes for her next start. If she wins that race, then she will be locked into this spot.

Juvenile Turf Sprint

Pick: Stillwater Cove

If you rewatch the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes, then you will notice Stillwater Cove taking command in a powerful way at the top of the stretch before getting tired late in the race and fading. If that race was shorter, then she would have won without question. Shortening her up to this spot makes perfect sense, where she should be tough to beat.

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