It’s time for our fifth 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. Last week was crazy, and this week has a big chance to be just as wild. Keeneland, Santa Anita, and Belmont Park will all play host to “Win and You’re In” events. Let’s take a look at our latest rankings heading into the weekend:
Saturday, November 3, 2018
His Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby win was a massive step towards winning this race. Returning from a long layoff, McKinzie seemed to have total control of the race right out of the gate and was able to cruise home to a 1 3/4-length victory. He earned a 107 Beyer speed figure for his victory, which ties Justify as the highest by a 3-year-old this year. Last week, Accelerate won the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita, but he only earned a 100 Beyer speed figure for his effort. Discreet Lover won at Belmont with a 103, while the most impressive win came from Mind Your Biscuits, who earned a 108 for his win in the Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs. Still, with those results, my confidence in McKinzie has only grown.
His Chad Brown stablemate Robert Bruce did not come through last weekend and flattened out a bit going 1 1/2 miles (the same distance as the Longines Turf), so I’ll move on to Almanaar. He has put up two great efforts this year and looks set to run this weekend after a few solid workouts. The European continent will also be getting a big look from me in this race once we know who is coming.
Pick: Monomoy Girl
In a shocking turn of events, Abel Tasman ran off the board in the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes, which has made this a wide-open affair. Elate is also likely not to make the Breeders’ Cup, which leaves Monomoy Girl as the top pick. The rest of the older female division has struggled this season, which could mean that a 3-year-old is ready to take control in this spot. Monomoy Girl fits that bill.
Pick: Bound for Nowhere
This horse is undefeated in the United States after recently winning 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.
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. Imperial Hint was perfect when conquering the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park last time out.
Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf
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.
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. 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.
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
No Instagrand? No problem! Trainer Bob Baffert has a good one on his hands after back-to-back Grade 1 victories. Game Winner passed his first two-turn test with ease, romping at Santa Anita in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes. If he shows up with that type of effort, then he will be tough to beat at Churchill Downs in the Breeders’ Cup.
Pick: War of Will
This one will likely change depending on what European horses end up shipping in for the race because the American runners seem to be trading wins. The Grade 3 Dixiana Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland this Sunday is a must-watch race because it’s a “Win and You’re In” for this event.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies
Bellafina has now won three straight, including scores in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes three races back, the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante Stakes two races back, and now the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes last time out. That sort of resume, while also running against tough foes at Del Mar and Santa Anita, makes it hard to pick against her.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
This is the Friday card single. Send your best, Europe – you are going to be hard-pressed to beat this beast if she shows up with the same type of effort that she showed in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes.
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.