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We’ve made it to the last couple of weeks in the Breeders’ Cup prep season, where several of the big-time events remain on the schedule. We’ve already begun picking out our favorites for each division; however, these last couple of weeks could make us change our minds. Here are the five remaining prep races that could be the most influential and are therefore can’t-miss:
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The Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) is completely wide open right now, which makes this prep race extremely important. This race also attracts a tremendous field, which adds to the intrigue of the race, and we always celebrate when Keeneland is back up and running.
This is the first of three 2-year-old events that made the list. As the years pass by, many of our older horses will make their final preps during the summer, but the 2-year-olds usually make their final starts leading up to the Breeders’ Cup in October. The Breeders’ Futurity (G1), another staple of the Keeneland meet, is held on the same day as the Turf Mile and produced last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) champion.
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Santa Anita has produced several Breeders’ Cup winners during its prep season, and this race typically displays some of the best 2-year-olds in the crop. This year, Bob Baffert seems loaded with prospects, despite the fact that no horse under his training can earn points towards the Kentucky Derby. We’ll see how that plays out as the year moves along, as it’s sure to be a circus, but the fact is the Juvenile champion could easily come out of this race.
I’ve ranked this race lower than the other 2-year-old preps because it is a one-turn mile as opposed to a two-turn event that is contested at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) distance. However, this is still a very important race, especially since the New York-based juveniles looked very strong at Saratoga this summer. We should see some nice horses in this spot.
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It’s incredible that this race is the only official prep left for the Classic, the biggest race in our country each year. The Awesome Again might not produce the Classic winner, but it could give us a look at a horse or two who might give us some value in the big race, which will be important for underneath betting on what looks like a top-heavy event.
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