Time for our third set of Breeders’ Cup Predictions! Each week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup, our latest picks for all thirteen races will be posted. Let’s take a look at this week’s picks:
Changes from last week: Dirt Mile
Classic: Gun Runner – It’s almost hard to believe that Gun Runner is the pick here without much thought, especially after what happened at Dubai in March. He’s been the most impressive runner this summer. The result will come down to him liking the surface at Del Mar. Collected and Arrogate are the two main challengers, obviously, but as of now, Gun Runner is doing the best.
Mile: World Approval – There’s no doubting him now after another huge Grade 1 win in the Woodbine Mile. It looks like one mile is his best distance after running in several longer races on the turf earlier in his career. His trainer, Mark Casse, has had solid success in the Breeders’ Cup Mile over the last two years with superstar Tepin.
Turf: Oscar Performance – It’s completely up in the air as to who will ship from overseas to run in this race. I haven’t been overly impressed with the older turf horses in the United States, so I’m going to go with the most impressive 3-year-old of the year, Oscar Performance. This pick could change, but I love the way that this horse carries early speed, and it looks like he’ll take on older horses in his prep race for the Breeders’ Cup.
Distaff: Stellar Wind – This is an easy pick. I’ve always loved Stellar Wind, and now she won’t have to deal with the champion Songbird. Forever Unbridled poses a definite challenge, and Stellar Wind has lost two straight Breeders’ Cup Distaffs, but hopefully the third time’s the charm.
Juvenile: Bolt d’Oro – He was super impressive winning the Del Mar Futurity. He had a nice run to catch Zatter in the late stages of the race, and I like that he has a win over the track, which will be very important at this Breeders’ Cup. Del Mar is a very unique surface, and I could see the 2-year-old division being dominated by horses that raced there this summer.
Juvenile Fillies: Moonshine Memories – I used the same logic here that I did for the Juvenile. Moonshine Memories has two impressive wins over this track, which I think could make a huge difference. This division is not quite as established as the males at this point, and the recent race at Churchill Downs for this division didn’t clear things up much.
Sprint: Imperial Hint – Admittedly, it could be dangerous to pick against a horse like Drefong, but Imperial Hint has been overly impressive to me for a few months. His last race at Parx showed his insane amount of talent as he nearly set a track record under wraps. This will be a class test for him without question, but he looks to be ready for it.
Dirt Mile: Sharp Azteca – He picked up a big win in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap that reminded us all how good he is at a mile. The first two weeks, Accelerate was the pick here, and he could end up showing back up as the pick at some point, but as of now, Sharp Azteca was impressive enough to give him a hard look. This race is going to be one of the toughest of the entire Breeders’ Cup to pick.
Filly and Mare Sprint: Highway Star – I was happy to see that she backed up my initial thoughts with a big win in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park. Like I’ve been saying, I love this horse going 7 furlongs. It’s a specialized distance, and her proven track record is a major positive. I’m also keeping a close eye on Unique Bella, who’s pointing towards this race after working out like a freak.
Filly and Mare Turf: Lady Eli – Like I always say, I will never pick against Lady Eli. In my eyes, she’s running just as well as ever, and was just barely defeated in this race last year. Let’s hope that she gets revenge, as this could be her last-ever race. What a way it would be for her to end an absolutely fantastic career.
Turf Sprint: Disco Partner – This division is usually the most boring of all the Breeders’ Cup races, but that’s not the case this year. There are several superstars pointing towards this race, and it could end up being one of the best of the 2017 races. For now, I will stick with Disco Partner, as his form this year has been lights out. However, there are several options to think about as the race gets closer.
Juvenile Turf: Untamed Domain – He looked very good closing from the back to win the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at Woodbine. There are a couple of horses that beat him at Saratoga two races back, but this horse didn’t get a great trip in that race. From a talent standpoint, I think he’s the best so far, but this is a wide-open field at this point.
Juvenile Fillies Turf: Orbolution – This is the only juvenile on the list that has not had a race at Del Mar, but on the turf, she’s been an absolute monster. In my eyes, she’s much the best in this division as far as American horses are concerned, so it will come down to who comes to the United States, as those horses are always tough in the juvenile turf races.