Time for our fourth 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: Turf, Juvenile Fillies Turf
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: Highland Reel – I’m going with the defending champion this week in a race where I’m very unsettled at this point. This field has left me confused for a few weeks now. If Highland Reel comes over for the race, then the rest of the field will probably have their hands full, but there are plenty of upsetters that are looming large.
Distaff: Stellar Wind – At first, I stated that this was an easy pick, but I’m starting to waver quite a bit on that statement. The three year olds pointing for this race are becoming more and more impressive by the day, and I don’t love the fact that Stellar Wind is training up to the race. I’ve always loved her though, and will stick with her for now. However, this group looks tough!
Juvenile: Bolt d’Oro – With his win in the Grade 1 FrontRunner, he stamped himself as a heavy favorite for this race. There’s really no way that he should lose if he shows up with the kind of effort we’ve seen from him in his last two races. Not only does he look much the best, but he’s also won twice over the Del Mar surface. He may go off as the shortest price at this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
Juvenile Fillies: Moonshine Memories – I don’t think that she’s as brilliant as Bolt d’Oro, but her resume is very similar to his. She picked up two wins at Del Mar, then went to Santa Anita and won the Grade 1 Chandelier by open lengths. It will be hard to go against her with that kind of form, and so far, the other fillies in this division have left a lot to be desired. She’s another strong favorite.
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. Trainer Bob Baffert has stated that he’s concerned about this horse.
Dirt Mile: Sharp Azteca – He picked up a big win in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap that reminded us how good he is at a mile. Through 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 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.
Juvenile Fillies Turf: Significant Form – It was a “wow” performance for this filly in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo. Trainer Chad Brown looks like he has yet another turf star. She defeated Orbolution and Best Performance with ease, and both of those horses are highly regarded in this division. It now just depends on what European horses ship in for this race.