Time for our seventh and FINAL set of Breeders’ Cup Predictions! Each week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup, our latest picks for all thirteen races have been posted. Let’s take a look at the last week of picks before the big event NEXT WEEK:
Changes from last week: Dirt Mile and Juvenile Turf
Classic: Gun Runner – He has been our pick for all seven sets of predictions. 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. Currently, he’s making his final preparations for the race at Santa Anita and will ship to Del Mar when the track opens for training.
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. At this point I’m very much on the fence on this race.
Distaff: Stellar Wind – At first, I said that this was an easy pick, but I’m starting to waver quite a bit on that statement. The 3-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, each week I continue to be tempted with younger fillies such as Elate, Abel Tasman, Paradise Woods, and It Tiz Well. With Stellar Wind’s 0-for-2 Breeders’ Cup record, it makes me nervous.
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, many of the other fillies in this division have left a lot to be desired. She’s another strong favorite, but her competition is a lot closer to her than the Juvenile division is to Bolt d’Oro.
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. After Drefong’s latest work, he could end up being the pick, but for now, I’ll leave it with Imperial Hint.
Dirt Mile: Accelerate – When these predictions started, he was the pick, but then I switched to Sharp Azteca. Now, with the uneasy feeling in the Jorge Navarro barn, it’s back to Accelerate. He loves this track and is perfectly suited for this distance. Those are too much to ignore. He’s one of the big horses that truly have a “home track advantage” at this Breeders’ Cup.
Filly and Mare Sprint: Unique Bella – She is BACK! The Amazon returned in the Grade 3 L.A. Woman at Santa Anita and basically toyed with her competition. As much as I still like Highway Star, it’s hard to go against the type of talent that Unique Bella displayed. It’s a shame that she was injured for most of the year because there’s no telling what she would have done, but she’ll look to make up for lost time at the Breeders’ Cup.
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. She seems to be working well leading up to the race.
Turf Sprint: Disco Partner – Impressive once again in his final prep for the Breeders’ Cup, he’s been a complete freak all year when sprinting on the turf, and the Breeders’ Cup will set up well for him. Even though the race is at 5 furlongs, there will be plenty of early speed. He should be able to sit off the pace and have a strong kick down the stretch that will be hard to hold off.
Juvenile Turf: U S Navy Flag – The Juvenile Turf is the race I have wavered on the most, but if U S Navy Flag does indeed come over for the race, then he will be hard to pick against. He has won three races in a row, including back-to-back Group 1s. Trainer Aidan O’Brien is no stranger to success in this country with a wide variety of shippers, and this one could be one of his best Juveniles ever.
Juvenile Fillies Turf: Rushing Fall – She put in a “wow” type of performance to win the Grade 3 Jessamine at Keeneland. That was the type of win that you can get excited about, as she came from off the pace and finished with a really strong kick down the lane. Trainer Chad Brown is very high on this runner, and it looks to be for good reason, as she seems to be super talented.