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For the final weeks leading up to the 2021 Breeders’ Cup, we’ll give our top picks for all 14 races.
Here’s our third set of predictions for the year-end World Championships, which will be held November 5-6 at Del Mar:
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Pick: Essential Quality
Cox has them over a barrel here with two big gray monsters, both of which have different running styles. For my money right now, I’ll take Essential Quality, with the assumption that Knicks Go will face some pace pressure that softens him up. This is a true situation where pace will make the race. If it looks like Knicks Go can be lone speed, then he will be the one who takes home the big prize. Time will tell what the pace scenario will ultimately look like.
Pick: Walton Street
After a dominating performance in the Canadian International (G1) at Woodbine, let’s hope we see this horse come back for the Breeders’ Cup. Appleby has been shipping to North American and winning in bunches, and this horse was one of the most impressive runners he brought over in recent memory.
This is a favorite I’d like to play against, and might end up doing so once the big day arrives, but as of now, she’s the pick. She’s done nothing wrong all season long, so it’s hard to make a case against her at this point, as she’s beaten most of her main competition. Can she hold that form together through November? That’s the big challenge.
Pick: Mo Forza
We know this horse loves Del Mar, and we also know his talent level is extremely high. If Miller can keep him healthy, which has been his main issue, then he should be hard to beat in this spot. It will be interesting to see whether he runs in a final prep or just trains up to the race.
Pick: Jackie’s Warrior
It’ll be hard for me to pick against this horse unless we really see something spectacular in the last few prep races leading up to the big day. He was simply awesome at Saratoga defeating Life Is Good, who might be better than anything Jackie’s Warrior will face in this race. Trainer Steve Asmussen has a ton of quality sprinters headed towards this event and this is his best one. His last prep race at Parx should set him up perfectly for the Breeders’ Cup.
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Pick: War Like Goddess
This filly is the pick for now after 2 monster efforts at Saratoga against stakes company. She hasn’t faced a field quite like what she’ll see at Del Mar, though, so we’re still anxiously awaiting who might ship in from overseas as well.
Pick: Life Is Good
Wow, does this horse have a ton of talent. He crushed the Kelso Handicap (G2) field with ease, on his way to the Dirt Mile, where he’ll be a major favorite. It’s hard to see him losing this race if he shows up with his best effort.
Pick: Lieutenant Dan
Why not take a longshot here, one who has experience winning races sprinting on Del Mar’s turf? He may not be the most attractive option from a speed figure standpoint, but this turf course plays a little strange, so his 2 straight victories over the surface work in his favor. The last time the Breeders’ Cup was at Del Mar, this race produced a big longshot.
If she runs to her capabilities, then she should be an easy single to kick off Breeders’ Cup Saturday. She won this race last season and this year’s field may not be as good as that one. She should be an easy winner.
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We’ve only seen him once so far, but he was awesome in his debut effort, winning a maiden special weight at Del Mar and earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. We’ll learn a lot more about him in his final prep race, which will likely come at Santa Anita in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1).
This horse looked like a monster in his debut, dominating a maiden special weight group at Saratoga. That is his only race so far, though, so we still need to see how he does in his final prep event, which will likely be the Pilgrim Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. If he can build off of that effort, then he’s going to be tough to beat here.
Pick: Echo Zulu
This has easily been the most impressive horse in the group so far, picking up 2 solid victories at Saratoga including the Spinaway Stakes (G1) last time out. We aren’t sure how well she’ll stretch out in distance, though, which is something that we must monitor in her final prep.
Pick: Wild Beauty
Last week, we said that our pick was “European to be named later.” We now have our horse after Wild Beauty won like a monster in the Natalma Stakes (G1) at Woodbine. Right now, Appleby looks nearly impossible to beat in the United States.
Pick: Twilight Gleaming
We’ll see how this shakes out as we go along. As of now, we don’t know much about this field, so it’s hard to make a prediction at this time. We do know that Wesley Ward is great at training young turf sprinters, and Twilight Gleaming has been impressive, so we’ll go with her for now.
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