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It’s hard to believe it, but we’ve hit the final week leading up to the 2021 Breeders’ Cup, so it’s time to give our final early picks for all 14 races. Again this week, we wonder: are we facing a chalk fest? Will the races be won mostly by big favorites? Where do we think we’ll find potential price plays?
Here’s our seventh and final 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.
Potential for pick to change: Possible
Let’s face it, if she ships over again and shows up with her normal effort, then the rest are running for second. She’s put up back-to-back efforts overseas that are much better than anything that will be in this field. It’ll be interesting to see if she defends last year’s title.
Potential for pick to change: Possible
Look, we have to try to beat Letruska here, even though she’s clearly the leader in the division. The problem is, the weekend looks so chalky elsewhere and you can see a scenario where she can get beat if she faces pace pressure. Perhaps Private Mission can press her early, setting it up for Malathaat to run at them late and pick up the victory. We can hope, right?
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Pick: Space Blues
It was nice to see this horse pre-entered. He was won two straight coming into this event, including a Group 1 event in his last start at Longchamp. This race is loaded, though, so this pick is questionable until we see the final entries.
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 when 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 should set him up perfectly for the Breeders’ Cup.
Potential for pick to change: Low
Pick: Loves Only You
Now that we have the pre-entries, I’m going with an overseas horse, even though I still believe in my original pick of War Like Goddess. She’s going to be up against some very tough company, though, while it’ll be tough for her to close ground on this race course.
Five Early Longshots To Watch In The 2021 Breeders’ Cup
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
Here’s the good news: our longshot pick in this race for the fourth straight week won the Eddie D Stakes (G2) last weekend at Santa Anita. Here’s the bad news: that victory means we’ll get a much lower price on him at Del Mar. Still, I’ll stick with him for now because he loves Del Mar and is on fire coming into the race. However, after seeing Golden Pal at Keeneland, he’s going to be tough to beat.
Potential for pick to change: Likely
Pick: Bella Sofia
Let’s take a swing against the heavily-favored Gamine with a horse who’s been ultra-impressive in her last few starts. She seems to be the only one in the group who can compete with the defending champ, so perhaps she can upset at a nice price.
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Pick: Jack Christopher
This will come down to him or Corniche for us. After studying replays and numbers, I’m liking Jack Christopher more and more, so much so that he’s the pick in our last set of predictions. The only question mark is the distance for him.
He’s been our pick for the first 3 weeks of this article, so why would we change after he fought hard to win the Pilgrim Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park in his second start? It wasn’t a “take your breath away” type of race; however, he was solid and earned a nice 89 Beyer Speed Figure for the victory.
Pick: Echo Zulu
She looks like she could be a single after another dominating effort in the Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. Attempting two turns remains her biggest question mark, but she stretched out to a mile just fine in her latest blowout victory. However, she faces a serious challenger in Juju’s Map.
2021 Breeders’ Cup Betting Prop Odds
I’m back on the European side this week after seeing the pre-entries. American horses have usually done well in this race; however, this looks like a tough group coming over from across the pond. We’ve still got a lot of work to do to lock down a horse in this race.
Pick: Averly Jane
Wow, her win in the Indian Summer Stakes was effortless despite being her first try on the turf. I can’t help but think she looks like the female version of Golden Pal this year, and we all know what he did in this race last season.
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