Every week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup, we give our top predictions for each race, but now, let’s focus on the longshots that could make this Breeders’ Cup very profitable. The key to the event each year is finding horses that blow up the tote board, or at least beat a heavy favorite, and cashing in on them. Here are five horses that could do just that:
1. West Coast – Classic
This is starting to become the “buzz horse,” which is a little scary for those of us looking for a bit of a price on him. However, you have to think that he will still go off as the fourth choice behind Arrogate, Gun Runner, and Collected. Take a quick look at the last three Breeders’ Cup Classic winners. All of them were 3-year-olds, and all of them were trained by Bob Baffert. West Coast fits both of those categories, and his rise to the top of the 3-year-old division is similar to what Arrogate did last year. West Coast is not nearly as brilliant as Arrogate, but he may be coming into the race better than any of the Bob Baffert trainees. Plus, 1 1/4 miles is the perfect distance for him.
2. Highway Star – Filly and Mare Sprint
The important thing to remember about this race is that it’s run at 7 furlongs, and Highway Star is a specialist at that distance. She has only one loss when running 7 furlongs, and that loss was still a second-place effort in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga. She’s in solid form heading into the race off of her Grade 2 Gallant Bloom win at Belmont Park. The horse to worry about (for great reason) is Unique Bella, who’s a superstar, but this will be a tough task for her as she tries to win a Grade 1 off of only one start in several months. If Unique Bella doesn’t show up with her normal big race, then Highway Star could be the one to pull off a big-time upset.
3. Encumbered – Juvenile Turf
Hardly anyone seems to be talking about this horse after his disappointing try on dirt in the Grade 1 FrontRunner. However, he’ll get back to the turf for the Breeders’ Cup, and he has two wins over the Del Mar course. He is the west coast’s best juvenile turf horse going into the race, and that’s something to not be taken lightly. We know that there will be several European shippers coming in, but before we know the official list, this horse has to be under consideration. Del Mar can be a tricky place to run, so his wins over that surface should go a long ways.
4. Suedois – Turf Mile
There will be plenty of top-level horses in this race, and perhaps a couple of the world’s best, as there are always some tough European shippers in this one. However, you have to like that Suedois already has a race in the United States, making an impressive late move to win the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. The pace was fairly light, too, so with more pace likely at the Breeders’ Cup, it could make his late run even more deadly. Hopefully his win at Keeneland doesn’t ruin his price.
5. It Tiz Well – Distaff
This is setting up to be one of the toughest races of the Breeders’ Cup. It won’t be easy to take down Stellar Wind or Forever Unbridled, and fellow 3-year-olds Elate and Abel Tasman are going to be really tough, too. It Tiz Well has been consistent all year, though, and is one that you might be able to rely on in this spot – especially as a key horse to play underneath that could make the tris and supers pay very well. She had a “grind-it-out” style earlier in the year, but she’s blossomed into more than that in recent races and could be developing at the perfect time.