More from Craig Spencer….
Dirt Mile – last raced within 6 weeks in a Grade 1 or Grade 2, a good last work is a plus:
The first five winners of this race all were 6-1 or better, the next 3 were a bit easier to figure. The past two years we returned to a more chaotic result. Only once had a horse won this race off more than a 6 week break and 7 of the 10 winners had a good last work (top 1/3rd at the distance, within 14 days of the race), so watching the workout tabs heading into the Breeders’ Cup seems like a good idea.
Entrants exiting a Grade 1 or Grade 2 race within 6 weeks of BC Weekend include:
- Bravazo who ran poorly in the Pennsylvania Derby 6 weeks out and is extremely inconsistent, but generally he’s been an “every other” type of horse and this would be his up race. It would be a good story for Lukas but I’m not biting.
- Isotherm finished third in the G1 Awesome Again 5 weeks out and is a multiple graded stakes winner on the turf but has yet to win a race of any kind on the dirt, he did fight tenaciously in the Awesome Again to nearly get the best of West Coast for the place money.
Not meeting the 6 week timeframe requirement we have:
- The undefeated Catalina Cruiser comes from the John Sadler barn, that barn is 0 for 41 in the Breeders’ Cup and this horse hasn’t ran since winning the Pat O’Brien at Del Mar on August 25th, which doesn’t make me feel great about his soundness or fitness with 70 days between races. He has been working steadily and is a magnificent looking animal. I really want to leave him off my ticket because of the trainer record and time off but something tells me I shouldn’t be so bold in here and will likely fully concede and use him as an A on my multi-race wagers. He won the Pat O’Brien easily and defeated the defending champion in this race Battle of Midway in doing so. It looked like an additional furlong would have just meant he would have won by about 8 lengths further than he did. And to be honest I am not over the top about the rest of this field.
- City of Light who will be bet more than he should considering some of the buzz I have heard about him, however his last start was a runner-up finish in the G1 Forego at Saratoga on the same day Catalina Cruiser was winning the Pat O’Brien. On that day he probably was best as Whitmore had a golden trip up the rail to win drawing away when City of Light took the overland route. I thought he hung a little bit late that day as well but he was coming in off a 91 day break. He doesn’t run frequently and that doesn’t cut it fitness-wise in what is truly an elongated sprint especially going around one turn in this event. I would expect him to be in contention in the early stretch and then hang and fade. I’ll concede his talent level and use him as a C but he’ll also be the first I take off my tickets if need be for budgetary constraints.
Not meeting the G1/2 requirement that I feel deserves comment are:
- Seeking the Soul interests me, he has raced well at Churchill and brings in a victory at CD in the G3 Ack Ack 5 weeks out. He has worked well and Dallas Stewart is a trainer you just worry about when you don’t use his horses in spots like this.
- Firenze Fire who won the 6 furlong G3 Gallant Bob at Parx while nearly being savaged in the late stages. He also won the G1 Dwyer at a mile at Belmont earlier this year, but I don’t see him as having an early or late advantage and will pass.
My selections will be Catalina Cruiser and Seeking the Soul as A’s, and I’d probably only use Catalina Cruiser as an A and Seeking the Soul as a B but the 70 day break has me worried. I’ll also use City of Light as a C as I discussed above and add Isotherm as a C as well. Isotherm is a threat to be LONESPEED in this field based on my pace projection calculations.