Betting Breeders’ Cup Longshots: Future Stars Friday

With 14 races, many full fields and championship caliber horses at every turn, the Breeders’ Cup provides longshot betting like almost no other event.

Each year prior to the World Championships, I spend time trying to identify horses with double digit odds that make the most sense from a cheering and wagering standpoint. It’s like looking at the races backwards — start with the biggest shot on the board and go from there. If nothing else, it’s a way of opening the handicapping mind to possibilities that might not exist otherwise.

Without further adieu, here are my longshot thoughts on the Future Stars Friday card at the 36th running of the Breeders’ Cup.

Juvenile Turf Sprint, 5 Furlongs, Grade 2

#5 Encoder (15-1): This race has only been run once (last year at Churchill Downs) so there’s no history to rely upon. Instead, we must go with what we know. It’s a sharp 5 furlongs over a flat Santa Anita course that’s likely to be firm. Inside posts will be an advantage and I’m expecting a mad dash from the gate, resulting in fast fractions and possibly some runners blowing the turn.

I prefer U.S.-based horses in major turf sprints versus the Euros in general, and I especially like California-based horses in California Breeders’ Cups. Encoder checks a lot of boxes, particularly since he has excellent late pace figures, has a race over this course at a longer distance and is cutting back nearly in half.

Jockey Flavien Prat is likely to sit back and make one run down the stretch with this John Sadler-trained colt, sired by English Channel out of a Hard Spun mare. Like the breeding, like the jockey, like his odds, like his chances.

Juvenile Turf, One Mile, Grade 1

#5 Vitalogy (10-1): For trip handicappers, I don’t know if there’s a better bet in this year’s Breeders’ Cup. In the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland, he broke last from the widest post in a 14-horse field, circled the entire group late to lose by a neck to rival Peace Achieved, who had an almost perfect trip and faces him again in this race. Check out the prior G1 Summer Stakes, where Vitalogy got squeezed in the stretch and still managed a close third from another come-from-behind position.

The Europeans have won nine of the 12 runnings of this race, but keep in mind that Vitalogy’s first two starts were in Ireland and Great Britain, so I’m going to call him a Euro for handicapping purposes. Trained by up-and-coming success story Brendan Walsh, Vitalogy keeps Javier Castellano in the irons, his name means Study of Life and it’s also the title of a legendary Pearl Jam album. Win-win-win.

#14 Hit the Road (10-1): Yeah, the 14 post automatically makes him a borderline toss in a one-mile race with a short run to the first turn. BUT he’s the only one in this field with a win over this course at this distance (Oct. 6 in the Zuma Beach Stakes), he picks up for the first time excellent SoCal jock Flavien Prat, who wanted this mount, and there’s plenty of upside with only three starts and two wins in a row. To my eyes, Victor Espinoza appeared to strangle this colt heading into the first turn in the Zuma Beach, and he still won by more than two lengths.

The favorite in this race, Arizona (5-2), trained by four-time Juvenile Turf winner Aidan O’Brien, is a mere two stalls over at #12 and is 5-2. So if you’ll take a chance on an outside post, why wouldn’t you choose this guy instead?

Juvenile Filles Turf, One Mile, Grade 1

#11 Sharing (12-1): Unlike the Juvenile Turf, this race has been dominated by American-based fillies. While trainer Graham Motion hasn’t won this event, he’s collected three Breeders’ Cup victories on the turf, and this filly has the tactical speed to be in the race from the get-go. By Speightstown, Sharing is a daughter of Shared Account, whom Motion trained to a Filly & Mare Turf victory in 2010. And by the way, she “shares” the same owner — Sagamore Farm.

#3 Shadn (IRE) (10-1): This event is so wide open, it’s almost a dartboard race. But here’s a filly who just won the Criterium de Saint-Cloud Oct. 12 in France making the journey overseas, which says something about the confidence of the connections. She’s stretching out from a straight six-furlong event to a two-turn mile. Gotta respect it. By No Nay Never, who was second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, Shadn has won half of her six starts and her only poor performance was at Royal Ascot in June, Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, populated by 25 runners.

Juvenile, 1 1/16 Miles, Grade 1

#3 Shoplifted (20-1): With the scratch of Maxfield, this may be considered a two-horse race between Dennis’ Moment and Eight Rings, but always beware the “two-horse race” in the Breeders’ Cup. Trainer Steve Asmussen is having a great year, and this colt, while losing handily in his last two races, notably Grade 1s, has circumstantial evidence in his favor. While he was a well-beaten fifth to Eight Rings in the American Pharoah, he also trailed the field early and made up considerable ground late. Broke last in the G1 Hopeful prior race and closed well late there too. At least an exotics play at a price.

The post Betting Breeders’ Cup Longshots: Future Stars Friday appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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