Breeders’ Cup Handicapping & Analysis

It is time for the Breeders’ Cup again, and although this will be another surreal event, all systems are go for a sensational two days of racing. Writing this on Thursday morning, I haven’t completed my handicapping, especially the Europeans, but this will provide a good overview with the focus on the Classic and some longshots at whom I am taking a serious look. I am also starting off with some interesting nuggets of information you might want to ponder. Any late revelations I will post on my Facebook page later in the week. ~ Steve Haskin

Breeders’ Cup Handicapping & Analysis

By Steve Haskin


You don’t need me to tell you what favorites to bet on, so I usually go into the Breeders’ Cup looking for potential longshots because you can hit six or seven favorites and lose your shirt. You need at least one, possibly two, price horses if you want to make money. Not having the funds of the big bettors with tons of money to spend, I don’t have the luxury of betting Pick 5s or 6s or trifectas and superfectas in the majority of these races. So, we’ll just have some fun and try to find a few longshots and as usual focus on the Classic, breaking that race down.

First off, here are a few tidbits of information that might prove interesting.

Three-year-olds have won only five of the last 19 Classics, so it’s not easy to beat top-class older horses, although three of those were trained by Baffert in consecutive years. But two of them were monsters – American Pharoah and Arrogate, and two of three to do it before the Baffert triple were Hall of Famers Curlin and Tiznow. So it’s not the norm.

There has been a lot of talk about Tiz the Law drawing post 2 in the Classic and how he doesn’t like being inside horses, which is sheer nonsense. In the Champagne Stakes, he was outside, dropped to the inside where he steadied briefly, and then rallied in tight between horses to win going away. In the Holy Bull Stakes he was down on the rail after breaking from the inside, dropped back and had to check sharply running up behind horses, then moved out and again won going away. This horse breaks sharply all the time and he will get in good position, likely behind Maximum Security and Authentic and then most likely look for a way outside.

Barclay Tagg firmly believes the horse simply does not like Churchill Downs, having lost his only two races over that track. We saw that with Skip Away, whose two worst performances came at Churchill Downs. As a possible example of horses not liking Churchill, but liking Keeneland, the last Blue Grass Stakes winner to win the Kentucky Derby was Strike the Gold 29 years ago. That is a long time for a major Derby prep to go dry. Also, only three Ashland winners in the last 36 years have come back and won the Kentucky Oaks and two of those were superstars Monomoy Girl and Silverbulletday. But even then, both those fillies were far more impressive at Keeneland than they were at Churchill.

In the Juvenile Fillies, Princess Noor is the 9-5 favorite and has been visually impressive, but looking at Thoro-Graph, Dayoutoftheoffice ran a “3 1/4” in the Frizette (the lower the figure the faster), while Princess Noor ran a dismal “10” in the Chandelier making her the second slowest horse in the field on Thoro-Graph. That throws a monkey wrench into handicapping the race unless you just want to ignore that speed figure and go by what your eyes tell you or use it to bet against Princess Noor.

If you want a real mind-boggling statistic in the Juvenile, looking once again at the Thoro-Graph figures, Jackie’s Warrior ran a faster number in winning the Hopeful as a 2-year-old than Authentic ran in winning the Kentucky Derby and Tiz the Law ran winning the Travers. This horse is a beast, but can he duplicate that going two turns for the first time? If he can, there isn’t a horse in the field who can compare to him speed-wise.

Speaking of Thoro-Graph figures, what in the world happened to Knicks Go after being turned over to Brad Cox? Following his strong second in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he went totally sour, going winless in his next nine starts and finishing out of the money in seven of them. In his two races with Cox he has won both by a combined 17 1/2 lengths and in his last start off a 7 1/2-month layoff he ran an outrageously fast negative-4 Thoro-Graph figure.

And one more Thoro-Graph tidbit. Guess which fillies have the two fastest figures in the Distaff? No, one isn’t Monomoy Girl and one isn’t Swiss Skydiver. It is Horologist in the Molly Pitcher and Valiance in the Spinster. Go figure that one out.

Can you imagine if Maximum Security wins the Classic and Firenze Fire wins the Sprint and you have the two big horses trained by Jason Servis win Breeders’ Cup races when most everyone was expecting them to have a significant drop in form going to new barns following the infamous drug scandal.

Analyzing the Classic

I have already thrown a few nuggets of information at you, and here is an historical hunch that looks strong on paper as well. With Tiznow being retired from stud duty just last week, and with this being the 20th anniversary of his memorable gut-wrenching victory in the Classic against Giant’s Causeway, who died in 2018, there is no way I can pass up betting an exacta box of Tiz the Law, who is out of a Tiznow mare, and Tom’s d’Etat, who is out of a Giant’s Causeway mare. Happy Anniversary.

Now for the race. I have already addressed Tiz the Law’s post position. Of course anything can happen when you’re down on the inside, but bad things can happen to horses on the outside, like getting hung wide on the first turn, and that is exactly what can happen to Maximum Security and Authentic, and even Improbable, unless they break sharply and can find a clean path to the inside. Remember, directly inside the Baffert trio is Global Campaign, who wants to be on or just off the lead, and just inside him is Higher Power, whose best races have been stalking the pace and who has been training sensationally at Keeneland with five brilliant works at five, six, and seven furlongs, so he very well might have found a new life and a jolt of energy away from California and has already won a grade 1 at a mile and a quarter.

So we could have quite a log jam going into that turn. But knowing Baffert, you can bet he will have Max and Authentic, who have more natural speed than anyone in the field, gun to the lead at all costs and then sort it out between themselves as to who will set the pace and who will sit right off the other’s flank.

Although Maximum Security has more natural speed than Authentic, it is the latter who appears to be more dependent on the lead, so expect him to set the pace with Maximum Security sitting right off his flank. I admit I have a soft spot for Max and am willing to toss his last race. He is a fighter and has won at a mile and and quarter and I can see him taking over the lead and holding off the others.

Either way, I expect the pace to be strong and contentious with Global Campaign, Tiz the Law, Higher Power, and By My Standards chasing right behind. There is no deep closer to fear, with only the longshot Title Ready capable of rallying from the back of the pack. That leaves Improbable and Tom’s d’Etat, who have the perfect midpack running style and can sit behind all the speed.

The big difference is that Improbable is likely going to be the favorite as the 5-2 morning line choice. There is no doubt he is going to be very tough coming off three dominating grade 1 victories. But if you are looking for a reason to bet against him consider that his last two starts were perfect setup races for him.

In the Awesome Again, there were four speed horses and him in a five-horse field and he let them go out there in fairly quick fractions and knock themselves out. When he made his big sweeping move, which was visually impressive, to take the lead, it was through a very slow :26 quarter, and then he came home in a slow :13 2/5 final eighth. Even making up four lengths he still came home the last three-eighths in a sluggish :38 3/5. In the Whitney it was a complete reverse setup. He stalked the pace through crawling fractions of :49 3/5 and 1:13 1/5 and came home fast, while Tom’s d’Etat had a brutal start and lost all chance dropping too far off such a slow pace.

Tom’s d’Etat could be the one with the perfect setup this time. Some may feel coming off a three-month layoff might be too long, but this is a 7-year-old with only 19 career starts who has made a career of coming off layoffs and winning. He won his first race off a two-month layoff and won his second race off a 7 1/2-month month layoff. Then he won coming off a 15-month layoff. He was second to McKinzie in the Alysheba Stakes off a 3 1/2-month layoff; won the Oaklawn Mile off a 4 1/2-month layoff beating Improbable, who had opened a two-length lead at the eighth pole; and won the Stephen Foster off a 2 1/2-length month layoff.

A winner of 11 of his 19 starts, he is nine-for 13 on fast tracks. Two of his defeats came in the slop, one on a good track, and one on the grass. The only race he won in the slop was at Keeneland.

Everyone who watched the Whitney knows he lost all chance when he broke terribly and dropped back to last, six lengths behind that ridiculously slow pace. But of all the horses in the race he has proven to be the most consistent closer time-wise race in and race out. He came home his final eighth in :11 2/5 in the Whitney, :12 flat in the Foster, :12 4/5 in the Clark :12 2/5 in the Fayette at Keeneland, and :12 3/5 in the Alydar. He came home the final quarter in :24 4/5 in the Oaklawn Handicap, and even in his maiden victory, which was at a mile and a quarter in the second race of his career, he was rank early and still came home the final quarter in :24 4/5.

And if you want versatility, he has won on the lead, coming from second, coming from fourth, coming from fifth, coming from sixth, and coming from eighth.

And for his trainer Al Stall, this is the 10th anniversary of his historic upset of Zenyatta with Blame in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Tom’s d’Etat is listed at 6-1 on the morning line and is a strong horse to have in all exotic bets. But it will take a pretty decent bankroll to make a lot of money on him with a straight win bet.

That brings us to the most enigmatic and frustrating horse in the field, Tacitus. If you are on Facebook I just wrote a long column on why I was hoping Bill Mott would take the blinkers off him, especially considering most of his top performances came last year without blinkers. He has been an extremely hard-luck horse in his races and the blinkers have taken away his closing kick and put him on or just off the lead where he does not want to be. But it doesn’t look as if Mott is taking the blinkers off, even with him drawing the rail. If Jose Ortiz can get him to drop back to the middle or rear of the field and get him to settle with the blinkers he does have the class and the closing punch to at least get into the exotics at a huge price, which would be a big overlay for a horse who has gone off as the favorite in six of his last eight starts. He did romp in the Suburban Handicap by 8 3/4 lengths this year in a sprightly 1:59 2/5 for the mile and a quarter, but he was beating slow stayers and just totally outclassed them. He really turned everyone off him by losing the Woodward to Global Affair at 3-5, again racing too close to the lead, and then finishing third at 3-5 behind two second tier three-year-olds in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, in which he wound up setting the pace. This is not Tacitus and not how he wants to run, which is why I felt he needed a wake-up call and get those blinkers off him. But it was not to be.

I still feel he has a big race in him if he can revert back to his old running style, and it may be the opposition who will help him accomplish that by simply outrunning him. If he is too close to the pace again, then we will never know what might have happened with the blinkers off. The bottom line is that I am going to put a win bet on him for old times’ sake and knowing what this horse was and still may be capable of achieving with a clean trip and by running his race.

Talk about wake-up calls, as mentioned earlier, don’t toss Higher Power from your exotics based on his amazing transformation since he’s been at Keeneland, turning in five sensational workouts.

Now, how to sort all this out? Tom’s d’Etat has to be my key horse and Tacitus would be my longshot stab.

I also have been extremely impressed by what I’ve seen from Tiz the Law in the mornings, especially his spirited powerful gallop only two days after turning in a sharp :59 1/5 work. This horse has been thriving, is full of energy, and should appreciate the time off since the Derby. Whether or not he dislikes Churchill as his trainer and jockey say, remember he was the first horse ever to come into the Kentucky Derby off a mile and a quarter race, and with only four weeks between races compared to his usual two months. His Travers performance was brilliant in fast time, but coming into the Derby off a mile and a quarter race it could very easily have dulled him. He really hasn’t beaten anyone of note this year, but you can’t help but feel he is an immensely talented colt who can run with anyone. There is no way I can leave him out of the exotics.

But this is a very tough race, with the majority of the field having a good chance to win. So I am still going to play around with it and see if I can come up some bets I am happy with.

Right now, I am looking at a trifecta part wheel of Tom’s d’Etat over Maximum Security and Tiz the Law over Improbable, Maximum Security, Tiz the Law, Tacitus, and Higher Power, and another with Maximum Security over Tom’s d’Etat and Tiz the Law over Improbable, Tom’s d’Etat, Tiz the Law, Tacitus, and Higher Power and I will put a saver win bet stab on Tacitus just in case he decides to wake up.

Looking at Some of the Other Races

I won’t do much with the Juvenile, not knowing how Jackie’s Warrior will handle two turns. This field is made up more of Derby horses than Juvenile horses, with at least nine of them having the pedigree to go a mile and a quarter and having shown enough to suggest they are top-class colts. One horse in particular, Reinvestment Risk, has a world of talent, but he has to stop chasing Jackie’s Warrior. He put a scare into him in the Champagne, but it was only for a few seconds before Jackie waved goodbye to him. If he can take back and make one late run, he could close the gap on Jackie and be right in the mix.

The juvenile fillies Turf normally is not won by Europeans, but I like what I’ve seen from the English-trained Nazuna in her races and in the morning at Keeneland. Her big question is how she will handle a turn, having only run on straightaways, so that is something to consider. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Mother Earth is only one for seven, but that one win was the only time she raced on a left-handed track, even if it was at Naas. She is coming off a strong third in a Group 1 at Newmarket, but she looks like a horse who prefers softer ground, so we’ll see how much give in the ground there is come Friday, with the course having been very deep last weekend.

There are so many top-class Europeans in the Juvenile Turf, I haven’t even begun to sort them out.

In the Juvenile Fillies, the top four choices are a combined 11-for-11, but don’t ignore the Frizette runner-up Vequist going two turns for the first time. She could prove to be the steal of the race at 8-1 with Joel Rosario up for the first time.

Turning to Saturday, we start off with a bang in the Filly and Mare Sprint, which promises to be the battle of the day between speedballs Gamine and Serengeti Empress. Both want the lead, both are blazingly fast, but Serengeti Empress needs the lead, and coming off half-mile fractions of :43 3/5, good luck trying to outrun her. And Serengeti Empress has shown she is a warrior when eyeballed in the stretch. Gamine gets the inside and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. If for some reason they burn each other out, watch out for closer Bell’s the One and deep closers Nancy’s Curlin and Sconsin to come charging late. And we’ll see if Come Dancing has returned to her form from the summer of 2019 after her recent victory in the Honorable Miss in 1:08 3/5, and how the classy 3-year-old Speech reacts to dropping back to a sprint after five two-turn races and an impressive score in the Ashland at Keeneland. This is some race.

I am not touching the Dirt Mile, which is a mish mash of Grade 1 and 2 horses, and good luck trying to sort this one out. I could have a horse by Saturday, but right now I am totally confused, possibly leaning toward Rushie.

As of this writing, I have not sorted out the European grass horses yet until I see more of them. I can only say for sure they are a strong bunch headed by the amazing Magical, who is a running machine and thrives on running against the boys. She gave the great Enable all she could handle in the 2018 Turf. I can’t wrap my arms around any of the American grass horses right now, and from what I have seen in the morning I am really intrigued by the 30-1 German filly Donjah, who looks like an old pro galloping out there on the dirt. Although she has been racing against lesser competition in Germany and Italy, she has raced against the boys in seven straight races and won Germany’s biggest race this year, the Preis von Europa, and ran off with last year’s Gran Premio del Jockey Club in Italy. She will be a monster price and I’ll put a couple of dollars on her just for the fun of it and from what I have seen in the morning.

There is one big bomb in the Breeders’ Cup Mile that is worth mentioning. Ryan Moore naturally has chosen to ride the Queen Anne winner Circus Maximus for Aidan O’Brien, but keep an eye on O’Brien’s other horse Lope Y Fernandez at 30-1. He has been sprinting and has finished seventh in his last two starts, but they both were on soft ground. In his two previous starts on firm ground, he was a close second to one-time super horse Pinatubo in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at 40-1, beaten only three-quarters of a length, and then was a close third, again beaten three-quarters of a length, in the Group 1 Prix Maurice Gheest. Now he gets Frankie Dettori and stretches back out to a mile, where, in his only start at the distance, the Irish 2,000 Guineas, he made a big early move then got caught late to finish third behind Siskin, who could be tough in the Mile himself if he breaks cleanly.

My longshot pick in the Filly and Mare Turf is Terebellum at 20-1. This classy filly from John Gosden and Godolphin has raced once on firm ground and won the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes before getting beat a head by Circus Maximus in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Throw out her fifth last out in the group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes run over heavy ground. She gets Frankie Dettori back and you know how dangerous the Gosden — Dettori team is.

In the Sprint, which is loaded with speed, I am looking for the old warrior Whitmore to find one more big run with this good setup and mow them down at a big price, with an eye on Firenze Fire as another possibility to pick up some of the pieces.

I am just going to enjoy the Distaff and hope for a great race between two exceptional fillies. But there are other good ones in there that cannot be taken lightly, as I mentioned earlier. Like Ce Ce, the leader of the division early in the year, who did not care for the deeper California tracks and has now been sharpened with a strong seven-furlong grade 1 race at Churchill Downs. Don’t be surprised to see her make her presence felt in the stretch. Also, I mentioned earlier that Horologist and Valiance have the fastest Thoro-Graph figures in the field. And the hard-knocking Ollie’s Candy is always right there, and how good is Harvest moon coming off a four-race winning streak. This should be a great race, but I may just put a few bucks on Ce Ce at an enticing 12-1 and play her in the exotics. She hasn’t been higher than 4-1 all year.

Good luck and have fun, and if I have any late revelations, especially with the grass horses, I will post them on Facebook later in the week.

Leave a Reply

44 Responses to “Breeders’ Cup Handicapping & Analysis”

  1. SoloSolo says:

    Steve, I’m a facebook friend and have followed you on BH for years, but still consider myself a ‘newbie’ when it comes to horse racing. I saw your fiery post about the track condition at Keeneland, and you promised not to use foul language, lol.
    Could you elaborate a bit more about the Keeneland surface. I know you’re a great admirer of Saratoga, which I assume has an impeccable track. Other tracks you think are fair/good? I’m a die hard Curlinista, so I was please at Global Campaign’s effort–he really gave me a thrill as it seemed for a moment or two that he was really rolling. What a year its’ been!

  2. Davids says:

    Steve, good pick with Whitmore, especially considering the track bias. The track appeared much fairer on Friday and I wish it had remained that way.

    For me, Monomoy Girl, Whitmore, Tarnawa, and Essential Quality were the standouts. Monomoy Girl remained unbeaten while easily handling Swiss Skydiver who beat the colt that won the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

    Unbeaten in 2020, Monomoy Girl is the Horse of the Year for 2020.

  3. Geoff says:

    Thanks for your years work Steve, appreciate reading your writings during difficult times. My observations after the races:
    I haven’t seen anything like Gamine in 35 years. Breaks 2 track records (Belmont, Keenland, and almost broke a 3rd at Saratoga). Wonder if the Covid break didn’t help her to go longer?; don’t understand how American Horses really can’t compete on turf versus Euro, decades of breeding advantages? Authentic is the real McCoy and just starting his maturity since he was a late birthday. I am not a fan of tiz the law just don’t think he ever beat anyone in NY. I think Covid made horses and people not go to the Belmont or Travers.

    If you have any thoughts to the above, be interested to hear.

  4. Coldfacts says:

    I had a pick 4 in the last 4 BC races. I started it with all. I also had a Exacta all with 1 & 14 for $1. I thought I cancelled this exacta and replaced it with all wit 1 & 3. for $1. I mistakenly cancelled the pick 4 and ended up with the exacta for $2.

    My computer shows the projected exacta as $999 for $1. I suspect it is the longest odds that can be displayed. Stay tune for the actual exacta.

    All with 1 & 3 turned out to be tri. I cannot imagine how much it will pay.

  5. Coldfacts says:

    I had a pick in 4 the last BC 4 races. I started it with all. I also had a Exacta all with 1 & 14 for $1. I thought I cancelled this exacta and replaced it with all wit 1 & 3. for $1. I mistakenly cancelled the pick 4 and ended up with the exacta for $2.

    My computer shows the projected exacta as $999 for $1. I suspect it is the longest odds that can be displayed. Stay tune for the actual exacta.

    All with 1 & 3 turned out to be tri. I cannot imagine how much it will pay.

  6. Coldfacts says:

    “There is no deep closer to fear, with only the longshot Title Ready capable of rallying from the back of the pack”

    Mr. H,

    I agree with your disclosure above. Despite Title Ready’s 30/1 ML and lack of a graded stakes win. I plan to use him in my wagers for 3 reasons:

    (a) He seems to have improved since his 12 months off.
    (b) His pedigree features inbreeding to Buckpasser full siblings Numbered Account and Playmate.
    (c) A deep closer is due for a win in the BCC. Drosselmyer (2011) was the last deep closer to win.

    In the Fayette Title Ready had no pace to close into. The fractions were 24, 49.06, 1:13.45, 1:37.92. Despite the lacjk of pace he closed willingly and was very strong to the line. There will be plenty of pace in the BCC. An improved Title Ready will be motoring in the last two. I am of the opinion he can get a piece. It would be great id if he could get up in time.


    The big two (Monomoy Girl/Swiss Skydiver) will be tough. But I am going to try to beat both with the Todd Pletcher trained Valiance. I have been watching her training at Keeneland and she has been exhibiting traits similar to those displayed by Always Dreaming whilst training at CD ahead of the KD. This filly behaves like a rocket ship ready to launch.

    The dangerous Todd Pletcher should never be underestimated.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Valiance has a faster last-out Thoro-Graph figure than both Swiss and Monomoy Girl. She probably wll be third choice and definitly has a shot. You never know with Dallas Stewart when one of his closers is going to run huge in a major race.

  7. Mary Lou says:

    Some very insightful and interesting comments already posted. I’m using Tiz the Law with Maximum Security and Global Campaign in the Classic. I think Tiz the Law is ready to redeem himself; I think/hope Maximum Security has a good race coming into this; I was swayed by Coldfacts story about Global Campaign. I don’t know if I will totally toss the idea of including Authentic again, as I did in the derby and got royally stung. If Improbable is the beast some bloggers say he is, then I’ll just let him beat me. I do like Tom’s d’Etat too.
    I’d like to see Swiss Skydiver win the Distaff – I think such a well traveled campaign should be rewarded here.
    I think Serengeti Empress will prevail over Gamine.
    Just my opinions here – Good luck to everyone.

  8. Coldfacts says:

    “There is no deep closer to fear, with only the longshot Title Ready capable of rallying from the back of the pack”

    Mr. H,

    I agree with your disclosure above. Despite Title Ready’s 30/1 ML and lack of a graded stakes win. I am plan to use him in my wagers for 3 reasons:

    (a) He seems to have improved since his 12 months off.
    (b) His pedigree features inbreeding to Buckpasser full siblings Numbered Account and Playmate.
    (c) A deep closer is due for a win in the BCC. Drosselmyer (2011) was the last deep closer to win.

    In the Fayette Title Ready had no pace to close into. The fractions were 24, 49.06, 1:13.45, 1:37.92. Despite the lacjk of pace he closed willingly and was very strong to the line. There will be plenty of pace in the BCC. An improved Title Ready will be motoring in the last two. I am of the opinion he can get a piece. It would be great id if he could get up in time.


    The big two (Monomoy Girl/Swiss Skydiver) will be tough. But I am going to try to beat both with the Todd Pletcher trained Valiance. I have been watching her training at Keeneland and she has been exhibiting traits similar to those displayed by Always Dreaming whilst training at CD ahead of the KD. This filly behaves like a rocket ship ready to launch.

    The dangerous Todd Pletcher should never be underestimated.

  9. Coldfacts says:


    Art Collector –

    I remain puzzled why this colt performed so badly in the Preakness. He broke sharply and was forwardly place. When he was asked to go after leaders when the pace quickened, he didn’t respond. He defeated Swiss Skydiver by 3 1/2L in the Bluegrass. He finished 11L behind her in the Preakness. Several questions need to be answered. Did Art Collector regress 14 1/2L? Did Swiss Skydiver improve 14 1/2 between the Bluegrass and Preakness? Did the period between races negative impacted AC?
    Given his win streak ahead of the Preakness, his performance is best dismissed as it is not reflective of his ability.

    From post #1 AC has the shortest distance to the finish line. He has the tactical speed to secure a forward position. It is unlikely he will be ahead of Complexity and Knicks Go. But id he can stay close he must have a big short. He closed powerfully from 6th to win a 7F Allowance after fractions of 21,44,1:08 were recoded. Any colt that can make 9F look like walk in the park, should be able to inhale leaders who are expected to be engaged in a speed duel.

    War Of Will –

    This left colt switched from turf to dirt and immediately broke his maiden. He followed up with 3 graded stakes win that included the Preakness. His explosive final two furlongs in the Preakness propelled him to a top 5 fastest winner for the takes.

    He will enter the Dirt Mile after 3 graded stakes miles on turf. Two of the 3 were completed in 1:32+ The 1st of those 2 fast 8F races was the Shoemaker Mile. WOW was forwardly placed and assumed a slim lead after 7F was completed in 1:20.93. He battled the lengths of the stretch but was out run by turf specialist.

    He as 4 wins on dirt and one on turf. It is fair to concluded that dirt is his better surface. He has the tactical speed to secure a good tracking position. He also has the explosive acceleration to pass dueling leaders. This 4YO is the most battle tested in the field and is likely to be dismissed. That would be unwise.

    Owendale –

    The expected fast pace will suite this 4YO immensely. The finishing speed he displayed in the 2019 Preakness superseded that of winner War Of Will. His wide draw is viewed as a negative. However , I view it as a positive as he will have clear passage to the first turn. Given this colt running style it is inevitable he will have to swing 5-6 wide for his stretch run. From his wide draw he can track whilst just off the rail and try to inhale the leaders with his explosive stretch run. He will be the lesser fancied of the Brad Cox pair, but he is by far the more accomplished. Must use

  10. Mary Ellen says:

    Nice analysis, Steve — even if I’m a day late and more than a few dollars short! My only winner so far was the first race today (Friday) and I hope I score the exacta in the last race: Tiz the Law and Improbable. Thank you for this!

  11. Coldfacts says:


    I agree that Jackie’s Warrior, Essential Quality and Sittin On Go are the top 3 in the caption race. It will take a very talented member of the opposition to breach the expected tri.

    The expected favorite is Jackie’s Warrior. There have been reservations regarding his effectiveness around 2turns. There could be some merit regarding this reservation, due to the performance of Complexity a fellow Maclean’s Music colt who likewise was an undefeated winner of the Champagne.. He flopped badly in the BCJ with an 10th place finish. It should noted Jackie’s Warrior has a stamina laden dam line. The same cannot be stated about Complexity. JW’s 1st & 2nd dams were sired by a sons of A P Indy and Seattle Slew.

    NB: Uncle Mo was an undefeated winner of the Champagne who demolished the BCJ field in his 2turns. debut. Union Rags with a similar status finished an unlucky second in the BCJ.

    Reinvestment Risk is mentioned as the one most likely to effect such a breach. However, I am not particularly impressed with the Upstart colt. He lost grounds badly to Jackie’s Warrior in the Champagne and appeared to have waved a white flag. That fighting spirit was absent.

    I am focussed on two other members of the opposition. The first is Next. I as very impressed with his MSW win at Kentucky Downs. The challenging turf course KD Downs features rising ground in the last 3 furlongs. Next who was forwardly placed before taking the lead, was headed close home but found extra to retake the lead for decisive win. It takes exceptional talent to retake a lead on rising ground is a quickly run 6 1/2F completed in 1:16+.

    His subsequent start was on dirt at Keeneland. He led from the off and powered away in the stretch of the 81/2F allowance. From physical perspective one could never tell that Next is May foal as his a big and physically imposing colt. From a pedigree perspective he is by hot freshman sire Not This Time. His 1st & 2rd dams were sired by BCC winners Awesome Again and Alphabet Soup. I consider this colt extremely talented and if he can improve on his last out effort, he should be able to match strides with the top 3.

    The 2nd member of the opposition I am focussed on is Camp Hope. The son of Summer Front by a Pulpit mare was very professional in his debut MSW win. He is a January foal and looked as mature as his DOB indicate he should be. His sire Summer Front is a some what underrated stallion. This is despite many of his progenies displaying excellent talent.

    It not often a 2YO in the USA makes it debut over 8 1/2F. The ease with which Camp Hope separated from a decent group of maidens, suggested he could should be able land a spot in the upper echelon of the 2YO division before year end.

  12. Jo Anne says:

    Love your insight, Steve. Thanks!

  13. Coldfacts says:


    The Bob Baffert trio, the mighty Tiz The Law and the old warriors Tom DT will no doubt get most of the attention. But flying under the radar is Global Campaign whom I consider to be the likely winner.

    The overview of the BCC above, refers to Tacitus’ disappointing loss to Global Campaign in the Woodward. This reference infers that Tacitus suffered a loss to a lesser opponent. The truth be told Tacitus was defeated by an extremely talented but injury plagued member of his crop.

    Global Campaign’s dam died subsequent to foaling her Curlin colt. He had to be either placed with a nurse mare or bottle fed. Such foals rarely rise to the G1 level. His early misfortune could have contributed to the late start to his career. His misfortune continued as a 3YO.

    After winning his first 2 starts. He was directed to the Fountain Of Youth. He finished 5th. It was reported that he tore his quarter in the race which set off a series of foot issues.. After recovery he return to win the Perter Pan in a time not dissimilar to the 1:46+ recorded by Tiz The Law in the in the 2020 renewal He subsequently contested the Jim Dandy and after his 5th finish it was discovered he shed 2 frogs. This led to him being turned out and away from the races for 9 months.

    He retuned with a win over 7F in 1:21.71 closing from 5th after wicked fractions were recorded. . He disappointed next out
    with a 6th place finish in the Blame Stakes. That performance led to an equipment change. The blinkers were removed and the 4YO has been undefeated since. He has since won the Monmouth Cup (G3) and the Woodward (G1) in what was his G1 debut. He defeated the seasoned Tacitus who was making his 5th start over 10F in the Woodward.

    A colt whose sire/dam sire won the BCC and whose dam’s pervious 2 foals were stakes winners. Has to be consider as exceptionally well bred. With times of 1:12+ for 7F; 1:46+ for 9F and 2:01+ in its first attempt at 10F. It has to be viewed as running to its excellent pedigree.

    Given Global Campaign misfortunes from birth and beyond. He has to be viewed as an unlikely BCC entrant. The challenge of winning the BCC doesn’t compare to those he has previously overcome. He is not only talented but his will to overcome adversities is a significant indicator of the great thoroughbred heart he possesses..

  14. Coldfacts says:

    Great overviews.


    I know you have been high on this colt for sometime. I have always considered him as one that flatters to deceive. But in fairness to the 4YO, he tries hard every time he takes the track. It has been proven he is just not fast enough to win against many in the senior division.

    With the above stated, I concur regarding your views on the removal of blinkers. The headgear has caused him to be forwardly place in his races and given his lack of explosive acceleration in the stretch, he just grinds away without any realistic prospect of winning.

    Your comment regarding his disappointing defeat by Global Campaign not Global Affair, suggests Global Campaign is a lesser 4YO. The cold facts indicate that Global Campaign is any thing but. His first meeting with Tacitus was in the Jim Dandy. He finished what was considered a disappointing 5th @5/2. The disappointment was based on the fact that he entered off and impressive gate to win in the 2019 Peter Pan completed in an impressive tie of 1:46.71. Sir Winston who fished 2nd in the Peter Pan returned to defeat Tacitus in the Belmont. The fact that Global Campaign defeated Tacitus in the Woodward shouldn’t have been viewed as surprise defeat.

    A Curlin colt out of an A P Indy mare that wins 7F in 1:21.71 whilst closing from 5th after fractions of 21,44,1:08 were recorded. Has to be considered a much faster horse than Tacitus.

  15. Luke says:

    Tacitus for meeeeeeee!

  16. pro vet says:

    I have been saying, this cup is one of the weakest …..this puts many more horses in play…..YEAR OF THE LONGSHOT….

  17. Tom’s Kid says:

    Thanks for the reminder to check in Steve. I haven’t spent a lot of time looking at Saturday races, but I have to believe the real Maximum Security shows up and I’ll box with Tiz and Improbable. Friday: The juvenile turf sprint Golden Pal will be favored but I’m betting he won’t get past Bodenheimer. In the juv turf, Battleground (Moore) and New Mandate (Detroit) seems like a logical exacta box. The filly race too hard to separate but lean towards Simply Ravishing. Juv filly turf, Madone with Prat at 10/1. And in the Juvenile, Diodoro has two in by Laoban – Keepmeinmind and Devious Dreamer, I like Keepmeinmind for a WP and exacta box with Jackie.

  18. Eric Rickard says:

    Authentic is a fighter and in form.
    Sharp Samurai is a horse to bet in the Dirt Mile.
    You can not watch Princess Noor race and think she is that slow. She is a beast that has not been asked to run yet. 9-5 would be a steal. Dayattheoffice is a very good horse. Vequist looks like she should improve too. My trifecta.
    Good luck!

    • Steve Haskin says:

      That is why Princess Noor is so baffling. Visually, she looks super and wins geared down. Anxiious to see how she does.

  19. Matthew W says:

    I haven’t yet seen the Sat pps, but I know of a horse who is going to run a big one–he was in top form earlier in the year at Dubai—or was it Saudi Arabia? Anyhoo they brought him back too soon, and he has taken a while to reach his top form again….but Wildman Jack is BACK! (“And they can’t stop me!”)…..From the advantageous post 11, Wildman Jack is a 15-1 equine ATM machine!…..

    In the Classic I am leaning towards Maximum Security–with By My Standards, Tacitus, Tom’s d’Etat underneath in a great race!…I agree about the Distaff, there are more than two good fillies lining up—I was impressed with Vallience in the Spinster, probably will just watch this one….

    Friday I like a pair of #13’s….race five Cupid’s Claws (5-1)..which is not a Breeders Cup race anymore….and in the Juvy Rombauer–who will need to fashion a trip from out there, I suggest they drop back to last and hope for pace—they will be finishing like a runaway choo choo!

    I also like United (8-1) in the Turf, and they might try to take them all the way, United is peaking! I know there are some tough Euro fillies, and they will have to be to beat United, and man-oh-Mandella!

    I’ve just barely touched this very good 2020 Breeders Cup—-LOVE that it’s at Keeneland for this most stressful of years….Horse Racing has retained it’s integrity like no other sport this entire year—Baseball wasn’t baseball….NBA wasn’t compelling….Football isn’t anything like it has been but Horse Racing HAS been great this year, and the 2020 Breeders Cup looks like a great one, through all of this………Sh–STUFF!—Horse Racing and Steve Haskin ABIDE!

    • Matthew W says:

      That’s 5 picks I listed, and they are all training on the west coast–I know, I live out here and these are the horses i am familiar with.

      • Eric Rickard says:

        Sharp Samurai is going to pay.

      • Matthew W says:

        Forgot Speech—she has the rail and Gamine is in the 2-slot—-Gamine drifts right down the lane, Speech’s best career race was at Keeneland—Speech at 6-1……and Sharp Samurai is 15-1? NO WAY! Lucky to get 8-1 on SS, whose two races this year were 2nd to Mo Forza and 2nd to Maximum Security in a very good Pacific Classic effort—as far as I’m concerned he is the horse to beat! I would also use Rushie at 15-1, wow! BIG odds, in a race where the favorite (Complexity) is drawn far outside and has never even won around two turns—nice horse, though, but I’m trying to beat him!!!

      • Steve Haskin says:

        I’ll have to look at the Wildman closer. Mandella loves United. Havent hard him so confident in a long time. He could wire the field.

  20. Deacon says:

    Hi Steve: Well here are, the Breeders Cup is upon us. It’s been a long crazy difficult & trying year for most everyone. This includes horse racing & the Triple Crown schedule. Canceled racing dates at tracks, jockeys getting Covid 19, a few of our top 3 years going down. All the stars we lost this year outside of racing beginning with Kobe Bryant & now Sean Connery last week. Of course the election is also crazy & who knows when this will sort out.
    I do not disagree with your assessments but I am only going to wager on 3 races. First the Classic:
    I really like Maximum Security to win, I always take a good 4 year old over a good 3 year old. I think either Tiz the Law or Improbable will be 2nd & 3rd.
    You have to respect Authentic & Tom’s d’Etat but the latter hasn’t beaten horses like these off of a long layoff. I guess I just want Max to win based on how much has gone wrong for him. Saez is a very good jockey & I hope he wins one of these.

    I like Serengeti Empress. I want Tom Amoss to get a Breeders Cup win with this horse.
    I am not sure about Gamine. For a little while I thought she might be the 2nd coming of Ruffian then I woke myself up, what was I thinking.

    Finally I will bet Monomoy Girl in the Ladies Distaff. I just really love this filly. She missed all of last season & I missed seeing her run.
    All I know is that she just wins.

    As for a few other races I am clueless. I may follow Steve’s lead on a couple horses.

    Great blog Steve, much luck to you and everyone else.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Thanks, Deacon. You saw my stats on 3-year-olds in the Classic. you better b exceptional if youre gonna beat top-class older horses. I think Serengeti Empress will outrun Gamine and could just keep going. Tom’s d’Etat did beat Improbable off a 4 1/2 month layoff, so I’m not worried about that. Best of luck to you

  21. Ethan says:

    I cannot wait for Saturday. Great races all day long and The Classic is going to be amazing. It is so hard to bet against Maximum Security because he just seems to find a way to win big races. Can’t wait!

  22. Laura Lanham says:

    Thank you for the insights. This has been a crazy year and some upsets in the racing. Took some time off work so I could watch this. Like you not betting a lot but will put a few wagers down and as usual won’t make my mind up until I watch them in the paddock. Safe racing for all.

  23. Jim Nelson says:

    Insightful analysis as always, Steve, and I appreciate your utilization of Thoro-graph numbers. I am torn over the Classic as I have been and am a big fan of Max and Authentic. It could be a Baffert trifecta. I so look for By My Standards to run a big race. I will box Classier and Jackie’s Warrior in the Juvenile and think Princess Noor will show how special she is in the Juvenile Fillies. I saw Bodenheimer win his debut at Canterbury impressive and am rooting for Valerie Lund to have a top-three finish in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. Good luck and safe trips to all.