With the 2016 Breeders Cup but a few days away, horse racing betting fans, the horses and the owners and trainers are surely starting to feel the nervous excitement. On Friday, November 4th, the first day of Breeders Cup action gets underway at Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia, California, with four designated races, including the Filly and Mare Distaff. After a restless night, everyone will reconvene on Saturday, November 5th, for the remaining Breeders Cup card, which features nine more races with the $6,000,000 Breeders Cup Classic closing out the Grade I action.
Every year, the best horses in the world come together to decide once and for all, which horse is the best in its given category. Year after year, this creates a great deal of intrigue among horse racing fans and experts who are looking for Champions. With this in mind, let’s take a look at three of this year’s races that figure to capture the imagination of anyone who loves horse racing.
The Breeders Cup Distaff
Very seldom do horse racing betting fans get an opportunity to see three former champions line up in one race. This year’s Distaff figures to be one of the most anticipated races of the year because of the presence of three, count them, champions from last year’s balloting.
In post position #1 is Songbird. This talented filly entered the year as last season’s 2-year old champion based on her undefeated record of 4 wins that included an easy victory in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. This year, she has remained undefeated with 7 more wins, including 5 Grade Is. Her biggest asset is her high cruising speed. This will be her first attempt against older mares.
In post position #5 is Stellar Wind. Based on her consistency and a big 2nd-place finish in this race last year as a 3-year old, Stellar Wind was named the 2015 Champion 3-year old filly. After a late start to her 2016 season, this improving mare has won 2 of 3 Grade I races over the likes of the next up Beholder. This one shows a lot of grit and could be tough in the stretch.
In post position #8 is Beholder. Already a champion at 3, 4 and 5, this 6-year old mare has won over $5.0 million in purses. It’s worth noting that Beholder missed the Breeders Cup in each of the past two years due to minor injuries. While she has great speed, size and stamina, she might be losing a step as indicated by 2nd place finishes in her last 3 races, albeit to World Champ California Chrome and the aforementioned Stellar Wind twice.
Betting aside, this race should be a great spectator event. The undefeated Songbird has yet to be tested, making her bounds unknown. She’s fast, but she might not yet be fast enough to deal with the improving Stellar Wind.
Breeders Cup Turf
Every year, the best distance turf horses from Europe make the trek over the pond to face the best from North America. The winner of this race this year figures to be 1 of 3 horses. With that said, each of these three horses are world travelers and have the credentials of a champion.
In post position #4 is Flintshire. Trained by North America’s top trainer Chad Brown, Flintshire actually began his distinguished career overseas. He has won Group 1 or Grade 1 races on three continents (Asia, Europe and North America). He has also twice finished 2nd in the world’s most prestigious grass race, the Prix De l’Arc de Triomphe. After showing a preference for firm turf, his connections decided to race him exclusively in the U.S. in 2016. The result has been 3 wins in 4 starts, including two Grade I wins in New York.
In post position #10 is Found. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has never been afraid to race top females against the boys. In Found, he has a mare that has been an enigma throughout her career. In 20 career starts, she has 11 2nds and only 5 wins on her record. However, that far from tells the real story. A majority of her races have been against the boys. Of her five wins, two have been in the most prestigious races in the world, the aforementioned Prix De l’Arc de Triomphe (last month) and in this very race last year over European Champion Golden Horn.
In post position #12 is Highland Reel. Highland Reel is another older horse that has had great success all over the world. He has won Group 1 races in Hong Kong, Europe and the United States. In his last start, he finished second behind Found in the Arc. This is a hard-knocking horse that can always be counted on for his best.
European horses have a great record in this race and would appear to have a great shot in this year’s edition. However, Flintshire has excuses in his last race, the Grade I Turf Invitational. Both a slow pace and a soft turf he didn’t like victimized him. On firm surfaces, he has been nothing short of awesome. The turf in California figures to be exactly what the doctor ordered.
The Breeders Cup Classic
This year’s Classic is filled with a full lineup of talented horses, included Frosted, a brilliant horse that turned in the performance of the year in the Met Mile with a Beyer of 123. Unfortunately, he figures to be a distant third in the top horses betting pool between the current #1 ranked horse in the world and a young colt with unimaginable talent.
In post position #4 is California Chrome. All the Chrome has done in his career is win the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and this year’s 2016 Dubai World Cup. While a record of 24-15-3-1 points him out as a true champion, he has taken his talent to an elite level in 2016. With 6 wins in 6 starts for over $7.0 million in purses, he has been simply untouchable all year, usually just toying with the competition. With a win in this race, he would become the #1 ranked money-earning thoroughbred of all-time with over $17.0 million in purses.
In post position #10 is Arrogate. Before anyone concedes this race to Chrome, they had better take a look at this fast-improving 3-year old. He didn’t start his career until April of this year and shows a record of 4 wins in 5 starts. So why all the fuss? It was his last race that shook the racing world. Running against the best horses of his generation in only his 5th start, Arrogate won the Grade I Travers by 13.5 lengths, breaking the Saratoga track record for 1 ¼ miles in the process. He never broke a sweat and came back like he was ready to do it again. His 122 Beyer was the second highest in the last 5 years, and it indicates there is immense talent here.
Both of these horses prefer running up on the lead. Both can cut out fast fractions and keep going. While California Chrome has a decided edge in experience, there’s this overriding feeling Arrogate is going to do something very special to close of the 2016 Breeders Cup.
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