Horse Players Christmas – Breeders’ Cup Saturday

November 02, 2012 | Gary Quill

G1 BC Mile – 1 mile (Turf) – $2,000,000 (SA – Race 11; 7:40pm)

#1 – Mr. Commons (12-1)
#2 – Wise Dan (9-5)
#3 – Obviously (IRE) (6-1)
#4 – Jeranimo (15-1)
#5 – Animal Kingdom (8-1)
#6 – Excelebration (IRE) (2-1)
#7 – Willcox Inn (30-1)
#8 – Suggestive Boy (ARG) (15-1)
#9 – Moonlight Cloud (GB) (6-1)

The Turf typically is dominated by European runners, but this year’s edition is looking like a two-horse fight between East (Excelebration) and West (Wise Dan). “Dan” has won 4 of 5 turf starts, including his last 3 in dominating fashion. While Excelebration has never been off the board in 8 turf mile outings, winning 4 and being runner-up 3 times to the best turf miler on the planet, Frankel.

Horse to Watch: #5 – Animal Kingdom, yep the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner. He made a successful 4 yr old debut in February easily winning an optional claiming race on the turf. Shortly thereafter he had to take an unscheduled vacation, but was back in training in mid-August, pointing to a return in this BC race. He has certainly matured physically since that first Saturday in May, but is up again a couple buzzsaws. Just seeing him on the track competing again is a great sight.

Fact: Aidan O’Brien, trainer of #6 –Excelebration is 3 for 53 in BC races since 2004.

GQ’s pick: #6 – Excelebration, #9 – Midnight Cloud, #3 – Obviously

BC Classic – 1¼ mile (dirt) – $5,000,000 (SA – Race 12; 8:35pm)

#1 – Pool Play (30-1)
#2 – Flat Out (5-1)
#3 – Alpha (20-1)
#4 – Fort Larned (5-1)
#5 – Game On Dude (9-5)
#6 – Brilliant Speed (20-1)
#7 – Handsome Mike (30-1)
#8 – Nonios (20-1)
#9 – Richard’s Kid (12-1)
#10 – Ron the Greek (6-1)
#11 – Mucho Macho Man (8-1)
#12 – To Honor and Serve (8-1)

A star-studded cast of equine characters will go postward in the finale of the 2012 BC Championships. One could make a case for any one of the 12 entrants, but the one to catch is Game on Dude who is a perfect 5 for 5 on the Santa Anita main track oval.

Horses to Watch: #6 – Brilliant Speed and #12 – To Honor and Serve will being running in their last race of the career, as they are being retired to stud (poor guys). The latter will be forwardly placed throughout this contest while Brilliant Speed will be lagging towards the back of the pack early and possibly throughout the entire race if the track plays as it did on Friday (i.e. speed favoring), will compromise the chances of my top pick.

Fact: Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who saddles the 9-5 Morning Line #5 – Game on Dude is 0 for 9 in the BC Classic.

GQ’s pick: #9 – Richard’s Kid, #5 – Game on Dude, #11 – Mucho Macho Man

The conclusion of Breeders’ Cup races is the unofficial end of the current years racing season… at least for me. It’s time to take a break from the sport I love, dedicate more time to family and get re-energized in time to follow the Derby Trail when February rolls around.

All the best to you in racing!

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