DEL MAR, Calif. -- The Breeders’ Cup (BC) undercard on Saturday includes a number of talented thoroughbreds on day two of the world championships. With nine total Breeders' Cup races on tap for Saturday afternoon, there's a full schedule of betting opportunities available to the horseplayer.
Be sure to check tomorrow's print edition of The News for my advance on the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic, the talented field of 11 will head to the gate at 8:35 p.m. EDT in prime time on NBC. Television coverage of the races will be split between NBC Sports Network (1:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT) and NBC (8-9:00 p.m. EDT).
Small capsules and top selections of the Saturday undercard races follow:
$2 million BC Juvenile Fillies (Race 4, 3:00 p.m. EDT)
A race that can produce surprises (See Take Charge Brandi at 60-1 here two years ago and Champagne Room last year at 34-1) has a young group of lightly raced 2-year-olds looking to step forward where the turf meets the surf. So why not another upset to get things started with 4-Gio Game (15-1) who broke her maiden at Keeneland after a decent effort on the turf against a decent maiden field at Saratoga. Another long shot I like in here is 3-Princess Warrior (12-1) for Kenny McPeek, who ran second in the Alciabides to 1-Heavenly Love (9-2). 7-Moonshine Memories (7-2) has checked all the boxes winning two California Grade 1’s for Simon Callaghan and is a must-use in the multis. I like the two outside horses, but the starting spots will compromise their collective efforts.
Post Time Outlook: 4-3-1-7
$1 million BC Turf Sprint (Race 5, 3:37 p.m. EDT)
The Turf Sprint will be run at 5 furlongs this year and will pit rivals 3-Lady Aurelia (5-2) and 6-Marsha (7-2), who have split their last two meetings. Christophe Clement’s 1-Disco Partner (9-2) drew the rail with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons. This race looks fairly formful and we’ll give the nod to Marsha with first time Lasix over the popular Lady Aurelia. Look for 10-Hogy (12-1) to improve with the addition of blinkers by trainer Mike Maker.
Post Time Outlook: 6-3-1-10
$1 million BC Filly and Mare Sprint (Race 6, 4:14 p.m. EDT)
A full field of 14 will contest the Filly & Mare Sprint at 7 furlongs on the Del Mar dirt surface. Three-year-old 11-Unique Bella (9-5) has been working lights out since her return to the races last month. Mike Smith will be in the irons on the daughter of Tapit. 9-Finley’sluckycharm (6-1) is the value play coming into the race off a solid racing year for trainer Bret Calhoun. 7-By the Moon (12-1) always gives an honest effort and could surprise at a price. 12-Skye Diamonds (5-1), a First Dude filly, is a horse for the course winning both races at Del Mar.
Post Time Outlook: 11-9-7-12
$2 million BC Filly and Mare Turf (Race 7, 5:00 p.m. EDT)
Another full field of 14 will look to collect a hefty check in the F&M Turf. Trainer Chad Brown will send three horses postward, including the 5-year-old superstar 9-Lady Eli (5-2), who finished second in last year’s edition. She’s put together three straight wins since her second-place finish in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April. 6-Cambodia (8-1) is 2-for-2 at Del Mar in his last two races and could pose a challenge to the Lady. 14-Rhododendrum (8-1) looks like the real deal, but is sequestered in the outside post running with first time Lasix. Richard Baltas puts the shades on 13-Goodyearforroses (12-1) and is 34 percent when making that equipment change this year. Watch out for 15-Kitten’s Roar (20-1) if she draws in.
Post Time Outlook: 9-6-14-13
$1.5 million BC Sprint (Race 8, 5:37 p.m. EDT)
Some think this is a free square with 2-Drefong (5-2) proving the long layoff wasn’t an issue at Saratoga in the Forego. With 7-Takaful (5-1) and 10-Imperial Hint (9-2) likely to keep the pressure on the defending winner, the race may just set up perfectly for 6-Mind Your Biscuits (6-1), if a pace meltdown ensues.
For my preview last weekend on Mind Your Biscuits’ connections, click here.
Post Time Outlook: 6-2-10-7
— Gene Kershner (@EquiSpace) November 2, 2017
$2 million BC Mile (Race 9, 6:19 p.m. EDT)
Woodbine Mile winner 5-World Approval (9-2) has found his niche at the mile distance and has the speed and foundation in place to win this race. The top two Euros in the race, 10-Ribchester (7-2) and 8-Suedois (6-1), will pose the biggest threats to the Mark Casse-trained son of Northern Afleet. We’ll use 11-Ballagh Rocks (12-1) with Mott/Lezcano to round out the super.
Post Time Outlook: 5-8-10-11
$2 million BC Juvenile (Race 10, 6:58 p.m. EDT)
The first step towards next year’s Kentucky Derby finds itself smack dab in the middle of the late Pick-4 and could be your only free bingo space on the day. 11-Bolt d’Oro (9-5) has been tearing it up in southern California and the Medaglia d’Oro colt will look to cement his claim as the 2-year-old champion for Ruis Racing. Dale Romans’ 5-Free Drop Willy (5-1) won the Futurity at Keeneland with authority and should be the main challenger to the favorite.
The maiden 6-Good Magic is better than his record indicates and should move forward from his effort in the Champagne. 1-U S Navy Flag (8-1) tries dirt for the first time for Aidan O’Brien, who also adds Lasix.
Post Time Outlook: 11-5-6-1
$4 million BC Turf (Race 11, 7:37 p.m. ET)
The mile-and-a-half turf race is the lead-in to the Classic and features last year’s winner 3-Highland Reel (5-1). It’s a very competitive BC Turf with horses coming off big wins like 12-Beach Patrol (4-1) and 4-Decorated Knight (15-1). We’ll hook our trailer to Highland Reel who’s proven in this setting and with the scratch of Ulysses, he's even more dangerous. We'll include 13-Sadler's Joy (12-1), a distance specialist who always shows up for the big races.
Post Time Outlook: 3-12-4-13
Follow along with me on Twitter over the two days, as I will be reporting from Del Mar all weekend and look for Saturday's print column on the Classic.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.