I got questions.
Whoever has the answers will likely unlock the path to financial gain.
Here are my 10 questions that will need to be answered (some not so serious) leading up to the 34th annual Breeders’ Cup to be held two weeks from today for the first time at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in San Diego…
- Will Arrogate actually run and if he does will he return to his earlier form? The terrific colt who had one of the best four-race streaks in the history of the sport has incurred two straight off days over the Del Mar surface. In addition, he hasn’t actually been lighting up the work tab heading into the Classic. While it’s hard to ignore his enormous talent, all things point towards a pass.
- Is a NRA exacta the play in the Classic? I’m thinking a Gun Runner-Gunnevera exacta box is the wager de jour. There hasn’t been a better horse in form than Gun Runner and the race may set up perfectly for the late closing Gunnevera (see Travers video).
- The 3-year-old class has dominated the Classic over the past three years, will 2017 give us a fourth straight sophomore winner? Hmm……the two best chances are West Coast and the aforementioned Gunnevera. To boot, West Coast would be the fourth straight Baffert horse, who had been shut out until the controversial win by Bayern in 2014. It’s not out of the question.
- Where’s the Bills Backer bar in San Diego for the Thursday night Bills-Jets game? This is just a hidden public service announcement for Buffalonians (and Canadians) who will be out on the West Coast looking for some football action before horse racing takes center stage. According to the official Bills website, the San Diego Bills haunt is the Pacific Beach Ale House on Grand Avenue. Just so you know, this club’s motto is “Win or lose, we’re still 50 yards from the beach.” Good stuff, hope to see some of you there.
- Being a first time venue, will Del Mar handle its first Breeders’ Cup in style? If they can duplicate what happened in Lexington two years ago, it shouldn’t be an issue. The major external concerns are parking and traffic, so mostly off-site issues from an initial view from afar. My guess is they have had a number of years to plan this out and it should run smoothly based on the experience at Keeneland. Looking forward to follow up on this post-Cup.
- Saturday’s betting menu doesn’t have a late Pick-5, does that make sense? An early Pick-5 is on the menu, which will include several non-BC races. Bettors love the $0.50 Pick-5, how can they not include one into the Classic? No way that it would materially affect handle on the Pick-6, it’s a different type of bettor that plays the P5 versus the P6, in my humble opinion.
- Other than the Classic, which race is the most intriguing? It has to be the Distaff, right? Solid older horses (Stellar Wind, Forever Unbridled) and fantastic sophomores (Abel Tasman, Elate). Amirite?
- Most likely to have a fan club? Has to be west coast-based Bolt d’Oro in the Juvy, no? The left coast has produced some solid juveniles and this one may just be a superstar-in-waiting. If Bolt Man shows up as his personal mascot, I’m all in.
- Who is your most likely single? How about Unique Bella in the Filly & Mare Sprint? Another west coast star in the wings, with past success on the surface and workouts that suggest she’s ready to roll. Play against at your own peril.
- Which race produces the biggest longsot winner? You answer this question, you’ll need to get your signature ready at the IRS window. One of the Juvenile Turf races or the Turf Sprint is your best bet at a big score.
Two weeks to go…..
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.