Another pivotal Saturday for horse racing and the Breeders Cup odds gets underway today.
The Kentucky Turf Cup, which carries the "Win and You're In" tag for the Breeders' Cup Turf, is the feature at Kentucky Downs. Then out west, two-year-old fillies take the spotlight in the Del Mar Debutante, with eyes on an eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies try.
My analysis and picks for both races are below.
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Kentucky Turf Cup odds, prediction and best bet
- Race: Kentucky Downs Race 12
- Post time: 7:05 p.m. ET
- TV: FanDuel TV
|6||Me and Mr. C||10-1||+1,000||+1,000||+1,200|
*horse is an also-eligible.
Odds as of September 7, 2023.
The Grade II, $1.7 million Kentucky Turf Cup clearly goes through Mike Maker, who has earned at least a share of the leading trainer title at the meet for three straight years. He's entered four runners, three in the body of the field, including morning-line favorites No. 11 Therapist (7-2, morning-line favorite) and No. 2 Red Knight (4-1). However, it's No. 6 Me and Mr. C (10-1) that intrigues me the most out of his quartet.
Me and Mr. C has won three straight races heading into this start, including the preview race for the Kentucky Turf Cup at Ellis Park on Aug. 6 going 1 1/4-miles. It's been rare to see Me and Mr. C go beyond 1/16th-miles, but his closing kick at 10 panels last time out was an eye-opener.
The six-year-old son of Khozan has Dynaformer on the dam's side, so perhaps marathon distances have been his calling all along. At 10-1, he's well worth a winning wager in addition to inclusion in all vertical and horizontal wagers. Gerardo Corrales, who piloted Me and Mr. C to each of his last two victories, keeps the assignment.
Therapist is hard to ignore coming off his emphatic victory in the Grade I United Nations Stakes at Monmouth on July 22. However, he was off the board in his lone prior race at the quirky Kentucky Downs oval and didn't maintain the level of performance he displayed in his other grade stakes victory earlier in the year, which was the Grade II Pan American. Instead, he finished in eighth place in the Grade III Louisville when competing at the challenging 1 1/2-mile distance.
The son of Freud is hard to leave out but is far from impossible to beat as the tepid betting choice under Javier Castellano.
Red Knight has two graded stakes wins going long on grass this year and boasts a 14: 5-4-0 career record at the taxing 1 1/2-mile trip, which includes his victory in last year's Kentucky Turf Cup. However, he'll have to turn the tables on Therapist after running third in the United Nations last time out. Tyler Gaffalione has the call once more.
Best bet: $8 win 6, $2 exacta box 2/6/11 ($20)
Del Mar Debutante odds, prediction and best bet
- Race: Del Mar Race 10
- Post time: 9:00 p.m. ET
- TV: FanDuel TV
|2||Next Right Thing||30-1||+3,000||+3,000||+3,300|
|10||Where's My Ring||15-1||+1,500||+1,500||+2,000|
|12||Gate to Paradise||20-1||+2,000||+2,000||+3,300|
Odds as of September 7, 2023.
No. 9 Tamara (7-2, morning-line favorite) impressed on debut for more than one reason. Not only did the daughter of the legendary Beholder respond to jockey Mike Smith (who keeps the assignment) professionally after being given a great set-up, but she drew away from Hope Road to earn a solid speed figure.
It's also worth noting that her trainer is Richard Mandella, who isn't noted for having his charges fully cranked for their unveiling. That means bettors should expect improvement in the Del Mar Debutante as she adds distance, which shouldn't hurt this Bolt d'Oro filly.
No. 7 Dreamfyre (4-1) was last seen taking the Grade III Sorrento Stakes over this course to run her career record to 2-for-2. She looks like the quickest of the bunch, but she'll have to be careful not to tire herself out in this field of 14. Hector Berrios will be tasked with rationing her speed once more.
No. 6 Chatalas (5-1) posted a grinding sort of win at first asking, indicating that the expansion to seven furlongs will suit her. It's encouraging to see leading rider Juan Hernandez take the call when he had other options.
No. 5 Hope Road (12-1) is still a maiden but has run second in each of her first two tries, and the speed figures are competitive. She's run both on and off the pace in her brief career, so new pilot Tiago Pereira appears to have tactical options on this live longshot.
Best bet: $5 exacta box 7/9, $4 exacta 9/5,6, $2 exacta 9/7 ($20)
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Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic Schedule
|February Stakes*||February 19||Tokyo Racecourse (Japan)||Lemon Pop|
|Kentucky Derby||May 6||Churchill Downs||Mage|
|Preakness Stakes||May 20||Pimlico||National Treasure|
|Belmont Stakes||June 10||Belmont Park||Arcangelo|
|Metropolitan Handicap||June 10||Belmont Park||Cody's Wish|
|Stephen Foster Stakes*||July 1||Ellis Park||West Will Power|
|Haskell Stakes*||July 22||Monmouth Park||Geaux Rocket Ride|
|Whitney Stakes*||August 5||Saratoga||White Abarrio|
|Juddmonte International Stakes (turf)*||August 23||York (UK)||Mostahdaf|
|Travers Stakes||August 26||Saratoga||Arcangelo|
|Pacific Classic*||September 2||Del Mar||Arabian Knight|
|Jockey Club Gold Cup*||September 2||Saratoga||Bright Future|
|Pennsylvania Derby||September 23||Parx||TBD|
|Awesome Again Stakes*||September 30||Santa Anita Park||TBD|
|Lukas Classic||September 30||Churchill Downs||TBD|
*denotes "Win & You're In" race for Breeders' Cup Classic