July 20, 2018

Answering Shapiro’s 5 Questions About the 2017 Breeders’ Cup

As we eagerly await the release of 2017 Breeders’ Cup pre-entries on Wednesday, October 25, Scott Shapiro kept the Breeders’ Cup discussion with 5 questions ahead of this year’s World Championships on November 3-4 at Del Mar.

You can get your studying started early with contender Past Performances and data files from Brisnet.com with official pre-entry info available sometime Wednesday.

  1. Which Arrogate will show up in the Breeders’ Cup?

The proper answer to answering this question before the Breeders’ Cup Classic is not which Arrogate shows up, but what are the odds of the various Arrogates showing up? If the Arrogate from the Travers-Breeders’ Cup Classic-Pegasus-Dubai World Cup shows up then he’s fair odds 1-to-10 to win the race. If it’s the Pacific Classic Arrogate then the fair odds are more like 4-to-1. If it’s any other inferior Arrogate then he has no chance to win.

I think the most likely Arrogate to show up is the Pacific Classic one, so we’ll put that at 60%. I give a 20% chance that we see the Arrogate of August 2016-March 2017 that strung together one of the best four-race winning streaks in the history of the turf. That leaves a 20% chance that he’s done-zo.

So 60% of the time he wins 20% of the time, which is a 12% chance of winning. 20% of the time he wins 90.9% of the time, which is a 18.1% chance of winning. Another 20% he never wins. That gives us a win probability of 30.1%, which would make 2-to-1 a fair price on last year’s champion three-year-old male to win the Classic and Horse of the Year.

  1. Will Unique Bella live up to the hype and get to the wire first in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint?

I have immense respect for Unique Bella, and she would likely be my top pick in whichever Breeders’ Cup race her Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer decided to target. So in the regard that I view her as the most likely winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint my answer is “yes” but “most likely winner” does not automatically mean value in the win pool. I expect some tough decisions to make surrounding this race, as it will be impossible for me to ignore Finleysluckycharm as a horse I expected to win this race before Unique Bella targeted it.

  1. Can anyone compete with Bolt d’Oro in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile?

Bolt d’Oro is on a list of favorites (along with Stellar Wind) I plan to bet against, and in both cases it’s not because I don’t think either horse can win but because they’re both likely underlays.

In Bolt d’Oro’s case, the talent is clear, and any return to his Del Mar Futurity or Frontrunner form makes him very tough to beat, but it’s also tough for two-year-olds to string together these kinds of performances. If Bolt d’Oro wins the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and cements his standing at two-year-old male champion then I would expect a long layoff before resuming his Kentucky Derby training.

  1. Will a three-year-old win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff?

Yes.

Stellar Wind and Forever Unbridled obviously can win, and of the two I prefer Forever Unbridled, but I think this is a very good group of three-year-old fillies, and none will be favored or might not even be the second choice. Abel Tasman, Elate, and Paradise Woods can all factor in this, and you’re getting Baffert, Mott, and Mandella versus Sadler and Stewart. I’d take a long look at a “will a 3yo win the Distaff” prop.

  1. Will Drefong be the first repeat winner of the TwinSpires.com Breeders’ Cup Sprint since Midnight Lute in 2007-2008?

Probably?

Drefong is the most likely winner, and I’m not looking to beat him like some aforementioned favorites, but the Sprint is a tough race to single.

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