May 25, 2019

Favorites draw far outside in Classic, Distaff & Dirt Mile

Monomoy Girl won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at from post 14 and will break from post 11 in Saturday's Distaff (G1) (c) Jamie Newell/Horsephotos.com

Post positions and morning line odds for the 35th Breeders’ Cup were revealed at Equestricon on Monday. Here are some quick thoughts after the draw:

Friday

Juvenile Turf Sprint: Morning-line favorites Strike Silver (4-1) and Soldier’s Call (9-2) are stuck in the innermost posts in a 12-horse field. Shang Shang Shang (post 7) and Sergie Prokofiev (post 8), a pair of last-out stakes winners for Wesley Ward and Aidan O’Brien, improved their chances on Monday.

Juvenile Fillies Turf: Everything worked out perfectly for Newspaperofrecord, who is listed at 2-1 but will be an overwhelming favorite from post 6. Trained by four-time Juvenile Fillies turf winner Chad Brown, the Irish-bred filly loves turf with give to it and will be the shortest price among five Breeders’ Cup races Friday.

Juvenile Fillies: Serengetti Empress, a 19-length winner of the Pocahontas (G2), does her best running on the front end and took the worst of it in post 2, with speedball Vibrance to her immediate outside. It will be interesting to see how things shake out on the front end with Jaywalk (post 7) and Bellafina (post 10) bringing plenty of gas to the equation.

Juvenile Turf: Anthony Van Dyck is listed as the 4-1 favorite in the one-mile Juvenile Turf from post 14; good luck from out there. Current, the 5-1 co-second choice off a Bourbon (G3) win at Keeneland, received post 12. Mendelssohn won last year’s Juvenile Turf from post 1 and Arthur Kitt (who ranks second based in the BRIS Current Class ratings) could receive a favorable ground-saving trip from the same position. Line of Duty, who exits a convincing Group 3 win at 1 1/8 miles, merited a look at a potential price beforehand (10 m/l) and his supporters had to love the draw in post 5.

Juvenile: Game Winner, the 8-5 early favorite, has never dealt with kickback and avoided a dreaded inside spot in post 9; he’s eligible to receive a perfect stalking trip from the outside. Champagne (G1) winner Complexity appears to be the speed of the speed and also drew well in post 6. Code of Honor, who has the tactical speed to race up close, doesn’t want to get caught too wide in the early stages and must work out a trip from post 11.

Saturday

Filly & Mare Sprint: Tough draw in a 14-horse field for 4-1 second choice Selcourt, who has never broken from the rail post or faced more than seven rivals in six previous starts. 8-5 m/l favorite Marley’s Freedom, who lost consecutive starts from post 1 before embarking on an impressive four-race win streak, won’t be hurt by post 13 at seven furlongs. Those are the only two listed at less than 10-1 on the morning line.

Turf Sprint: After drawing the rail last year, 7-2 m/l favorite Disco Partner fared much better in post 5. Stormy Liberal, who returns for a title defense with a three-race win streak, may contend for favoritism from post 9. And post 11 looks like no obstacle for World of Trouble, who has shown an affinity for less-than-firm ground in a pair of turf starts and looks like the one to catch with Irad Ortiz. Conquest Tsunami, a speedy invader from Southern California, wasn’t so fortunate with post 14.

Dirt Mile: Circumstances would be different going a two-turn mile elsewhere (one-turn mile at Churchill Downs) but post 10 works well for 8-5 m/l favorite Catalina Cruiser, who has crushed the competition in all four starts. His main challenger, 5-2 second choice City of Light, has proven tractable and supporters didn’t want to be stuck inside, but post 1 forces his hand to break running.

Filly & Mare Turf: Chad Brown has trained three of the last six winners and will field five starters in the 14-horse Filly & Mare Turf (G1). With outsiders on the extreme outside (posts 11-14), no major contenders appeared hurt by the draw.

Sprint: Post 2 could prove favorable for Promises Fulfilled, who doesn’t have any other speed in his immediate vicinity and will be sent from post 2. The other possible speed, Imperial Hint and Distinctive B, will break from posts 5 and 7.

Mile: Eight of the 14 are European invaders and the French three-year-old filly Polydream has been installed as the 5-1 m/l favorite. She has the same connections as three-time Mile winner Goldikova, but I don’t know if she faced the best company in a pair of stakes wins this year and 5-1 seems like a short price to take in this contentious field. Analyze It will need to hustle from a tough outside starting position (post 12) but the draw went well for last-out Woodbine Mile (G1) hero Oscar Performance, the probable pacesetter from post 5. I like post 7 for Expert Eye, a three-year-old who appears to be thriving for Sir Michael Stoute and is listed at 8-1.

Distaff: Monomoy Girl overcame post 14 when capturing the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs in early May and received the outermost draw in an 11-horse Distaff. It’s far from ideal, but the sophomore filly has the speed to avoid being caught too wide early; connections would probably prefer to sit second or third but Monomoy Girl remains capable of dictating terms if no rivals are committed to the lead. I didn’t like post 2 for 7-2 second choice Abel Tasman, who faltered after failing to break alertly from an inside post (#3) in the La Troienne (G1) on the Oaks undercard.

Turf: Even-money favorite Enable drew well in post 2 as she tries to become the first horse to complete the Arc-Turf double in the same season. Things did not go well for Group 1 scorer and 9-2 second choice Waldgeist, an impressive winner of the Prix Foy (G2) two back and a close fourth to Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) last out. The four-year-old will start from post 12 in the three-turn affair.

Classic: Accelerate will break from the far outside in the 14-horse Classic and while it’s a long run to the first turn, the 5-2 m/l favorite must still negotiate the proper trip. A four-time Grade 1 winner in Southern California this year, the five-year-old will try to carry his form outside of the Golden State. Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) runner-up Thunder Snow had no luck getting post 1. Front-runners Catholic Boy (post 3) and McKinzie (post 6) will break inside of Mendelssohn, who has been all in for the early lead in his last three starts and will probably be hustling again from post 9; a lot of horses want to race up close in this year’s Classic.