Handicapping Insights and Betting Tips for the Breeders' Cup Races on Saturday

Insights and analysis from Hartley Henderson for the entire Breeders' Cup card on Saturday.

Betting tips for the Breeders' Cup Saturday card

The Breeders' Cup this year will be held at Keenland racetrack without spectators.

Filly and Mare Sprint

The 7/5 morning line favorite for this race is Gamine and rightly so. Gamine was romping in sprint turf races earlier in the year, including incredible 18 lengths and 7 length wins in the Acorn and Test Stakes consecutively recording Beyer figures close to 110 in each, but then finished a decent 3rd behind the likes of Swiss Skydiver, who of course went on to win the Preakness Stakes. That race was at 1 1/8 miles though and it's clear she is a sprinter and not a distance runner. If she runs back to either the Acorn or Test Stakes she won't be beat. Sergenti Express (3/1) was also running in distance races and finished a respectable 3rd in last year's Breeders Cup Distaff after leading the whole race, but she then was off and on until she shortened up to a sprint, where she won the Ballerina Stakes and then narrowly lost in a Grade 1 stakes at Churchill Downs to Bell's the One (6/1). Her times have ben second best to Gamine. Venetian Harbor (8/1) and Speech (6/1) seem to be the biggest threats, although each lost handily to Gamine in prior races.

Filly and Mare Sprint Prediction: Winner: Gamine (7/5). 2nd Choice: Sergenti Express (3/1) Long Shot Possibility: Venetian Harbor (8/1)

Turf Sprint

Breeders Cup Saturday Picks Turf ClasssicProbably the toughest race to predict of the day, this can literally go to any one of several horses. Got Stormy (7/2) is the morning line favorite and he finished 3rd in last year's Breeders Cup Mile. He looked good, but nothing special, until he cut back to a true sprint, where he won consecutive races in Grade 3 stakes with impressive Beyer figures. Imprimis (4/1) has sprinted his whole life and finished 6th in this race last year. But something seemed to change for him in 2020. He has won consecutive Grade 3 races to start the year, including a race in Kentucky where he was hampered and made a huge run. He is a closer and will be hoping for a fast pace. Leinster (4/1) finished 7th in this race last year but has won consecutive Grade 2 races, including the Woodford in good time where he nipped Extravagant Kid (15/1). Oleksandra (12/1) just won a Grade 1 race at Belmont and Big Runner (12/1) and Wet Your Whistle (15/1) are coming off impressive wins. Of the European horses, Glass Slippers (12/1) is appealing. He has been racing against some of the best in Ireland, France and Great Britain and his times would be good enough to likely take the race here if he could actually duplicate some of those performances.

Turf Sprint Prediction: Winner: Got Stormy (7/2). 2nd Choice: Glass Slippers (12/1) Long Shot Possibility: Wet Your Whistle (15/1)

Dirt Mile

Complexity (2/1) looked like nothing special until his 2020 campaign where he won his first race comfortably, then just lost to Win Win Win in the Forego. But in his last race he easily won the Kelso Handicap over Code of Honor with a remarkable 110 Beyer figure. The big question is whether that was a legitimate display of talent or an anomaly. Knicks Go (7/2) actually beat Complexity easily at the Breeders Cup Juvenile two years ago then looked like nothing special until his 2020 campaign, where he romped to victory in his two races in February at Oaklawn Park and last month at Keenland. He will be on the lead and, if he can set a slow pace and can run back to that race, he could be the one to beat, although he has yet to win a stakes race. Art Collector (6/1) looked fabulous beating Swiss Skydiver in the Blue Grass, but was then handily beaten by both her and Authentic in the Preakness. The rail will hurt his chances. War of Will (10/1) may be the classiest horse in the race and many will recall his race in last year's Kentucky Derby, where he was almost tackled by Maximum Security. But he may actually be a better turf horse than a dirt horse. Sharp Samurai (15/1) came second to Maximum Security in the Pacific Classic and has come close at the mile distance although again he may be a better turf horse, albeit the Pacific Classic was on dirt. And both Owendale (8/1) and Mr. Freeze (6/1) have shown ability at varying times.

Dirt Mile Prediction: Winner: Knicks Go (7/2). 2nd Choice: Art Collector (6/1) Long Shot Possibility: Sharp Samurai (15/1)

Filly & Mare Turf

Sistercharlie (6/1) is hoping to repeat her 2018 win in this race but was only able to finish a closing 3rd as a massive favorite in this race last year. Her two races in 2020 have been ok but don't indicate she's ready to win. Rushing Fall (5/2) is the morning line favorite and deservedly so after recording three straight wins, including the Diana Stakes and all three with a 100 plus Beyer figure. Along with Sistercharlie she also beat Mean Mary (7/2) in that race, a horse that looked deemed for greatness previously. Civil Union (12/1) has won 4 straight races including a head win over My Sister Nat (12/1) in the Flower Bowl at Belmont. None of those horses, however, have inspired much excitement for me, so I'm going to look at the European horses instead. Peaceful (12/1) looked solid in all her races until the last race at Newmarket where she was trounced, but that race was on a heavy turf and she clearly just didn't handle the going. She is an Aiden O’Brien trained and Ryan Moore ridden horse and must be considered. Terebellum (20/1) easily defeated Peaceful in that race and had some very good races prior to that. And Frankie Dettori must always be considered. Audarya (12/1) looked really good in consecutive races in France and Cayenne Pepper (8/1) has looked great at time even finishing second to Magical who is the morning line favorite for the Breeders Cup Turf.

Filly & Mare Turf Prediction: Winner: Peaceful (12/1). Second Choice: Cayenne Pepper (8/1). Long Shot Possibility: Terebellum (20/1)


Looking at the morning line odds, three horses stood out above the rest. Vekoma was the 3/1 favorite followed by Yaupon at 7/2 and C Z Rocket also at 7/2. Vekoma was my pick to win this race, but was scratched early on Friday. Yaupon is 4 for 4 in his career coming off two straight graded stakes wins, but it's unclear how much he really beat in those races. His Beyer figures are lower than Vekoma. C Z Rocket is coming off five straight wins in Kentucky and California, but he barely won them and his times seem a bit slower than the top two horses. Looking at the longshots, Frank’s Rockette (10/1) is coming off four straight wins including a 1:08 4/5 win at Saratoga in both May and September, but it is always a concern betting fillies against the males in sprint races. She has had a far busier 2020 campaign than her competitors. Diamond Oops (8/1) comes off a big win in the Phoenix Stakes where he beat last year's third place finisher in this race Whitmore (15/1), as well as the 5th place finisher Firenze Fire (8/1). Neither of those horses seems in the best form at the moment. Collusion Illusion (20/1) who finished 3rd to C Z Rocket last race seems like the only other horse with a shot.

Sprint Prediction: Winner: Yaupon (7/2). Second Choice: Frank’s Rockette (10/1). Long Shot Possibility: Whitmore (15/1)


Breeders Cup picks SaturdayA race that generally goes to the Europeans, there are several that look like they have a shot in this race. Kameko (6/1) comes off a win in good but his races prior to that have been less than impressive. Circus Maximus (12/1) draws the rail for Aiden O'Brien and Ryan Moore. He was a fast closing 4th in the Breeders Cup Mile last year, but his most recent race where he was trounced at Ascot is concerning. There is no doubt he prefers a firmer turf which should be on tap this year. One Master (12/1) has had several good races but all at very short distances, which makes it surprising that he is running in this race rather than the Turf Sprint. In his last race One Master beat Safe Voyage (15/1) in France at 7 furlongs, although Safe Voyage beat him earlier pulling away on a faster surface. Siskin (15/1) has also had some useful races. Unfortunately for European race fans, none of these inspires much confidence so we turn to the North American horses. Uni (5/1) won this race last year after closing with a fury but his races since have looked average at best. Even his last race, a win in the First Lady Stakes wasn't overly exciting. Ivar (4/1) looked good in Argentina but raised eyebrows in his last race in the Shadwell Turf Handicap where he earned a 104 Beyer figure. Digital Age (8/1) won two in a row, including the Turf Classic, and he beat Factor This (8/1) by ¾ of a length after closing fast on the pace setter. But Factor This has been more impressive including a win at Pimlico, where he earned a 110 Beyer figure on yielding turf. Halladay (12/1) beat many of these as well as Got Stormy who is the favorite in the Turf Sprint at Saratoga last race. But prior to that he didn’t inspire much confidence. Raging Bull (8/1) is the only other real contender, having been beaten by Halladay quite easily in the aforementioned race but was closing with a fury against Ivar in the Shadwell Turf Handicap.

Mile Prediction: Winner: Factor This (8/1). Second Choice: Digital Age (8/1). Long Shot Possibility: Circus Maximus (12/1)


Of all the races in the Breeders' Cup this is the one that most are looking forward to, along with the Classic. On paper this should be a two horse race between Monomoy Girl (8/5) and Swiss Skydiver (2/1). Monomoy Girl won this race in 2018 but then took a year off for injury, returning this year with three straight wins at Churchill Downs and Belmont, including an impressive win in the Ruffian Stakes. Swiss Skydiver had a busy year and got notice after handy wins in the Santa Anita Oaks and the Alabama, as well as close 2nd place finishes in the Blue Grass Stakes against the boys and the Kentucky Oaks where she just lost to Shedaresthedevil. But all eyesbrows were really raised when she beat Authentic in a great duel at the Preakness Stakes. Ollie's Candy (10/1) is always close, although she rarely wins, as is Ce Ce (12/1) and Lady Kate (15/1). Horologist (8/1) finished 3rd to Monomoy Girl in the La Troien stakes but came back and beat Point of Honor (30/1) and Dunbar Road (12/1) impressively in the Beldame Invitational. Dunbar Road finished 5th in this race last year. Valiance (12/1) has won three straight, including a race against Shesthedevil, who as mentioned beat Swiss Skydiver in the lead up race to the Preakness. And Harvest Moon (12/1) comes off four straight wins, including a win in the Zenyatta, which was posted in a time which could be competitive.

Distaff Prediction: Winner: Monomoy Girl (8/5). Second Choice: Swiss Skydiver (2/1). Long Shot Possibility: Harvest Moon (12/1)


This race is usually dominated by the Europeans and it appeared Magical (5/2) would have been the heavy favorite last year after just losing to Enable in 2018, but he had to be scratched because of an injury. Magical is back for O’Brien and Moore and has had some impressive finishes in Ireland although he didn't look comfortable at Ascot in his last race where he finished an indifferent 3rd as the 9/5 favorite on a soft turf. Mogul (4/1) wowed many in France last race when he beat some excellent horses in the Prix de Paris. Lord North (8/1) has looked great for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori at times, but he tends to lose to Magical every time they face each other. And Tarnawa (6/1) comes off two great wins in France, but it is unclear if she can match up to the boys at the long distance, albeit Enable and Zenyatta won this race handily in previous years. As for the North American horses, United (8/1) just missed to Bricks and Mortar in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf and has not finished worse than 2nd since, all in Grade 2 races. Channel Maker (5/1) was beaten soundly in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf and didn't look that good in early 2020, but his last two races have been impressive wins in New York, with a 108 Beyer speed figure in both the Sword Dancer and Turf Classic Invitational. Arklow (5/1) also finished up the track in last year's Turf and did win in Kentucky last race on a soft turf, but he looks like he needs to improve sharply to contend against these horses.

Turf Prediction: Winner: Channel Maker (5/1). Second Choice: Magical (5/2). Long Shot Possibility: Lord North (8/1)


Always a fun race. It's generally the 3 year-olds against the older horses, and unless there is a superstar 3 year old like Sunday Silence, Curlin, American Pharaoh or Arrogate, the older horses generally prevail. The 3 year old crop this year include Tiz the Law (3/1) the winner of the Belmont Stakes, the first Triple Crown race of the year (no that’s not a type-o) and Authentic (6/1) who beat Tiz the Law in the Kentucky Derby, the second Triple Crown race, (still not a type-o). Swiss Skydiver, who won the Preakness opted for the Distaff instead. Tiz the Law looked set to be a superstar horse after posting dominating wins in the Florida Derby, Belmont Stakes and Travers but unfortunately was unable to pass Authentic, who led almost wire-to-wire in the Kentucky Derby. Tiz the Law has been off since and has been posting bullet workouts in preparation for this race. Authentic was thought to be special after three dominating wins to start his career, but was taken back to reality a bit by an easy defeat to Honor A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby and a narrow win over mediocre horses in the Haskell. Unfortunately for Authentic, despite winning wire to wire in the Kentucky Derby he hung badly in the Preakness and was just unable to beat Swiss Skydiver. He has been off since as well. Improbable (5/2), who competed in the Triple Crown races last year with ok results, has turned it around as a 4 year-old recording huge wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Whitney and Awesome Again with excellent Beyer figures. In the Awesome Again Stakes he beat Maximum Security (7/2) by five lengths and as most will recall Maximum Security won the Kentucky Derby last year only to be disqualified after a questionable steward's inquiry. After the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security finished 2nd in the Pegasus and then ran off 7 straight victories before losing to Improbable last race. By My Standards (10/1) lost to Tom’s d’Etat (6/1) in the Stephen Foster Stakes, but then beat him handily in the Whitney, where he lost by two lengths to Improbable. Global Campaign (20/1) and Tacitus (20/1) are always thereabouts.

Classic Prediction: Winner: Improbable (5/2). Second Choice: Maximum Security (7/2). Long Shot Possibility: Tacitus (20/1)

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