Preview, picks and betting tips for the five Breeders' Cup races on Friday

A handicapping breakdown of the five Breeders Cup races on Friday, with picks and longshots to bet on.

Predictions and betting tips for Friday's Breeders' Cup races

The Breeders' Cup this year will be held at Del Mar racetrack, only the second time that the California track will hold the event. Unlike the event at Keeneland last year, this year's Breeders' Cup will include spectators without any real restrictions. The Breeders' Cup website recommends that people wear masks at the event, but as we have seen with the return of all sporting events, few follow that guideline. If the 2017 event from Del Mar was any indication, 2021 could be a good year for longshot players as only three favorites won in 2017 and 7 of the 13 races produced double digit odds winners. Del Mar is also known for its speed bias on short races, as well as an advantage to inside positions on the turf, but disadvantage to inside positions on the dirt. The European horses dominated the turf races in 2017 and almost certainly the same will happen this year as well. The forecast is for mostly clear skies and temperatures in the low 70s which will be ideal for horses from both sides of the pond.

With that in mind, here is an analysis of Friday's Breeders' Cup Races, which is completely geared to the 2-year olds.

Juvenile Turf Sprint

Fridays Breeders Cup selectionsThe Breeders’ Cup starts off with a difficult race to handicap in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. Averly Jane is the morning line favorite at 5/2. She is undefeated after an impressive three length win in her first turf race last time out, in an excellent for the 5 ½ furlong race. She has raced exclusively on the East Coast, however, and California can be tough on horses racing there for the first time. One Timer, another American horse is also undefeated after he won a five furlong turf race in 55 seconds at Santa Anita. It's uncertain, however, whether either of the two horses really beat much, since Averly Jane’s Beyer figure was only 87 for her last win and One Timer’s Beyer and TimeForm ratings were worse. For that reason, the European horses may be preferred.

Twilight Gleaming seems the most appealing of the European runners after he started his career winning a race for Wesley Ward at Keeneland and followed it up with two excellent races in Europe, including a close up finish in the Queen Mary Stakes behind Quick Suzy, who likely would have been the favorite for this race had she not been withdrawn last week after spiking a fever. Armor is a group winner in Europe as is Go Bears Go. Twilight Jet gets the advantage of the rail and comes off an impressive maiden win at Newmarket, but he was beaten soundly by Go Bears Go and Armor previously. Kaufymaker was closing well against Averly Jane in his last race and gets the more advantageous number 2 stall. Derrynane and Hierarchy could be upset possibilities, if the pace is overly fast as they close with a fury.

Juvenile Turf Sprint Prediction: Winner: Twilight Gleaming (4/1) 2nd Choice: Armor (6/1).
Long Shot Possibility: Go Bears Go (15/1)

Juvenile Fillies

Only six horses will be racing in this event after trainer Phil D'Amato withdrew Ain't Easy, who looked like a solid contender. Echo Zulu (1/1) is the morning line favorite and rightly so. She is undefeated in three races and has by far and away the best Beyer and TimeForm figures. If there is one concern with Echo Zulu, it's that this will be her first time around two turns and, as has been seen numerous times in the Breeders' Cup previously, horses who excel at 7 furlongs or less often struggle when they have to maneuver the extra 1 ½ to 2 ½ furlongs for the first time. That said, she is clearly the class of the field.

Juju's Map has won at this distance at Keeneland and has comparable TimeForm figures to the favorite. Hidden Connection won by 10 lengths in her last race at the Pocahontas Stakes and is undefeated, but the competition was weak in that race. That said it was at this distance and she can't be discounted. The other horses look to have no chance.

Juvenile Turf Prediction: Winner: Echo Zulu (1/1). 2nd Choice: Juju's Map (5/2)
Long Shot Possibility: None

Juvenile Fillies Turf

Without a question, this is the hardest race to handicap in the Breeders’ Cup this year. An argument can be made for every horse in the race except Helens Well. So, the best bet may be to wheel the field in the win pick 5. That said here is the breakdown by horse starting from the inside post.

Pizza Bianca was a maiden winner at Saratoga, but was no match for Godolphin’s Wild Beauty in the Natalma Stakes at Woodbine. The good news for Pizza Bianca is that Wild Beauty is not entered in this race. Cairo Memories is undefeated in two local California races, but it doesn't appear she beat much in either race. Cachet is usually close up, but she has been beaten twice by Hello You. Turnerloose is extremely fast and was just beaten in a Grade 3 race last time out. She could wire the field if the pace is slow. Bubble Rock has had three good races in New York and has among the best Beyer and TimeForm ratings in the field and will likely be closing at the end. Hello You is a Group 2 winner in Europe and could be tough, although she was beaten pretty soundly by Mise En Scene earlier. Consumer Spending closes like a freight train and could be tough if the pace is very fast, but she needs to prove she's in the same class as the others. Sail By had a nice Grade 2 win last time, but still looks to be lesser than the others in the field. Koala Princess has had two solid wins and the best TimeForm rating in the field. On her best day she could be tough. Helens Well seems to have little chance. Haughty was disqualified from a win her first time out but came back with a solid victory next time in a better time. Her times were good and he could be a dark horse. Malavath seems sharp and is always in the money. Distance is a question for this European horse as she has never gone past 6 ½ furlongs.  Mise En Scene has two great wins in Europe on firm turf and was 4th on a soft turf in a Group 1 race with Cachet just finishing ahead. The fast turf at Del Mar will help her. California Angel is an interesting filly who will be flying at the end.

Juvenile Fillies Prediction: Winner: Bubble Rock (8/1), Second Choice: Mise en Scene(6/1)
Long Shot Possibility: Haughty (10/1)


In one of the more intriguing races on the card, two horses seem to tower above the others.

Breeders Cup Juvenile betting picksJack Christopher is the morning line favorite. He is 2 for 2, including a resounding win at Belmont in the Champagne Stakes and he has by far and away the best Beyer and TimeForm Ratings. Two potential downfalls for him are that he is drawing the rail, which could be an issue as that isn't a preferred stall at Del Mar, along with the fact this will be his first race around two turns. Corniche won twice for Bob Baffert, including an impressive win in the American Pharaoh Stakes. Corniche looks like he needs to win wire to wire, which could be a problem since stalemate Pinehurst loves to be on the lead as well. No other horses look like they will threaten the early speed. So Baffert may have to convince both jockeys not to set a blistering pace where both will falter. Commandperformance looks the only real upset chance. He has yet to win, but was closing well against Jack Christopher in the Champagne and will love the extra distance.

Juvenile Prediction: Winner: Corniche (5/2). Second Choice: Jack Christopher (9/5).
Long Shot Possibility: None

11/5 Update
Jack Christopher has been scratched from the race, thus making Corniche the clear favorite. It's unfortunate as this was setting up for an exciting battle.

Bet on the Breeders' Cup with BUSR
Juvenile Turf

Another tough race, it appears six horses will vie for this win - three American horses and three European horses.

On the American side, Dakota Gold looks good with two solid wins in excellent times and draws a great starting stall. MacKinnon has recorded three straight wins in good time and looks like he will be closing at he end. He has yet to win a graded stakes however. Portfolio Company has a win and two seconds in New York and should love the one mile distance. Coinage and Tiz the Bomb can't be discarded either.

On the European side, Dubawi Legend, the morning line favorite at 4-1, had three good runs in Europe, including most recently a close up 2nd in a Group 1 race at Newmarket. Modern Games has back-to-back wins for Godolphin, including a Group 3 race won in spectacular fashion at Newmarket and it appears he can race on the lead or sit off the pace if it is too fast. Albahr also looks good for Godolphin after closing mightily for a commanding win in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine after running four very useful races in Europe. It is notable that William Buick chose Modern Games over Albahr. None of the other European horses spark much excitement.

Juvenile Turf Prediction: Winner: Modern Games (5/1). Second Choice: Albahr (6/1).
Long Shot Possibility: Coinage(15/1)

For Hartley's betting advice for Saturday's Breeders' Cup races, click here.

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