The Breeders’ Cup can be a betting man’s dream…or nightmare. There are sooooo many good horses in all of the races it can often times be difficult to pick your poison. Of course each and every one of us is looking for one of “them” horses. You know, one that offers a nice payday and makes you feel good about yourself because your forecast was better than the weather man’s. The Cup has given people plenty of those moments over the years. Now, we may not uncover Arcangues (133-1 1993 Classic), Court Vision (64-1 2011 Mile), or Take Charge Brandy (62-1 2014 Juvenile Fillies), but here are a few thoughts on a couple of potential day makers.This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be contested at Santa Anita on November 1 and 2.
COMIN’ OUT THE WOODS
Paradise Woods has been brilliant at times and a little mysterious at others. In 2017 as a three-year old, this daughter of Union Rags ran third in the Distaff under the care of Richard Mandella. Even though she knocked on the door a lot in 2018, she went winless. This year she came under the care of the zenmaster-like training of John Shirreffs. Having visited the winner’s circle twice in six starts including the Zenyatta Stakes in her last, she might just be ready to come out the Woods on somebody and spring a surprise.
“She runs well at Santa Anita and is training well right now,” says Shirreffs. “The mile and an eighth is good for her cruising pace. I think if she is tough in the final quarter why not?”
For this Distaff runner I concur…Why not?
BOLO MIGHT BE THE BOY
Bolo is likely to be very long odds in the Mile. Perhaps the best “feel good” story in the game this year, this seven year old son of Temple City was on the shelf for two years. Under the watchful care of Carla Gaines, this striking grass runner returned to the turf and took the Shoemaker Mile to earn his trip to the starting gates on November 2. A couple of less than spectacular starts since may have some scratching more than their heads, but Gaines has a way with her charges. Bolo is a horse for the course as he has won three times previously on the Santa Anita lawn.
“He’s been training great,” says Gaines. “His last start was a bit of a mystery but we think he deserves a chance.”
After two years on the injured reserve, the hard work put in by team Bolo definitely deserves a chance to shake up the world.
HE’S A SOUL MAN
Seeking the Soul is a horse that is certainly capable of springing a surprise in what looks to be a WIDE open Classic. Without a real superstar older horse and no standout three-year old in the race, this might be the year for a longshot. Two runs on the West coast this year (7th Pacific Classic, 4th Awesome Again) have given us little reason to back him, but trainer Dallas Stewart has a way of getting big runs when least expected. Lemons Forever (47 to1) in the 2006 Kentucky Oaks and Out For A Spin (52 to 1) in the 2019 Central Bank Ashland are two examples of the Mississippi native’s knack for pulling a rabbit out the hat.
“He’s a happy horse right now,” says Stewart.
If he goes off at the odds we think he might, a big run in the Classic would make for a smiling Soul.
WE MIGHT NEED A LITTLE MORE
The Sprint has some real heavy hitters. Mitole and Imperial Hint are speed burners that have shown up big in multiple races. Catalina Cruiser is as impressive physically as any you will see. That could open the door for a little ‘More. Whitmore is a battle tested runner that is usually always making a big move at the end. If the “big three” in the race are in a high-octane duel on the front end, the Arkansas-based son of Pleasantly Perfect might come out the clouds here. Having finished second in this race in 2018 and having hit the board in 23 of 29 career starts (12-9-2), this Ron Moquett trainee is usually around at the end.
So if things play out, you might get a lot More with the right ticket.
STUBBINS WAITING ON THE BELL
The Turf Sprint is one of the most exciting races in the game. An all-out dash for the cash can produce some wild and wooly finishes. This year’s edition is a five furlong freak to the finish. As is the case in most of these Cup races, you want to ride a hot horse. Stubbins is a guy that may have found himself in recent times. A three-year old that resides in the Doug O’Neill barn, this son of Morning Line has shown promise in 2019. But when his crafty conditioner moved him to the turf sprint division, Stubbins ran like school was out. His last start was an ultra-impressive score at Keeneland in the Woodford Stakes. Weaving through traffic, this prized pupil conquered older company in what may have been a perfect prep for the Cup.
“If you ask me if Stubbins has found himself as a turf sprinter I think the answer is 100% yes,” says O’Neill.
When the bell rings…watch him go!!!