Del Mar Racetrack in Southern California will host its first Breeders’ Cup this weekend, with 13 races worth $26.5 million run at the famous track, “where the surf meets the turf”.
Four Breeders’ Cup races—the Juvenile Fillies Turf (5:25 pm, all times ET), the Las Vegas Dirt Mile (6:05 pm), the Juvenile Turf (6:50 pm), and the Longines Distaff (7:35 pm)—highlight Friday’s card and be broadcast on an NBCSN telecast that begins at 5:00 pm.
Nine Breeders’ Cup races will be run on Saturday, beginning with the 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies at 3 pm and culminating in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at 5:35 pm. NBC’s coverage begins at 1:30 pm on NBCSN and switches to NBC at 8 pm for the Classic.
In a somewhat interesting move DMTC will host its first Breeders Cup, after several years of high injury rates and track replacements the club will be under the spotlight to provide an equal racing surface on all tracks. The track and destination at its best is world class and like wise has attracted the world’s best in what looks to provide a thrilling 48 hours of racing.
Race 6: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), two-year-old fillies, one mile on the turf, post time 2:25pm PDT
- #2 HAPPILY (9/2) is the class of the Euros, and soundly beat likely Juvenile Turf favourite Masar in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1). That came at a mile over soft ground, testifying to her stamina and fitness, though she has a win in her only start over good ground as well.
Race 7: Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), three-year-olds and up, one mile on the dirt, post time 3:05pm PDT
- #8 ACCELERATE (7/2) has loved Del Mar, and has never missed the board in four tries going a two-turn mile. He is fast enough to be a marquee contender, and versatile enough to take back given the plethora of speed here. He has tables to turn from the Met Mile, but he has home course advantage.
Race 8: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), two-year-olds, one mile on the turf, post time 3:50pm PDT
- #1 MENDELSSOHN (8/1) would have been fascinating in the BC Juvenile (in which he was cross-entered), as he is a Scat Daddy half to Beholder and Into Mischief. Yet, his turf credentials are bona fide, and he stepped nicely forward with the addition of blinkers in the Dewhurst (G1). He keeps them for the Breeders’ Cup, should be forwardly placed but not right on the lead, and should stay the mile.
Race 9: Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, one and one eighth miles on the dirt, post time 4:35pm PDT
- #2 STELLAR WIND (5/2) is the proven California horse here. She is undefeated in three starts at Del Mar, and has an uncanny ability to keep frontrunners in her sights and wear them down. Even though the nine-furlong record looks spotty? The pair of fourth-place finishes came after a troubled Kentucky Oaks trip, and a bad start in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last year. Her only other nine-panel try, a 2nd in the 2015 Distaff, was excellent.
Del Mar Racetrack – Saturday, November 4
Race 4: 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), two-year-old fillies, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt, post time 12:00pm PDT
#3 PRINCESS WARRIOR (12/1) needs improvement and has tables to turn on Heavenly Love, but her impressive debut suggests there may be more to offer. Her late pace shines, suggesting she may take advantage in the likely scenario that the pace gets too hot, which it looks to be cracking! Watch previous racing patterns and if horses are running on I’m happy to be on her EW.
Race 5: Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), three-year-olds and up, five furlongs on the turf, post time 12:37pm PDT
- #3 LADY AURELIA (5/2) will be the favourite, but deserves it. She is a world-class five-furlong horse (unlike Disco Partner, who is great at six but has class to prove going five!), and has been able to handle it well both on the straight and at one turn. She is fast enough to lead early, but also proved in the Giant’s Causeway that she can take back and kick on if others go.
Race 6: Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, seven furlongs on the dirt, post time 1:14pm PDT
- #11 UNIQUE BELLA (9/5) drew beautifully near the outside. If she wants to go, she goes, and she should be able to outgun even Finley’sluckycharm. If she wants to rate, she can, and she can come in from a bit off the pace (as she did when winning the seven-furlong Santa Ynez (G2) earlier this year).
Race 7: Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, one and one eighth miles on the turf, post time 2:00pm PDT
- #11 NEZWAAH (21/1) She was particularly good in the Pretty Polly at the Curragh and while the form is nothing to get excited about, Rain Goddess is a reasonable yardstick and she beat her well while both overall time and sectionals were decent. Things haven’t gone right since, not getting her favoured fast ground in two runs, the trip also too far in the Yorkshire Oaks while the breaks between her race haven’t been ideal. She does come here fresh now however and is worth chancing for a bounce-back effort and is well overs and disrespected in what looks to be a weak edition of the race. EW
Race 8: TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint, three-year-olds and up, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 2:37pm PDT
- #2 DREFONG (5/2) returns to Del Mar, the site of his unfortunate incident in the Bing Crosby (G1) where he veered into the gap and lost Mike Smith. He drew inside that day, and drew inside again here. It’s not likely he’ll do that again & hopefully we can get a better price in doing so. He’ll likely have to send for position from the inside, and will have Imperial Hint to deal with up front. On sheer class the winner.
Race 9: Breeders’ Cup Mile, three-year-olds and up, one mile on the turf, post time 3:19pm PDT
- #10 RIBCHESTER (7/2) has been at the top of the European turf mile heap this year, despite only catching his preferred better ground once through the year. He’ll get firm footing at Del Mar today. the only query is this one race too many? He has run a heavy campaign since Dubai, and whips back here in just two weeks after the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) at Ascot. His best romps here and for that reason must be on top. From an outstanding barn he wouldn’t be running if not at his best.
Race 10: Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, two-year-olds, one and one sixteenth miles on the dirt, post time 3:58pm PDT
#6 GOOD MAGIC (8/1) is still a maiden, but he’s as fast as many of the winners here. He has a pair of second-place finishes, once in maiden company behind Hazit and again in the Champagne (G1) behind Firenze Fire. He faces both foes here — and with some other speed to keep Hazit company on the front end, Good Magic’s ability to run on late should help. He is still lightly raced enough to improve here, with just those two starts underneath him. If the track is fair theres enough speed in this race for him to ru over the top at a great EW price.
Race 11: Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, three-year-olds and up, one and one half miles on the turf, post time 4:37pm PDT
- #3 HIGHLAND REEL (5/1) won this race last year, and there are several reasons he can repeat this year. He was very much pointed for this spot, a plus since some Euros just tack it onto the calendar. He is a ground dependent sort, and here he will certainly get the firm ground he loves so much. Though he will not have it as easily on the front end as last year, he stands as the king of the speed — particularly since Oscar Performance got marooned so far outside. And yet, if someone flies to the lead, he can still press a bit, like he did when he won the Prince of Wales’ (G1) at Royal Ascot.
Race 12: Breeders’ Cup Classic, three-year-olds and up, one and one quarter miles on the dirt, post time 5:35pm PDT
- #1 ARROGATE (2/1) still has to answer the question as to whether he can find his best and beat the best at Del Mar. But, he took a significant step forward in the Pacific Classic as compared to his non-effort in the San Diego. And, he can improve — the Pacific Classic had Collected on a relatively easy lead, but the pace should be hotter here. With Arrogate likely to run on late, none of the forward horses will be quite so fresh.