Haskin's Friday Longshots and Overlays

OK, here we go. If there is one thing certain about the Breeders’ Cup every year, it’s that there will be longshots and overlays scattered throughout both days of racing. We’re here to try to ferret out those elusive price horses, based on handicapping angles and daily observations.

Let’s start right at the top with the Distaff, which looks like a battle royal among defending two-time winner Royal Delta and the brilliant 3-year-olds Prince of Sylmar and Beholder.

But wait a minute, that’s not all there is to the Distaff by any means. You have Authenticity, Prince of Sylmar’s stablemate who is coming off a huge second in the Zenyatta Stakes. And there is the sleeper of the day, Close Hatches, who will be ignored in the betting in favor of her more illustrious stablemate Royal Delta.

DISTAFF -- Close Hatches has already defeated Princess of Sylmar pretty handily in the Gazelle Stakes back in April. Since her second to the exciting Midnight Lucky in the Acorn Stakes, Close Hatches romped by 7 1/2 lengths in the Mother Goose Stakes in a swift 1:41 1/5 for the 1 1/16 miles and then defeated the swift Sweet Lulu in the grade I Cotillion Stakes.

On paper, she doesn’t appear to be quite on the level of the favorites at this point in her career, but her last three workouts indicate she just might be developing and reaching her peak right now. Following a :47 4/5 breeze at Belmont Oct. 12, she came back with a five-furlong breeze in :59 4/5, third fastest work at the distance. In her most recent work, she breezed a half in a blazing :46 3/5, second fastest of 38 works at the distance.

She looks in great physical condition, and is built like a filly who will relish a distance of ground, and these last two 1 1/16-mile races, combined with her latest work, should have her razor sharp.

Tactically, she looks the one who should get first run on Beholder and Royal Delta if the two should hook up and possibly compromise each other’s chances. Princess of Sylmar also would benefit, but getting that first run could make Close Hatches a tough horse to run down in the final furlong.

Again, we’re looking for a price and potential overlay, and Close Hatches fits that bill, and should be sneaky-dangerous in here.

MARATHON – Yes, once again, this race is a crap shoot, with any one of a number of horses who can win. Argentine invader Ever Rider is no Calidoscopio, but because of last year’s finish, he will be bet down, possibly as the favorite. The key to the race could be Pool Play’s nagging physical problems. If he’s feeling good on the day, he will be dangerous, based a good deal on his class. Like last year, he looks super.

One of the price horses who we find intriguing is Old Time Hockey, who has only raced on grass horse since March, 2012, but in his last dirt race he did finish second to eventual Travers dead-heat winner Golden Ticket, who is a live longshot for the Dirt Mile. He’s by Smarty Jones, out of an A.P. Indy mare, so he’s certainly bred for dirt.

Being by Smarty Jones, the distance has to be a question, but he was beaten only 2 3/4 lengths in the 1 3/8-mile Del Mar Handicap.

The other son of Smarty Jones in the Marathon, Indian Jones, was beaten a nose in the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup

Another horse worth a play in here is Euro invader London Bridge, who has performed well up to 1 7/8 miles and that was his last start when he finished fourth in the listed Prix Michel Houyvet at Deauville. The son of Arch gets Mike Smith and Lasix, so big improvement naturally can be expected.

JUVENILE TURF – It’s going to take a phenomenal performance to defeat Bobby’s Kitten, who could be something special. His trainer, Chad Brown, certainly thinks so, and would love to win this race with a horse named after his old boss and mentor, Bobby Frankel.

The Europeans are well represented with three top-class colts in Giovanni Boldini and Wilshire Boulevard from the Aidan O’Brien stable and Godolphin’s Champagne Stakes winner Outstrip, who also gets Mike Smith. Any one of these three can certainly win this race.

But in looking for a price, we’re intrigued by the late-running Poker Player, trained by the always dangerous Wayne Catalano, but not crazy about post 11. However, because he comes from so far back and has that devastating late kick, he should be able to drop right out of it and make that one big run.

Also, don’t throw out Bon Accord, who broke his maiden on the grass going five furlongs at Calder before finishing a close third behind Poker Player and Bashart in the Bourbon Stakes, taken off the grass. In that race, he lost a lot of ground making a five-wide run at the top of the stretch and couldn’t get by the top two. With that two-turn race under his belt he should have a lot more bottom and is dropping back to one mile. The big question we have is trainer Antonio Sano, who we know little able other than he’s training at 12% win clip, so who knows?

Both these horses could be out of their class here, but may stick around long enough to get in the exotics. It looks like Bobby’s Kitten’s race to lose, but anything can happen on the grass.

DIRT MILE – Talk about crap shoot, this race is up for grabs. If Verrazano shows up with his “A” game, he is going to take a ton of beating. After Verrazano, you can take your pick among Fed Biz, Goldencents, Hymn Book, Alpha, Pants on Fire, and several others.

Centralinteligence is coming off a poor effort in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, but never seemed to recover from a bumping incident at the start. On his best day, this is a very good horse and will be a huge overlay for a grade I winner.

From a physical standpoint, Golden Ticket looks fantastic, and his best race would put him right there at the finish. And he will be a big price, especially for a Travers winner. He is well muscled out and his coat couldn’t be better.

But our main pick here is Brujo de Olleros, a big, powerful Uruguayan import who was the Monster of Maronas before coming to America, following in the footsteps of Invasor. It took him a while to get acclimated last year, but he’s put in three huge efforts this year, and his race in the Kelso Handicap was extremely impressive. With Graydar allowed to get away with a :47 1/5 half going a flat mile, he cut into his lead in the stretch and looked like a winner at the eighth pole, but the brilliant Graydar had too much left. Brujo de Ollerous came home his last two quarters in a sensational :23 1/5 and :23 2/5, and when you can close your final half in :46 3/5, you are running. There is no reason why he shouldn’t improve off that race, and we feel is very live in here.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF – Forget it. Between three group I winners from Europe, four Chad Brown heavy hitters, superstar in the making My Conquestadory, and the queen of California, Clenor, good luck coming up with a winner in this race.

We’ll just throw two names at you, both of whom probably will be 30-1 or higher. Colonel Joan is a closing fool who has a huge late kick and was right there behind Clenor and Nesso in the Surfer Girl, rallying from 10th, a dozen lengths back. Although she is a still a maiden, she is improving with every start, and the filly who beat her a head in a maiden race came back to win. Yes, she is well up against it, but will be a huge price.

Secret Sailing is another unknown quantity who is improving. Recently purchased by Team Valor, her recent 6 1/4-length romp in a Keeneland allowance race was impressve.

But the big angle in here, and one worth betting, actually is the fourth highest regarded of the Chad Brown bunch, and that is Granny Mc’s Kitten. An impressive winner of the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga, she came down with an illness and was pretty much ruled out of the Miss Grillo. But she showed a good deal of improvement as the race neared. Although she missed a work and had to come back off antibiotics, Brown decided to run her in the Miss Grillo knowing she’d probably only be 75-80% fit and would need the race. She made a good run into the stretch and was right there at the eighth pole, but tired in the final furlong, finishing fourth behind stablemate Testa Rossi.

She’s come back with a pair of solid half-mile breezes on the grass and is back to 100%. How many times do you see a trainer run several horses in a race and win it with the least likely one? This could be another of those instances…if she can handle all these stars.

29 Comments

Leave a Comment:

FuPeg1

You had to give away Brujo de Olleros?  He has been on my radar since his minor stakes win at Delaware.  I loved him to win the Kelso, but fortunately backed him up with Graydar exactas.  The pace compromised him that day, but I'm confident he will give the pace he needs to rally from mid-pack.  I look for Verrazano to fizzle out here and set things up for Team Valor.  I agree with Golden Ticket as well and I will throw Hymn Book and Fed Biz into the mix.  But Brujo de Olleros is my key horse in Pick 3's on Friday.

My longshot in Juvenile Turf is Got Shades.  I don't think he can win, but I can see him getting into the superfecta or trifecta.  It would be nice to see Danny Pish show what he can do, as he has done in TX/LA/OK over the years.  Gary Stevens doesn't hurt his cause.  

31 Oct 2013 5:10 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Super job on spilling the beans on the longshots Steve. I agree that the dirt mile could very well be golden. It makes sense. Yeah, that's the ticket. They might promote Colonel Joan to General after her race but those Euros will be tough except that I'm looking for them to be royally flushed after Poker Player turns his cards over and it won't be a bluff. Hi Jean- No. I wasn't in rehab, only in Ted's nose is longer than a telephone wire world. That's a clue to who my third horse is in the dirt mile. Good luck everyone !!!!!!

31 Oct 2013 6:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

trackjack

   Take a chill pill Friday morning, and one Saturday morning and repeat every four hours throughout the day if necessary. You should be fine if you just bet what is there for you, what you have confidence in and pass rather than try to force a bet. If you want to take a shot, then you can bet small. Good luck !!!!  And have fun, don't worry.

31 Oct 2013 7:06 PM
Ranagulzion

Verrazano is a lock but Fed Biz could surprise.

31 Oct 2013 8:40 PM
JayJay

F&M Sprint : Going to single Teddy's Promise to beat Groupie Doll, adding Book Review and Dance To Bristol for my tri and super.

F&M Turf : Dank should be the easy winner but I'll play Tiz Flirtatious and Emollient for the tri and adding Quschi, Lady of Shamrock and Marketing Mix for the super.

Juvenile Fillies : I still believe this is a two horse race between Secret Compass and She's A Tiger.  I think this might be Steven's first win of the BC weekend.

Juvenile Fillies Turf : Testa Rossi and Clenor on top with Kitten Kaboodle, Chriselliam and Street Sailing(Thanks Steve!)  for the tri and super.

Dirt Mile : Going with Fed Biz and Pants On Fire.  I'm not too thrilled about Verrazano here, but now that Grayday is out, I'll probably play him on the bottom of my exotics.  I also like Hymn Book here with Castellano on board.

31 Oct 2013 9:40 PM
JayJay

I thought the track played fair today, I'll be happy if the track stayed this way throughout the weekend.

Steve : your thoughts on how the track was today ?  Also, thanks for all the insights, stories leading up to this weekend.  Have always and continues to enjoy your blogs.

31 Oct 2013 10:18 PM
Coldfacts

“If Verrazano shows up with his “A” game, he is going to take a ton of beating.”

The following Horses have finished second to Verrazano:-

Acclaim, Eton Blue, Java’s War, Normandy Invasion, Reporting Star and Power Broker.

The best horse he finished ahead of were injured during the race i.e., Oxbow and Itsmyluckyday

I contend Verrazano’s ‘A’ Game will not be enough but the bundle that will be expended on him will be.

Alpha recorded splits of 1:10 for 6F and 1:35 for 8F at Big Sandy. He has never recorded those splits in any previous race.

He was up with the leader in the 2012 BCC for 5F so he has shown speed on the SA strip when he did not have any.

He is reported to be significantly better this year. The cut back will certainly help his chances.

01 Nov 2013 12:09 AM
josh

Steve,

As always, great analysis, secret sailing is very intriguing horse.

FuPeg1, Brujo de Olleros on everyone's watch list.

The main track at SA, which I am very familiar with, is playing what I would consider "normal" about most speed horses are winning (Horses on or near, about 2 lengths of the lead, at the 1/2 mile pole). SA has been known to be very difficult for closers to win. I have experienced this many times, because I ripped so many tickets at SA. Just looking at yesterday’s results, 6 dirt races, and 5 won by horses on or near the lead. On Oct. 27th results, 5/5 on dirt to speed horses. Granted, this is a small sample, but speed is king at SA, don't let anyone fool you!

That being said, here are my Friday's picks:

Marathon: Worldy, Old Time Hockey, Indian Jones.

Juvenile Turf: Giovanni Boldini, Outstrip, Bobby's Kitten, Wilshire Boulevard.

Dirt Mile: Verrazano, Brujo de Olleros, Pants on Fire, Goldencents

Juvenile Fillies Turf: Al Thakhira, Vorda, Testa Rossi, Chriselliam.

Distaff: Royal Delta, Princess of Sylmar, Authenticity.

My win bet will be on Royal Delta, but I'll be rooting for Princess of Sylmar.

Good luck to all!

01 Nov 2013 8:07 AM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion,

"Verrazano is a lock but Fed Biz could surprise."

Mr. Haskin has certainly made your day with his Verrazano statement.

On the few occasions on which he has been eye to eye with top class horses he has not done well.

Who is he going to track and run by? What time are you expecting him to run?

Brojo De Olleros - 1:33.27, Pants On Fire - 1:33.78, Golden Ticket - 1:34.56 and Fed Biz 1:34.74 have run faster miles than Verrazano.

How could he be a lock in the most competitive field of milers he will be facing.

You are clearly going to stick with this colt to the end. Happily this will be his final race before he is retired to stud to spare further damage to his wonder horse status.

I hope he only resides in your fantasy stable and real money will not be wager on him as he does not inspire confidence.

01 Nov 2013 8:28 AM
Coldfacts

DIRT MILE: I am intrigued my Holy Lute and believe he is a very solid longshot.

His sire is the two times Breeder Cup Sprint winner and his dam was sired by the great Holy Bull.

The way he covers ground is beauty to see. He has tactical speed and is very resolute in the last two furlongs of his races.

He was produced by a lightly raced well bred mare and that’s all I need to know.

His connections are probably the only ones that know how good this colt is. It is therefore not surprising that they have chosen this tough spot for colt who broke his maiden in August 2013.

Based on his almost perfect conformation and the effortless manner in which his energy efficient strides cover ground, I have no option but to include him in my exotic wagers.

NB: If his price is worth the risk I will be making a W/P wager.

01 Nov 2013 9:03 AM
JayJay

I don't get how a horse can be a surprise if another horse is a lock...

01 Nov 2013 10:08 AM
Rusty Weisner

Ranagulzion,

I would take Coldfacts' advice on Verrazano.  He's sounding very convincing to me on several races this BC, with much more solid handicapping instead of the usual crankish pedigree stuff.  

You didn't listen to us last time and it cost you.  

01 Nov 2013 10:18 AM
Tiz Herself

It's too bad Celburne is out - hope he recovers good for the big races next year.

Agree with you Steve, think ignoring Close Hatches (or any of the horses carrying Juddmonte colors) is dangerous. Emollient is at 20-1...

Skyring could be another upset too - son of English Channel - Violet Lady, by Seattle Slew who won the Turf, too... Skyring has already pulled an upset last year on Preakness Day winning the James W Murphy Stakes at 24-1. He won the G2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico this year, too. He may be outclassed here, but I don't know that would let a D Wayne Lukas horse go at 30-1. Plus with Calumet on the comeback, it would be a great story.

The Calumet- Lukas team has another really well bred colt named All Cash in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Also a son of English Channel out of the mare Andover the Money, by Dynaformer - a real nice grass pedigree. Also 30-1. This team proved they can pull upset with Juvenile, having won the Juvenile Sprint (know probably read it somewhere, but did this race get axed? don't see it amongst the races for this weekend) last year with Hightail.

Would be sentimental to see Broadway Empire do well in the Dirt Mile. It is none too often that we see horses pass through Alberta (my own backyard) and then turn around and end up in a Breeders Cup race. There was no doubt that he was going to win the Canadian Derby and he did so...  although he has a tall task ahead of him facing the likes of Verrazano, Hymn Book, Golden Ticket, Goldencents, Brujo, Alpha, etc. A son of Empire Maker - Broadway Hoofer, by Belong to Me, he did defeat Departing in his last race, winning the Oklahoma Derby.

01 Nov 2013 10:45 AM
Tiz Herself

Sorry that was 12-1 on Emollient, Lady of Shamrock was the one at 20-1- she could be a threat, too.

01 Nov 2013 10:47 AM
trackjack

Steve: Thanks for this analysis and your pics, great shots.  I agree; "crap shoot, forget it."

Tough handicapping, you can't pick 'em all.

Marathon: Win: London Bridge.  

 Ex.Box: London Bridge, Ever Rider, Old Time Hockey,

Juv. Turf:  Win Bobby's Kitten.

 Ex box: Bobby's Kitten, Outstrip, Giovanni Boldini.

Dirt Mile: Win: Brujo de Olleros

Juv. Filly Turf: Tri Box: Vorda, Al Thakhira, Chriselliam, Testa Rossi. Win: Vorda

Distaff:  Win: Princess of Sylmar.

Dr. D.: Thanks for the advice.

Good Luck to all!

01 Nov 2013 11:48 AM
Pedigree Ann

Close Hatches was getting 5 lbs from the Princess in the Gazelle - at level weights in the Kentucky Oaks, the Princess beat her by 10. I know people these days discount weight differences, but it the basis of our entire racing model - weight for age is supposed to allow 3yos to compete without a disadvantage against stronger, more mature elders. If weight means nothing, why not run all races at level weights?

01 Nov 2013 1:24 PM
Slew

Ohhhhh...I've been in the desert of no televised racing and am desperately in need of the oasis of the BC.

I've tried watching racing on my slooow computer exacerbated by DSL.  Ach! Staccato races..run...stop...run...stop..it's difficult to enjoy a beautiful stride when you can't see one.

O, but I want Royal Delta to win, but the competition is keen. Love Beholder, but I won't argue with anyone who favors the Princess or Close Hatches.

In the dirt mile, have always loved Pants On Fire but don't think he's been in form. Alpha's great but I think Verrazano can handle this distance..easily. Of course, I like Hymn Book...but...Brujo de Olleros may be rounding into form now.

Juv Fillies-turf mile...Tapit...Dancing House with Mike Smith up.

Cease in the Marathon.

Oh heck....love 'em all...too hard to make a choice. And I'm still upset that my Greek is out of the Classic.

01 Nov 2013 1:31 PM
Greg R

I thought the two-turn mile would be perfect for Goldencents, but his post is somewhere in the grandstand and he'll have too rough a trip from there.  If Verrazano is feeling his oats, he'll be tough to beat.

01 Nov 2013 2:14 PM
tcc

Dirt mile's last 3 winners have paid 33.60 Tapizar, 15.60 Caleb's Posse, 77.40 Dakota Phone. Good race for mid to pretty decent win payoffs.

01 Nov 2013 3:29 PM
mz

Princess of Sylmar

My Conquestadory (if she can overcome post 14) - otherwise, Vorda

Bruno de Olleros

Giovanni Boldini or Outstrip

The grand old Pool Play

Tomorrow:

Moreno

No Jet Lag to upset

Private Zone

The Fugue (my girl) over Big Blue Kitten

We Miss Artie's

Misdirection and Reneesgotzip

Judy the Beauty

Sentimental: Marketing Mix. Probable: Laughing or Dank

Concave

Good luck to all.  Safe trips to all

(Looks like long shots are live at Santa Anita today)

01 Nov 2013 3:54 PM
mz

Before I forget, good luck to Bon Accord in the Juv Turf

If not a Euro, how abt a long shot?

01 Nov 2013 4:58 PM
tcc

THE LOCK #10 Verrazano finishes 4TH.  

01 Nov 2013 6:14 PM
tcc

Maybe we all should buy THE LOCKS tout sheet.

01 Nov 2013 6:19 PM
Greg R

Writing after the fact, I see I shouldn't have been spooked by Goldencents' outside draw.  Don't know what Rafael would have done if the horse had not broken a step ahead, but since Goldencents broke like a shot, Rafael was able to look over and see that he could probably clear, if he hustled.  On another track, the early move might have cost them, but on this airport runway, it helped more than hurt.  Anyway, as I had thought, the two-turn mile at SA proved squarely within his wheelhouse.

02 Nov 2013 12:56 AM
JayJay

tcc : Sounds like it's crow time...if Verrazano could run in the Distaff, he would've finished last, glad he stayed in the mile.  I'm sure Rana will now say that Verrazano should've run in the Classic, as he would demolish that field, that will be his out lol.

I'm glad I didn't play much today.  None of my picks were even close...although Testa Rossi should've won her race, can't blame the jockey for trying to go to the rail but just unlucky that it closed up in the stretch.  Not sure what happed with Clenor, I was expecting much much better run than that.

02 Nov 2013 2:04 AM
Old Timer

nice job! The place on Golden Ticket and the show on Col. Joan were nice. Plus London Bridge at 9-1. Great picking.

02 Nov 2013 10:42 AM
Linda in Texas

Goldencents wire to wire from the outside yet! He was in his glory and he knew it. He took what was given to him and ran away with it.

I dare say perseverance prevailed!

Best win for me was Outstrip with an amazing turn of foot to catch and conquer in The Juvenile Turf for his win. A Grey you know, my favorite.

Please connections, i don't want to watch Royal Delta lose anymore.

She is a proud winner and i think she is sending messages that are not being heard. I want to remember her as the BC winner she is.

Centralinteligence vanned off. Horses being scratched due to quarter cracks and bruised feet.

Is that what you are referring to Pedigree Ann in your comment about the disgraceful condition of the main track? I have never been to Santa Anita so i am clueless.

Interesting fact, El Prado is in the bloodlines of Bobby's Kitten and Outstrip who both raced in The Juvenile Turf: El Prado was the sire of Asi Siempre Dam of Outstrip and he was also the Sire of Kitten's Joy, sire of Bobby's Kitten.

And to Points Offthebench, your main competitor won his race, know that you are in Goldencent's owner's thoughts as well as many of us, a most honorable and respectful salute was paid to you. RIP  

02 Nov 2013 12:42 PM
JayJay

It was like Zenyatta all over again, I refused to listen to Mr. Haskin about MMM being tough when he gets the lead at the 1/8th pole and Steve was dead on.  I singled WTC in my P4, actually singled WD as well, had two tickets to WTC and ... well... it was very painful.  

I said it before, WTC is an improving horse and I was very happy with his run because he proved he was the best 3 yr old.  I'm glad for his connections for winning the 3 yr old championship.  I'm hoping they run him again next year and I  hope they keep him here and not even try Dubai.

How about that Mizdirection... 7 for 7 at SA, that was an amazing run.

03 Nov 2013 1:48 AM
Linda in Texas

Where is Coldfacts? Cashing in his winnings. I am looking at his posts and i lost my place. Did he call a race? I need to go back and look. Just razzing you Coldfacts. I don't bet so i can go back and see who did win and didn't.

You are too honest JayJay. You weren't too far off on betting WTC. And The Mizdirection win along with MMM and Groupie Doll were exciting races.  

And on another somber note, again.

Prayers and Speedy recovery are sent to Johnny V and family. And to Secret Compass's connections,the filly was Whiteley Bred and Baffert trained. So sorry for her loss as there were high hopes riding with her as she was developing into a really nice race filly with her previous wins. Watched her load the gate, go to the front and then disappear. I don't handle those things well. Sorry.

Another breakdown as Pedigree Ann referred to. And what do they do to better a track like they reportedly did between Friday's races and Saturday's? Isn't that an unfair disadvantage to those who ran on the track the previous day?

And last but not least, Harlan's Holiday. Had winners at the Breeder's Cup races, Zeewat was one. HH has sired winners of 1,069 races with purses totaling $35 million and that number was not an up to date figure. Rest in Peace Harlan's Holiday. Gone way too soon with so much promise.

Thank you Steve. Speaking of a Stellar Job, we all send our thanks and appreciation along your way.

You bring more color to a subject  than anyone i follow and respect in the horse racing world. And i know i am not alone in saying that.

Linda

03 Nov 2013 3:43 PM

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