The Ultimate Guide To Picking Horses On Top

One of my cause célèbre is to rally against the need to PICK A WINNER in important races. Any horse is capable of winning. A handicapper's job is to pick winners, but a horse player's job is to balance the chances of a win with the odds and bankroll.

But it's Breeders' Cup Saturday, and just as everyone wants to know your Kentucky Derby pick, there's definitely an onus to be able to pick one horse per race. I can't quite do that in all races, but here is my road map for Saturday's races.

Come up with your own roadmap by visiting for great Breeders' Cup info like Spotlight Selections, wagering strategy, and workout reports.

Race 1: I won't try to completely beat Love In The Desert, but he'll take a ton of money off the international form, and the horse to his outside, Toowindytohaulrox already has a win at the course and distance, which is huge going down the hill, and Joe Talamo up doesn't hurt. He almost upset the first race on Friday at a huge price up the rail down the hill. TOP PICK: #9 Toowindytohaulrox

Race 2: Flashback will be as close to a universal single on most Pick 5 tickets as you'll find, and he'll easily be the weekend's biggest favorite. The only thing that beats him is not being ready off the bench and maybe the rail, but he stands super tall against these. I'll get cute with 2, 3, 4 on some very thin Pick 3 tix, but Flashback looks good. TOP PICK: #1 Flashback

Race 3: We go from a universal single to a universal spread race. Deep pockets will use "ALL" and not think twice. I'm going to be 5 to 7 deep on my main Pick 5 ticket, but from a TOP PICK standpoint, I'll swing for the fences with #8 Minds Eye, who has a won on the course and ran well between horses last time off a slow (for down the hill) pace. TOP PICK: #8 Minds Eye

Race 4: I'm a believer in the New York form among two-year-olds this year, so the Frizette exacta will be a big part of my multi-race tickets, but I see no reason to flip the script on those top two here, so Artemis Agrotera is the tab with a style that should play well here, and Lezcano already blew up the tote board once on Friday with a great ride. Not that AA will blow up the toteboard here, but clearly the NY-based jock knows where to be on this strip. TOP PICK: #1 Artemis Agrotera

Race 5: I thought Dank put in one of the best performances of the year when winning the Beverly D., and if trainer Sir Michael Stoute has been pointing for this rather than not running because of an issue then no reason to think she can't replicate that performance against a division that hasn't wowed me other than her. TOP PICK: #1 Dank

Race 6: This one is tough, not because I like a bunch but because I like two about even. It's tough for me to separate Teddy's Promise and Judy the Beauty--both are 6-to-1 on the morning line and both come in here with a win off a typical prep. Pen to my head, though, I'll go with Judy The Beauty, who won the same race Groupie Doll did last year and is by the hot sire Ghostzapper. TOP PICK: #9 Judy the Beauty

Race 7: No hemming and hawing here. My best bet of the weekend is in this race with $4 Reneesgotzip, who would have been my pick regardless of which sprint race she entered. She's always been well meant, but more important is getting quicker in these types of races, and while there are horses who want the lead in this race, none are faster than this one. They'll be coming for her late, but I think it'll be not enough to catch her. TOP PICK: #4 Reneesgotzip

Race 8: I already referenced my love for the New York form among the two-year-olds, and while #13 Havana and #14 Strong Mandate will absolutely be on my "A" tickets, I also have to use #12 Diamond Bachelor, who has impressed in the morning and will have no problem with this surface and distance given the War Front-Pulpit pedigree. TOP PICK: #12 Diamond Bachelor

Race 9: I have a lot of respect for the Irish Champion Stakes, so I won't try to beat The Fugue on top. I won't let Little Mike beat me too badly and Point of Entry is as good as these at his best, and Indy Point is by my favorite sire (the late Indygo Shiner), so they'll feature prominently as well, but I do think class kills here. TOP PICK: #7 The Fugue

Race 10: The Sprint is short on talent but long on actual championship implications because the way this year has gone in this division, whoever wins this race will earn the Eclipse Award. It's a competitive race (my preferred word to "wide open), but I'll actually lean toward a shorter price for the top tab in Private Zone, who (along w/ Justin Phillip on the dreaded rail) has the top last-out Brisnet Speed Rating. He's similar to Game On Dude for me in that I doubt the value will be there for straight wagering, but in a race where many will spread, I'll lean on him a bit for prices elsewhere. TOP PICK: #7 Private Zone

Race 11: I'm not going to try to beat Wise Dan. His Woodbine Mile is a top three performance this year along with Game On Dude's Santa Anita Handicap and Pacific Classic. I'm not thrilled he lost last out considering everyone says he's "better on Polytrack" but Silver Max is no slouch, and the firm turf out here, to me, suits Wise Dan's style best. TOP PICK: #8 Wise Dan

Race 12: I've written ad nauseum on Game On Dude by this point, so I'll let the drum beat echo a bit rather than beating it harder. I know I'm setting myself up for egg on my face by picking a chalk a lot of people are against. I'll use others, but I do think at his best he is the best. TOP PICK: #9 Game On Dude

To recap, top-down (as they say in harness racing) my top picks are 9-1-8-1-1-9-4-12-7-7-8-9. For PPs, other picks, workout information, and more, visit the Breeders' Cup reports page.

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