Catholic Boy wins the Travers Stakes (G1) (c) NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography
Following up on a post written in between Pool 1 and Pool 2 of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Future Wager, here are brief thoughts on the individual entries in the Classic following Wednesday’s pre-entry announcement.
Accelerate — Future Wager bettors who locked in at 3-1 weeks ago probably won’t see much difference on the race-day tote. Certainly the one to beat if he runs back to the Gold Cup (G1) or Pacific Classic (G1), but has traveled outside California only once and was well-beaten on this stage in more familiar surroundings 12 months ago.
Axelrod — One of a potential six rooting interests for Pool 1 backers of the Mutuel Field, though 11-1 only a possible bargain in the case of Roaring Lion and Yoshida. Certainly enters on an upswing, albeit against softer foes aside from McKinzie. Pedigree doesn’t scream 1 1/4 miles.
Catholic Boy — Future Wager odds of 7-1 seem about right on this versatile talent who’s looked really good on dirt — in New York anyway. Gutsy colt has become formidable since adopting a more up-front style.
City of Light — The only horse thus far to beat Accelerate this year, but didn’t come close to replicating the feat in the longer Gold Cup rematch. Has first preference in the Dirt Mile (G1), and if he goes there Mutuel Field backers in Pool 2 will be totally out of luck.
Discreet Lover — Arguably a fluky winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in what was a total pace meltdown. Pool 2 bettors seem to have agreed with 52-1 on offer. Others are more attractive.
Lone Sailor — Will probably vie for longest shot on the board if he goes here given his numerous losses against softer and a mere photo-finish victory in the Oklahoma Derby (G3).
McKinzie — Denied an opportunity to test the Churchill Downs surface in May, but comes in off a stellar victory over a slow-playing Parx surface in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) following a lengthy spell. Can he see out a 10th furlong if on or near a more demanding pace scenario?
Mendelssohn — Much better of late than he was in either the Kentucky Derby (G1), where he encountered plenty of trouble, and the Dwyer (G3), but doubt being close to the front will be his path to victory against this tougher group. Seemingly an underlay in both Future Wager pools.
Mind Your Biscuits — Lukas Classic (G3) very intriguing, though he didn’t have to beat much to provide some evidence of distance ability. Whitney (G1) against a loose-on-the-lead winner and his Met Mile (G1) were rock-solid efforts in defeat. Talent is certainly there even if pedigree suggests 10 panels may be a stretch.
Pavel — Visually impressive in Stephen Foster H. (G1) in June, though form of that race has not held up. Perhaps could have developed into a divisional heavyweight if not thrown to the wolves in this race a year ago. Considering the promise he showed in his first four outings, he’s been an underachiever.
Roaring Lion — Europe’s leading 10-furlong performer this season, he was very brave in taking the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II (G1) by a neck last weekend over ground he wasn’t handling at all. Class and talent are all there, but surface an issue as Kitten’s Joy has not yet sired a top-class dirt performer. Pool 2 bettors that rolled the dice got a generous 40-1.
Thunder Snow — Has amends to make of sorts for his antics at the start of the 2016 Kentucky Derby. Convincing winner of the Dubai World Cup (G1) over West Coast, albeit on a surface that was friendly to his winning style. Has been building up to this prep by prep, but inability to fend off the fully-exposed Discreet Lover at Belmont left a bit of an unwelcome aftertaste.
West Coast — Seemingly wouldn’t take much more than a repeat of his 2017 Classic or 2018 Pegasus World Cup (G1) tries to win this. Latest run one he definitely needed off six months, but was still slightly more than two lengths off of Accelerate, who himself ran below his best standard in the Awesome Again (G1). Feeling is 50-50 whether he’ll run back to his best second off the bench.
Yoshida — A bit of a “buzz” horse in the second Future Wager pool, in which he closed at 9-1, and in the intervening time period as handicappers go in search of a potential minor upsetter. Bill Mott trained Drosselmeyer to win the last Classic held at Churchill, and this Woodward (G1) winner may prove to be better on dirt than turf.
Bravazo — The Classic is the second preference for this sophomore, who simply seems too slow to make an impact in this race if he goes. Future Wager odds, obviously, were not good value.
Gunnevera — Despite being on the also-eligible list, he could very well get in if City of Light and Bravazo both opt for their first preference, the Dirt Mile. Think his Future Wager odds were above what will be available on race day, so value from that perspective. Overall, has the look of exotics filler.
Seeking the Soul — The 2017 Clark H. (G1) winner rebounded from an awful dud in the Woodward to win the Ack Ack (G3) last time, confirming his fondness for the Churchill strip. Remains a bit suspect on relative class, but a potential exotics factor.
Collected –– Generally a disappointment in three tries since running a clear second to Gun Runner in this race at Del Mar. Future Wager odds of 26-1 and 40-1 appear underlaid on paper.
Toast of New York — Fared better than one might have expected last time in the Lukas Classic, his first race since January and only his third since getting nosed out in the 2014 Classic. Not convinced, though, he’s of the same class now as he was as a three-year-old.
|Pool 1||Pool 2|
|City of Light||11-1*||30-1*|
|Mind Your Biscuits||40-1||15-1|
|Seeking the Soul||11-1*||78-1|
|Toast of New York||99-1||69-1|