I had a successful 2020 Breeders’ Cup, relying mostly on the strength of three tickets that I cashed. Over the two-day bonanza of racing, it often only takes being right on a few occasions to walk away with a profit, as you get healthy prices on so many horses that would never be that generous on a given race day. Here is how I attacked the Keeneland cards last weekend.

Track

Speed played well over the Keeneland main oval. The right horse on the lead, or close to it, was hard to knock off, especially in route races on the dirt. But with that said, many horses rallied from off the pace to grab minor awards, and Whitmore closed to take the Sprint.

My final take was that the surface was playing fast, but it was not impossible to make up ground if the race set up for a closing type.

Trends

The European invaders were dominant, especially on Saturday. Glass Slippers took the Turf Sprint, Audarya the Filly and Mare Turf, Order of Australia the Mile, and Tarnawa came home best in the Turf.

I often give an edge to the imports in the grass events, especially this season when I thought a few of our more ballyhooed contenders might be a bit past their respective primes.

My Plays

I thought that Golden Pal was untouchable in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, and he proved to be so despite breaking from the 14 post. I handicapped the race for second and was fortunate that Cowan ran to my expectations for Asmussen.

The Juvenile Fillies was another good one as my top play, Vequist, was an excellent winner for Butch Reid. I loved her prep race at Belmont Park, and I also felt that she would improve going two turns for the initial time.

I was not close in the Juvenile Turf with Royal Approval, and I didn’t have a high opinion of any of the top three in the Juvenile, but I do now.

Audarya
Audarya wins the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Coady Photography)

My Saturday was mostly centered around Filly and Mare Turf contender Audarya coming out on top, which she did. The rapidly improving filly had the results and running style that I thought was perfect for the race, and in her prep for her U. S. debut, the sophomore ran third behind a pair of stellar performers, notably Turf (G1) winner Tarnawa.

I singled Audarya in a pair of .50-cent Pick 3’s, using the Dirt Mile before her race and the Sprint following it, thinking that both events were primed for well-priced horses. Knicks Go taking the opening leg as the clear favorite didn’t help the cause, but Whitmore being sent off at a most generous number to close it out, obviously did.

The day could have been a banner one for me if I included the obvious Authentic in the Classic. While speed was holding pretty well on both days, I envisioned the superstar sophomore to be pressured throughout, and he was not. In hindsight, I was stubborn in my handicapping and it cost me a hefty return.

What I learned

First, ‘overbetting’ doesn’t apply to the Breeders’ Cup in regards to the multi-race wagers, with the likelihood of catching at least one longshot in a sequence being the norm.

Secondly, I had my mind made up on my selections days before the races went off. I took little to no consideration to how the surfaces were playing, and that was a rookie mistake on my part. Stubbornness seems to be one of my best traits.

Lastly, is that I must pay more attention to the locally-based runners in future Breeders’ Cups. I tend to have a slight bias to New York-based horses on occasion, and it hurts me at times. For the 2021 World Championships at Del Mar, I will definitely give a longer look towards horses based in the Golden State.