Handicapping Big Breeders' Cup Preview Day Saturday at Santa Anita

September 29th, 2017

Santa Anita Graded Stakes Preview for September 30, 2017

Breeders’ Cup preview days don’t get much bigger than at Santa Anita Sept. 30.

Five grade one races are being staged at the Southern California track, and all carry direct entry into the relevant Breeders’ Cup contest for the winners.

Perhaps the most even contest is the Awesome Again Stakes, run at 1 1/8 miles, which carries direct entry into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. Of the eight runners, seven are rated on the morning line in single-figure odds.

Favorite is the Bob Baffert-trained Cupid, winner of the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) earlier this year. A victory to him could convince Baffert to start four runners in the Classic, as Arrogate, Collected, and West Coast are all genuine chances for that race.

The 2015 Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Dortmund was pointed to return to the track from a brief retirement to oppose him, but his owner has scratched him as of Friday. It’s also the first race for Mubtaahij since his fourth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup in March. Other chances include Midnight Storm, Breaking Lucky, Donworth, and Curlin Rules.

The 1 1/16-mile Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares carries direct entry to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and it features an interesting field. The morning-line favorite at 6-5 is Paradise Woods, who looked a world-beater when winning the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) but who has disappointed in two subsequent runs. Faithfully and Shenandoah Queen are closest to her in the morning-line odds.

The turf females get their chance to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in the Rodeo Drive Stakes. The morning-line favorite is Goodyearforroses, who finished second in both the Gamely Stakes and the John C. Mabee Stakes. Avenge, third in the Filly and Mare Turf last year, looks her toughest opponent.

Santa Anita’s two grade one juvenile races this Saturday also carry direct Breeders’ Cup entries. They are the Chandelier Stakes for fillies, featuring Del Mar Debutante Stakes (G1) winner Moonshine Memories, and the FrontRunner Stakes for colts and geldings, which is headed by Del Mar Futurity victor Bolt d’Oro.