Scully: Pick 3 plays on Breeders’ Cup Saturday
The Breeders’ Cup Saturday betting menu offers horseplayers plenty of options, and I will look to leverage my strongest opinions in the nine-race sequence in horizontal and vertical wagers.
Pick 3s will be part of the strategy. I’ve identified a pair of singles — Idiomatic in the Distaff (G1) and Motorious in the Turf Sprint (G1) — to build tickets around and will look to take on some favorites in surrounding legs.
$5 Pick 3 (races 6-8): 1,6,13 with 4 with 9,11 ($30)
Race 6: Breeders’ Cup Mile
#6 Mawj (4-1) appears set for a favorable trip on the front end. She defeated top European miler Tahiyra when capturing the One Thousand Guineas (G1) two back and exits a solid win in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland.
I’m against the international raiders from outside posts, concerned that expected favorite Songline will leave herself too much to do as a stone-cold closer, and I will include a pair of longshots in the equation. #1 Shirl’s Speight (30-1) finished second at 55-1 in last year’s Mile and is training forwardly in preparation for this year’s event. #13 More Than Looks has the profile of a rapidly progressing three-year-old, I’m intrigued by his chances off a sharp win.
Race 7: Distaff
This won’t be the strongest edition of the Distaff, and #4 Idiomatic is easy to under-appreciate considering she finished third in an entry-level allowance at Turfway last December. She’s come a long way since then, and I rate her last two efforts, convincing wins in the Personal Ensign (G1) and Spinster (G1), as the top two performances in the division this season. The speedy filly has the versatility to sit close if necessary, and I won’t go against Idiomatic.
Race 8: Turf
The European contingent will take some beating, and I’ll lean upon a pair of prominent performers this season, Juddmonte International (G1) and Prince of Wales’s (G1) winner #9 Mostahdaf (5-2) and #11 King of Steel (4-1), who wheels back two weeks later off a win in the English Champion (G1).
$5 Pick 3 (races 9-11): 2,6,13 with 10 with 2,7
Race 9: Classic
For the first time, the Classic doesn’t anchor the Breeders’ Cup Saturday program, and while it still lines up to be a competitive betting affair, the 2023 edition probably won’t be remembered for its quality. I didn’t like the outside draw for Arabian Knight, fear confirmed closer Ushba Tesoro will leave himself too much to do from off the pace, and discount White Abarrio at the 1 1/4-mile distance, so I’m fading the top three probable choices.
#6 Saudi Crown (12-1) projects to be the inside speed; I won’t let the improving three-year-old with huge Brisnet Speed ratings beat me on the front end. I’m keen on the chances of #2 Zandon (12-1) off an improved effort in the Woodward (G2); he’s eligible to enjoy an ideal stalk-and-pounce trip just off the speed from the inside. And #13 Proxy (12-1) has a respectable effort over the track this season, finishing a neck second in the Santa Anita H. (G1), and appears to be entering on the upswing for Michael Stidham.
Race 10: Turf Sprint
#10 Motorious (5-1) exits a sharp stakes win at the five-furlong distance, likes Santa Anita’s turf, and appears primed for his best by top Southern California turf trainer Phil D'Amato. I like his chances with Flavien Prat.
Race 11: Sprint
I’m taking on defending champ Elite Power, who may not be as sharp as he was earlier this season. #2 Dr. Schivel (5-1) loves Santa Anita and has rounded back into peak form after missing 14 months of action, winning the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) in late September. I give the up-close stalker the slight edge, but it’s fair to question who’s going to run with #7 Speed Boat Beach (3-1).
I think Speed Boat Beach may prove significantly quicker than other possible pace challengers, enabling him to establish quick splits in a comfortable manner with top Breeders’ Cup rider Mike Smith, and the three-year-old will take some beating on the front end.