Under-the-radar Breeders' Cup Friday contenders

November 4th, 2022

A total of five Breeders’ Cup races will take place at Keeneland on the “Future Stars Friday” card. In each contest, I have tabbed a contender who will offer excellent value as a potential upset player and/or vertical exotics contender.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1)

Trainer Wesley Ward has been a dominant presence in this event while saddling the winner in three successive seasons, but I will aim to snap that streak with Karl Burke’s #4 Dramatised (15-1). The Showcasing filly won at first asking with ease and followed up with a fine score in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot, only to finish an even fifth at York most recently. Irish-bred filly gets a pass for her latest and will improve making her U.S. debut with Ryan Moore up.

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Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1)

I’m not completely in love with #11 American Rockette (20-1) for trainer Bill Mott, but I am expecting a strong showing from the daughter of American Pharoah on Friday. An eye-catching debut winner at Saratoga in the summer, the Kentucky-bred filly rallied into a slow pace when fourth in the Spinaway (G1) in her second try, which preceded a lackluster run over sloppy going in the Frizette (G1). I expect American Rockette to be on her game Friday when making a big late run from off the pace.

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Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)

#12 Midnight Mile (12-1) has rewarded her backers with healthy returns in both career runs to date, led by a fine score in the Oh So Sharp (G3) at Newmarket last time out. The January foal is cut out to appreciate more ground, and I envision her moving to the fore in early stretch with Wayne Lordan picking up the mount atop the Richard Fahey pupil.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1)

Bob Baffert’s #3 Cave Rock (4-5) will be impossible to upend if he runs his best it seems, but I feel #5 Verifying (10-1) is much better than he showed in his latest outing for conditioner Brad Cox. The Champagne (G1) runner-up did not show the same acceleration in his second try at Aqueduct over a sloppy strip, but he has trained well since and could be dangerous with something resembling his debut victory. Justify colt is bred to run long and will thrive while making his two-turn bow with Joel Rosario in the stirrups.

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Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1)

A well-matched field will vie in this one-mile turf test. In a field with so many fine prospects, it’s difficult for me to land on just a single player in the turf endeavor. But Todd Pletcher’s #13 Major Dude (10-1) has to be given a chance in the finale. The $550,000 yearling purchase handled yielding turf in his Pilgrim (G2) tally while making his initial run on the green, and the colt could be any kind on the lawn going forward. Irad Ortiz taking the reins adds to the appeal of the wildcard.