Breeders' Cup Turf Picks 2017
Turf Entries and Odds
The longest of the Breeders' Cup World Championship races, over the past 10 years the winner of the Turf has paid out at average odds of 7-1, with European horses having won 20 of the 32 races overall. There have been no double-digit winners in the past 10 years, and while the favorite has only won once in that span, it's interesting to note the favorite has finished second four times in the past five years.
After running fourth in the 2016 BC Turf, trainer Sir Michael Stout has brought Ulysses back to try again, and he's considered the top Uk shipper in the field. He's finished in the top three in all of his races in 2017, with three wins on the year, the last two in Group 1 races. He has improved as a four-year-old and has the talent to better last year's performance.
At the same time, there are a couple question marks regarding his latest performances. He was third last out in France's biggest race, and while there is no shame finishing behind the other-worldly filly Enable, the horse that beat him out for second in that one by more than a length was a 25-1 long shot.
Three starts back he was also beaten by Enable, but barely held on for second to a horse named Idaho, who in three starts since has been sixth, eighth and fourth. The significant factor there is that those two losses both came at 1 1/2 miles, while his best distance appears to be 1 1/4, making him vulnerable to strong closers late in the lane.
Given all that, it's tempting to try and beat him.
French Long Shot Would Need His Very Best
While admittedly a bit of an off-the-board long shot, Itsinthepost is an intriguing choice. A five-year-old French-bred colt who started his career overseas, he has steadily improved with age, moving into the North American graded-stakes ranks just this year, and running first or second in six of eight of those races. He comes in off a win in the (G2) John Henry Turf at Santa Anita where he tracked a fast pace early and then closed like a freight train to get the victory by a head.
Two starts back he finished second over the Del Mar turf course in another Grade 2 stakes in a race where the jockey essentially had to hit the brakes just before they entered the stretch and he again came flying to only miss by 3/4 of a length. He gets a bit more distance to work with here, he can sit in the middle of the pack early, and if he gets a clear run in the lane he could have something to say at the end. Note that in the US, his morning line odds are a middle-of-the-pack 15-1.
The main North American chance likely rests with Beach Patrol, who comes in off a two-race win streak following the (G1) Arlington Million and the (G1) Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. In the second of those he was particularly impressive, tracking up close to the lead throughout the early part of the race before hitting the jets and pulling away to win by five lengths. As a horse that likes to race near the lead, he caught a tough break drawing a post position toward the outside of the gate, and jockey Joel Rosario is going to have some work to do to try and work out a trip that will put him in a good postion to win.
Also worthy of a look is the defending BC Turf champion, Highland Reel for trainer Aiden O'Brien. While his form has been off a bit in his last two, he does have two other Group 1 wins on the season, and in those last two where he finished third and fourth he caught very soft turf, and he does like it firm, as evidenced by his win last year at Santa Anita.
If he can move forward at all, the horse that finished behind Beach Patrol in the form of Fanciful Angel could be in with a shot to at least get on the bottom of the ticket. An Irish-bred who, like Beach Patrol, is trained by Chad Brown, he came stateside in mid-summer to get ready for the Breeders' Cup, and almost pulled off the Arlington upset at first try when he overcame a terrible break but still only lost to Beach Patrol by 3/4 of a length at odds of 75-1.
The Breeders' Cup Turf goes Saturday, November 4 from Del Mar race track in Del Mar, California. It's race #8 of 9 on the Breeders' Cup schedule, and has an expected post time of 7:37 PM Eastern.
- Talismanic (16-1)
- Bullard's Alley (25-1)
- Highland Reel (9-4)
- Decorated Knight (10-1)
- Ulysses (11-4)
- Cliffs Of Moher (16-1)
- Itsinthepost (50-1)
- Bigger Picture (33-1)
- Seventh Heaven (11-1)
- Fanciful Angel (40-1)
- Hunt (50-1)
- Beach Patrol (13-2)
- Sadler's Joy (20-1)
- Oscar Performance (16-1)
- #7 - Itsinthepost
- #12 - Beach Patrol
- #5 - Ulysses (scratched)
- #3 - Highland Reel
You can get in on betting the Breeders' Cup Turf and all of the other great Breeders' Cup World Championship races this weekend through an account with any quality online racebook.
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