The Brock Talk

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Zenyatta, Goldikova Among Breeders' Cup Favorites

Mike Watchmaker with Daily Racing Form has published his most recent Breeders' Cup Top 10 With Odds Thursday as we are now just more than two weeks away from the Nov. 6-7 championships.

Producing a morning line is not only an exercise in handicapping and mathmatics but human behavior as well. A proper morning line is one individuals prediction of how the public will perceive and then wager on a race and Watchmaker is among the best at this craft. A good morning line is a very useful handicapping tool for beginner and expert handicapper alike because it offers a good starting point for the novice and an invaluable money management tool for the more experienced player.

With that in mind it is no surprise that Watchmaker has Zenyatta (photo) listed as the 6-to-5 favorite should she run in the $2 million Ladies Classic (gr. 1). The undefeated mare may even slip to even money should her connections decide to keep her in her division.

If Zenyatta runs in the Classic, Watchmaker has her as the 4-to-1 second choice behind European star and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (gr. 1) winner Rip Van Winkle who is at 7-2. Zenyatta's odds must be good news to European punters who see older mares compete against males much more frequently on the other side of the Atlantic. It will certainly be good news for those Zenyatta fans who will bet her anyway and are used to getting less than even money on the great mare. Getting 4-1 on her at Santa Anita will seem like Christmas to them.

The longest shot in the Classic according to Watchmaker's current line is none other than Mine That Bird at 15-1. The last Derby winner to take the Classic and Derby in the same year was Unbridled who pulled off the double in 1990. Interestingly, he went to post in the Classic at 6-1 with his only victory between the Derby and the Breeders' Cup coming in an allowance race at Arlington that year.

Of the fourteen Breeders' Cup races, Watchmaker gave odds of less than 2-1 to only four horses. Zenyatta in the Ladies Classic; Goldikova, at 7-5 in the Mile and Conduit in the Turf and Zensational in the Sprint, both at 8-5.

Goldikova will try to join Miesque in 1987-'88, Lure in 1992-'93 and Da Hoss in 1996 and '98 as the only two-time winners of the Breeders' Cup Mile. She will again be the strong favorite despite finishing third in her last race in the Prix de la Foret (Fr-gr. 1) on Oct. 3 at Longchamp. This year she has also won the Prix Rothschild (gr. 1) for the second conseutive year, the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard-Jacques Le Marois (gr. 1), and the grade 1 Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes.

Conduit will also be looking for a Breeders' Cup repeat, having won the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. 1) last year at Santa Anita. Only High Chaparral in 2002-'03 has won two Turfs, and even he finished in a dead with Johar the second year. In his last race he was fourth in Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (gr. 1) on Oct. 4 at Longchamp but being an also ran in the "Arc" is not necessarily a bad thing in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Daylami won the 1999 Breeders' Cup Turf after finishing ninth in the Arc de Triomphe. His victory in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (gr. 1) and the departure of Rip Van Winkle, Mastercraftsman and Gio Ponti to the Classic will also help keep his odds low.

My sentimental favorite in the Turf, Presious Passion is the fourth choice at 8-1 behind Dar Re Mi at 5-1 and Spanish Moon at 6-1.

Zensational will not be going for a repeat in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, but his trainer Bob Baffert is going for a three-peat after winning the race the last two years with Midnight Lute. The flashy grey Zensational will be looking for his four consecutive grade 1 win however, having won the Bing Crosby Stakes (gr. 1) and Pat O'Brien (gr. 1)at Del Mar and the Triple Bend Handicap (gr. 1) at Hollywood Park this year.

Keep in mind that as horses leave and enter these races and as information changes, so to will any good morning line. Many of these races will have full gates of 14 so Watchmakers odds are technically not a morning line, but I've used the term for discussion sake. Also note that the official morning line will be made by a racing official with the Oak Tree Racing Association after entries close for these races.

No comments: