Breeders’ Cup Countdown: The Friday Slate

We’re less than three weeks away from the 27th Breeders’ Cup, contested over two days at Churchill Downs on November 5th and 6th.  Each week leading up to it I’ll run down my top 5 in each division, which will be updated based on defections and different choices made by connections.  Here’s Part I, with Friday’s races as today’s focus.  Saturday’s races will be posted tomorrow.

MARATHON:

1.) A. U. Miner – Greenwood Cup winner finished a game third at Hawthorne and should appreciate
the longer trip under the Twin Spires.

2.) Prince Will I Am – Jamaica winner could end up here and he can seemingly run all day.  Sire won the Belmont and he broke his maiden over this track.

3.) Bright Horizon – Coolmore shipper just won a 2 mile event at The Curragh.  How he’ll handle the dirt is a huge question mark.

4.) Eldaafer – 2009 Brooklyn winner scored at Turfway in September and is actually better on conventional dirt.

5.) Alcomo  – 2010 Brooklyn winner can run all day but will come in fresh as he hasn’t been seen since July.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF:

1.) Winter Memories – Well-bred daughter of El Prado looked invincible making short work of
her Miss Grillo foes and looms one of the heaviest favorites of Day 1 of this year’s two-day bonanza.

2.) Tale Untold – Finished a close second in a big juvenile filly turf event across the pond and goes out for a trainer that’s had a huge year.

3.) New Normal – Natalma win at Woodbine looked even better after males went slower in the Summer that same afternoon.  Speedy filly will be on the engine.

4.) More Than Real – Bested by New Normal in first try against winners but her pedigree may prompt connections to try the dirt in the Juvenile Fillies.

5.) Together – Outfinished by Tale Untold but has already placed in another Group I in her juvenile season.  This outfit narrowly missed two years ago with Heart Shaped.

JUVENILE FILLIES:

1.) A Z Warrior – Dominating winner in the Frizette at Belmont as she proved clearly that dirt is her preferred surface.  She gives Bob Baffert a big chance for another Juvenile Fillies crown.

2.) More Than Real – Also a possibility for JF Turf but dirt could be in her future as her dam was a stakes winner on it.

3.) R Heat Lightning – Tough trip 2nd in the Frizette to the leader of this division but the important thing was that she handled the added ground without issue.

4.) Awesome Feather – South Florida invader has cleaned up on soft competition at Calder and has a pedigree that makes you say, “huh?” but she sure can run.

5.) Tell a Kelly – The last filly standing from a weak group out west handled two turns and more ground easily and is a logical contender.

FILLY AND MARE SPRINT:

1.) Dubai Majesty – TCA winner is incredibly versatile and scored a handy win over this strip in the Winning Colors in May.

2.) Rightly So – Off since Ballerina victory at Saratoga and you know she’ll be out there early but could get rubber-legged late.

3.) Sara Louise – 4th place finisher in this race a year ago will go 2nd off a layoff in this spot.  Will have to improve off of her Gallant Bloom but her best puts her right there.

4.) Secret Gypsy – Multiple graded stakes winner will come in off a brief layoff but has had a strong, and largely unnoticed, 2010 campaign.

5.) Champagne d’Oro – Moving back to dirt will seriously help her chances as she ran a dull race at Keeneland.

FILLY AND MARE TURF:

1.) Midday – Defending champion comes in on a three-race winning streak and the only filly to
take her down this year is retired.

2.) Red Desire – Have to believe she can offer a bit more in this event than she did in the Flower Bowl, especially if the course comes up firm.

3.) Sarafina – Unclear whether she’s coming over but it’s a certainty she’ll have a major say in the outcome if she does off a 3rd place finish in the Arc.

4.) Hibaayeb – Showed how much farther along the Euros are in this category when she took the Yellow Ribbon off of consecutive thrashings across the pond.  Lasix obviously helped this gal.

5.) Reggane – EP Taylor winner looked very sharp at Woodbine but she was nowhere near a Group I type in Europe.

LADIES’ CLASSIC:

1.) Blind Luck – Soon to be Eclipse Award winning 3YO filly lost nothing in a narrow defeat to
Havre de Grace at Philly while spotting that rival ten pounds.

2.) Havre de Grace – Not much separates her and the top pick and you have to like the tactical advantage she has on Blind Luck.

3.) Life at Ten – The older fillies and mares have looked a little less impressive than the 3YO fillies as the year wore on but this gal is at the head of the bunch.

4.) Evening Jewel – Still think dirt might be her best surface and this is a more logical spot for her than the 7 furlong Filly and Mare Sprint.

5.) Unrivaled Belle – Hasn’t been quite the same since taking down Rachel Alexandra, but she’ll be going 2nd off a short layoff and returning to the site of her best effort.

Silks provided by Horse Racing Nation. Click here to view their Breeders’ Cup Dashboard.

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