Playing favorites in the Breeder's Cup races is about as wise as making toast in the shower, but what can I say? Today is Curlin's last race, and he's my hero right now. I'm going to single him in the Pick-4 and probably a Pick-3 as well.
It's not a bet based strictly on my heart, I just don't think any of the other contenders are quite up to the task for a few reasons. Henrythenavigator, Raven's Pass, and Duke of Marmalade (who is my current nominee for Best Name of the Year) all look strong, but Euro invaders tend to do better at the East Coast tracks - the California heat doesn't agree with them, and it's supposed to be 90 degrees at Santa Anita today. Also, Henry (the strongest of the three) and Raven's Pass are natural milers, and they're going to have to deal with two extra furlongs today.
This leaves Go-Between, who only just notched his first G1 victory, and Casino Drive, coming back from an injury after having to sit out the Belmont Stakes. At a morning line of 8-1, Go-Between seems like an underlay. He's a strong G2 horse, and even though he's improving, I wouldn't touch him for less than 12-1 in a field of this caliber. Casino Drive is an intriguing semi-longshot (a morning line of 10-1) but if he rolls home, I'll take it like a man. Student Council is listed at 20-1 in the morning line which means he might be worth a side bet, but these are deep waters and it's hard to imagine him taking this. Much stranger things have happened in the Breeder's Cup, though.
Something that's bolstered my confidence in formful results is last night's card. The recently expanded BC has five races on Friday. Of the five, the favorites came home twice, the second choice came home once, and the longest shot to cross the line was 11-1. Of course, this is not a guarantee of un-wacky results today.
Tune in to ESPN at 5:45 for live coverage. Tune in to No Hassle at the Castle later tonight for some lame excuses.