Friday, November 4, 2011

Paulie's Picks, The BC Classic, 11/5/11

With all of this talk about Occupying Wall St., I've been sorely ignoring my favorite game. This weekend the Breeder's Cup is at Churchill Downs again, and the big event, the G1 Breeder's Cup Classic at a mile-and-a-quarter, will go off tomorrow night at 7:00 EST (last year's BC Classic is shown above).

It's a wide open affair, with Uncle Mo installed as the morning line favorite. He still has his backers, but to me that horse has the look of a money burner; his victory over three other shaky starters in the Kelso at Belmont on Oct. 10 did little to raise my opinion of him. He's marooned way out in the number 12 slot, too, which does little to increase my confidence. So where does one put one's dough?

There's no shortage of speed in this particular contest - Uncle Mo, Game on Dude, and To Honor and Serve will jump out to the front end and might be joined up there by Prayer for Relief and Stay Thirsty. I see most of these fellas wilting in the stretch run. If this were a claimer or mid-level allowance race, I'd be looking for a longshot closer to capitalize on a pace meltdown. But I don't see that happening here - there are some very classy looking mid-pack stalkers involved, some at better prices than others. For example:

Havre de Grace is tough-looking filly with the right running style and a hot rider in Ramon Dominguez. She showed the boys a thing or two in the Woodward at Saratoga this summer, but at 3-1 the risk/reward ratio doesn't really do it for me.

2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer is kind of an outsider here, but a repeat of his Belmont close, or even a reprise of his game close for second in the 2011 Jockey Club Gold Cup is just the kind of run that could win this for him. At 15-1, you're getting a nice price for the large-ish risk.

Flat Out is a powerful closer (who beat Drosselmeyer in JC Gold Cup) but he might find himself a little too far back and stuck in traffic when it's time to make his move. Still, 6-1 is a good price.

The afore-mentioned Stay Thirsty can stalk or run out to the front. His big G1 win in the Travers came on the front end and if he tries that here I think he's cooked. But if the jock handles him correctly he's a legit threat at 12-1.

The horse that I'm finding most interesting is So You Think from New Zealand. Yes, he's a turf horse, but his running style is perfect, and he ships incredibly well - he's won big races right off a plane or truck in several countries over the last year or so. And 5-1 is a good price; if that drops too much I might skip, but I suspect people will be scared off by the turf thing and I might be able to catch him at 6-1 or even a little better.

So how about this for the big money trifecta in the BC Classic?:

5 - So You Think
10 - Havre de Grace
9 - Stay Thirsty

Tune in tomorrow night for video.