Today kicks off the 2013 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park with a revamped Friday schedule. Gone is the 'Filly Friday' theme, which relegated legitimate Grade 1 races like The Filly and Mare Turf to 'side stage' status. Although the Distaff (formally the Filly and Mare Classic, which was formally the Distaff), is still the featured race of the Friday card, at least for now. What remains are five Breeders' Cup races; the Marathon, the Dirt Mile, and two very intriguing two year old turf races.
Lets take a look at the two turf races, as they are both wide open affairs that can lead to big payoffs.
Race 7 - Juvenile Turf: 5:25 EST
The jockey/trainer connection of Adian O'Brian/ and Ryan Moore have won this race two years in a row, and this year they bring another legitimate colt in from Ireland. Giovanni Boldini, who interestingly enough was bred in West Virginia of al places, was a $675k purchase from red hot sire War Front. They come into this race off a convincing 4 and 3/4 length victory in the Irish Stallion Appeal Stakes. Giovanni Boldini will also benefit from a favorable post position in the two spot, along with the other morning line favorites; Outstrip, Bobby's Kitten, who will be breaking from the 4, and 5 posts respectively.
So in an effort to find some favorable prices we are going to have overcome some disadvantages. Which pretty much puts has us looking to the outside posts for some spoilers.
Coming out of the 12 post and is 12-1 on the morning line is the Irish bred Shamshon who is out of the sire Invincible Spirit. This year Invincible Spirt broke the record for siring the most two year old winners with 42. In three lifetime races Shamshon provided his sire with two of those victories. In his last race he ran a dull fifth, but given how soft the turf was that day, Shamshon will get another chance to redeem himself on the very dry, fast California surface. As far as getting the mile distance, the Irish bred is out of the mare Greenisland, who was a miler in Europe.
Race 9 - Juvenile Fillies Turf: 6:50 EST
Possibly the toughest betting race of the entire Breeders' Cup the Juvenile Fillies Turf is the type of race that makes the Breeders' Cup legendary among gamblers. A fourteen horse field of lightly raced two-year-olds, this is the type of race you could look at for hours and still find yourself trying to figure out what is the best angle to go with.
France is well represented with two strong contenders. The morning line favorite is Vorda, (4-1) who comes off a Group 1 win at Newmarket at 6 furlongs. This will be the first time Vorda will be running two turns and going past 6 furlongs. So with some of those things to beat, lets see who is offering the better value.
Testa Rossi was an impressive winner in her first time N. American race, in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park she made a very smooth winning move from the back of the pack. A winner of three listed stakes races over in Europe, Testa Rossi was a quiet 5-1 when she debuted in N. America in the Miss Grillo Stakes. So coming into Friday's card it makes sense that she will be a likely competitor in this race at relatively short (but generous) odds of 8-1.
What doesn't make sense is that the horse she nearly dead heated with in that race at Belmont; Sky Painter sits at 15-1 in the morning line. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and owned by the Godolphin Stables, Sky Painter has done little wrong in her two race career. The daughter of Street Cry (Ire) broke her maiden at Saratoga in August at odds of 8-1 and then overcame a seven wide loss of ground to nearly miss a perfect record. The only thing she has done wrong for her chances in this race is drawing an unfavorable post position of 13. However, overcoming a seven wide turn for home feels like a similar obstacle, one i'm willing to trade 15-1 or better for.