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Breeders’ Cup Saturday: Live Long Shots

Breeders' Cup Churchill Downs Saturday live long shots Mike Dempsey expert picks

It is Day 2 of the Breeders’ Cup world thoroughbred championships on Saturday, with nine Grade 1 races on tap at Churchill Downs.

We have full fields in most of the races, will have tens of millions of dollars in the betting pools up for grabs, and it just does not get any better for horseplayers.

Here are a few live long shots for Saturday’s races that should be included in any exotic wagers:

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

Finley’sluckycharm (+1000) set the early fractions and tired to finish seventh last out in the Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga. She was down toward the inside on a day the outer paths were the place to be. She returns to her favorite surface. She has won six of her seven starts here.

She has run well at even furlongs, which is key to winning this race. She won the Madison (G1) at Keeneland four back at seven panels. She disappointed in this race last year at Del Mar where she was a well-beaten ninth after winning the TCA (G2) going into the outing. I really liked her Honorable Miss (G2) win two back that earned her a career top speed fig. Looks as if she will be a decent price here in a wide-open race.

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

Will Call (+2000) staked the early pace while wide throughout and came with a good late rally to finish in the runner-up spot, beaten just a half-length in the Woodford (G2), a race that has produced two of the three winners of this race when run here. He was caught out wide two back at Kentucky Downs and was bumped by a foe when entering in the stretch.

He handled good ground at Churchill Downs three back beating optional claimers going 5 1/2 on the turf and won the Turf Sprint (G3) here four back on firm ground on Oaks Day this spring. He has kind of a choppy short striding gait to him and I am not sure if that will help or hurt him if this ground is as boggy as forecast. He is in a sharp barn with Brad Cox and is going to be a generous price.

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf

Chad Brown starts five runners in here and has been vocal about his disdain for this race being at 1 3/8 miles. Santa Monica (+1500) is going to get overlooked here and is coming off a good effort in a third in the E.P. Taylor (G1) last out on good ground at Woodbine going 1 1/4 miles.

She was beaten just a length after tracking the early pace. Two back at Saratoga going this distance, she was a decent second as the beaten favorite. Her last win came three back, a career top winning the Dance Smartly (G2) at Woodbine in June going 1 1/4 miles. Overseas earlier in her career she won a Group 3 at 1 1/2 miles and was Group 2 placed over soft ground going 1 1/4 miles. This gal makes her third start of her current form cycle and if she can handle the ground, she can be in the mix here at a very generous price.

Breeders’ Cup Mile

Happily (+1500) gets the call in a wide-open race and while the home team has performed well in this race in recent years, winning six of the last seven, not only do the conditions Saturday figure to favor the Euros, but there are plenty in here with lots of talent. Our top pick is sent out by the Aiden O’Brien barn and he is a surprising 0-for-19 in this race. With Ryan Moore landing on the other O’Brien runner, this guy is going to get overlooked.

He is coming off a game second in the Sun Chariot Stakes (G1), beaten a neck by the talented Laurens, who has gotten the best of this guy three times in his last four starts. He also has run into the likes of Roaring Lion and Alpha Centauri this year. He won two Group 1 races last fall before a dud in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).  He has run in the money in three Group 1 races this year and has done some of his best running in his career on soft going. Worth a good look at generous odds.

Breeders’ Cup Classic

Yoshida (10-1) passed his dirt debut last out in the Woodward (G1) in flying colors rallying from 10th after saving some ground early and edging clear late to win by two lengths at 1 1/8 miles. The race did not seem to come up that tough, but that has changed with four coming out of the race to win stakes — third-place finisher Leofric won the Fayette (G2), seventh-place finisher Hence won the Governor’s Cup at Remington Park, 12th Discreet Love won the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and 13th Seeking the Soul won the Ack Ack (G3) here.

The colt has made a very good impression this week in the mornings at Churchill Downs and he should get a good pace set up as there is plenty of early speed signed up and we could see a sharp early pace.

He needs to move forward to be at this group but looks as if he has some upside on dirt and can handle the extra ground. His trainer Bill Mott has won the Classic twice, with Cigar and most recently with Drosselmeyer, who paid a hefty $31.60. The last three Classics held at Churchill Downs have been won by horses that made their final prep in New York.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey is covering the Breeders’ Cup for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.