LAST YEAR'S WINNER - FINEST CITY
- Trainer: Ian Kruljac
- Jockey: Mike Smith
- Owner: Seltzer Thoroughbreds
- Odds: 7/1
- Betting Stats
- Favourites: 3/6 (50.0%) | Level stake profit +63.3%
- Odds on Favs: 1/2 (50%) | Level stake loss -15.0%
- Median winning price: 3.1/1
This race was a welcome addition to the Breeders’ Cup menu and the runnings in California provide valuable handicapping lessons from a relatively small sample of races.
How has the favourite fared?
This race is one of the most favourite friendly contests at the Breeders’ Cup with three outright and two second favourites scoring in the six races being looked at. And last year’s winner, Finest City, was 5th choice at 7/1 - the biggest priced winner in our sample - in a field of 13 where the favourite was sent off at 3.1/1.
Run record and class clues
Every winner of this division finished in the frame on their start immediately prior to this event and all, bar last year’s scorer (a G2 winner), had picked up a top grade success before winning at the Breeders Cup. Four of the six winners were trained out of state and three of the distaffers prepped in the TCA Stakes at Keeneland before heading West. All six winners had won at long sprint trip (six and half or seven furlongs) before annexing this division.
Generally long sprints can favour closing types, particularly if the early pace is strong. Just about the best example of the impact of pace in a race is provided by comparing the F & M Sprints in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, the field were taken through strong fractions of 22.26; 44.02 and 1:07.91 meaning that closer Ventura was running at weary opponents when putting 4 lengths between herself the rest. The following year more modest splits of 23.23; 45.95 and 1:09.66 meant that Informed Decision had enough energy in reserve to hold off Bobby Frankel’s late charger.
Four four-year-olds have won this division with two for the year older lasses. Second season fillies have yet to make an impact.
Oddly all six winners of this division have been drawn in the outside of the starting gate. The long run down the backstretch from the seven-furlong start gives the fillies and mares the chance to find a position before they are asked to turn out of the backstretch, thus negating any disadvantage from an outside post.
- The market has been a good guide to this race.
- Although a closer can benefit from a hot early pace, close-up stalking types have the best record.
- Fillies who have won at a long sprint trip are favoured.
- The TCA Stakes at Keeneland has been worth close consideration.