Breeders’ Cup 2018 Preview – 2nd & 3rd November
Last updated: October 31, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The 35th Breeders’ Cup takes place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd November at Churchill Downs. Prize money of more than $28million is on offer over the 14 Breeders’ Cup races. The Breeders’ Cup was expanded to two days in 2007 and all the Juvenile races will take place on the opening day, now known as “Future Stars Friday”.
The feature race of the meeting is the Breeders’ Cup Classic which brings the curtain down on the event on Saturday evening. Notable previous winners of the Classic include Alysheba (1988), Cigar (1995), Tiznow (2000 and 2001) and Zenyatta (2009). In 2015, American Pharoah added the Classic to his Triple Crown victories. He was one of three consecutive winners in the race for trainer Bob Baffert while Gun Runner won the prize last year for Steve Asmussen.
European-trained horses have enjoyed incredible success in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Aidan O’Brien has saddled the winner on six occasions, most recently with Highland Reel in 2016. O’Brien has won 12 races in total at the Breeders’ Cup and trails only D. Wayne Lukas (20) and Bob Baffert (14).
Breeders’ Cup Friday Preview
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is the headline event on Friday with Bob Baffert’s Game Winner likely to start a hot favourite. The colt followed up his victory in the Futurity by slamming his rivals in the inaugural American Pharoah Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. to earn an automatic place in the line-up. His main market rival is all-the-way Champagne Stakes winner Complexity, trained by Chad Brown.
Simon Callaghan’s Bellafina will start favourite for the Juvenile Fillies having won her three races by an aggregate of 15 lengths. Her form received a boost when Debutante Stakes victim Mother Mother won the Rags To Riches. Opposition includes 19 ½ lengths course winner Serengeti Empress.
Chad Brown has another exciting prospect in Newspaperofrecord in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. He has won this race three times in the past four years. Aidan O’Brien looks the trainer most likely to provide European success on an opening day. Anthony Van Dyck is favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf after finishing third to Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. Line Of Duty represents Godolphin, a good winner at Chantilly last time. The pick of the home team could be Current and Henley’s Joy, separated by only a nose in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland.
O’Brien also has a strong hand in the Juvenile Turf Sprint with Sergei Profokiev and So Perfect. The latter was placed in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. Sergei Profokiev has taken a long time to learn to settle but he was very impressive last time out in the Cornwallis Stakes. The European challenge is further strengthened by Archie Watson’s Soldier’s Call, beaten only a neck by Mabs Cross at Longchamp last time. That was a mighty effort against his elders and he looks a worthy favourite.
Breeders’ Cup Saturday Preview
Accelerate tops the betting for The Classic after beating West Coast in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. That followed a very impressive 12 ¼ lengths victory in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. His rivals include McKinzie, Catholic Boy and Aidan O’Brien’s Mendelssohn. McKinzie has always been held in high regard and returned from a lengthy absence to win the Pennsylvania Derby in September. Mendelssohn has gradually improved since his disastrous run in the Kentucky Derby in May. He still has four lengths to make up on Catholic Boy from the Travers Stakes while Yoshida was an impressive winner on his dirt debut at Saratoga.
John Gosden saddles Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner Roaring Lion, his first race on dirt. He won a fourth successive Group 1 race at Ascot but was unable to display his characteristic turn of foot in the testing conditions. He now faces a completely different surface on his last start before retiring to stud. Imperial Hint is the clear favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint after four wins in five races this season. His rider was able to ease down when taking the Vosburgh Stakes easily last time. The only blot on his copybook came in the very testing ground over seven furlongs.
Two-time Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Enable is the shortest price favourite of the meeting in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. She was all out to win at Longchamp but that came after an interrupted preparation. Waldgeist, Magical and Talismanic were all behind Enable at Longchamp. Andre Fabre’s Waldgeist finished less than a length away in fourth place and may again prove her toughest rival.
Expert Eye is an interesting contender in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He has been ideally suited by a fast pace over seven furlongs in Europe but he would not want the ground too soft. Polydream got no run at all in the Prix de la Foret and can reverse the form with One Master. Godolphin won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf last season with Wuheida. They bid for a repeat victory with Wild Illusion, the winner of the Nassau Stakes and the Prix de l’Opera on her last two outings. The filly always looked to be holding Magic Wand last time and can confirm the form on Saturday.
Breeders’ Cup Betting Tips
Friday 2nd November
7.21 Juvenile Turf – Sergei Profokiev @9-2, So Perfect @8-1
8.00 Juvenile Fillies Turf – Newspaperofrecord @7-4 William Hill
8.40 Juvenile Fillies – Bellafina @5-2
9.22 Juvenile Turf – Anthony Van Dyck @11-4
10.05 Juvenile – Game Winner @7-4
Saturday 3rd November
6.04 Filly & Mare Turf – Wild Illusion @5-2
6.46 Sprint – Imperial Hint @13-8
7.36 Mile – Polydream @11-4
8.56 Turf – Enable @4-7, Waldgeist @6-1
9.44 Classic –Catholic Boy @7-1, Yoshida @12-1
The Breeders’ Cup takes place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd November with all fourteen races shown live on AtTheRaces.