Breeders' Cup 2013: Predicting Biggest Races at Santa Anita Park

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2013

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 08:  Jockey Mike Smith sits aboard Palace Malice in the winners circle after winning the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, 2013 in Elmont, New York.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The preeminent event in all of horse racing will take place on Friday and Saturday from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. The Breeders' Cup will feature the very best horses, jockeys and trainers the sport has to offer as a total of $25 million will be up for grabs. In addition to that, plenty of money will be in play for bettors as well.

All eyes will certainly be on the Classic as it is the biggest stakes race there is, but there are several other important races worth watching as well. There are sure to be some future stars born over the next couple days, and that is reason enough to tune in.

Here is an in-depth look at the biggest races that the Breeders' Cup has to offer, along with lineups and predictions for who will prevail in each.



Classic Lineup
1Last GunfighterJavier CastellanoChad Brown20-1
2PaynterMartin GarciaBob Baffert12-1
3Planteur (IRE)Ryan MooreMarco Botti20-1
4MorenoJoseph TalamoEric Guillot15-1
5Declaration of WarJoseph O'BrienAidan O'Brien10-1
6Mucho Macho ManGary StevensKatherine Ritvo5-1
7Fort LarnedBrian Hernandez, Jr.Ian Wilkes6-1
8Palace MaliceJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher10-1
9Game On DudeMike SmithBob Baffert8-5
10Will Take ChargeLuis SaezD. Wayne Lukas12-1
12Flat OutJoel RosarioWilliam Mott12-1

The Breeders' Cup Classic is truly the race to end them all, as $5 million will be on the line. The field is absolutely stacked as it is littered with horses who have won some of the biggest races in the world. That includes Fort Larned, who will try to defend his Classic title. No horse has been able to do that since Tiznow in 2000 and 2001, though, and Fort Larned won't have an easy go of it. In fact, it's entirely possible that he won't even finish in the money considering how stiff the competition is.

The horse to watch in this one is defending Belmont Stakes champion Palace Malice, who is seemingly on the outside looking in from the bettors' perspective as he trails Game On Dude, Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man from that perspective. Palace Malice is the son of Curlin, who won the Classic in 2007. Palace Malice will break from the No. 8 position, which seems like a good spot for him, but post position isn't a major concern, according to his Twitter account.

Although Palace Malice won't be mounted by Mike Smith, who led him to the win at Belmont, he is in good hands as the capable John Velazquez will guide him. Palace Malice has run an incredible nine races this year, which might scare some bettors off since fatigue is a concern, but he has had a great deal of success, and he is a smart bet considering his odds heading into the race.



Turf Lineup
1Vagabond Shoes (IRE)Victor EspinozaJohn Sadler15-1
2Teaks NorthMartin GarciaEric Guillot30-1
3Twilight EclipseJulien LeparouxThomas Albertrani20-1
4Little MikeMike SmithDale Romans6-1
5SkyringLuis SaezD. Wayne Lukas30-1
6Tale of a ChampionJoseph TalamoKristin Mulhall30-1
7The Fugue (GB)William BuickJohn Gosden3-1
8Point of EntryJohn VelazquezClaude McGaughey III4-1
9Indy Point (ARG)Gary StevensRichard Mandella9-2
10Big Blue KittenJoe BravoChad Brown6-1
11Magician (IRE)Ryan MooreAidan O'Brien8-1
12Real SolutionJavier CastellanoChad Brown8-1

Dirt-track racing often receives much of the national attention, but there are plenty of turf fans out there, and they will have an opportunity to witness the biggest turf race there is on Saturday. A strong, 12-horse field will battle for a $3 million prize, and it can be argued that this is the toughest race to call on the entire program. There is no prohibitive favorite as seven horses hold single-digit odds, so this promises to be a wild one.

Defending champion Little Mike will be part of the field once again as he looks to regain his world-class form. Little Mike entered last year's Breeders' Cup turf race on a major hot streak as he had won four races on the year, but that isn't the case this time. Little Mike has finished better than fourth just once since winning at the Breeders' Cup last year, but he did pick up a win in his most recent race. Also, Little Mike is the winningest horse in this year's turf field, according to Racing Stats & Info.

There are some questions about whether or not the six-year-old gelding can still hang with the big boys, but his old form was on display in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic back in September. While Little Mike is certainly among the top contenders, he isn't the favorite. Jockey Mike Smith is one of the most successful riders in Breeders' Cup history, though, and he'll guide Little Mike to victory once again.



Juvenile Lineup
1Smarty's EchoE. BairdAnne Smith20-1
2Dance with FateRafael BejaranoPeter Eurton8-1
3MexikomaAlan GarciaRichard Mettee12-1
4New Year's DayMartin GarciaBob Baffert8-1
5Bond HolderMario GutierrezDoug O'Neill8-1
6Tap It RichMike SmithBob Baffert6-1
8Conquest TitanEurico Da SilvaMark Casse30-1
9Run PointEdwin MaldonadoDoug O'Neill30-1
10We Miss ArtieJavier CastellanoTodd Pletcher8-1
11Medal CountRobbie AlbaradoDale Romans20-1
12Diamond BachelorJulien LeparouxPatrick Biancone12-1
13HavanaJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher5-2
14Strong MandateJoel RosarioD. Wayne Lukas6-1

The Breeders' Cup juvenile race is extremely special, as it often serves as a look into the future of horse racing. Some of the top horses in the sport have won in recent years, including Hansen, Uncle Mo, Street Sense and a host of others. This race is only available to two-year-old colts and geldings, and the winner is automatically viewed as a top contender to win the Kentucky Derby. Aside from the Classic, it can be argued that this is the race that will garner the most interest on Saturday.

It's tough to get a good feel for the main juvenile race on the program since most of the horses involved have very little experience. That leads to plenty of guesswork. When that is the case, bettors like to take into consideration the jockeys and trainers as well as the look of the horse. From an aesthetic perspective, it can be argued that no other horse can compete with Tap It Rich in the juvenile, as pointed out by Barbara Livingston of Daily Racing Form.

Also, Tap It Rich will be ridden by Mike Smith, and he is a prized trainee of Bob Baffert. That's as good as it gets in terms of jockey and trainer combinations, and that is why Tap It Rich is among the top contenders. He won his lone race in dominant fashion a couple weeks ago at Santa Anita Park, and there is reason to believe that he will do it again on Saturday.


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