The 13 Breeders’ Cup races traditionally draw very competitive fields where it’s difficult to have much confidence in any one horse, but once in a while a race comes along where the favorite looks like such a probable winner that handicappers have trouble envisioning any other outcome.
Such is the case in the $2 million, Grade 1 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 4 at Del Mar. The race has drawn 12 starters, but one — #11 Bolt d’Oro — looks like a clear standout. Trained by Mick Ruis, the unbeaten colt has gone 3-for-3 in his brief career, including a spectacular 7 ¾-length romp in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita, for which he earned huge speed figures.
On paper, that performance gives Bolt d’Oro a substantial edge over his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile rivals, and the fact that he’s also 2-for-2 at Del Mar — including a late-running win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity — adds to his solid credentials. He’ll be a clear favorite, but I think he’s the most likely winner by far.
For bettors playing multi-race wagers like doubles, Pick 3s, or the Pick 4, the Juvenile looks like a race in which you can have confidence playing only Bolt d’Oro, allowing you to spread deeper in the other races.
Even if you’re focusing on simpler, single-race wagers, Bolt d’Oro could be a very good play — a $20 win bet at his morning line odds of 9-5 would return $56, a respectable payoff for a horse that seems clearly best.
But if you’re a little more ambitious and want to seek a bigger score, you could also play Bolt d’Oro on top of an exacta with #6 Good Magic, impressive runner-up in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes last time out; #2 Solomini, runner-up in the FrontRunner Stakes behind Bolt d’Oro; and #5 Free Drop Billy, four-length winner of the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity. I’m particularly intrigued by Good Magic, despite the fact that he’s never won a race, as you can make a case that the Chad Brown-trained colt was the best horse in his debut, when he had a wide trip, and in the Champagne Stakes, in which he raced significantly closer to a solid early pace than the eventual winner. At 8-1 on the morning line, he could add some value to the exacta.
Here are a couple of wagering strategies to consider …
Wagering Strategy A
$20 to win on #11 Bolt d’Oro
Wagering Strategy B
$8 exacta: 11 with 6 ($8)
$6 exacta: 11 with 2,5 ($12)
Good luck, and enjoy the race!