Welcome back to part two of our Breeders’ Cup review. Last week, we looked at some betting strategies. Now let’s look at some trends that could come in handy next year at Keeneland.
For one, the Breeders’ Cup is often a territorial event with the host region having an edge. Yet that notion flew out the window earlier this month when Eastern horses dominated at Santa Anita Park on the West Coast.
Of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races, 12 were won by U.S. horses whose last race came east of the Mississippi. The lone exceptions were the TVG Juvenile, which went to California’s Storm the Court, and the Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf, where Iridessa from Europe prevailed.
More specifically, four winners were last seen at Belmont Park and three at Keeneland.
Certainly with numbers like that in California, it bodes quite well for the Eastern horses next year when they can either stay home or make a shorter ship to Lexington, Ky.
The interesting part of these numbers is that the Europeans mustered only one win, which was not that surprising given that they did not send over a superstar, like they did in 2018 with Enable. Also, a hard, fast turf course probably worked against them since it wasn’t the type of surface they usually find on the other side of the Atlantic.
Given the typical climate in Kentucky in November, there will no doubt be more give in the turf course at next year’s event and it would hardly be a surprise if the Europeans stage a renaissance in 2020.
Miller won the stakes for a third straight year Nov. 2 when Belvoir Bay posted a 1 ¼-length victory in the $1 million stakes – at 14-1 odds no less.
After winning it in back-to-back years with Stormy Liberal, his latest triumph came with a mare who had not raced since June 8 at Belmont Park. Given that he was able to win the race off such a lengthy layoff, it showed that his expertise in the race involves a lot more than just one good horse.
Adding to that, Miller also trains the runner-up, Om, giving him the exacta. And it wasn’t the first time he pulled off that feat. In 2017, his horses also ran 1-2 in the same race.
Best of all, the betting public tends to overlook Miller’s horses.
He started three horses in the Nov. 2 race. One of them was Stormy Liberal. He was sent off at 15-1 and finished eighth. The other two were Belvoir Bay at 14-1 and Om at 15-1, who ran 1-2. Together they combined for a $267.40 exacta, which actually seemed a bit light given the two horses’ odds in a 12-horse field.
If Miller shows up at the 2020 Breeders’ Cup with a starter or two or three in the Turf Sprint, be sure to jump aboard as he takes a swing at a grand slam.
Also, trainer Chad Brown is anything but a one-trick pony. His horses are capable of winning major races on turf and dirt.
Yet when the Breeders’ Cup rolls around, don’t forget that Brown has an array of the nation’s best turf horses in his barn. The three-time Eclipse Award winner won three races at the World Championships, and all three were on turf.
Needless to say, in next year’s Breeders’ Cup, if there’s a turf race, be sure to let Brown be one who colors your world.