Pigskins and Ponies: Rivalry Games, Breeders’ Cup Picks

Pop Culture

Welcome to ABR’s Pigskins and Ponies column, where winners play!

Horse racing is my means to an end, and I love the sport like no other, but I admit it, like most of you on a Sunday afternoon in the fall, it’s hard to pull me away from my couch ... and NFL RedZone.

I have a wanted sign in Vegas and am feared by fantasy football mavens nationwide, but when it comes to the college game, I choose to punt.

That’s where Bob Nastanovich comes in. He craves action and loves a good underdog as well as a cheap claiming horse with a big heart.

Let’s kick off the football, spring the horses from the gate and pad our bankrolls!

**Wednesday night lines from scoresandodds.com**

College Pigskins - by Bob Nastanovich

Week 9 was mainly frustrating as my three selections emerged victorious but two failed to cover the point spread. Clemson continued to win treacherously by edging Florida State. Washington State got too far behind before reeling in Oregon State. Auburn did plenty by handling Mississippi and continues to hold a good position looking in on the elite teams.

Bob Last Week: 1-2 (.333)

Record to Date: 11-16 (.407)

College Football Week 10

Saturday, Nov. 8

Respect the Navy, Notre Dame rivalry (WikiMedia Commons/ Lt. Cmdr. Scott Allen)

Notre Dame -7 vs Navy (11:30 a.m. ET, CBS)

Notre Dame has done little more than frustrate during this bleak season for fans of the Fighting Irish. There is still time to save face and jobs. Although Navy presents a test, this is a case of two teams that are better on their home fields and this is a late-morning tilt in South Bend, Ind.

Wake Forest -3 vs Virginia (3 p.m. ET)

Virginia has flashed some decent form and gave Louisville a bit of a fright last week. The Cavaliers also managed their best win over Duke in Durham, N.C. But, I can't see them beating a competitive Wake Forest team who has postseason aspirations. Side with a "this-year's" team over a gradual rebuilding process.

(15) LSU +7 vs (1) Alabama (8:00pm ET, CBS)

Since a discouraging defeat at the hands of Auburn, the coaching staff and culture and outlook and performance of LSU football has favorably changed. This is their opportunity to prove that they are back where their fans expect them. Beating Alabama may still prove a big ask and taking the TD in Baton Rouge, La., is savory.

Pro Pigskins – by Joe Kristufek

It was a disappointing week on many levels.

My two best bets – New England and Kansas City – both won and covered easily, but my four other “road warriors” failed to get the job done.

Last Week: 2-4 (.33)

Joe’s Season Total: 12-18 (.40)

Pro Pigskins Week 9

Sunday, Nov. 6

Detroit Lions + 5.5 at Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m. ET)

Despite a tough loss to the Houston Texans last week, I still like the way the Lions are playing. The Vikings, on the other hand, have seemingly taken a solid step backward. They were outplayed by an inspired Chicago Bears team on Monday night and return on short rest. Got a feeling this game will come down to a field goal.

Eagles QB Carson Wentz (Keith Allison/WikiMedia Commons)

Philadelphia Eagles +2 at New York Giants (1 p.m. ET)

The Eagles are the better team and they’re getting points, albeit on the road. Philadelphia overcame a couple of bumps in the road, but they’ve righted the ship and are pointed back in the right direction. The Giants can’t run the ball and the Eagles secondary should limit New York's passing game.

Pittsburgh Steelers +3 at Baltimore Ravens (1 p.m. ET)

Big Ben returns for the Steelers in what is a key divisional matchup. When all the pieces are in place, Pittsburgh has the potential to be one of the best teams in the NFL. The Ravens, on the other hand, are offensively challenged and I don’t believe they’ll be able to put enough points up on the board to get the job done.

Ponies – Races of the Week

Last week, Bob and Joe’s Fayette Stakes selections wound up battling for last, but Joe bounced back in a big way with Seeking the Soul at 6-1 in the finale.

Joe Last Week: 3-1-0-0 - $18 wagered; $25 returned

Joe’s Season Total: 22-2-2-6 - $126 wagered; $77.20 returned 

Bob Last Week: 1-0-0-0 = $6 wagered, $0 returned

Bob's Season Total: 8-2-1-2 - $48 wagered; $42.30 returned 

Friday, Nov. 4

Santa Anita Park – Arcadia Calif.

Race 6 – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Grade 1, 1 mile, turf, 2-year-olds

Joe’s Pick: #1 Lancaster Bomber

Known as the “rabbit” for the massively talented Churchill, this Euro is proving to be a very nice horse in his own right. After setting the pace in the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst at Newmarket, he gave up the lead but came back again late to grab the place spot. It was a very encouraging run and he’s well drawn on the rail here. On the lead or in the pocket, he’s dangerous at a square price.

Race 7 – Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Grade 1, 1 mile, 3-year-olds and older

Joe’s Pick: #3 Dortmund

There is no California Chrome to chase and the mile distance might be what suits this beast best. With an alert break, he should find himself in the catbird’s seat. I expect him to take the lead off the turn and hold safe to the finish line.

Saturday, Nov. 5

Santa Anita Park – Arcadia Calif.

Race 8 – Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Grade 1, 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-olds

Joe’s Pick: #10 Not This Time

A half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map, this son of Giant’s Causeway has been massively impressive in his last two starts. He’s well drawn on the outside with the speed to his inside. He should relax from just off the pace, take over off the turn and hold safe to the wire.

Race 9 – Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, Grade 1, 1 ½ miles, 3-year-olds and older

Ashleyluvssugar (Eclipse Sportswire)

Bob's Pick: #5 Ashleyluvssugar

Frankly, this is a subpar renewal. Flintshire suddenly looks exposed and Found from a potentially poor draw are not imposing. Ashleyluvssugar is honest, excels here and ran well this year at the distance. Under Gary Stevens, he stalks, pounces and shocks.

Race 11 – Breeders’ Cup Mile, Grade 1, 1 mile, turf, 3-year-olds and older

Joe’s Pick: #9 Ironicus

This gray flash has been blessed with a serious turn of foot. Jose Ortiz knows him like the back of his hand and he should have a fast pace to run at. If he can work a trip, expect him to uncork a destructive late run that can get the job done at a square price.

Race 12 – Breeders’ Cup Classic, Grade 1, 1 ¼ miles, 3-year-olds and older

Joe’s Pick: #4 California Chrome

What an amazing racehorse. The Kentucky Derby winner of 2014 lost most of his 4-year-old season, but what he’s done at age 5 has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s won most of his races for fun, but he’s not afraid of a fight either. Arrogate is good, but he doesn’t have the seasoning of Chrome, who I believe will add to his legend today.

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