Breeders' Cup Tips: Four to back at eye-catching prices across the two days at Keeneland

Keen Ice (green) gets the better of American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes - will we see a repeat at Keeneland?
Keen Ice (green) gets the better of American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes - will we see a repeat at Keeneland?
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Tony Calvin covers both Friday and Saturday's action at Keeneland and picks a quartet to follow at tasty odds...

"It could be that Keen Ice hasn't been given the respect he deserved for that Travers win at odds of [15.0]. It wasn't as if it came out of the blue, as his season behind American Pharoah outlines one of progression. He was seventh to him in the Derby, third in the Belmont and runner-up in the Haskell, before the Travers win."

Back Keen Ice at [15.0] in the 21:35 on Saturday

Other Recommended Bets
Back Last Waltz at [26.0] or better in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at 20:50 on Friday
Back Judy The Beauty at [7.0] or better in the Filly & Mare Sprint at 17:25 on Saturday
Back Mondialiste at [18.0] in win and [4.5] or bigger in the place in the 19:30 on Saturday

The truth first, before the selections.

I've been lucky enough to attend a few Breeders' Cups, but if I am being honest I have become less of a fan of the meeting as time has passed. And I say that as someone who won the Pick 6 (equivalent of our Jackpot), courtesy of Raven's Pass' Classic win, at Santa Anita in 2008.

If bookmakers were being similarly truthful they would admit that most punters feel the same. They'll certainly be taking more money from the racing at Ascot and Wetherby this Saturday, than Keeneland.

There may be horses of the highest class running at the Breeders' Cup, but there are any number of unknowns, not least the opposition and the surface (s). And plenty of other relatively under-the-radar aspects to consider too, not least first-time medication.

But there is no shortage of information for those willing to delve deep into the meeting, from websites and microsites galore to the likes of Timeform's US experts - do check out their Race Passes on the meeting, as they do know their stuff - and the Betfair exchange has added an extra punting, and trading, dimension by re-introducing in-running betting to this year's meeting.

And that's what I have done - and I never put up selections that I don't back myself, so they'll be no lazy tips here, albeit all plays will be to small stakes - so let's crack on.

We will attack Friday's four races in chronological order, starting with the Juvenile Turf at 19:30 and those who follow the Timeform sectional gurus will be fascinated to see Hit It A Bomb in here trading as the favourite.

He excited the time boys when winning at Dundalk last time, the step up to 1m looks sure to suit, and Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore have won this race twice in recent years. But it is questionable whether he should be clear favourite, especially from stall 14 and back on turf.

Betting in 2yo races isn't the top of my list at best of times, so I'll give this a swerve, with so many imponderables.

Liam's Map is rated unbeatable by the home team in the Dirt Mile at 20:10 - some US writers are predicting this front-runner will win this by daylight - but odds-on quotes tell you that.

Alice Springs heads the betting for the O'Brien-Moore combo in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at 20:50, and you can see why. She is well drawn in three, and probably the form choice in this on her Cheveley Park fourth. And she has form with some dig, too.

But I didn't expect Last Waltz to be [26.0] and bigger and she is getting a few quid of my money at those odds, for all this is a race full of unexposed youngsters.

Obviously, she has stall 14 to overcome but her form for David Wachman in Ireland doesn't entitle her to be a 25-1+ poke in this on her first start for Chad Brown, who won this race with Lady Eli last year and with Maram in 2008 (he also has Pricedtoperfection in this).

She looked to be going the right way in Ireland last month, running a career-best third in the Weld Stakes over 7f last time, and the step back up to 1m with a bit of cut in the ground will suit. The draw is a big issue but the price compensates, and hopefully her stamina will kick in late.

The Distaff on the dirt at 21:35 makes no appeal whatsoever - it really would be Pseuds Corner if I put one up in this, as I found it impossible to decipher the US form. And I suggest you be wary of others who have claimed to...

On Saturday I can quickly rule out any betting action from this quarter on the Juvenile Fillies Dirt at 14:05 in which the unbeaten Songbird - reportedly the best 2yo filly Mike Smith has ever ridden - is the strong favourite at around the 5-4 mark.

There are also no Europeans in the Turf Sprint at 16:45 in which 16 runners round a bend over an extended 5f promises to see in-running carnage - probably in the race itself and on the machine. It holds limited betting appeal, though Green Mask must be a massive runner if coming back to the form of his Al Quoz third to Sole Power at Meydan in March.

I rarely pay any attention to trainer interviews but I couldn't help being swayed by the understated confidence of Wesley Ward in Judy The Beauty in the Filly & Mare Sprint - albeit a sprint over 7f - at 17:25 on TV earlier in the week.

She won this race at Santa Anita last year and Ward has had this repeat win in mind for her ever since. Her trainer explained that she wasn't suited by racing on the inside on her first run since July earlier this month, when third over 6f at this course, and this wide draw should suit her much better, as she likes open spaces.

She has an excellent record at this track, where she is based and trained, and Frankie Dettori could go very close on her. She rates a small bet at [8.0] or bigger.

If you like backing shorties at big meetings then Legatissimo could be the one for you in the Filly & Mare Turf at 18:10.

She has looked a filly out of the top drawer in both her recent Group 1 wins, she has tactical speed from stall three, and will take the world of beating.

But I can't be backing 5-4 pokes in 14-runner races where there is plenty of depth to the race, and the possibility of soft ground and plenty of trouble.

Private Zone and Runhappy dominate the market for the Sprint at 18:50 and I'm sure there'll be plenty of punters happy to take the pair on, especially as the race is full of pace and could be set up for a closer.

The likes of Salutos Amigos and Big Macher could well be the main beneficiaries if the leaders go too hard up front, but - hand on heart - I won't be having a bet, so I can hardly tip either of them.

I am a big fan of both Esoterique and Foret winner Make Believe - with preference for the latter, who would be my idea of the correct favourite - but Mondialiste looks too good a price to pass up in the Mile at 19:30.

It would have taken a brave man to say he would be running in, letting alone winning, the Breeders' Cup Mile after he finished in midfield in the Hunt Cup in June but his form since gives him far more serious claims than odds of 16-1+ suggest.

This is a far stiffer test than when winning the Woodbine Mile last time but he is improving, any give in the ground won't be an inconvenience, and David O'Meara has shown with Amazing Maria how he can continue to eke out improvement from Group 1 animals.

If he is on the premises 1f out, he could overpower these in the closing stages. Back him [18.0] in the win and [4.5] or bigger in the place, and maybe he is one to consider in-running, too.

The Juvenile at 20:10 looks wide open, but the Turf is at Golden Horn's mercy at 20:50 if the betting is to be believed, as he is currently trading at [1.7].

Now, this race does look between him and Found on all known evidence - we know, through the absent Flintshire, that they have around 7lb or so in hand on the home boys - but I wouldn't be in a rush to back the favourite at those odds at the tail-end of a long season, from stall one, and on less-than perfect ground.

Found each-way is the obvious alternative for those so minded and able, but it simply looks a race to savour to me. Unless of course, Derek Thompson is broadcasting anywhere and screams "can The Pizza Man deliver?" again. In which case, it won't.

A lot of people on Twitter seemed to get excited by American Pharoah walking round a barn earlier in the week, so they will need medical assistance if he wins the Classic at 21:35.

The Triple Crown hero is 6-4 to bounce back from his Travers Stakes second to Keen Ice last time, where he was softened up by a battle with Frosted earlier in the straight.

If back to his best he will outclass these - and Gleneagles looks to have a mammoth job on over 1m2f on dirt so soon after that Ascot run - but if he is 5-6lb below form then this race is up for grabs, and he has been on the go since March.

The mighty mare Beholder has to be feared, but it could be that Keen Ice hasn't been given the respect he deserved for that Travers win at odds of [15.0].

It wasn't as if it came out of the blue, as his season behind American Pharoah outlines one of progression. He was seventh to him in the Derby, third in the Belmont and runner-up in the Haskell, before the Travers win.

All selections to small stakes, remember. Best of luck.

Recommended Bets

Back Last Waltz at [26.0] or better in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at 20:50 on Friday
Back Judy The Beauty at [7.0] or better in the Filly & Mare Sprint at 17:25 on Saturday
Back Mondialiste at [18.0] in win and [4.5] or bigger in the place in the 19:30 on Saturday
Back Keen Ice at [15.0] in the 21:35 on Saturday


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