John Sheeran of the Betfair trading team gives you the inside track on all the action at Del Mar on Friday and Saturday night as well as some of his best bets...
"The Europeans look to have a really good team this year, we have 35 runners lining up and that’s a record for the Breeders' Cup and five more than in 2009 at Santa Anita. In 2009, the Europeans left with six winners."
Del Mar hosts the Breeders' Cup for the first time, what can you tell us about the track?
Del Mar is a typical Californian tight left-handed track. The Turf track is pretty tight and the ground is likely to be very fast. The dirt track has been harrowed deeper this year due to safety concerns so the track is likely to be relatively un-biased in terms of pace, which is pretty different from the conditions we are used to at Santa Anita. Overall, I expect the track to run pretty fair on both surfaces but having early tactical speed is the key asset.
And are there any jockeys to keep onside?
Evin Roman (claiming five) is a really interesting claimer, he has had almost 750 rides this year and incredibly has ridden over 125 winners and is operating at circa 18%. Obviously he can't claim in the Graded races but is one to note on the undercard as I can see trainers trying to reward him on the day.
Of the pros - the usual names will come to the fore, Mike Smith grabs all the headlines and gets the plum rides and is obviously very very capable. However, I really like Flavian Prat as a rider and he excels on the turf in particular.
Who are the home equine stars we should look forward to seeing?
Lady Eli has to top the bill, she is likely to be the post time favourite in the Filly & Mare Turf. She is having her eighth Grade 1 start spanning back to 2014 and this is her third Breeders' Cup as injury deprived her of a spot in 2015.
Incredibly she has run 13 times and never been worse than 2nd. She looked to be back to her best in the Ballston Spa at Saratoga in August and she looks sure to be involved in the finish. Drefong bids for back to back Breeders' Cup Sprints for Bob Baffert and that should be a really good race to watch with loads of early speed dueling for supremacy.
Can Arrogate bounce back to winning ways in the Classic?
That's the million dollar question, he absolutely can but I am not convinced. He is trained by a genius and if anyone can get him back Baffert can. However, I think the track is a major issue.
For me, it is really interesting that he hasn't worked at Del Mar since getting beaten in the Pacific Classic. He has been working well at Santa Anita and shipped late to Del Mar. Given the likely public support, I'll be opposing him in the belief that Arrogate just isn't the same horse at Del Mar.
What do you make of the European raiding party this year?
The Europeans look to have a really good team this year, we have 35 runners lining up and that's a record for the Breeders' Cup and five more than in 2009 at Santa Anita. In 2009, the Europeans left with six winners. I expect that record to be pushed close this year as we look to have the main protagonists in all of the Turf races.
It will also be really interesting to see how our dirt runners fare. Historically we have really struggled on the surface and don't expect to get much joy this term either.
Punting strategy - your best bet and best lay of the meeting
I really fancy our chances of getting the favourite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile beaten. As it stands now, Bolt d'Oro looks likely to jump off at around 6/5 but I would much rather be a layer than a backer at that sort of price.
Mick Ruis's Medaglia d'Oro colt has looked a world beater in his three starts and was most impressive in winning the Frontrunner at Santa Anita on his last start, that race has worked out to be a great trial with the likes of American Pharoah taking it on his way to stardom.
However, I am not sure he had to improve much if anything to see off a maiden winner in Solomini and this will be a much sterner test, taking on Group 1 winners like Free Drop Billy who has solid Graded form to his name.
I really like Forever Unbridled in the Distaff, she ran a huge race last year to be beaten just over one and a half lengths by Beholder and Songbird. She looks to have had a perfect prep and I expect a huge run from her. I really think she can go off favourite in the race so anything north of 3/1 would look very fair.
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