Timeform's US team highlight the three best bets on the opening night of the 2014 Breeders' Cup...
With an ideal draw on the inside, Goldencents should be very close to the lead, and can get this stellar weekend off to a great start...
The Breeders' Cup gets underway at Santa Anita this evening, and the best bet on the entire card has to be Goldencents in the Dirt Mile (race 7, 22:05 GMT). Following the retirement of Palace Malice, Goldencents is now the highest-rated older horse in North America, and faces a field that is quite weak by G1 standards as he attempts to secure back-to-back runnings of this event. With an ideal draw on the inside, Goldencents should be very close to the lead, and can get this stellar weekend off to a great start.
With favourite Sunset Glow a stamina doubt, and the European challenge not looking the strongest, it may pay to side with Lady Eli in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (race 8, 22:50 GMT). Chad Brown's filly has won both her starts to date, the second coming in convincing fashion when taking the Grace 3 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont last month. The best of the Europeans may be Qualify, but she has it all to do from the widest stall.
The highlight of Friday's Breeders' Cup card is the Distaff (race 9, 23:35 GMT), which features an intriguing clash between Untapable and the year-older Close Hatches. While Close Hatches disappointed last time (probably set too fast a pace), she is the type to bounce back quickly, and looks set to go one better than last season's running where she finished second to Beholder. Untapable has rarely disappointed in her career, but the memory is still fresh of her abject run on this track last season (beaten over sixty lengths), and Close Hatches is a far safer proposition.
Timeform's Breeders' Cup SmartPlays:
Santa Anita race 6 (22:05 GMT) win back #1 GOLDENCENTS at 2.26/5 or longer
Santa Anita race 7 (22:50 GMT) win back #4 LADY ELI at 6.05/1 or longer
Santa Anita race 8 (23:35 GMT) win back #11 CLOSE HATCHES at 4.03/1 or longer