BREEDERS CUP (SATURDAY)

Filly & Mares Sprint

Gamine was a rather surprising beaten favourite on last run, gunned down in the straight by 20/1 Shedaresthedevil and 5/2 second-favourite Swiss Skydiver, but had previously won the Grade 1 Longines Test Stakes over todays' trip with Venetian Harbour around seven lengths back in second, in a time that would have won eight of the last ten renewals of this race. She is a talented filly but is up against a couple of real battlers today and although is probably a worthy favourite her price looks a little on the short side to me.

Bells The One and Serengeti Empress had a great battle in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff in September, with the latter setting some tasty fractions before they went head to head and both stayed on very strongly in the straight, with the former getting the verdict via a photo finish. Serengeti Empress set similar times and held off all challengers in the Grade 1 Bellerina the month before, while Bells The One has winning form over course and distance. I think that if both turn up in the same form as when last seen, they both have the ability to ask serious questions of the favourite.

Given the record of TCA Stakes winners in this race, we need to consider Inthemidstofbiz who looks likely to go off at a double figure price yet was a convincing winner when last seen over the six-furlong trip here at Keeneland, travelling smoothly and strongly before kicking away from her rivals and staying on well right through the line. That finish suggests this longer trip is within her compass and at the prices I am happy to take a chance that she can continue progressing and maybe spring another surprise here.

INTHEMIDSTOFBIZ

Turf Sprint

Both Imprimis and Leinster contested this race last season, finishing sixth and seventh respectively, and both return in an effort to improve on those finishing positions this year. The former was first past the post in the Grade 3 Troy Stakes at Saratoge in August (although was subsequently disqualified for casuing interference) before getting back to winning ways with victory over 6f in the 'win and you're in' Runhappy Stkes at Kentucky Downs in September, while the latter justified favouritism to win the Grade 2 Woodford Stakes for another course and distance success. They both look closely matched, with marginal preference for Leinster given his record at the course.

Got Stormy needed every inch of the trip in a Grade 3 over course and distance when last seen, having to sit in behind after breaking from stall 10 before eating up the ground on the straight to get up on the wire. She stays much further than this trip but in winning last time out also showed she has the speed and power to cut it over sprint distances.

Glass Slippers got to within two lengths of Battaash at Goodwood in July, before winning the Group 1 Flying Five at The Curragh in September and then almost following up in the Group 1 Prix De'L'Abbaye when last seen, losing out by a nose. She is an extremely tough competitor and although this looks to be a fiercely competitive affair I would be a little surprised if she weren't involved at the finish, maybe even sneaking the win.

Wildman Jack was a runaway winner of the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Meydan in March, beating Ekhtiyaar by almost five lengths in what was an extremely impressive victory. He needed a photo finish to gain victory next time out and then disappointed somewhat in a couple of races over the summer, finishing last of thirteen in a Grade 2 won by Leinster over course and distance and getting run down close home to finish fourth in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby. He bounced back to some sort of form with a fast finishing second at Santa Anita last time out and certainly has the ability to get involved if arriving on a going day, although will probably need some luck in running to gain victory.

GLASS SLIPPERS

Dirt Mile

Knicks Go was a Grade 1 winner at 2 years old and finished second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile in 2018, before a disappointing 2019 season where he failed to record a single victory. Switched to Brad Cox for 2020, he quickly returned to winning ways with a comprehensive victory at Oaklawn Park in February before following up when a very impressive winner over 8 ½ furlongs here at Keeneland last time out, finishing about ten lengths clear of second and breaking the track record despite being eased down towards the line. A similar run would make him tough to beat.

Complexity also won a Grade 1 at 2 years old and then contested the Breeders Cup Juvenile in 2018, however could only manage a tenth-placed finish. He looked to have out-battled all challengers to win the Grade 1 Forego in August, only for Win Win Win to put in a last to first run up the straight to grab the win right on the line, and was last seen winning the Grade 2 Kelso, holding off the challenge of Code Of Honour to win by a couple of lengths in a four-runner affair. A consistent runner whose price probably reflects his chances, however for some reason I am not convinced.

Art Collector got the better of Swiss Skydiver in the Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes here at Keeneland in July and although that came over a furlong further than he encounters today the form stacks up well as Swiss Skydiver then went on to beat Kentucky Derby winner Authentic. He extended away inside the last half furlong to win well, however the concern I would have is whether he can do the same over a shorter trip.

KNICKS GO

Filly & Mare Turf

Trainer Chad Brown has won this race four times in the last eight years, one of which came by way of Sistercharlie who took this race in 2018. She wasn't disgraced when third in the 2019 renewal, however has failed to find top form in both races this year and as a result has a number of rivals ahead of her in this years betting, one of them being Rushing Fall who is also trained by Chad Brown and in all honesty looks to be the trainers' main hope. Given his mare has won eleven of her fourteen career races including when beating Mean Mary and Sistercharlie in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga in August, you can see why she sits towards the head of the market.

Mean Mary had won her last four races before being narrowly denied by the re-opposing Rushing Fall (as alluded to above). Drawn in stall 4 she is in the perfect position to grab the early lead and given other potential front runners are all drawn wider they may have to sit in behind and could leave four or five runners trying to occupy two or three spaces. A clean run from the front looks the best way to go here and I think that Mean Mary has a good chance to reverse the form with the favourite.

Peaceful needs to bounce back from a poor effort in soft ground at Newmarket last month, but with previous wins on a faster surface and a solid third over ten furlongs at Chantilly in July, the Irish 2000 Guineas winner is not one to write off and looks to be most likely European runner to get involved.

MEAN MARY

Sprint

Yaupon is unbeaten in four, with all victories over a six furlong trip, including two Graded races the last twice. He likes to dictate things from the front so a wide draw in ten is not ideal, and there a number of rivals who have won over further than this six furlong trip so I would have to be concerned that if Yaupon tries to get to the front he will use up a little more energy and could set things up for a fast finisher.

Peter Miller won this race with Roy H in 2017 & 2018 and looks to have a decent chance of gaining another victory with C Z Rocket who is unbeaten in five since joining the stable, including at Grade 2 level the last twice. He stays further than this trip and seems to do his best work at the end of his races, however should be close enough to the front end to be able to use this to his advantage.

Franks Rockette was an extremely impressive winner of the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom when last seen, effortlessly cruising in to the lead on the bend and then opening up by an ever widening margin up the straight and was able to be eased down close home. She put in a similarly impressive performance on her penultimate run, has been hugely consistent all season and has a better draw than the favourite so looks a big price all things considered.

Diamond Oops made up about five lengths inside the final furlong to win over course and distance last time out, his second Grade 2 victory in a row. He is another who has winning form over further, and based on his last run may need a little luck in running if he is to challenge today.

FRANKS ROCKETTE

Mile

Uni returns to defend her crown (a feat managed by Wise Dan and Goldikova in recent years) and after a disappointing start to the year got back to winning ways with a convincing victory over Newspaperofrecord in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes, the same race she won prior to success in this race last season. Her course form will stand her in good stead and although this is an extremely competitive renewal she must be considered in with a decent chance of retaining her crown.

Kameko got up late to deny Wichita in the Group 1 2000 Guineas earlier in the year, and then following a couple of slightly lacklustre performances bounced back to victory in the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket in September. He will likely be raced close to the pace and finishes his races really strongly, although will have to make sure he doesn't get boxed in given he will break from stall 2.

Ivar put in a fantastic run to win the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile last time out, with Raging Bull also putting in an excellent run for second. They both look pretty evenly matched and it could be a case of whoever gets first run goes on to beat the other as they are both very strong finishers.

It has been an excellent season so far for Safe Voyage, who arrives here having won two Group 2 races and narrowly missing out on Group 1 success (beaten just a half length by One Master) when last seen in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp in October. He does have winning form over a mile, however I feel his optimum trip is at seven furlongs – that said it would be no surprise if he were battling it out at the business end of the race given the season he has had so far.

UNI

Distaff

Barring a big upset, this looks to be a two horse race with 2018 winner Monomoy Girl going up against Swiss Skydiver. The former is a winner of twelve from fourteen, including multiple Grade 1 races, and although missed the who of 2019 returned looking better than ever in 2020 and is the favourite for good reason.

Swiss Skydiver has had a busy 2020, already racing nine times, winning the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes last time out, holding off the challenge of Kentucky Derby winner Authentic. She is unlikely to go down without a fight but its worth noting that both losses this season have come over todays' trip.

Harvest Moon has won her last four including the Grade 2 Zenyatta Stakes when last seen, while Valiance arrives here on the back of Grade 1 victory in the Spinster. Both have plenty of ability and are the most likely challengers should either of the market principles disappoint.

MONOMOY GIRL

Turf

Magical finished less than a length behind the magnificent Enable when second in this race in 2018, nine lengths clear of the remainder of the field, and has since gone on to win six Group 1 races. She is an exceptional mare who deserves her place at the head of the market, and is partnered with Ryan Moore who has an outstanding record in this race, although for me I feel is a little short given six of her seven Group 1 wins have come over ten furlongs. Thats not to say she can't win, however there are a couple of rivals who stay every inch of this trip and therefore I have to look elsewhere.

Aidan O'Brien also runs Mogul who took a couple of races to find top gear this season but there was no denying he was the best horse in the race when winning the Group 1 Grand Prix De Paris at Longchamp in September. Pierre-Charles Boudot, who in my opinion is one of the best jockeys around at the moment, keeps the ride and as the only three-year-old in the race gets a little wight from rivals so shouldn't be underestimated.

Tarnawa has won all three races this season, beating Cayenne Pepper in a Group 3 race at Cork, before following up in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille and then again in the Group 1 Prix de L'opera Longines when last seen. A battle-hardened filly who is effective on ground ranging from good-to-firm to heavy, and at a trips of either 10f or 12f, she has been touted by trainer Dermot Weld as his best ever chance for Breeders Cup success. This will be another tough test, but for me she looks up to the challenge.

Arklow was a ready winner of A Grade 3 race at Kentucky Downs when last seen in September, beating subsequent winner Red Knight in to second and odds-on favourite Zulu Aplha in to third. He hasn't always been the most consistent but does have plenty of ability so cannot be discounted if arriving here on a good day and looks the most likely of the US trained runners to be involved at the finish.

TARNAWA

Classic

The final race of the 2020 Breeders Cup is worth almost $3.8m to the winner and has been won by the likes of Zenyatta, Mucho Macho Man, American Pharoah and Arrogate in recent years. This year looks to be as competitive as ever, with Kentucky Derby winner & second Authentic and Tiz The Law lining up against three-time Grade 1 winner Improbable and 2019 Champion 3 year old male Maximum Security thrown in for good measure. There isn't much between these four in the early markets and a solid case could be made for all. Of the four I am happy to hang my hat on Tiz The Law out-battling the other three (who are all trained by Bob Baffert), reversing the form with Authentic in the process and lifting the trophy. His only defeat in five this season came when narrowly beaten by Authentic however he didn't have the best of runs that day, plotting a wider than ideal course throughout the race. They both finished well clear of rivals and if breaking well from stall 2 should be able to get a better position this time round, saving distance and energy to be able to kick on around the final bend and repel his rivals. He usually breaks alertly so I am not too concerned about the inner draw, although we will know our fate early on in the race as if he gets stuck in a pocket behind rivals cutting in from the outer stalls it will take a mammoth run to gain victory.

TIZ THE LAW written by Dean Kilbryde