The Breeders’ Cup is a month away and Saturday’s action at host track Keeneland is a tasty appetiser for the world championships, with six G1 winners lining up for the 2022 Coolmore Turf Mile including Santin, Casa Creed, Order Of Australia, and 2020 winner Ivar. The undercard is led by the full-field G1 Breeders’ Futurity, with Forte, Lost Ark, Newgate, and Honed all in contention, and the G2 Thoroughbred Club of America, in which old rivals Joyful Cadence and Sconsin hook up for the fourth time this year.
Coolmore Turf Mile
Grade 1, $1,000,000, 1m turf, 3yo+
This is a blockbuster. The Coolmore Turf Mile – a win-and-in for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and the stand-out highlight at Keeneland on Saturday – brings together six G1 winners and wouldn’t look out of place back here in a month’s time at the world championships.
It’s hard to know where to begin with such an array of talent. The sponsor’s Order Of Australia, the sole European raider, was favourite for this race 12 months ago but ran a career-worst when last of 12. Winner of the 2020 BC Mile at this track, he comes here – as last year – off runner-up spot in the G1 Prix du Moulin at Longchamp, but was comfortably beaten and is overall an inconsistent performer.
Three of the first four in the G1 Arlington Million over a mile-eighth at Churchill Downs reoppose, after Santin pressed Smooth Like Strait and then ran him down with some ease to win by a length and three-quarters, with recent G3 winner Set Piece six lengths further back in fourth, making no show.
The cutback is not guaranteed to suit Santin, twice a G1 winner at a mile-eighth, but it may help Smooth Like Strait, although this frustrating horse is usually kryptonite for bettors, having finished second six times – including in the BC Mile at Del Mar – and third once since his last win. He figures to be a pace angle but always finds a way to get beat.
Sprinter/miler Casa Creed has never been better, taking the six-furlong G1 Jaipur at Belmont Park and the G1 Fourstardave over a mile at Saratoga on his last two starts. At the Spa he used his speed to great effect, swooping from last to first to lead close home and win going away, two lengths clear of the outkicked Masen in third. The short field and steady fractions played to Casa Creed’s strengths but this is a very different ballgame.
Masen, who had earlier won the G3 Poker over a mile at Belmont, is part of a two-pronged Chad Brown entry that includes Emaraaty, who cost the equivalent of $3m as a yearling and made his stakes breakthrough last time at Saratoga when a dominant all-the-way winner of the G3 Bernard Baruch over a mile-sixteenth. He may have more in store and is likely to be part of the pace array.
So is Somelikeithotbrown, who has won his last two including a gate-to-wire score in the G3 Mint Million over a mile at Kentucky Downs, with Gray’s Fable beaten three lengths into fifth. Somelikeithotbrown was beaten two lengths when third in this race last year and could again be in the mix.
Two years ago Ivar showed a sizzling change of gear to win this race by a length (Casa Creed fourth), and 12 months ago was fourth behind his barnmate In Love, a head behind Somelikeithotbrown. Last time out he was runner-up to Modern Games in the G1 Woodbine Mile, and although he was beaten five and a quarter lengths his performance reads well, as Modern Games is market leader for this year’s BC Mile and would be a heavy favorite in this.
The two three-year-olds have work to do against their elders and betters. G1 Belmont Derby winner Classic Causeway has been stretching out and is yet another pace contender, while Annapolis has never been out of the first two, but his easy win at Saratoga in the short-field mile-sixteenth G3 Saranac doesn’t stack up so well in this company.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||HORSE RACING ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Classic Causeway||Julien R. Leparoux||+2000|
|Smooth Like Strait||John R. Velazquez||+450|
|Order of Australia (IRE)||Christophe Soumillon||+800|
|Gray’s Fable||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||+3000|
|Masen (GB)||Flavien Prat||+1200|
|Ivar (BRZ)||Joseph Talamo||+600|
|Annapolis||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||+1000|
|Casa Creed||Luis Saez||+500|
|Somelikeithotbrown||Jose L. Ortiz||+1200|
|Emaraaty (GB)||Florent Geroux||+1200|
|Set Piece (GB)||Joel Rosario||+1500|
|Atone||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||+2000|
|Dark Shift (GB)||Vincent Cheminaud||+2000|
|Natural Power (IRE)||Adam Beschizza||+3000|
|Greyes Creek||Gerardo Corrales||+5000|
2022 Coolmore Turf Mile Betting Pick
Pick six and you might not get the winner in a crackerjack contest. There’ll be a ton of pace and 2020 winner IVAR is taken to repeat.
Grade 1, $600,000, 1m 1/16, 2yo
The Breeders’ Futurity – a win-and-in for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile back here on November 4 – has a habit of producing stars, with Knicks Go and Essential Quality both successful in recent years. A full field goes forward today, with several trainers taking two shots at the prize.
The sole G1 winner in the field is Forte, who bounced right back from a dull effort in the G3 Sanford at Saratoga, kicking clear to win the G1 Hopeful over seven furlongs on a sloppy track back at the Spa, with Bourbon Bash beaten a very long way in fifth. The third horse Blazing Sevens won the G1 Champagne at Aqueduct last weekend so the form is as strong as it gets, and Forte is already a winner on the sort of fast track likely today.
His trainer Todd Pletcher also runs Lost Ark, unbeaten in two and a romping winner of a mile stakes at Monmouth Park in August, clearing right away to win by seven and a quarter lengths, with subsequent G2 Pilgrim winner (and barnmate) Major Dude in third. That is also very solid form and Lost Ark is no second fiddle to his barnmate.
Kenny McPeek won this last year with Rattle N Roll and puts two in the gate, with Honed the more interesting after he ran second as a longshot in the G3 Iroquois over a mile-sixteenth at Churchill Downs three weeks ago, with fellow outsider Confidence Game nine lengths back in fifth. He did all his running late and will benefit from the likely fast pace. Honed’s barnmate Frosted Departure hit the ball out of the park when winning a seven-furlong allowance optional claimer at Churchill Downs by nine and a quarter lengths and looks ready to move up.
Brad Cox swiftly upgrades two debut winners, with Loggins running a beast of a race to win by eight and a half lengths at Churchill Downs over six and a half furlongs, and Instant Coffee less visually impressive but nevertheless promising when scoring by three-quarters of a length at Saratoga over seven furlongs. Improvement is certain, but two-year-olds don’t improve at the same rate.
Other Saratoga maiden winners are Funtastic Again, who won a poor contest taken off turf by six and a half lengths over a mile and Powerful, who pressed the pace before driving on to win by a half-length over seven furlongs, and will have his work cut out from the outside post. Powerful’s barnmate Red Route One switches surfaces and will need to bring a lot more after winning a mile maiden at Kentucky Downs in a slow time, while the same goes for Good Heart, also winner of a mile maiden on the Kentucky Downs turf.
From the west coast comes Newgate, who was beaten ten and a half lengths when fourth to high-class barnmate Cave Rock in the seven-furlong G1 Del Mar Futurity. He could be a big threat, while Two Phil’s ran them out of town when winning a six-furlong stakes at little Canterbury Park by nine and three-quarter lengths but will find this much tougher.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||HORSE RACING ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Frosted Departure||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||+1000|
|Honed||Julien R. Leparoux||+1200|
|Confidence Game||James Graham||+5000|
|Instant Coffee||Luis Saez||+500|
|Bourbon Bash||Rafael Bejarano||+2000|
|Forte||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||+300|
|Newgate||John R. Velazquez||+2000|
|Funtastic Again||Joel Rosario||+1500|
|Lost Ark||Flavien Prat||+600|
|Red Route One||Ricardo Santana. Jr||+2000|
|Good Heart||Tyler Gaffalione||+2000|
|Two Phil’s||Jareth Loveberry||+3000|
|Powerful||Jose L. Ortiz||+2000|
|Carmel Road||Luis Saez||+500|
|Jin Tong||Paco Lopez||+5000|
Breeders’ Futurity Betting Prediction
Todd Pletcher has a strong hand and LOST ARK, very impressive in stakes company last time, is the choice to step up.
Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes
Grade 2, $350,000, 6f, 3yo+ fillies/mares
A closely contested renewal of the Thoroughbred Club of America, with a pot of gold at the end for the winner in the shape of a paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Hometown trainer Wesley Ward has won this race twice, and brings Happy Soul back to the main track after she missed by just a nose in a stakes at Kentucky Downs, caught in the last strides over six and a half furlongs. A stakes winner at Oaklawn Park over six furlongs in February and the only sophomore in the field, she is G3-placed and likely to make a bold bid from the front.
This is the third meeting between Joyful Cadence and Sconsin, all at Churchill Downs over six furlongs. Sconsin came out on top by three-quarters of a length when they ran one-two in the G3 Winning Colors, with Li’l Tootsie three lengths back in third, but Joyful Cadence is ahead on points after finishing runner-up in two stakes with Sconsin fourth and third, beaten a length and then three-quarters of a length.
There is clearly little between the two, but Sconsin saves her best for the twin spires, where she is five-for-six, and has been beaten in all her three starts here, although two were G1s.
Carribean Caper was unbeaten in five after winning the seven-furlong G3 Dogwood at Churchill Downs a year ago, but then spent 11 months on the sidelines and gave up her streak on her return, fading to fourth in a stakes at Colonial Downs. She should be much sharper today and has plenty of scope for improvement.
California shipper Slammed has improved considerably after a break and ran a career-best in the G3 Rancho Bernardo over six and a half furlongs at Del Mar in August, beaten just a half-length with the third horse seven lengths away. There could be plenty more to come, but conversely last year’s runner-up Club Car – beaten just a neck – has not been at the same level since, although her record here, never off the board apart from in G1 company, entitles her to plenty of respect.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||HORSE RACING ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Li’l Tootsie||Edgar Morales||+1500|
|Palm Cottage||Flavien Prat||+400|
|Club Car||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||+800|
|Carribean Caper||Jose L. Ortiz||+500|
|Joyful Cadence||Reylu Gutierrez||+1000|
|Happy Soul||John R. Velazquez||+600|
|Liberty M D||Julien R. Leparoux||+2000|
Thoroughbred Club of America Betting Pick
Her last two starts have been the best of her life, and there’s a strong chance that SLAMMED can find even more and make the step up.
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