If you like the favorites in the 11 Breeders’ Cup races, I’m sorry to disappoint you. My top three picks in each BC race focus on value. Budget your bankroll so if things don’t pan out early, you’re still in play late. Remember, hitting one 10-cent superfecta or a $1 pick 3 can instantly turn a losing BC into a winning one.
• FILLY AND MARE SPRINT — Oprah Winney (6-1) can see a dream trip, as the two favorites are need-the-lead-type horses. Dream Rush (2-1) has taken the heat and keeps on winning. Facing older horses for the first time. Baroness Thatcher (12-1) has progressed nicely as a late-closing sprinter.
• JUVENILE TURF — Gio Ponti (8-1) beat an experienced, talented field last time at Keeneland. Poised to keep improving. Strike the Deal (9-2) will be overlooked despite having all-world jockey Frankie Dettori. The Leopard (8-1) appears to be a much better runner on grass. Cost $2.5 million.
• MILE — Lewis Michael (6-1) should have won the Goodwood but was moved prematurely. Patient ride by Joe Talamo pays off. Corinthian (7-2) is facing an easier task than in the Woodward. Xchanger (6-1) has developed into a dangerous stalker type. Reunited with jockey Ramon Dominguez.
• JUVENILE FILLIES — Izarra (6-1) has the best route pedigree in the field. She will be finishing fast. Indian Blessing (3-1) is a solid favorite. Only fear is her distance ability. A to the Croft (10-1) is a grinder who must save some ground from a parking-lot post.
• JUVENILE — Z Humor (12-1) adds blinkers and draws the advantageous rail. Bred to get better as the races get longer. Tale of Ekati (7-2) has a nice stalking style and strong stamina bloodlines. Slew’s Tiznow (15-1) is another run-all-day kind of colt.
• FILLY AND MARE TURF — Passage of Time (7-2) will relish the soft ground, as it has been raining at Monmouth. Honey Rider (9-2) is for forgiving handicappers. Her race two back in the United Nations against males was excellent. Danzon (12-1) is capable of exploding late.
• SPRINT — Benny the Bull (6-1) is a closer who will rally into a fast pace. Will need a clean trip. Greg’s Gold (9-2) was much the best in the Ancient Title. Sitting on a big try. If Idiot Proof (10-1) can repeat his one race at Monmouth, he could be long gone.
• MILE — Jeremy (5-1) is Group 1 placed and gets the great Dettori to ride. Primed for best shot. Nobiz Like Shobiz (8-1) is facing older for the first time. He loves to win the close ones. My Typhoon (30-1) has stumbled in her last two starts. A mare facing males.
• DISTAFF — Lady Joanne (6-1) will find the rail under Calvin Borel. Can start a big day for Carl Nafzger. Lear’s Princess (6-1) just beat Rags to Riches. Faces no one that tough today. Hystericalady (8-1) would be my top choice if she had drawn a better post.
• TURF — Dylan Thomas (7-5) is the lone chalk I favor today. Arc winner is facing a weak U.S. grass contingent. Better Talk Now (9-2) won the 2004 Turf and was second last year. Grand Couturier (10-1) gets no credit for beating English Channel in the Sword Dancer.
• CLASSIC — Street Sense (3-1) has been managed perfectly by Nafzger to win the big target races, the BC Juvenile, Kentucky Derby, Travers and now the Classic. Curlin (3-1) does not get the credit due him as an unraced 2-year-old. Has accomplished so much in a short period. Any Given Saturday (4-1) was my Kentucky Derby pick. Better late than never.
Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.RICHARD ENGMORE COLUMNS