The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint

I kicked off Breeders’ Cup coverage yesterday with the release of “Stealing Money from the Crowd,” a short e-book focused on contrarian strategies for Breeders’ Cup weekend. I also talked a bit about the Filly and Mare Sprint on Twitter:

Let’s use that last tweet as a jumping off point. Midnight Lucky certainly may be the most-talented filly in here. The first question is whether Baffert will have her ready. Can never know for sure, but he’s really quite sharp off the long layoffs over the last five years. Into Grade I off the layoff’s, he’s made money for bettors ($4.57 for $2), but only 2 of 9 have won: Shakin It Up at 17-1 in the 2013 Malibu Stakes and Midnight Lucky, who won off the long layoff in the Humana Distaff. None have ever been favored.

When there isn’t a strong favorite, I find myself looking for horses that haven’t already peaked. That includes the aformentioned Midnight Lucky who is coming off the long layoff. I also like Sweet Reason is a honest hard-trying racehorse, but I wonder whether she’s this good. That said, I don’t this the deepest field, especially if Midnight Lucky doesn’t fire off the layoff. When she stretched-out in distance for the Cotillion, my hope was that she would ultimately be pointed to this race. Artemis Agrotera ran a stellar race two back in the Grade I Ballerina, but it’s tough to figure out what to make of her last one. My best guess — from a review of previous news — is that this horse loves Saratoga (she’s 3 for 3 there with wins by a combined 28 lengths), so I’ll be against her on Breeders’ Cup day. 

Leigh Court showed a new dimension in rating off the pace in the GII TCA last out and seems sharp coming into today’s race. That race may have been her peak, though.  Southern Honey catches the eye a bit. I liked her in the Test, and she’s certainly fast enough on her best. Her performance against older in the Winning Colors was sensational. The question is whether she’s still rounding into form or whether the last was her peak. Decent chance to run above odds here, and another that I’ll listen closely for news. Stonetastic freaked at Saratoga, but came back down to earth. I think she’ll need one or two more to get back, if ever, to that level. 

My strongest opinion right now is against Artemis Agrotera. I’ll make a decision whether to go just with Midnight Lucky, or whether to add Southern Honey and Sweet Reason.

Update: Midnight Lucky is out of the race, having been retired on October 24. That sends this race into a bit more of chaos, but I’ll be revisiting it again as we get closer.

Check out “Stealing Money from the Crowd,” a contrarian guide to the Breeders’ Cup. Available here and on Google Play. Coming soon to iBooks.

Image: Salina Canizales, Copyright 2014.