Del Mar Picks & Betting Analysis for Breeders Cup Saturday

It is Championship Saturday at the Breeders' Cup ... here are our man, J.N. Campbell's selections and analysis. Enjoy the day from sunny Del Mar!
It is Championship Saturday at the Breeders' Cup ... here are our man, J.N. Campbell's selections and analysis. Enjoy the day from sunny Del Mar!

The Breeders' Cup from Del Mar has arrived, and it is Championship Saturday! With an 12-race card (9 are BC G1s), it is sure to be a challenging day for even the most-educated of handicappers. After being onsite all-week, this turfwriter is ready for the massive day of betting that is coming our way!

At we have you covered, as our turf-man is ready for action! It is a good time for some of the best that world of racing has to offer. Stay tuned! 

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Saturday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Breeders’ Cup Saturday Selections … A Pair of Tickets w/Analysis …

Early P3 (Races 4-5-6) …

Leg 1: (Race 4: Dirt, 7F, Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), $1 million, 3+):

To kick off this Early Pick 3 on the massive BC Saturday card, of course most bettors will be “Singling” Bob Baffert’s Gamine #5 for a number of readily apparent reasons. Michael Lund Petersen owns the best horse coming into this race, and Bob Baffert thinks that he has a winner here. The daughter of Into Mischief has only lost one race over the course of 2 years, which is clearly a stellar record. Her only loss came at the hands of Shedaresthedevil, a power runner for Brad Cox who is course entered in the BC Distaff (G1).

Pick her … “Single” her … but if you are bold enough, you could take a shot against her with Rudy Rodriguez’s Bella Sofia #6. She has her own record going. Over the past 3 races, she has sprinted impressively, setting some stiff fractions. At NYRA’s Belmont she graduated from ALLW Co., jumping up and winning gamely in the Test S. (G1) at Saratoga. Luis Saez took over in this spot, and coasted to victory. The 3-yr-old filly did not let up the Gallant Bloom H. (G2), and even though there were only 3 others competing, Rudy Rod’s Runner was spectacular. She might not have the deep experience of Baffert’s speedster, but she is going to be an excellent price. If the daughter of Awesome Patriot can go head-to-head with her rival, then she has a shot to score. What a battle this could shape up to be? For my money, I think Rodriguez’s charge has the ability to upset.

Selections: 6 (Single)


Leg 2: (Race 5: Turf, 5F, Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), $1 million, 3+):

The speed round continues with the Turf Sprint, and “Whoa Nelly,” is it going to be a tough one. We have the defending champion from Keeneland returning in the form of Glass Slippers #1. The now 5-yr-old mare has 3 races under her saddle in 2021, and the result … 3rds. Those were tough European contests at Goodwood, The Curragh, and Longchamp. Clearly, she can ship, and compete, but I do not think she has the ability to get the job done today … especially, breaking from the Rail.

I actually am much more impressed with the dossier of Kevin Ryan’s other entry. This uncoupled runner is Emaraaty Ana #2, and the 5-yr-old gelding will be my top choice. He had a good cycle starting back in July at Newmarket. From there he moved steadily from a BT race into Group 1 Co. That is not easy to do … At York and Haydock Park, he covered both 5F and 6F very nicely, winning by a head back on 4 September. You do not see many Godolphin-owned runners that are not homebreds, but this is one.

Others from North America might excite … you could easily back Wesley Ward’s uncoupled entries in Golden Pal #3, Arrest Me Red #5, and/or Kimari #9. Any of them could score, but ‘The Pal” seems logical after that performance back at Keeneland in the Woodford (G2). Still, away from Ward’s Base, the Uncle Mo colt might not be as sharp as one might think. With a style which is all on the frontend, Irad Ortiz is going to have to put her on the lead. That is a must.

One other runner that I quite like is Adrian McGuinness’s A Case of You #6. The 3-yr-old colt by Hot Streak (IRE) was stellar on the Arc undercard at Longchamp. Winning by just a head in the prestigious Prix de l’Abbaye, a Group 1 sprint at 5F, that makes 5 wins out of 10 in his career. Besting Glass Slippers #1 for the 2nd time in-a-row was solid. This one is a threat, regardless of the “going” on Saturday. Should be a fun one … to say the least. Ryan’s #2 gets it … Euros back-to-back.

Selections: 2/3/6 (3-Deep)


Leg 3: (Race 6: Dirt, 1 Mile, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), $1 million, 3+):

Out of these 8 runners going 8F, you could make a case for most of them. Solely trusting Todd Pletcher’s Life Is Good #5 might not be a fool-proof plan. He has looked good all-week, in the Barn and recently on the track. Having Irad Ortiz back aboard is a plus, but what is not, is her price. It is just too much of an underlay. Maybe the colt is a sprinter at heart … a Jackie’s Warrior-type? Whatever the case, I trust in Todd Pletcher on a regular basis, but not this time around. Maybe it is best to look elsewhere for more profitable opportunities?

Looking for more value and a solid jockey-trainer angle, I am impressed with Jeff Bloom’s Snapper Sinclair #7. Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Joel Rosario, this 6-yr-old is heading back to the dirt after a stint on grass. Last out at Santa Anita and before that at Kentucky Downs, the son of City Zip showcased his versatility. The TVG 1 Mile 70 Yd. 400k contest was an all-the-way score. Joel Rosario rides once again, and this sire (known for grass) has the ability to produce those that can take to the dirt. At 12/1, you cannot beat that kind of value … especially, considering this is Bloom Racing we are speaking of! Bet ‘em …

Selections: 7 (Single)

P3 Ticket Cost: $3.00

Pick 6 (Races 7-12) …

Leg 1: (Race 7: Turf, 1 3/8ths, Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), $2 million, 3+):

Kicking off one of the most celebrated sequences in all of racing, it is time to get the engine moving. In this spot, we are going to extend out on the turf in what is one of my favorite Breeders’ Cup races. Going deep in a spot like this one seems sensible, but I am not for it. Why, you ask? It is War Like Goddess #7 kind of day. Bill Mott’s filly has done nothing wrong in her past 4 races. She is able to easily get this distance, and Julien Leparoux has guided her in a masterful way. Her late turn of foot is just devastating, and I would put it on par with the best that Europe can offer in a spot like this one. I know her competition might not exactly equate to what she will see here, but when it comes down to it, I think she has the closing ability.

Just in case she runs into traffic, or does not have her best late gears, I also like Cedric Rossi’s Rougir #4. Last out, in the Prix de l’Opera (G1) at Longchamp, she was just up at the end, in the nick of time. That was a full field of 13 she was up against, and if she can win under those conditions, then why not now? Rossi comes to BC with much promise, and with a seasoned jock like Max Guyon, his charge is going to be pretty tough to go up against. She’s a daughter of Territories (IRE), and appears to be fit as can be. If she takes to the turf, then she might have this one in the bag. It would certainly be nifty to see Rossi come over to the U.S. and notch a win. We will see …

Selections: 4/7 (2-Deep)


Leg 2: (Race 8: Dirt, 6F, Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), $2 million, 3+):

Just like in the last race, we head into the Dirt Sprint with what I consider to be a dominant force in the division. There is no question that Jackie’s Warrior #2 is a deserving favorite, and probably will win, if he brings his best. This is the Breeders’ Cup, so it stands to reason that he will need it, considering the runners that he will face going around 1-turn. Steve Asmussen has managed this talented son of Maclean’s Music very effectively. His lone loss since May was the Woody Stephens (G1) when Drain the Clock bested him in the end. Since then, the colt has done nothing wrong. Joel Rosario has guided him every step of the way, and if he can get loose from Following Sea #1 and Special Reserve #8, then the purple banner will be his. A poor start and not being able to run his race, might be the only roadblocks against him winning. This is a clear “Single,” in my estimation.

Selections: 2 (Single)


Leg 3: (Race 9: Turf, 1 Mile, Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), $2 million, 3+):

In this edition of the Mile (G1) you have a few directions you can move in. The California contingent is strong with Smooth Like Strait #2, Mo Forza #6, and Hit the Road #8, all alums from the City of Hope Mile (G2). Out of these, Peter Miller’s #6 looks like the “horse for the course,” after 14 starts … 8 of them being wins. If Flavien Prat can get his mount into the proper spot (3-4 path), then it will be interesting to see if that Del Mar leg kick is in full swing.

I was bullish on Miller’s charger last week, but I am less so as a “Single” … Maybe my invader sensibilities have woken up? Whatever the reason, I am now thinking that a major long shot could emerge from outside of North America. That selection falls to a Japanese bred named Vin de Garde #5. This 5-yr-old has talent, even though he is lightly-raced in 2021. That could be an advantage … I am willing to admit that he is going to have to run a stellar race, especially against the likes of Charlie Appleby’s ace, Space Blues #3. That son of Dubawi is a hammer, but can he go a bit further? He is a specialist at 7F, not a Mile. Most will argue that shouldn’t be an issue … I am not so sure. It is high-time a runner won a BC race from across the Pacific. Now is the time …

Let’s use this pair, but also think about tossing in Appleby’s other entry, Master of The Seas #1, and Aidan O’Brien’s Mother Earth #9. Those 2 could be very tough, and will be underestimated by the American betting public. They shouldn’t … Both have the back class to belong in this situation, and they come from essentially the top barns in the UK and Ireland. Plus, they get James Doyle and Ryan Moore, which is a major tick to the positive Why not include them? In a spot like this one, I am inclined to give the nod to the #5. What a score this would be for a country that loves its Thoroughbred racing, and has such passion for the sport! Stay tuned …

Selections: 1/4/5/9 (4-Deep)

Leg 4: (Race 10: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), $2 million, F&M 3+):

I truly believe that this is Letruska’s #6 race to lose. You mean to tell me that she is going to come all the way to SoCal, and give up the title this late in the game? I do not think so … Fausto Gutierrez has managed her schedule, and done things to perfection. She has the ability, and fitness to see this through. I like her chances, even against Brad Cox’s Shedaresthedevil #8 and Todd Pletcher’s Malathaat #3.

Those 2 runners I personally saw up close this week, and they both looked fabulous. There is no question that they have the ability to reign supreme. I suppose that Cox’s KYOaks Champ (2020) will try to beat Gutierrez’s celebrity up front. If a speed duel ensues, one could argue that could do wonders for Pletcher’s KYOaks winner (2021). What a race we have before us! But it will not happen today, as Letruska rules … let the hype machine loose!

Selections: 6 (Single)


Leg 5: (Race 11: Turf, 1½, Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), $4 million, 3+):

One of the many highlights on the BC docket, the Turf is a challenge to handicap even when there is an overwhelming favorite. This is the ultimate test in North America of stamina and speed. Jockeys must reserve enough energy for the final push down the lane. If they can do that … the grass prize is theirs. Even with a few scratches in this race already, we should have a full field.

Over the course of Dermot Weld’s career, he has had hundreds of strong distance runners. Trained as a veterinarian, but also a jockey, Weld spent time in both New York and Kentucky. The only European-based trainer to win a Triple Crown race, he is still working as hard as ever. He has a really impressive runner in Tarnawa #13, who is looking to defend her title in the BC Turf (G1). That is a very tough prospect to realize, and I will use her, just not as a “Single.” Don’t get me wrong, I think she can win against this group, especially since Domestic Spending #3 is a scratch.

My top selection is actually Chad Brown’s Rockemperor #1, who I picked in the Turf Classic (G1) last month at Belmont. This 5-yr-old by Holy Roman Emperor was sound has could be in that race. The horse showed much promise in notching that G1 victory. With Javier Castellano riding once again, he should be able to navigate traffic, and possibly weave his way to victory. The Madaket/Dubb Team is savvy when it comes to selecting their investments, and I like the price of this one at 15/1. What a bet, and a nice score this one would be!

Selections: 1/13 (2-Deep)


Leg 6: (Race 12: Dirt, 1¼, Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), $6 million, 3+):

We have finally arrived at the finale, and just know that there will not be a Claiming race on the turf with a 14-horse field of 2-yr-olds going around 2-turns for the very first time. No … we are handicapping the BC Classic. A seminal event on the calendar … last year, it was Authentic who won the day, securing a coveted Eclipse Award for excellence. Win here, and your name becomes synonymous with greatness.

We have an interesting scenario this time around in 2021, as Brad Cox enters a pair of runners from his barn. That might not sound all that unusual, but it is. They are a couple of horses that are only similar in color … that is where it ends. Essential Quality #4 is facing his last race before he retires to stud. His record since KYD147 is spotless. Through the Belmont, Jim Dandy, and Travers, Cox found ways to get more out of his talented colt. A win here would secure an Eclipse Award for sure. Regular rider Luis Saez is back, but will “EQ” be ready for action off-the-bench. If you walk around Cox’s Barn, you will say yes. He is meticulous and focused on one thing, getting his horses ready to compete. Unlike his stablemate, Knicks Go #5 is an older horse, with 23 starts under his saddle. Since coming to Cox’s outfit from Ben Colebrook, the son of Paynter has excelled in every way. Joel Rosario is the perfect jockey for this mount, and he has one job … put him on the lead. His breakaway talent us undeniable, and I am sure that Cox is thinking that he is going to be hard to catch. It is “EQ” vs. “Knicks” … but wait, aren’t there others running in this race?

I am inclined to play against “Knicks,” and continue to support “EQ.” But I also want some insurance sprinkled in, just in case. It is more than logical to have Hot Rod Charlie #3 as an option. This horse has captured the attention of Thoroughbred-land with those boisterous connections. This colt has a strong running-style for Doug O’Neill, and I am sure he is going to have this one ready to go, with Flavien Prat aboard. One other experienced router that has impressed me this year is Steve Asmussen’s Max Player #9. Even though jockey Ricardo Santana has some weaker than normally numbers, he has a nice horse under him, who is quite tactical. Do not overlook this “player,” as I am prepared to put this son of Honor Code at the top of my list. Lastly, we cannot neglect the presence of current Kentucky Derby Champion, Medina Spirit #8. This much-talked-about colt has yet to be “DQ-ed” from that event. Is it coming? In the meantime, he and Bob Baffert have come to town ready for action! No Derby Points needed …

All in all, this is a strong field with a number of options. I want to go with Max Player #9, based on his latest 2 races. Maybe Santana can work out a trip … rating nicely for a score. What a tough race … fitting for the Classic!

Selections: 3/4/5/8/9 (5-Deep)

BC Pick 6 Ticket Cost: $40.00


One of the best days of the year … It’s Breeders’ Cup Saturday from sunny Del Mar! Enjoy …

Breeders Cup 2021