Heller: Expect ‘Chalky’ Day 1 at Breeders’ Cup

Handicapper Bill Heller offers his picks for the four Breeders' Cup races today.
Dirt Mile favorite Liam's Map, with jockey Javier Castellano, is shown winning the 62nd running of the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga Race Course on Sept. 5.
Dirt Mile favorite Liam's Map, with jockey Javier Castellano, is shown winning the 62nd running of the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga Race Course on Sept. 5.

While today’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff lacks Beholder, the superstar who will be named Champion Older Filly, it’s a great race to handicap and bet. The real fireworks begin Saturday.


Juvenile Turf

CYMRIC: The 13 post is an obvious concern, but he appears to be the best of the Europeans, having finished second by a neck as the 9-5 favorite in a field of 11 in a Group 1 Stakes in his last start.

HIT IT A BOMB: This European colt adding Lasix has an even worse post, the 14. He is two-for-two overall, including a romp at 2-5 in a stakes on synthetic, but his victory on grass was by a neck in a maiden race.

SHOGUN: European adding Lasix and blinkers was only beaten a length and a half by top one when sixth at 10-1 in that Group 1 stakes.

AIROFORCE: America’s best hope in this race is two-for-two, including a breathtaking victory from the 13 post in a Grade III stakes at Keeneland, giving him a home-court edge.

Saver: Birchwood.

Dirt Mile

LIAM’S MAP: He’s five-for-seven lifetime, including a three-for-three record at one mile. Trainer Todd Pletcher could have put him in the Classic, but found a much softer spot here.

LEA: Like Liam’s Map, he’s three-for-three at this distance. He’s lost five straight, but returns to dirt off an excellent second by a half-length on grass in the Grade I Woodbine Mile.

VALID: He’s won two straight and been in the money in eight of his last nine starts. He is four-for-10 at one mile with one second and three thirds.

TAPITURE: He finished second in this stakes last year to a top-class horse, Goldencents. He’s stepping up in company today off a half-length victory at one mile in the Grade III Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Saver: Wicked Strong.

Juvenile Fillies Turf

HARMONIZE: She made a truly spectacular run to win a Grade III stakes at Keeneland after breaking 12th as the even-money favorite. May have a slight edge in a wide-open race.

ILLUMINATE: After winning her first three starts, including a Group 2 stakes, she was second by a half-length in a Grade I. She’s never raced farther than six furlongs, and this stakes is at one mile.

ALICE SPRINGS: Was defeated by Illuminate in that Grade I stakes, then crushed softer at 2-5. Figures right there.

LAST WALTZ: She’s stuck in the 14 post but adds Javier Castellano. She finished third by a half-length in her last start in a Group 3 stakes with blinkers added at 11-1.

Saver: Tin Type Gal.


WEDDING TOAST: Handy victories in a Grade II and two Grade I stakes in her last three starts paint her as the one to beat. She is three-for-three at a mile-and-an-eighth.

SHEER DRAMA: Drawing the 14 post doesn’t help her chances, but she’s won two straight, both Grade I stakes, and has four wins and five seconds in her last nine races.

STELLAR WIND: She won a Grade II and a Grade III stakes in her last two starts in California. That gave her five wins from her last six starts. The lone miss was a troubled fourth in a Grade I stakes.

I’M A CHATTERBOX: Larry Jones’ talented three-year-old filly has five victories, a second and a third in her last seven starts. She faces older fillies and mares for the first time today.

Saver: Curalina.

Categories: Sports

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