The Breeders' Cup: Rachel Candelora's analysis and top tips for Friday night

By Rachel Candelora
Fri 3 Nov 2017

Watch key replays, our experts analyse the day one action and read Rachel Candelora's betting strategy

By Rachel Candelora

9:25 Del Mar – Juvenile Fillies Turf

Form in one particular race stands out year after year at the Breeders’ Cup and it applies to this contest. That race is the Grade Three Miss Grillo at Belmont and the winner of this key exit race this year was SIGNIFICANT FORM, trained by Chad Brown.

Brown has sent out the winner of this contest a record three times and all three of his previous winners had taken the Miss Grillo en route.

Her main danger may be her stablemate, Rushing Fall, who comes here after an impressive soft ground win in a Grade Three at Keeneland, while Capla Temptress, formerly trained by Marco Botti but now in the hands of US Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, won the Grade One Natalma at Woodbine on her first start after shipping across the Atlantic.

This is a race in which Aidan O’Brien has a very poor record (0-9 with his runners) and it is almost certain that his dual soft ground Group One winner Happily will be overbet on both sides of the pond.

Betting strategy: Significant Form, a genertal 8-1, looks the value play here with a small saver on stablemate Rushing Fall.

10:05 Del Mar – Dirt Mile

MOR SPIRIT is a worthy favourite after his 6¼ length Grade One Met Mile victory in New York on Belmont Day, although the dominance of that performance is reflected by his price with the British bookmakers.

If he turns up in the same form, and he has been working brilliantly up the road at Santa Anita, he could make mincemeat of this field.

Stablemate Cupid gets a late invite to this party as for much of the summer he was being aimed at the Classic. A Grade One winner in his own right this year, he could be the main danger while perhaps there would be more value in a late closer like Giant Expectations – the only ride in the entire Breeders’ Cup series for veteran Gary Stevens.

Given this race looks as though it will be run at a searching pace, set by bold front runner Sharp Azteca, then Del Mar specialist Accelerate has to enter calculations given his three wins from four runs at the track but his trainer is 0-39 in the Breeders’ Cup, while Practical Joke has winning Grade One form coming into this race but he has never won a race around two-turns.

Betting strategy: A win bet on Mor Spirit is recommended, but the suggestion is to swerve a fixed odds price with British bookmakers (she is a general 5-2) and instead take a chance by betting directly into the US Tote Win pool, which virtually all the major bookmakers will allow you to do. This looks the kind of race where his American price might be bigger. From an exotic point of view, I would throw in Giant Expectations, Sharp Azteca, Mor Spirit, and Cupid into boxed exactas/trifectas.

10:50 Del Mar – Juvenile Turf

There are six European-trained runners but the US have won four of the previous ten renewals and the home team can certainly be expected to put up a strong defence.

British bookmakers currently have UNTAMED DOMAIN, a son of Animal Kingdom, at double-digit odds and he could be the each-way play.

Trained by Englishman-abroad Graham Motion, who sent out Animal Kingdom to win the Kentucky Derby, he is arguably unlucky to not be a perfect four from four and, with the application of blinkers for the first time, he was a cosy winner of the Grade Two Summer Stakes at Woodbine.

Drawn to the selection’s inside is the O’Brien-trained Mendelssohn, who was a solid second in the Dewhurst when equipped with blinkers.

O’Brien and Ryan Moore have enjoyed victory in this race on three occasions.

Mendlessohn - Del Mar - Penelope Miller:ABR Mendlessohn bids to follow in the hoofprints of Hit It A Bomb, Wrote and George Vancouver (Penelope Miller/ABR)

I am taking a stand against James Garfield. I really like him but have my doubts about him running over a mile for the first time here.

Betting strategy: The main suggestion is an each-way bet on Untamed Domain - 16-1 with Coral, Ladbrokes and BetVictor, while boxed exactas revolving around Mendelssohn, Untamed Domain and Encumbered could represent value.

11:35 Del Mar – Distaff

The feature race on Friday is really competitive renewal of the Distaff.

Stellar Wind is a horse who divides opinion. The positives are that she is a perfect three out of three at Del Mar and she comes here on the back of a three-time Grade One winning streak, but for me the negatives outweigh those positives.

She has been beaten twice in this race in the past, the quality of the opposition she has been beating this year has been much weaker than this, and most significantly, I do not think she stays nine furlongs: she is 0-3 at the distance.

Without doubt, she is far too short in the betting and I would rather side the strong three-year-old contingent, which is led by the Kentucky Oaks winner ABEL TASMAN.

The Bob Baffert-trained daughter of Quality Road is already a Del Mar winner, having scored in an allowance race last November, and she won the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in May before going on to land two more Grade One contests in New York.

She also gets the assistance of Mike Smith, seeking a sixth win in the race, and she is unbeaten in two starts over the trip.

Elate is the other three-year-old filly to keep the right side of for five-times Distaff winning trainer Bill Mott. She was a bit of a slow developer but in her last few runs has put it all together, culminating in an eight-length romp in the Grade One Beldame last time.

Niggles with Elate is that she has already been beaten by Abel Tasman - at Saratoga in July - and that this will be her ninth start of the year.

Betting strategy: Take a stand against the short-price favourite Stellar Wind. Split your win stakes two-thirds on Abel Tasman (a general 8-1) and one-third on Elate (4-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power).

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