One of the most highly anticipated events on the horse racing calendar gets under way on Friday, as the sport’s attention turns to California for the Breeders’ Cup 2016.
Four races dominate the card on Friday, with the Juvenile Turf, the Las Vegas Dirt Mile, the Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Longines Distaff taking centre stage at Santa Anita Park.
As much as $26.5 million goes up for grabs across the weekend of racing action, and here we look at who could be lining their pockets on Friday.
Horse Odds Lancaster Bomber 15-2 Keep Quiet 18-1 Channel Maker 40-1 Favorable Outcome 16-1 Made You Look 12-1 Big Score 9-1 J. S. Choice 40-1 Intelligence Cross 5-1 Wellabled 16-1 Bowies Hero 33-1 Good Samaritan 4-1 Rodaini 16-1 Oscar Performance 5-1 Ticonderoga 14-1 Kitten’s Cat 40-1 Harbour Master 40-1
Las Vegas Dirt Mile
Horse Odds Vyjack 14-1 Tom’s Ready 25-1 Dortmund 10-11 Point Piper 28-1 Accelerate 50-1 Texas Chrome 20-1 Runhappy 5-1 Tamarkuz 10-1 Gun Runner 5-1
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Horse Odds Hydrangea 13-2 Lull 50-1 New Money Honey 12-1 Spain Burg 4-1 Victory to Victory 10-1 Coasted 33-1 Intricately 6-1 Madam Damcealot 40-1 Cavale Doree 16-1 Happy Mesa 50-1 Rymska 20-1 La Force 50-1 Roly Poly 6-1 La Coronel 8-1 Con Te Partiro 33-1 Sweeping Paddy 40-1
Horse Odds Songbird 1-1 Land Over Sea 100-1 Curaline 20-1 Corona Del Inca 100-1 Stellar Wind 3-1 Forever Unbridled 25-1 I’m A Chatterbox 25-1 Beholder 9-2
Breeders’ Cup Prize Money
Race Winner Juvenile Turf $629,999 Las Vegas Dirt Mile $629,999 Juvenile Fillies Turf $629,999 Longines Distaff $1,260,000
The Juvenile Turf kicks off the action on Friday, as trainer Aidan O’Brien looks to continue his excellent form in the race.
O’Brien has trained three of the last five race-winning horses, and he’ll have high hopes for current favourite Intelligence Cross.
The two-year-old is under the control of jockey Ryan Moore, and he’s expected to be pushed hard in what will be a slightly longer format for him.
Good Samaritan is also one to watch. He’s won both of his starts on turf under Bill Mott and looks in impressive shape.
Having picked up his maiden win at Saratoga, New York, he went on to put in an explosive display in a Grade 2 race at Woodbine, Toronto. If Good Samaritan gets off to a fast start, he’ll be very hard to catch.
In the Las Vegas Dirt Mile, it’s difficult to look beyond overwhelming favourite Dortmund, who is sitting on short odds of 10-11.
The Grade 1 winner has come up against some stiff competition this year and held his own, and the horses around him simply don’t measure up.
Gun Runner is expected to chase Dortmund home, while Point Piper could prove a decent outsider each-way bet at 28-1.
The 16-horse Juvenile Fillies Turf is a wide-open race, with several horses fully capable of scooping the $629,999 top prize.
Intricately reigned supreme at the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh, Ireland, for Joseph O’Brien over seven furlongs and is fair value at 13-2, while Moore’s Roly Poly is also looking good.
Roly Poly recently came second in the Cheveley Park Stakes, Newmarket, England, over six furlongs, although a high draw at Anita won’t help his cause here.
La Coronel was an impressive winner at Keeneland, Kentucky, but having been drawn wide, he’s also slipped down the betting stakes at 8-1.
The final race of the night is another that looks a foregone conclusion, with Songbird the overwhelming favourite to romp home.
The three-year-old is unbeaten in 11 starts, including five at Friday’s venue, and although he comes up against stiff competition, he should have the pace to get over the line first.
Beholder and Stellar Wind will have plenty to say about that, however, and they could well mount a serious challenge to round off the day of racing.
The Breeders’ Cup is one of the most exciting meets on the horse racing calendar, and 2016’s edition promises to be no different.
There’s plenty of money up for grabs across Friday’s four races and endless talent capable of scooping the big bucks.