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by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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Looking ahead to the Breeders' Cup Series at Santa Anita Park, Globeform editor Geir Stabell picks out nine contenders well worth backing in the early books with the bookmakers.

More than half of these top class performers in with excellent chances are priced up at around 8-1, while a couple of names stick out at 20-1. Investing wisely at these tremendous prices will give us a nice value edge going into the big weekend.

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Breeders' Cup Classic: To Honor and Serve 20-1

The one that sticks out as great value in this Classic market is Bill Mott's To Honor and Serve. He is one of the best dirt horses in North America, Santa Anita should suit him (less emphasis on stamina than speed) and his run two starts back, when he beat Mucho Macho Man in the Woodward, proves that To Honor and Serve is in with a chance. I am not concerned about his below par effort in the Kelso, over a mile, as he seemed to be ridden 'just to get a prep' that day. At the back early on, he was not going to be hooked up in the speed duel. As a consequence, To Honor and Serve had a relatively easy race – and he will be fresh on the big day. Boylesports offer a standout 20-1 and at that price he is definitely the each-way value here.

Breeders' Cup Turf: Trailblazer 8-1

Again best priced with Boylesports, Trailblazer looks well over the odds at 8-1. One of the best turf runners in Japan, where as we know the turf runners are seriously good, he had an excellent prep over a mile at this course last month, and seems to be as good as ever. He will be so much more effective over 1 ½ miles, he has been at Santa Anita for a while and you could almost say he holds home coursed advantage. Trailblazer is one of the few who is likely to pose a threat to Point of Entry, St Nicholas Abbey and Shareta here and 8-1 sure is tempting. He will be popular at Santa Anita.

Breeders' Cup Mile: Wise Dan 3-1

Hardly original, but let me say this once more (before it is too late); take that 3-1 about Wise Dan. He is capable of Globeform 132 and will be very hard to beat. Even Excelebration in peak form will have his work cut out against Wise Dan, who has so many advantages. A turning mile over a firm turf course is just his ballgame, while Excelebration is coming off a straight course win on testing ground at Ascot in the Queen Elizabeth II. Mile races don't come much more different than these two contests. Excelebration is a danger, of course he is, but back Wise Dan now at 3-1 and go for cover on the Irish colt in the US pools, where he could easily be 3-1. Doubling our money by backing two? Why not.

Wise Dan is 3-1 with Boyle, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and William Hill

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf: Ridasiyna 4-1

This French trained filly was deeply impressive when slamming fellow G1 winner Izzi Top to win the Prix de l'Opera by daylight (and going strongly away at the finish) in Paris, and she is probably unlucky to come here unbeaten. She produced Globeform 122p over a testing turf course at Longchamp, but she also acts on firm. Ridasiyna stands out in the F&M Turf as it is, she is open to further improvement, she represents a trainer in flying form (and with plenty of international success) and 4-1 is too big a price. Ladbrokes only.

Breeders' Cup Marathon: Fame And Glory 7-1

Fame And Glory may not quite as good as he was, but he still stands head and shoulders above any other horse entered for the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, where he will be racing with a visor to sharpen his mind a little bit. One did get the feeling he failed to go through with his effort at Ascot last time out but he was still not beaten more than 2,5 lengths behind the winner, Rite Of Passage. A repeat of that form would certainly be enough to win the BC Marathon, if he handles the dirt track. Fame And Glory is an experienced and battle hardened horse and could be just the type to go well on dirt tracks. He stays really well. He must be backed.

Sportfanatik had priced him up at a massive 10-1 a few days ago and they still offer 7-1, while the best price with Euro bookmakers is 5-1 (Paddy Power). Some have him as short as 2-1. If the race was on turf he would be Evens.

Breeders' Cup Marathon: Calidoscopio 20-1

This South American challenger is a bit of a dark horse, and perhaps he will be as big as 20-1 also in the US pools, but Stateside horseplayers know full well what G1 form in Argentina can be worth, and they also know full well that (except for Fame And Glory) this Marathon is not up to G1 standard. It falls way below such level, which is why this battle hardened and experienced runner probably has a good chance. Far better than 20-1 might indicate.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf: Spring Venture 8-1

Having beaten the subsequent Alcibiades (G1) winner Spring in the Air by 2 ¼ lengths in the Natalma (G2) at Woodbine in Canada, Spring Venture is being underrated by the bookmakers. Particularly the boys at Ladbrokes, where she is priced up at a tasty 8-1. That is at least twice the price she ought to be. Spring Venture is a seriously talented filly. She was much the best when beating her barnmate Spring in the Air in the Natalma, and a day after that filly won her G1 at Keeneland in great style, Spring Venture had her B Cup prep in the Mazarina (G3) over 9 furlongs at Woodbine. The competition may not have been all that sharp, but once again Spring Venture looked top class. She beat Seaneen Girl comfortably by 1 ½ lengths. Bookmakers have Sky Lantern as favourite and it is easy to see why. After all, she won a G1 in Ireland but it was a soft G1 and Sky Lantern is rather a lightly made filly without much scope. Which is probably why her connections ship her to Santa Anita, rather than wrap her up for next year. It is also, however, one of the reasons I am keen to take her on. And when I am offered 8-1 about a class act to do so with, I take it.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: Dreaming of Julia 4-1

This is shaping up to be a two horse affair, especially if Dreaming of Julia's barnmate Kauai Kate goes for the Juvenile Sprint. Executiveprivilege deserves to be favourite, having been so dominant on the West Coast, but to price her up at 6/4 and Dreaming oh Julia at 4-1 does not make much sense. Dreaming of Julia is less exposed than Executiveprivilege and she is coming off a tough, and experience giving, win in the Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. Prior to that, this filly had bolted up twice, and I cannot resist 4-1. If you agree, go to Paddy Power.

Breeders' Cup Sprint: Amazombie 5-1

Last but not least, the top class sprinter Amazombie, who can be backed at 5-1 for his title defence.

Two names stand out on Globeform Ratings on the list of entries for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint; last year’s winner Amazombie and Emcee. Emcee will go for the BC Dirt Mile instead, making this a much easier task for Amazombie. He was beaten behind Coil in the prep (after layoff) but ran well enough for me that day to suggest he can turn the tables on the big day. He was giving weight to Coil and their performance ratings were identical (GF 119). Amazombie's blood was not quite right after the race. Now it is and he put in a sharp piece of work over the Santa Anita track on October 26. A nice 5-1 can be had with several bookmakers and that is too big. He seems certain to hit the board, that's for sure, and we have an each-way 'bet to nothing' scenario here.



Last update: 2012-10-29 17:27:02 (First published: 2012-10-27 16:42:21 )

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