Breeders’ Cup 2021 - Del Mar guide, Key Big-Race Trends, European prospects and Best Bets

By Gavin Beech
 |  4 mins
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Breeders’ Cup 2021 - Del Mar guide, Key Big-Race Trends, European prospects and Best Bets


What are the Characteristics of Del Mar Racetrack

A sharp Del Mar turf track which is almost always on the quick side is situated on the inside of a dirt track that has more sweeping bends. A home stretch of less than two furlongs on the dirt track makes it extremely hard for any horse to make up ground in the closing stages.

A low draw is favourable on both tracks, which is reflected in the odds with the online betting sites. The opening section of any Del Mar race is always crucial as jockeys compete for the ideal position either on or just behind the speed.

Horses ridden too vigorously from a wide draw early on often pay for those exertions at the business end so Del Mar isn’t short on jeopardy, especially over the two-turn mile trip, where track position is absolutely critical.

If you are looking for one key attribute at De Mar, it’s the ability of a horse to lie up near the speed early on, whichever stall they come out of.

Breeders’ Cup Key Trends (Saturday Grade 1’s)

7.05 - Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (7f, Dirt)

Key Trend - No horse has ever made all the running to win the Filly & Mare Sprint in its 13-year history.

7.40 - Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (5f, Turf)

Key Trend - Avoid contenders that haven’t already won at Group or Graded level. Only one of the last 20 winners was winning a Pattern race for the first time.

8.19 - Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (1m, Dirt)

Key Trend - Favourites don’t have a great record in this but make sure you back a horse that ran at the top level last time out as all 14 winners previously ran in a Grade/Group 1 contest.

8.59 - Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (1m3f, Turf)

Key Trend - In the last nine years, this race has been won either by Chad Brown (4) or an international raider (5).

9.38 - Breeders' Cup Sprint (6f, Dirt)

Key Trend - Peter Miller has saddled five runners in the Sprint and all five have either won (2) or hit the board (3). Miller is represented by C Z Rocket in this year’s renewal.

10.20 - Breeders' Cup Mile (1m, Turf)

Key Trend - Another race in which proven Grade/Group-class horses come out best. Only one of the last 20 winners had not previously won a Grade/Group 1 or 2 race.

11.00 - Breeders' Cup Distaff (1m1f, Dirt)

Key Trend - This is a race that has been dominated by horses that have been prominent in the market. Since 2006, the average price of the winner has been 4/1. Only two of the last ten winners have been bigger than 100/30.

11.40 - Breeders' Cup Turf (1m4f, Turf)

Key Trend - 11 of the last 13 editions of this race have been won by European-based horses. The overseas raiding party is eight strong in 2021 and includes big-race favourite Tarnawa.

12.40 - Breeders' Cup Classic (1m2f, Dirt)

Key Trend - This is a bad race for favourites with only two winning in the last 11 years. However, during that period, the average odds of a Longine Classic winner is only 5/1, so concentrate on horses prominent in the market but not at the top.

Top European Contender

Charlie Appleby is responsible for the Breeders’ Cup Mile favourite in Space Blues who is very well drawn in gate 3 but he’s a specialist seven-furlong horse who seems at his absolute best on ground with some ease in it. At the odds, MOTHER EARTH looks a better value play at around 6/1 in Breeders’ Cup Mile odds lists.

Aidan O’Brien’s remarkably consistent filly has danced every dance this year, running in eight Group 1 races, but she looked far from ready for a break when staying on in eye-catching style behind Baaeed in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day.

Her 1,000 Guineas success came on quick ground, she’s versatile in terms of how she can be ridden and she stays a mile well. In receipt of all the allowances, she looks to have a great chance of following in the footsteps of Order Of Australia, who won this race for team Ballydoyle 12 months ago.

Breeders’ Cup Banker

LIFE IS GOOD (Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile) looks banker-rated to give Todd Pletcher a second win in the Grade 1 contest.

This improving 3-year-old absolutely hosed up in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont when last seen, making it four wins from five starts and the only horse to beat him so far, Jackie’s Warrior, is favourite for the Sprint which is run just over an hour later.

Life Is Good is one of the fastest dirt horses in the world, his numbers are much the best in this contest, and his go forward run-style is ideal for a race that has been won by a horse that has gone from gate to wire in the last three seasons. He’s going to be very hard to peg back and could easily have these rivals cooked by the home turn.

Breeders’ Cup Favourite to Take On

The history books show us that many an accomplished older female looking to crown a great season with a Breeders’ Cup Distaff win have been outgunned by progressive younger rivals and that scenario is distinctly possible once again.

LETRUSKA has the most Grade 1 wins of any horse in 2021 and is a leading contender for Horse of the Year but this star mare is going to need to show everyone that she is indeed a champion if she is to make it five Grade 1’s in 2021.

Letruska is an on-the-speed mare that breaks her rivals hearts from the front but she faces a good deal of speed pressure in this 1m1f contest and might just help set this up for a closer, the pick of which is improving 3-year-old Malathaat, whose rider would be well served by allowing Letruska and others to get on with it on the sharp end.

Only one favourite has won in the last six runnings of this prestigious contest and Letruska might just find herself joining that club if forced to go a stride quicker than ideal early on.

A veteran of two decades in the sports journalism industry, Gavin Beech is a very experienced horse racing writer, sports betting content producer and tipster for the likes of MailOnline, and the Racing Post. Not restricted to racing, he also writes about football.

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