Clancy's Call: Day One Of The Breeders' Cup

Bob Clancy's selections for the four Breeders' Cup races Friday in Del Mar, Calif. (NBC Sports Network, 5-8 p.m.):

 

JUVENILE TURF (Race 6)

Post time: 5:25 p.m.; Distance: 1 mile; Purse: $1 million; Forecast: Mostly sunny, high near 70

 

RUSHING FALL (No. 11, 7-2) made an eye-catching move to win the Grade 3 Jessamine on a soft Keeneland course Oct. 11, her second come-from-behind victory in as many career starts. Daughter of More Than Ready has two nice breezes since that effort and should get another good setup. Post 11 in a field of 14 is no problem because she will be unhurried early under new Hall of Famer Javier Castellano. Nice to see that she won her debut at Belmont on firm turf, which she will surely get this time. Might kick off a big two days for top trainer Chad Brown.

HAPPILY (No. 2, 9-2) shipped in from Europe for Aidan O'Brien after her second straight stakes victory. Irish-bred filly should get a ground-saving trip with Ryan Moore aboard and may simply be better than these.

CAPLA TEMPTRESS (No. 7, 6-1) won a Grade 1 race at Woodbine in her first North American start despite being bumped early and a bit crowded late. Obvious contender with Joel Rosario riding for Bill Mott.

DIRT MILE (Race 7)

Post time: 6:05 p.m.; Distance: 1 mile; Purse: $1 million

CUPID (No. 7, 8-1) cuts back in distance after he weakened late in the Grade 1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita, finishing fourth. Four-year-old son of Tapit beat lesser at a mile Aug. 23 in his only start at Del Mar. Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Rafael Bejarano, he should be fairly close early before launching his bid entering the far turn. Could have enough left to hold off the late runners.

MOR SPIRIT (No. 6, 3-1) also comes from Baffert's barn and is the logical favorite. But this is his first start since winning the Met Mile on June 10. Mike Smith (25 Breeders' Cup wins) is the rider.

PRACTICAL JOKE (No. 10, 6-1) will be very tough for the Rosario/Brown team if he can overcome the far outside post. Most recent start was a Grade 1 victory Aug. 26 at Saratoga.

 

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF (Race 8)

Post time: 6:50 p.m.; Distance: 1 mile; Purse: $1 million

MASAR (No. 6, 9-2) ran third in a stakes race won by Happily last month in France. Never worse than third in four starts, he looks as good as any in a very wide open field of 14. Firm turf doesn't seem to be a problem for most European runners. William Buick is back aboard for trainer Charles Appleby after recovering from a fractured vertebrae sustained in a spill at Arlington.

VOTING CONTROL (No. 8, 8-1) had a rough trip in the Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont and still closed fast to be runner-up in his second career start. It would be no surprise if Castellano and Brown are in the winner's circle with this son of Kitten's Joy. Fast pace helps.

MY BOY JACK (No. 13, 8-1) has run second in both tries on the Del Mar grass. Kent Desormeaux rides for his brother, Keith.

DISTAFF (Race 9)

Post time: 7:35 p.m.; Distance: 1 1/8 miles; Purse: $2 million

STELLAR WIND (No. 2, 5-2) is 3-for-3 this year, all Grade 1 races, after finishing fourth in the 2016 Distaff at Santa Anita. Tactical speed is the key for this daughter of Curlin. She likes to settle just off the lead and forge to the front turning for home. That certainly looks like the strategy Victor Espinoza will employ once again. Very game mare trained by John Sadler has not raced since her victory at Del Mar July 30, but she runs well fresh. Workouts indicate she is primed for a top effort in a well-matched field of eight.

FOREVER UNBRIDLED (No. 6, 4-1) was under a snug hold and then made a seven-wide move to win the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at the Spa in a very impressive effort. Trained by Dallas Stewart, this daughter of Unbridled's Song has trained well and could be finishing fast, especially if there's an honest pace. Rosario, a patient jockey, formerly rode in California and has some big victories over this track.

ELATE (No. 5, 3-1) is seeking a third consecutive Grade 1 victory after winning the Alabama at Saratoga and the Beldame at Belmont. Sired by Medaglia d'Oro, she is a versatile sort capable of making a move at any point in the race. Mott-trained filly is ridden by Jose Ortiz, who leads all U.S. jockeys in earnings this year.

 

Contact Bob Clancy at bclancy929@gmail.com.

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