The Breeders’ Cup is upon us and unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock you can’t help but have noticed the sweet sound of support for Distaff jolly Songbird.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the talented three-year-old is the star name in Friday’s feature race with her 11 starts yielding 11 imperious wins thus far.
This latest 1m1f assignment will see the peerless filly take on her elders for the first time but don’t let that put you off.
Here’s our look at the Distaff and the three other Breeders’ Cup races on Friday’s Santa Anita card…
21.25: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (2 year-olds, 1 mile)
Aidan O’Brien, who else? The Master of Ballydoyle has won this race three times since it was introduced to the calendar in 2007 and he can strike again with either Intelligence Cross or Lancaster Bomber.
The latter arguably offers better value after finishing runner-up in the Dewhurst Stakes while Simon Crisford’s Rodaini is the other European runner to look out for.
His four-race winning streak was ended by a stumble in the Autumn Stakes so a relative leap of faith will have to be taken.
Of the home contingent, Good Samaritan and course and distance winner Big Score make most appeal.
Best Bet: Lancaster Bomber
22.05: Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (3+yo, 1m)
There’s certainly no disgrace in being undone by the likes of California Chrome and American Pharoah and that’s the line the bookies appear to have taken in making Dortmund the heavy favourite for this contest.
While Bob Baffert’s charge might not have those two goliaths to contend with he’ll still be faced by some pretty stiff competition.
Gun Runner was only beaten half a length in September’s Pennsylvania Derby while Runhappy has form at this track but could be undone over a mile.
Meanwhile, Vyjack is 122 for the year with his previous appearance resulting in a win on Santa Anita’s turf.
Flavien Prat resumes riding duties and we fancy the young Frenchman to pull off a shock.
Best Bet: Vyjack
22.50: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (2yo, 1m)
Trainer Kathy Ritvo enjoyed Breeders’ Cup Classic success three years ago with Mucho Mucho Man and now it could be the turn of her special lady to set Santa Anita alight.
Our very own racing ambassador Frankie Dettori is booked for the ride aboard Spain Burg, the unbeaten winner of Newmarket’s Rockfel Stakes last time out.
The O’Briens saddle the principle threats with Joseph’s Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Intricately the pick of the bunch.
She had father Aidan’s Hydrangea in behind at the Curragh on that occasion while Roly Poly completes the family’s set.
Meanwhile, Florent Geroux and Mark Casse teamed-up to win last year’s renewal and there’s definitely a case to be made for this year’s entrant, La Coronel.
Best Bet: Spain Burg
23.35: Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (3+yo, 1m 1f)
This one is all over bar the shouting as far as the bookies are concerned and it’s hard to disagree on that front.
Songbird is on her way to becoming one of the best fillies of all time and a 12th win in a row would do her no harm in that department.
However, for all of the plaudits coming her way, this does represent her biggest challenge yet.
There are sub-plots aplenty in this contest with the enduring battle between Stellar Wind and Beholder adding another intriguing dimension. It’s 2-1 to the former but it remains to be seen whether trainer John Sadler will finally get off the mark having gone 0-37 in Breeders’ Cup races.
With Songbird in opposition, Sadler will probably have to wait a little longer to break his duck.
Best Bet: Songbird
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