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BREEDERS’ CUP DAY 1 TIPS – the best bets on Future Stars Friday

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This weekend’s Breeders’ Cup meeting at Santa Anita starts with its ‘Future Stars Friday’, on which five of the 14 races will be run. Our international expert Laura King has studied the card to find the best bets on a star-studded night of action

EIGHT RINGS (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Dirt, 11.03pm)

The Grade 1 Juvenile, on dirt, is perhaps the most glamourous of the quintet and Bob Baffert has home advantage with Eight Rings who will attempt to secure the veteran handler a fifth win in this contest. The winner of two of his three starts, including the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes last time, when he still looked green despite romping to a six length victory, he is the one to beat.

He makes more appeal than the 8/5 about G3 Iroqois Stakes winner Dennis’ Moment, although it is notable that Dale Romans’ charge has been impressing onlookers with his training at Santa Anita and may therefore be accustomed to what is likely to be quite a deep dirt surface.

BACK EIGHT RINGS HERE


PERFECT ALIBI (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, 9.32pm)

The Grade 1 Juvenile Fillies has an open look to it. Bob Baffert again has a strong contender in G1 Del Mar Debutante and Chandelier Stakes winner Bast, although she had to work hard to beat the re-opposing Comical in the latter race, run over the Juvenile Fillies course and distance.

If there’s one who’s overlooked in the field it might be Mark Casse’s Perfect Alibi, who showed admirable battling qualities to land both the G2 Adirondack and the G1 Spinaway at Saratoga, but has six and a half lengths to find on British Idiom who beat her soundly in the G1 Darley Alcibiades last time out. The unbeaten Donna Veloce, trained by British expat Simon Callaghan, is another to consider.

BACK PERFECT ALIBI HERE


ARIZONA (Breeders’Cup Juvenile Turf, 8.52pm)

This race, over a mile, looks fascinating, with Aidan O’Brien responsible for the only two Europeans in the 15-strong field. The Ballydoyle trainer has won this race four times and has a stand-out performer in G2 Coventry Stakes winner Arizona, the mount of Ryan Moore. Stall 12 might make things tricky, but the No Nay Never colt went down fighting behind Pinatubo in the G1 Dewhurst last time out and a reproduction of that run should see him go close here, on much more suitable fast ground.

His main danger might well be Christophe Clement’s Decorated Invader, who beat the reopposing Vitalogy into third when landing the G1 Summer Stakes in Canada last time out, while Mark Casse has high hopes of his Peace Achieved. The Declaration Of War colt also beat Vitalogy, in the Grade 3 Dixiana Bourbon at Keeneland.

BACK ARIZONA HERE


SWEET MELANIA and SELFLESSLY (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf, 10.12pm)

The Grade 1 Juvenile Fillies’ Turf looks an even deeper race than the colts’ equivalent, with seven European raiders up against seven Americans. Of the visiting party, Jessica Harrington’s G1 Marcel Boussac winner Albigna sets the obvious standard. Her French victory came on very soft ground, but she did break her maiden, beating Tango, on a fast surface, so there shouldn’t be too many ground concerns and she’s the deserving favourite. Another European raider, second favourite Daahyeh, has been kept busy this season and must do better than the half-length victory she clawed out when winning the Group 2 Rockfel at Newmarket last time.

At bigger prices, a couple of Americans appeal here, notably Todd Pletcher’s Sweet Melania who created a striking impression when taking the G2 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland by five and a half lengths last time out. She can have a say, as can Chad Brown’s Selflessly, who beat Crystalle in a top-class edition of the Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont at the end of September.

BACK SWEET MELANIA AND SELFLESSLY HERE


A’ALI (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, 8.12pm)

The first of Friday’s five races is the Grade 2 Juvenile Turf Sprint, over five furlongs. Wesley Ward’s Kimari is favourite after winning both her starts since returning from a narrow second in the Group 2 Queen Mary at Ascot. She is very much respected, as is her stablemate Four Wheel Drive, but this could be yet another big moment for Simon Crisford with A’ali, who has had a nice break since his most recent win in the G2 Flying Childers 49 days ago. That victory proved he can act on firmer ground and his ability to sit anywhere in a race should stand him in good stead here too. He just about gets the verdict to strike an early blow for the European visitors.

BACK A’ALI HERE


Breeders’ Cup best bets

A’Ali (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, 8.12pm)

ARIZONA (Breeders’Cup Juvenile Turf, 8.52pm)

PERFECT ALIBI (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, 9.32pm)

SWEET MELANIA and SELFLESSLY (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf, 10.12pm)

EIGHT RINGS (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Dirt, 11.03pm)

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