With the team busy in the offseason and the young guys gaining experience in 2020 – the Blue Jays should be one of the best teams in the American League in 2021.
Breeders Cup 2017 Dates
Breeders' Cup Classic (Saturday, Novevember 4 TBA)
With Arrogate's unexpected poor performance July 22 in the San Diego Handicap, suddenly the Classic seems like a much more competitive race. The big horse looked invincible while finishing 2016 with consecutive wins in the Travers Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic and opening 2017 with huge money scores in the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup.
Arrogate seemed destined to join Tiznow as the only two-time winner of the Classic before running an inexplicable fourth against marginal competition in the San Diego at Del Mar. Meanwhile, Gun Runner continued to look impressive while steamrolling his competition in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga - a Breeders' Cup Classic "Win and You're In" race, perhaps stamping himself as the "now horse" despite having lost to Arrogate in both the 2016 Travers and 2017 Dubai World Cup.
|2017 Breeders' Cup Classic Outright|
For those who still believe in Arrogate, the future odds definitely look more appealing than they did a few weeks ago. Bettors should know a lot more after Arrogate's next scheduled start in the Pacific Classic August 19 at Del Mar - another Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" event. With this year's three year-old crop failing to distinguish themselves, the Classic figures to run through the top two, but don't sleep on outsiders Keen Ice and Shaman Ghost.
Breeders' Cup Distaff (Friday, November 3 TBA)
In what is arguably racing's deepest and most competitive division for the second straight year, the quality of the Distaff's top four or five contenders may scare off any upset-minded contenders.
Don't expect a big field, but the event will remain a premium race capable of living up to the heart-pounding, stretch-dueling finish Beholder and Songbird delivered in 2016. The headline event of the first day of Breeders' Cup action, the Distaff is led by Songbird and Stellar Wind, with Vale Dori, Paid Up Subscriber, Abel Tasman and Forever Unbridled also plenty of capable of winning.
Simply put, there are no throw-outs in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Distaff with all of the aforementioned contenders rounding into top form as the summer progresses.
A quick glance at the past performances, reveals the following nuggets:
- Songbird and Stellar Wind are unbeaten in 2017 as of the beginning of August
- Vale Dori lost two races to Stellar Wind by a total of a head
- Paid Up Subscriber won the Shuvee by 32 lengths
- Abel Tasman has won three consecutive grade 1 races in the three year-old division
- Forever Unbridled impressively won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis in June depsite a lengthy layoff
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Friday, November 3 TBA)
Always one of the most anticipated races of the Breeders' Cup undercard events, the mile tends to be the meeting ground between top sprinters that need a little more distance and top routers that need a little less real estate. The mile may, in fact, be the best true test of raw equine ability - a sentiment long recognized by the breeding world.
This year's mile looks to be a diverse cast with no shortage of recent accomplisments.
Sharp Azteca, a blazingly fast sprinter, stretched out nicely July 30 in his last start to set the track record for a mile and one sixteenth en route to winning the Monmouth Cup. He figures to be capably opposed by the Bob Baffert-trained Mor Spirt following the four year-old's impressive display winning the Metropolitan Handicap in a laugher.
Accelerate proved his affinity for the Del Mar surface while trouncing Arrogate by over 15 lengths in the San Diego Handicap. Certainly that was not a reprsentative performance from Arrogate, but Accelerate's form makes him a top Mile contender.
Breeders' Cup Sprint (Saturday, November 4 TBA)
As usual the sprint division is filled tough horses in one of the best betting events of the weekend. Among the primary challengers, Mind Your Biscuits has remained in peak form after winning the Golden Shaheen in Dubai with a dazzling win July 8 in the Belmont Sprint.
He will be tackled by Drefong who is looking for back-to-back BC Sprint wins after capturing the race last year as a three year-old. Drefong threw jockey Mike Smith at the gate in the Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar and later impeded Roy H, another strong BC Sprint challenger, at the head of the stretch. That race was eventually won by Ransom the Moon and all three horses appear headed to the Breeders' Cup Sprint- each with a legitmate chance to win.
Handicappers studying film may want to replay the Bing Crosby a few times where it appeared Roy H may have been the best horse despite running second.
He'll be worth keeping tabs on over the next few months.
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