Million Dollar Finish: Pace Makes the Gold Cup

By Peter Rotondo, Jr., @retro411
The Gold Cup at Santa Anita
The Gold Cup at Santa Anita is the second Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Win and You’re In qualifier for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Tune in:
8:00pm - 9:00pm (ET)
NBCSN

The old handicapping angle — PACE MAKES THE RACE —is squarely in focus once again.

Horses that will be on or near the lead early in the race ...

#1 Batti Man - He’ll likely have no choice but to be sent to to the lead from the #1 post position.

#4 Motown Man - He’s stretching out from one mile to 1 1/4 miles and has shown speed in previous races. He’ll likely be right near the lead from the start.

#7 Big Cazanova - He was on the lead in the Californian (prep for this race) so he’ll likely be sent to the lead once again.

#8 Moreno - He likes to be on or near the lead in every race so, again, he should be putting pressure on early.

Because of the predicted fast pace and longer distance, I don’t see any of the horses above hitting the board (running 1st - 4th).

#3 Poshky and #10 Lideris - Both trained by the hot streaking trainer, Peter Milller but both appeared outclassed. I don’t see either hitting the top four.

That leaves us with five horses to consider ...

#5 Majestic City - He’s in good form but I just don’t see him getting a 1 1/4 miles. He’s not bred for it and likely he’ll come up short when the real running starts.

#11 Finnegan’s Wake - He’s a very nice grass horse but his dirt form is a bit suspect. He’ll likely be taken back to last and make one late run. He likes the distance so you can make a case that he’ll sit a good trip. The question is the dirt and will he be too far back. I’m going to say that he may hit the board.

Now, we’re down to three ...

#2 Hard Aces - I think he’ll sit a perfect trip sitting behind the pacesetters. He ran a close 4th last year in the Santa Anita Handicap to Shared Belief, Moreno and Catch a Flight. With more pace today, I think he can turn the tables on Catch a Flight and is the value in the race.

#6 Hoppertunity - He’s seems to be a stayer (horse that will like 1 1/4) and needed his race last time. I don’t see him getting tired so I except him to run well and hit the board.

#9 Catch a Flight - He’ll be the favorite based off his current form. He’s hard to knock and should run well.

Ultimately, I’m hoping the pace, race set-up, and the 1 1/4 mile distance will all help Hard Aces turn the tables on Catch a Flight with Hoppertunity running well enough to round out the trifecta!

Selections

#2 Hard Aces
#6 Hoppertunity
#9 Catch a Flight

$100 Betting Strategy

$20 Trifecta key: 2/6-9 = $40
$9 Trifecta part: 6-9/2/6-9 = $18
$5 Trifecta part: 6-9/6-9/2 - $10
$1 Trifecta: 2/6-9/All = $18
.10 Superfecta 2-6-9/2-6-9/2-5-6-9-11/All = $14.40

Million Dollar Finish

1. Hard Aces
2. Hoppertunity
3. Catch A Flight
4. Majestic City
5. Finnegans Wake
6. Lideris
7. Motown Men
8. Moreno
9. Big Cazanova
10. Batti Man