By Shawn Rychling
And so it ends.
With the conclusion of the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar last week, the 2017 Thoroughbred racing season has effectively come to an close. The14 races over two days gave us plenty of excitement and helped to shake out Horse of the Year and the other divisional awards.
After his extremely game win in the Classic, Gun Runner is the obvious choice for Horse of the Year. He went wire-to-wire even after a 46.31 half mile and held off three excellent horses in Collected, West Coast, and Arrogate which finished 2nd, 3rd, and 5th respectively.
Gun Runner, trained by Steve Asmussen has won his last four races – all Grade 1 events – in convincing fashion.
Arrogate continued with the trend he began in July by not winning. He may have hated the rail on this day and he veered in at the start and really had no chance. Now retired, Arrogate was a different horse after returning from Dubai and his exhilarating come-from-behind win in the World Cup. He never seemed to recover from that trip, and some horses never do.
Arrogate burst on the scene at the 2015 Travers when he broke the Saratoga track record in a 14-length romp. He went on to win his next three races, including the BC Classic and inaugural Pegasus World Cup – both over California Chrome. The Dubai win was next, but then he seemingly faded as fast as he came on the scene. He was like a comet. The racing world will shed no tears for Bob Baffert though, since he trains Collected and West Coast, both of which seem to have bright futures. Look for them in the second-ever Pegasus World Cup in January.
Day 2 of the Breeders’ Cup was an incredible one for the bettors with 7 winners of the 9 BC races paying north of $10 on top and 6 of the 7 paying more than $20 to win.
The Hot List got you started right off the bat with Caledonia Road winning the Juvenile Fillies and paying $36.60. Hook her up with Alluring Star which we gave you in an exacta box and bettors could have cashed a dollar exacta for $196.10. Not too shabby.
The next two races were even better with Stormy Liberal paying $62.40 to win the Turf Sprint and old friend Bar of Gold paying $135.40 on top in the Filly and Mare Sprint. The New York bred had made the Hot List some money over the years filling out exactas at long odds and had recently raced on turf until switching back to the dirt at Del Mar. The pick 3 ending with the Bar of Gold win paid an incredible $29,340.10.
We’ll try to hit those kinds of payoffs as Aqueduct gets rolling in full swing this week. The new turf course looks beautiful and we’ll have to see how the re-worked dirt track plays. Looking ahead to the Cigar Mile on Saturday, Dec. 2 as well as the Remsen for 2-year-olds in what will be the first test for top contenders for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
Find out how to get all our Hot List analysis at Interbets.com. Good luck!