Peter Fornatale's Breeders' Cup Diary

Having just landed in a cold Keeneland, Peter Fornatale has already spotted a couple big-name horses in the flesh on track. On the betting front though, he still feels there is plenty of value on Saturday's Breeders' Cup card.

  • Monday 02 November
  • Blog
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There’s an old racing maxim that you should always bet the first horse you clap eyes on when you arrive at a racetrack.  

If that’s true, I’ll be making a wager on Tiz the Law in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He looked fantastic to my eye, going a quick gallop around the Keeneland oval this morning. For a second, he almost looked a little keyed up, but regular exercise rider Heather Smullen did a great job getting him to relax and he just cruised around there, looking effortless.  

Watch the 2020 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th November.

I really am excited by his chances. I covered his story this year in one of our profiles and the more I think about him, the more I like him. I’ll write more about my current thoughts on the Classic in the betting notes below.  

My view is unreal. This year the breakfast area is mere feet from the track. For me, the setup brought to mind the great rock critic Lester Bangs, typing on stage while the J. Geils Band rocked on (I will not be smashing my computer at the end).  

I really feel like I’m part of the show from this vantage point. I can sit here and work away while watching horses move without needing binoculars or braving the cold. Speaking of the cold, it is freezing – and I mean that literally. Temperatures were below 0 Celsius last night which caused training to be delayed by about an hour.  

That worked out well for me because I was initially denied entrance to this little haven of a room where I currently sit. I’ve written before about how seriously folks at Keeneland take the rules. And when I showed up, I had a credential but I didn’t have the right credential.  

A quest followed, that took me through the nearly empty, entirely byzantine Keeneland Sales Pavillion. At one point I got lost and ended up in the ring, where I thought about the billions of dollars of horseflesh that had passed through there before me.  

Eventually, a helpful employee guided me in the right direction and I ended up in the Auctioneer’s office where the correct credential was bestowed upon me.  

Another runner I was thrilled to see was Monomoy Girl – she looked incredibly well in her flesh. She’s a very intelligent mare who takes it all in so it was no surprise to see her looking around at everything as she made her way around.  

To my eye, she looks bigger and stronger than ever. Liz Crow, the bloodstock agent who picked her out (and who we will catch up with later this week), noted that the speed figures she’s earning now as a five-year-old reflect significant improvement from her form as a three-year-old when she won five Grade 1s including the Distaff.  

What a story it will be if she can regain her crown on Saturday.  

Now though, let’s talk about Saturday’s antepost markets.  

In the first Breeders’ Cup race, the Filly and Mare Turf Sprint, I like SPEECH at 20-1. I love the turnback for this filly and thought she had a really tough trip in the Oaks. The ones at the top of the market are very good but they could well set things up for this one to coming rolling by off the pace. An excellent each-way opportunity at these odds. 

In the Turf Sprint, GOT STORMY is too good to be as high as 6-1. She’s of proven Grade 1 quality and she’s for that course and distance win proving she can handle this configuration – I was initially worried she might find it too sharp. She’ll be shorter on the day so I’d advise taking that now. Anything over 4-1 feels like antepost value to me.  

In the Dirt Mile, I like the chances of KNICKS GO a lot. He’s been a different horse in the care of Brad Cox and I think he’ll be the controlling speed. Current odds of 8-1 are too big.  

I’m not seeing anywhere to pounce just yet in the FM Turf, Sprint or Mile. The Mile has a bunch of interesting possibilities at prices: Siskin, Safe Voyage, and One Master are all listed at 12-1 but I think it’s too open to make a move now. If I had to bet one now in the Mile at the prices I’d go with Siskin.  

In the Distaff, while Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver are clearly deserving of their places at the top of the market, CECE is overpriced at 33-1 and deserving of an each-way antepost play.  

I think the 7 furlongs last out was a little sharp for her and I don’t think she cared for the deeper California surfaces she ran on previously. She looked a potential favorite for this back in April when she won the Grade 1 Apple Blossom.  

I can’t wait for the Turf which I see as a Triple Threat match race between the big three Euros. I like Tarnawa a lot but think she’ll be longer on the tote on the day. 

As for the Classic, as much as I like Tiz the Law, I think he might be longer than (or at least not much lower than) his price of 100/30 on the day. Ultimately this is a race where I think I want two against the field. Tiz, who I will back on the day, and TOM'S D'ETAT.  

I haven’t seen Tom yet – he’s at Churchill still – but I have heard a few first-hand reports from people I trust that he could not be doing better. I think 7-1 is a good price on him that will likely come in a bit from there.

Watch the 2020 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th November.

Peter Fornatale's Breeders' Cup Diary
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