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Rick Lee's Breeders' Cup selections and analysis

by Rick Lee | November 6, 2021 at 2:46 a.m.
Knicks Go is the early favorite at 5-2 to win today’s Breeders’ Cup $6 Million Classic at Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, Calif. (AP/Jae C. Hong)

Rick Lee's Breeders' Cup selections and analysis

LEE'S LOCK Gamine in the fourth

BEST BET Jackie's Warrior in the eighth

LONG SHOT Lieutenant Dan in the fifth

4 Filly and Mare Sprint. Purse $1 million, 7 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares

GAMINE has been dominating in five consecutive victories, and the speedy multiple Grade I winning filly easily won this race in 2020 and will go favored to repeat. BELLA SOFIA is taking on older Grade I rivals for the first time, but she won the Grade I Test in impressive fashion, and she has enough speed to be in striking range turning into the stretch. CE CE finished third behind Gamine in the Grade I Ballerina at Saratoga, and she followed the effort with a romping graded stake win at Santa Anita.


5 Gamine;Velazquez;Baffert;3-5

6 Bella Sofia;Saez;Rodriguez;5-2

4 Ce Ce;Espinoza;McCarthy;4-1

3 Edgeway;Rosario;Sadler;12-1

1 Proud Emma;Prat;Miller;20-1

2 Estilo Talentoso;JOrtiz;Arriagada;12-1

5 Turf Sprint. Purse $1 million, 5 furlongs, turf, 3-year-olds and up

LIEUTENANT DAN is cutting back after scoring a game front-running victory in the Grade II Eddie D at Santa Anita. The razor sharp gelding has won three straight and is unbeaten at today's abbreviated sprint distance. GEAR JOCKEY has shown steady improvement throughout 2021, culminating in a powerful graded stake victory at Kentucky Downs, which earned the field's fastest last race Beyer figure. EMARAATY ANA has recorded a win and second-place finish in consecutive Group I races in Europe, and he figures to save ground before unleashing his strong late punch.


4 Lieutenant Dan;Franco;Miyadi;6-1

10 Gear Jockey;Lezcano;Arnold;5-1

2 Emaraaty Ana;Atzenia;Ryan;5-1

3 Golden Pal;IOrtiz;Ward;7-2

6 A Case of You;Whelan;McGuinness;8-1

1 Glass Slippers;Eaves;Ryan;6-1

9 Kimari;Rosario;Ward;6-1

5 Arrest Me Red;Velazquez;Ward;12-1

11 Fast Boat;Gaffalione;Sharp;12-1

8 Caravel;JOrtiz;Motion;20-1

12 Extravagant Kid;Moore;Walsh;12-1

7 Charmaine's Mia;Prat;D'Amato;30-1

13 Bombard;Prat;Mandella;20-1

14 The Critical Way;Saez;Delgado;15-1

15 Chaos Theory;Desormeaux;Hess;30-1

16 Beer Can Man;Hernandez;Glatt;20-1

17 Commander;Geroux;Miller;30-1

18 Hollywood Talent;Santana;Vazquez;30-1

6 Dirt Mile. Purse $1 million, 1 mile, 3-year-olds and up

LIFE IS GOOD is a multiple graded stake winner, who has won four of five races. His one defeat was a photo finish loss behind the very talented and fast Jackie's Warrior. SILVER STATE had a six-race winning streak snapped when finishing third behind the top two older horses in the country in the Grade I Whitney, and an expected fast pace should work in his late-running favor. GINOBILI returns fresh after winning the Grade I Pat O'Brien at 7 furlongs. He has won three of four races at Del Mar and has shown versatility.


5 Life Is Good;IOrtiz;Pletcher;4-5

1 Silver State;Santana;Asmussen;7-2

3 Ginobili;Van Dyke;Baltas;4-1

8 Eight Rings;Hernandez;Baffert;10-1

7 Snapper Sinclair;Rosario;Asmussen;12-1

6 Restrainedvengence;Maldonado;Brinkerhoff;20-1

2 Pingxiang;Kawada;Mori;12-1

4 Jasper Prince;Fukunaga;Mori;30-1

7 Filly and Mare Turf. Purse $2 million, 1 3/8 miles, turf, 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares.

ROUGIR was bet down to favoritism and did not disappoint in winning the prestigious Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp. The 3-year-old filly has improved throughout her 2021 campaign. WAR LIKE GODDESS has unleashed a powerful rally in winning four consecutive graded stake races, including the Grade I Flower Bowl at this same distance. LOVES ONLY YOU defeated a quality field in a Group I just two races back in Hong Kong, and the six-time winner has earnings exceeding $5 million.


4 Rougir;Guyon;Rossi;6-1

7 War Like Goddess;Leparoux;Mott;7-2

8 Loves Only You;Kawada;Yahagi;4-1

12 Audarya;Buick;Fanshawe;5-1

6 Love;Moore;O'Brien;4-1

1 Going to Vegas;Rispoli;Baltas;12-1

9 My Sister Nat;JOrtiz;Brown;15-1

11 Dogtag;Prat;Mandella;30-1

2 Pocket Square;IOrtiz;Brown;15-1

3 Acanella;Keane;Lyons;12-1

10 Ocean Road;Murphy;Palmer;20-1

5 Queen Supreme;Doyle;Balding;20-1

8 Sprint. Purse $2 million, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up

JACKIE'S WARRIOR is a three-time Grade I winner, who has won eight of nine career races at one-mile or less, and the Steve Asmussen trainee is the one to catch and beat. DR. SCHIVEL has put together a five-race winning streak, which includes two Grade I victories at Del Mar, and he is capable of running his best from on or off the early pace. C Z ROCKET finished second in this race last fall at Keeneland, and the strong finisher hit the wire only a neck behind the second selection in the local Pat O'Brien.


2 Jackie's Warrior;Rosario;Asmussen;6-5

9 Dr. Schivel;Prat;Glatt;4-1

3 C Z Rocket;Geroux;Miller;12-1

8 Special Reserve;IOrtiz;Maker;6-1

5 Aloha West;JOrtiz;Catalano;8-1

6 Firenze Fire;Gaffalione;Breen;10-1

1 Following Sea;Velazquez;Pletcher;6-1

7 Lexitonian;Lezcano;Sisterson;20-1

4 Matera Sky;Kawada;Mori;20-1

9 Turf Mile. Purse $2 million, 1 mile, turf, 3-year-olds and up

SPACE BLUES rallied powerfully defeating fourteen rivals in the Group I Prix de la Foret at Longchamp. He has won seven of his last nine for a trainer that knows how to ship and win Breeders' Cup Races. MO FORZA has won three consecutive graded stake races over the Del Mar turf, and he has a solid chance to rally to a fifth straight win. IN LOVE circled rivals late on the final turn before running down a full field in the Grade I Keeneland Turf Mile, and he is peaking at the perfect time.


3 Space Blues;Buick;Appleby;3-1

6 Mo Forza;Prat;Miller;5-1

7 In Love;Achard;Lobo;8-1

11 Got Stormy;Gaffalione;Casse;10-1

1 Master of the Seas;Doyle;Appleby;12-1

9 Mother Earth;Moore;O'Brien;8-1

10 Blowout;Rosario;Brown;8-1

2 Smooth Like Strait;Rispoli;McCarthy;10-1

14 Ivar;Talamo;Lobo;12-1

4 Raging Bull;IOrtiz;Brown;15-1

12 Pearls Galore;Lee;Twomey;12-1

8 Hit the Road;Velazquez;Blacker;15-1

13 Casa Creed;Alvarado;Mott;15-1

5 Vin de Garde;Fukunaga;Fujiwara;20-1

15 Real Appeal;Foley;Harrington;15-1

16 Queen Supreme;Doyle;Balding;30-1

10 Distaff. Purse $2 million, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares

LETRUSKA has won four consecutive Grade I races at four different race tracks, and the front-running mare has won seven of her last eight races since having blinkers removed. DUNBAR ROAD has finished less than 2 lengths behind the top selection in consecutive races. She had a strong recent work and may benefit from a possible rapid early pace. PRIVATE MISSION has won back to back graded stake races in California, while earning steadily ascending Beyer figures. She is a speedy 3-year-old with a slugger's chance.


6 Letruska;IOrtiz;Gutierrez;8-5

11 Dunbar Road;JOrtiz;Brown;15-1

1 Private Mission;Prat;Baffert;8-1

3 Malathaat;Velazquez;Pletcher;4-1

2 Royal Flag;Rosario;Brown;8-1

8 Shedaresthedevil;Geroux;Cox;4-1

5 Clairiere;Santana;Asmussen;12-1

9 As Time Goes By;Saez;Baffert;15-1

7 Horologist;Alvarado;Mott;30-1

4 Blue Stripe;Dettori;Polanco;30-1

10 Marche Lorraine;Murphy;Yahagi;30-1

11 Turf. Purse $4 million, 1 1/2 miles, turf, 3-year-olds and up

SISFAHAN is a talented one-run closer who followed a Group I win this summer in Germany with a strong second-place finish behind Torquator Tasso, who came back to win the 'Arc de Triomphe. DOMESTIC SPENDING had rallied to victory in three consecutive Grade I races before beaten a neck in a Grade I at Arlington, and the Chad Brown trainee is a determined finisher and America's best hope. TARNAWA won this same race while on Lasix in 2020, and the deserved morning line favorite exits a strong second in the 'Arc de Triomphe, but he did draw a less than ideal post.


9 Sisfahan;Demuro;Grewe;12-1

3 Domestic Spending;Prat;Brown;4-1

13 Tarnawa;Keane;Weld;9-5

7 Walton Street;Doyle;Appleby;8-1

8 Broome;Dettori;O'Brien;20-1

12 Teona;Egan;Varian;6-1

11 Gufo;Rosario;Clement;8-1

10 Yibir;Buick;Appleby;12-1

1 Rockemperor;Castellano;Brown;15-1

5 Tribhuvan;JOrtiz;Brown;20-1

6 Acclimate;Gonzalez;D'Amato;20-1

2 United;Velazquez;Mandella;20-1

4 Astronaut;Espinoza;Shirreffs;20-1

14 Japan;Moore;O'Brien;20-1

15 Bolshoi Boy;Moore;O'Brien;15-1

16 Channel Maker;Saez;Mott;20-1

17 Mogul;Dettori;O'Brien;30-1

18 Friar's Road;Rispoli;McCarthy;30-1

12 Classic. Purse $6 million, 1 1/4 miles, 3-year-olds and up

KNICKS GO won the 2020 Breeders' Cup Mile in impressive front-running style, and he has been an easy winner in three consecutive races at 9 furlongs. His speed and class make him the one to beat. ESSENTIAL QUALITY has won eight of nine races with his one defeat behind a tough-luck loss in the 2021 Kentucky Derby, and the abundance of early speed in the race gives him a big chance to win. HOT ROD CHARLIE has won consecutive Grade I's since finishing second behind Essential Quality in the Belmont. He has speed and is back in blinkers after two races without.


5 Knicks Go;Rosario;Cox;5-2

4 Essential Quality;Saez;Cox;3-1

3 Hot Rod Charlie;Prat;O'Neill;4-1

1 Tripoli;IOrtiz;Sadler;15-1

8 Medina Spirit;Velazquez;Baffert;4-1

6 Art Collector;Smith;Mott;8-1

9 Max Player;Santana;Asmussen;8-1

2 Express Train;Espinoza;Shirreffs;20-1

7 Stilleto Boy;Desormeaux;Moger;30-1

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