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Can Bigg match his $2,020 Prince of Wales superfecta success in the Breeders’?

September 30, 2023

No false modesty here today. Coming off my proudest moment in handicapping big stakes race – nailing the $2,020 superfecta in the Prince of Wales Stakes for readers of my Canadian Thoroughbred column – let’s see if I can match or exceed that success for you in Sunday’s 1 ½-mile Breeders’ Stakes. (My claim to fame before the Prince of Wales was being the only public handicapper to have predicted the top three finish of last year’s Queen’s Plate for a $1 triactor paying $200).

If you read past columns, you know I employ certain handicapping “rules” (I hate “opinions”) and that I may be slightly unorthodox because I compute closing fractions even in non-turf races when the race distance exceeds 1 1/8-mile. Longshots Hall of Dreams and Sir for Sure who finished below Moira in last year’s Queen’s Plate, for example, simply had shown quick closing fractions in a 1 1/8-mile race. Yet I was the only public handicapper to have picked the tri.

The same was true for horses that formed the Prince of Wales superfecta. The winner, Velocitor, had shown a quick closing fraction at 1 1/8-mile as a 2-year-old but then had regressed for a couple races. The second-place finisher in the Prince of Wales, Kaukokaipuu, who has post one in the Breeders’ Stakes, had been my strong choice in The King’s Plate but got caught up in the huge field of horses and finished 15th. One simply needed to draw a line through that race and suggest he would bounce back in the Prince of Wales, which he did.

And I’m coming right back to Kaukokaipuu in the Breeders’ Stakes as one of five horses in my superfecta box. Not only does he have solid closing fractions, he also has a record of 10 in-the-money finishes out of 13 starts. That stat – in-the-money finishes – is also a “rule” in my handicapping stakes races.

Kaukokaipuu preparing for the Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Kaukokaipuu preparing for the Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Just a quick aside before listing the five prime horses: What do I mean when I refer to “closing fractions?” I’m referring to the time it takes for a horse to negotiate the distance from 6-furlongs to the end of the race. The most pertinent times in handicapping long turf routes are the fractions gleaned in 1 1/8-mile races. The standard there is 36-seconds for turf races and 37 seconds or higher for dirt/synthetic races. Closing fractions should take into account, of course, whether a horse is losing lengths or gaining lengths and adjustments made accordingly.

Okay, here’s your five-horse 20-cent superfecta box that would cost you $24. (The Prince of Wales superfecta paid $404 for 20-cents.) These are the contenders in alphabetical order:

  • #1 Kaukokaipuu 8-1: With 10 in-the-money finishes in 13 starts, strong closing fractions and second in the Prince of Wales, he’s a strong likelihood to be in the mix. Likes to show early pace, too, so #1 post will suit him just fine. All he needs to do is save ground the whole trip. Only negative: His usual rider, Rico Walcott, isn’t riding Sunday.
  • #7 Paramount Prince 7-2: Never out of the money, seven-for-seven. Will likely try to steal the race as he did in the King’s Plate.
  • #10 Philip My Dear 20-1: Impressive closing fractions as a 2-year-old. Didn’t like blinkers in the King’s Plate. A bounce-back to his 2-year-old ability (as Velocitor did in the Prince of Wales) puts him right there.
  • #11 Touch’n Ride 6-1: Take note his trainer supplemented him into this race by paying $12,500. I shouldn’t have to explain what that means. Only three lifetime starts and a troubled trip in the King’s Plate. Could be any kind.
  • #12 Elysian Field 5-2: This filly winner of the Woodbine Oaks, and second in the King’s Plate, is the morning line favourite. She, too, was supplemented into this race for $12,500 likely because trainer Mark Casse saw this as not being a particularly strong field.

ADD THESE TO THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SUPERFECTA WHEELS: Using my “in the money” rule, these horses deserve a shot at completing the fourth position of the superfecta – #6 Tito’s Callling (10-1), #8 Sammy Stone (15-1) and #9 Midnight in Malibu (15-1). Note that #6 was supplemented into the race for $12,500 so his connections obviously like his chances. Maybe elevate him into the third spot as well!

So, let’s see if I get to log another superfecta win. Should be a good race. Then next Sunday features the race that Secretariat made famous: the Canadian International. Then we’re scant weeks to horseplayer Christmas, the Breeders’ Cup, where I’m looking forward to using an original angle for taking down mega-pools. Very excited about that. You’ll be surprised at the simplicity of it all.

Ivan Bigg, for Woodbine Communications

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